Half of all new laws to appear on the statute books come from European Union directives including ‘offences’ on olive oil which threatened small producers, restaurants and cafes, according to The Times.
The Ministry of Justice has produced figures which show that of 280 new criminal offences created by the government in the new year to the end of May, the EU was responsible for 129.
And 166 “had some EU influence”, almost 60 per cent when offences created as a result of EU decisions such as sanctions on Syria are included.
Two thirds come from secondary legislation, meaning they do not even go through full parliamentary procedure in this country before they are written into law. Since 2010 the EU has been responsible for more than twice as many new offences as those started in Westminster: 1153 to 518.
During the European Election debates, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the EU was only responsible for seven pre cent of the rules which now govern this country.
His opponent, Nigel Farage replied to the Lib Dem leader, saying: “When I said yes to these debates I thought you would honestly make the pro-EU case.
“By saying 7 percent of our laws are made in Brussels, you are wilfully lying to the British people about the extent to which we have given control of our country and our democracy and I am really shocked and surprised you would do that.”
The huge number of new laws coming from eurocrats has caused the British Chamber of Commerce to label the EU “a law making machine”.
“Well-meaning businesses are struggling to cope with an avalanche of regulation,” he added. “Many serve only to make companies more risk-averse and conduct less trade.”
Sir William Cash, Tory MP for Stone jumped on the numbers, saying it showed the UK was “being deluged by EU legislation”.
The MP who sits on the EU Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons said: “We were told originally that the EU would not interfere in our criminal justice system. This has changed radically over the past few years.”
“Furthermore, if this were UK legislation it would have to go through a bill which could be amended. None of this happens with much EU legislation. It comes in through the back door.”
The manner in which some rulings from the EU become law mean that no one directly elected by the British people can have a big say in the legislation and MPs are unable to amend the rules. Regulations in particular go through no scrutiny but are transferred directly into UK law. The majority of others are voted on in bulk, by ‘statutory instrument’ or are glanced at by MPs in committees.
The figures show that almost a quarter of the new offences last year were created by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, directly contradicting Brussels’ claims that it wants to promote economic growth and boost employment.
One group of laws for which the EU is responsible involves the marking of construction products with the ‘CE’ stamp. Designed to harmonise products across the EU, it requires the manufacturer to keep documentation for ten years – three years longer than the inland revenue demands for tax returns.
Businesses must also ensure consistent production, monitor the product, indicate a contact point, provide instruction and safety information in appropriate languages and co-operate with requests from national authorities.
The Lib Dems were asked to respond to the latest figures but so far have not commented.