Saturday, 12 June 2010

Famous Last Words - Yet Again!

"The Budget will be presented to Parliament first. There is no question of anyone other than MPs seeing it first."
Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, attending the Ecofin meeting of Finance Ministers on 8th June - and as reported in Open Europe's press summary on 9th June. In contradiction of this statement by Hoban, European Voice reports the comments of one Commission official thus:
"The idea is that this information is received well in advance in order to have the peer review. This does not mean after, or simultaneously, but before it has been given to MPs."
The Press Association notes that the UK’s 1972 European Communities Act states that any economic “stability and convergence” programmes cannot be submitted to the EU until they have been considered by Parliament; at the same time noting that the proposal could be introduced through qualified majority voting - something confirmed in this report from the Daily Telegraph.

So whose 'ruling' will prevail? Well, we know that EU rulings take precedent over those of national governments yet we have been assured by Cameron that Parliament is sovereign. "It is about an assurance that the final word on our laws is here in Britain." (Cameron: 4th November 2009). The CamerLegg post-election-manifesto (page19) promises that any further transfer of power or sovereignty will not take place during the course of this parliament and that the 1972 European Communities Act will be amended to ensure that any such transfer would trigger a referendum -  although this amendment has yet to be enacted.

It must surely be accepted that losing the right to have any national budget presented to its own parliament first is a loss of power - and if this latest measure from the EU is adopted by QMV, then Cameron is powerless to stop it. This then begs the immediate question of what will Cameron do? It would not surprise anyone were he to shrug his shoulders and plead that, as his amendment to the 1972 ECA had not been passed by the House of Commons, he was powerless. Of course that decision would then finally lay bare the lie of his belief that he governs our country.

It is utterly futile of Cameron to deny the need for a debate and subsequent referendum on our membership of the European Union. When considering the proposed programme issued by the Commission it is obvious that the question of what constitutes a transfer of power will be raised time and time again - so lets have that debate and referendum now!


Woodsy42 said...

I don't know the legalities, I'm guessing, but surely, despite common use of the name 'budget' to describe the chancellor's presentation and suggestions, it is not actually a real budget until parliament has approved and passed it? They could in theory vote it down. The EU logically can't see a budget before parliament do because it doesn't exist before being passed.
Or am I being too clever?

subrosa said...

Woodsey has a good point but I suspect Brussels has thought of that and phrased their 'command' accordingly.

Will Cameron hold firm? I'm doubtful.

Witterings From Witney said...

W42 - agreed in my opinion - but wherther it is a proposal (pre prlt approval)or an actual budget (post prlt approval) is beside the point - it is still a loss of national power. EU financial govt is coming, whether we the people like it or not. What will be intriguing is to see how the politicos argue they still govern.

SR - Cameron hold firm? With that yellow streak running down his back? Bit like Scottish independence - dream on!