European Union Bill Returns to the Commons

Today the House of Commons will consider as a Committee of the whole house, the European Union Bill. This will mean that in future the United Kingdom will have to hold a referendum on future treaties which amend the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Function of the European Union

Under the Bill the UK will have to hold a referendum if the treaty meets one of these conditions:

(a) the extension of the objectives of the EU as set out in Article 3 of TEU;

(b) the conferring on the EU of a new exclusive competence;

(c) the extension of an exclusive competence of the EU;

(d) the conferring on the EU of a new competence shared with the member  States;

(e) the extension of any competence of the EU that is shared with the member States;

(f) the extension of the competence of the EU in relation to—

(i) the co-ordination of economic and employment policies, or

(ii) common foreign and security policy;

(g) the conferring on the EU of a new competence to carry out actions to support, co-ordinate or supplement the actions of member States;

(h) the extension of a supporting, co-ordinating or supplementing competence of the EU;

(i) the conferring on an EU institution or body of power to impose a requirement or obligation on the United Kingdom, or the removal of any limitation on any such power of an EU institution or body;

(j) the conferring on an EU institution or body of new or extended power to impose sanctions on the United Kingdom;

(k) any amendment of a provision listed in Schedule 1 that removes a requirement that anything should be done unanimously, by consensusor by common accord;

(l) any amendment of Article 31(2) of TEU (decisions relating to common foreign and security policy to which qualified majority voting applies) that removes or amends the provision enabling a member of the Council to oppose the adoption of a decision to be taken by qualified majority voting;

(m) any amendment of any of the provisions specified in subsection (3) that removes or amends the provision enabling a member of the Council, in relation to a draft legislative act, to ensure the suspension of the ordinary legislative procedure

It is important to note that if the treaty does any of the following, a Referendum is not needed and an Act of Parliament would suffice,

(a) the codification of practice under TEU or TFEU in relation to the previous exercise of an existing competence;
(b) the making of any provision that applies only to member States other than the United Kingdom;
(c) in the case of a treaty, the accession of a new member State.
 

It is an interesting idea from the Coalition Government. Maybe it is something we should consider doing here as it would remove some of the confusion that it exists in relation to the Crotty Judgement and would set out when we actually do need to hold a referendum on European Treaties.

Hattip: Archbishop Cranmer

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House of Commons to Debate Loan to Ireland

House of Commons of the United Kingdom
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This Evening the House of Commons will be debating the Loans to Ireland Bill which will allow the United Kingdom to give a loan of £3,250 million to Ireland.

The plan is that the bill will finish off all stages today. It will pass the Committee stage in the whole House.

Already today the issue has been raised four times in the House of Commons. The first time by Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, during Northern Ireland Questions, in relation to assets held by NAMA in Northern Ireland and suggested that maybe some of these assets could be used as collateral in the loan. The second time was in relation to the effect of the economy in the Republic on the North. Northern Ireland Minister, Hugo Swire MP for East Devon, said that it was important that the UK was seen as part of the solution for Ireland and not the problem.

During Prime Ministers Questions, Mark Reckless MP, again, raised the issue of the loan to Ireland and suggested that the UK does not follow the wishes of the German Finance Minister. David Cameron in his response agreed with Mark Reckless and said that he was glad that the UK could come to Ireland’s aid.

I will be watching the debate on the bill and it will be interesting to see some of the remarks that are made.

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