Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
EU Constitution "A Trojan Horse"
March 4th 2008
North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has described the EU Constitutional Treaty as "a Trojan Horse" measure.
Speaking in the Commons debate on the European Union (Amendment) (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill last (Monday 3rd March) night the MP said:
"(The Bill) …is a Trojan Horse. If it goes through then inside it and on the back of it we shall find a whole raft of measures that we shall have no power to resist".
"This is not about giving nation states the right to do as they see fit; it is about the right of the European Union to tell us what we will do and what we must enact by secondary legislation. We have failed to grasp one salient fact. In these Houses of Parliament the law is the last resort and parliament is sovereign. In many European jurisdictions the legislature is bound up with the legal process - they are part and parcel of the same system. If this measure goes through we will find the European Court dictating to European legislators what we in the United Kingdom will then have to push through as secondary legislation with little or no debate. We shall find that we have no say over what we are enacting in many areas that are now the responsibility of this House".
Roger Gale also responded to a challenge thrown down by the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee (Michael Connarty. Lab.) earlier in the debate saying:
"The Honourable Gentleman held up the Treaty of Lisbon and asked "Have you read this"? And challenged us to say which of the items in it our constituents had written to us about. Back in the autumn I sent out 35.000 cards to my constituents, 3,500 of which were returned. By my miserable maths that makes 10 per cent and that is about ten times more than we usually receive when we send out mail without a reply-paid envelope. I also received 3,500 on the petition that I presented to parliament calling for a referendum on the constitution, which is what the Treaty of Lisbon is. The people writing to me made their views very clear: they are concerned about defence, they are concerned about a European foreign policy, they are concerned about an extension of European Presidential powers and, most of all, they are concerned about the loss of our right of veto in so many areas of policy".
Speaking after the debate Roger Gale said:
"The Government has broken its word in three key areas.
First, they said "Trust us and you can have a referendum." Second, they said that the House of Commons could have twenty days to debate the Bill. Third, they promised line by line scrutiny of the legislation. Brown is denying us the promised referendum, he has reduced the number of days for debate in the Commons and far from "line by line" scrutiny whole sections of the bill, including defence, are going through undebated and on the nod. Why should anyone trust this government to keep its word over anything?"
And commenting on the Liberals` position Roger Gale added:
"Having promised a referendum in their election manifesto Mr. Clegg has now nailed his party's colours to the fence once again. By indicating an abstention on the key vote on a referendum he has set an interesting precedent. This has to be the first occasion upon which Members of Parliament have faced a 3-line whip to abstain! He can be accused of many things but rash political courage is clearly not one of them!"