Monday, June 28, 2004

Tories against the Constitution

It is a measure of the frustration of modern politics, and relations with the media, that Owen Paterson, Conservative MP for North Shropshire, immediately rushed out a press release following the agreement on the constitution last week.

Being used to have virtually all his texts published virtually verbatim in the local rags - on subjects as diverse and important as a campaign for a new bus shelter, and his appearance at a local fund-rasing dinner, he was somewhat puzzled by the response to this press release - absolutely none!

To make up for this strange lapse in journalistic interest, we reproduce the release here. Any offerings from other MPs (from all parties) would be gratefully received. It would be interesting to have a cross-section of responses.

Owen Paterson has re-iterated his total opposition to the proposed European Constitution agreed by Tony Blair last weekend.

Speaking in North Shropshire, he said "If ratified, this Constitution will make the EU, for the first time, a state in its own right. Article 1.5 states quite clearly that it shall have primacy over the member States. It declares that European law is supreme over both Parliamentary statutes and national constitutions. There will be a federal law code sitting above state laws, a European Public Prosecutor and a federal police force. There will be a common policy on immigration and asylum.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights will allow the European Court of Justice to supersede national law in almost every area of the law. The EU will have either full or shared jurisdiction in virtually every area of public policy, including, trade, transport, employment, energy, competition, social policy, environment, fisheries, agriculture, defence and foreign affairs. In areas of shared sovereignty, member states shall only exercise competence where the EU “chooses no longer to exercise its competence.” In thirty years, we have seen no evidence of any such self-restraint by our masters in Brussels.

Despite Tony Blair's unconvincing posturing last week, his red lines seem to have dissolved in the actual text. If this Constitution is ratified, we will no longer live in a nation state.

I shall be throwing all my energy into supporting the No campaign and I urge all those who want to live in a real democracy called Britain to do the same. This Constitution removes once and for all our right to remove our real rulers by voting. I am implacably opposed to it in principle. The Prime Minister should hold a referendum now."

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