David Cameron’s deal with the European Union (EU) could be thrown out by European judges, according to impartial research by the House of Commons library.
The library, which provides research and advice to Members of Parliament (MPs) said the European Court of Justice “could not enforce” the deal if it clashed with EU treaties, and its shaky legal status means it “cannot guarantee all the outcomes envisaged”.
Uncertainly around the legality of the deal means parts of it could end up “effectively being reversed by the courts”.
The Daily Mail reports that the researchers also said that the European Parliament still has to agree key parts of the deal such as curbs on welfare payments to EU migrants. The parliament is “not directly bound by” the deal, meaning it could throw it out.
The research comes as Cabinet minister Chris Grayling also launched an attack on the deal. In a campaign speech, he agreed with the library’s advice that the European Court of Justice will still retain ultimate authority over the way European law affects Britain.
“If it decides that we have to accept a particular European rule, or that our rules are not allowed under European law, we have no choice but to accept its view,” he said. “Our parliament has no ability to disagree with the Court.”
Mr Grayling even believes the deal could leave Britain “in a worse situation than we were before” because “we have agreed that Britain ‘shall not impede the implementation of legal acts directly linked to the functioning of the euro area’.”
“This is a significant — and underappreciated — loss of leverage,” he added. “We now lack a key tool in preventing further EU integration — which we might be dragged along into.”
Yesterday, a group of Conservative MPs wrote an open letter also pointing out that David Cameron’s deal had made Britain weaker.
The group, led by former Social Secretary Peter Lilley, said: “We surrendered Britain’s right to give or withhold consent to future EU treaties required to convert the Eurozone into a political union. We could have used that leverage to get powers devolved to the UK in return for agreeing to Eurozone integration — and to block measures harmful to us.”
They argued that a vote to remain will now leave Britain without a key veto, meaning it will be in a weaker position when it comes to bargaining over further EU integration.
“While our partners sensed that Britain might leave the EU and could impede further integration, they respected our interests. But a vote to remain would signal that we lack the will to govern ourselves. Our interests would henceforth be far down their concerns,” they said.