Sir William Cash: the charter is like a legal ectoplasm

Sir William Cash made the following intervention during the debate on the first day of the EU Withdrawal Bill's report stage:


The Solicitor General: The position that my right hon. and learned Friend took on the charter back in 2007 is the right one. As I was saying, it is in the interests of maintaining the rule of law that we maintain clarity, consistency and a clear authoritative source for those rights. My genuine concern about the importation of this particular charter into our domestic law is that we will sow confusion. That is not good for the maintenance of the rule of law, for the citizens of our country, for the future development of the law or for the position of this place vis-à-vis that development.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): I entirely endorse what my hon. and learned Friend is saying, not least because of the acquis itself. Secondly, there are the adjudications under the European Court itself. Thirdly, the charter is like a legal ectoplasm: it seeps into everything. There is no way in which we would ever be able to extract ourselves from the entirety of the provisions in perpetuity.

The Solicitor General: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who raises a genuine concern about the impact of protocol 30. Many Opposition Members were here 10 years ago; they were anxious then to make sure that the protocol was included in the Lisbon treaty. They are now happy to resile from that position and take an entirely different view. I take great issue with that: the legal principles were the same then as now. Nothing has really changed about the potential force of the charter, so I am rather bemused to hear about that volte-face on the part of many Opposition Members.


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