Glen Ruffle: Hypocrisy reigns in Amendments land

Many amendments to the Great Repeal Bill, proposed by a coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and Green MPs, stink of hypocrisy.

They seek to amend the Bill by attempting, among other amendments, to get a clause inserted to state that the UK cannot repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and leave the EU without a new Treaty, ratified by both houses, being in place.

Firstly, this move would undermine Britain’s bargaining position. The very threat that the UK could walk away with no deal is a potent piece of diplomacy. Labour would rather, as ever, undermine the country’s international standing and compromise the UK’s power.

Secondly, it would require a new treaty to be created ad rushed through – however bad. Negotiations are limited to two years not because the UK chooses a two-year period, but because the EU is not capable of being flexible, as it is tied into a legal framework of top-down Napoleonic code that can’t adapt. The Lisbon Treaty states the two-year period in Article 50.3 – a treaty article no one ever seriously thought would be used.

If we cast our minds back to the Treaty of Lisbon, the stench of hypocrisy grows. Signed by the Blair-led Labour government, and effectively in content the rejected EU Constitution, the then-government chose to rig the parliamentary debates to avoid any discussion of all the powers Blair had agreed to lose and transfer from Britain to the EU.

To be more specific, a whole day of debate was devoted to a few words on combatting climate change – a clause most normal people agreed with. Meanwhile, the groundwork for creating an EU military was brushed under the table.

Yet now we find a Labour party trying to give the impression that they are desperate for parliamentary scrutiny.

And this scrutiny should come not just from the House of Commons: the House of Lords as well must fully ratify the new Treaty. This, from the same Labour government that viciously attacked the House of Lords when it was in power, an attack based on class hatred and a detesting of Britain's unique history.

Instead of asking "does it work", or accepting that an assault on that which we have in the present rarely improves current life or the future, the Labour government undermined itself by hamstringing the settled system and then becoming scared that the House of Lords, if elected, could have more legitimacy than the Commons!

Yet now we have the spectacle of this coalition – mainly of Labour MPs – asking that the Lords be one of the houses required to ratify the bill! Labour's cynicism – of using the Lords only for their own gain – is clearly exposed. Yet, should they succeed with the amendments and ever get power, watch as they then turn on the Lords once they have served Labour’s selfish purpose, crushing dissenting voices to reduce democracy.

Britain needs the flexibility of being able to walk away should the EU play around and abuse its position. Brexit is as much a test of the EU as it is of Britain: can the EU handle talks maturely, without bitterness and acting in unity? So far, it is the EU (and their Labour party stooges) that are lacking.

 

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