David Cameron’s European Union (EU) renegotiation deal has actually made Britain’s position in the EU even weaker than it was before, a group of MPs have insisted.
In a letter to The Times, the group of Conservative MPs point out that a little-reported section of the deal pledges that the UK “shall not impede the implementation of legal acts directly linked to the functioning of the euro area”.
David Cameron’s deal, which he insists is legally binding, also promises that Britain will not “create obstacles” to further integration in the Eurozone.
The MPs, led by former Social Secretary Peter Lilley, write: “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.”
The group, which also includes former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and former leadership contender David Davis, as well as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Bernard Jenkin, say the Prime Minister has “surrendered Britain’s one remaining bargaining lever”, leaving future British leaders in a weaker position during negotiations.
“The UK would be very vulnerable if we remain in the EU on these terms,” they add.
The MPs conclude: “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.”
The letter comes just a week after fellow Conservative Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the influential Commons Treasury Committee, said David Cameron’s deal could be used as a “Trojan Horse” to extend the powers of the EU within Britain.
Mr Tyrie said that a passage in which the words “without prejudice to the existing powers of the union to take action” had been inserted constituted a way for the EU to take new powers.
“I note that in this agreement that has been agreed it says that while financial stability is ‘a matter for their own authorities’ – that’s the authorities of member states – that responsibility that lies with member states should be ‘without prejudice to the existing powers of the union to take action that is necessary to respond to threats to financial stability’. That looks like competence creep to me,” he said.
“It looks like an extension of responsibility taking place under the guise of something that is reinforcing protection for the UK.”