Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, an unlikely Conservative Party rising star, has slammed the EU’s insistence their courts retain supremacy over British courts in some areas after Brexit as a form of “colonialism.”
The European Union (EU) has demanded the European Court of Human Rights (ECJ) oversees “directly enforceable vested rights” for EU nationals in the UK after it leaves the bloc.
Some have claimed this will create a two-tier legal system, with EU citizens entitled to more rights, and say it is almost unprecedented for a foreign court to hold such power over a sovereign nation in the modern era.
The Prime Minister has rejected the plan, whilst making offers to allow all of the three million EU migrants in the UK, as well as their families, to stay after Brexit.
Speaking in Parliament Monday, Mr. Rees-Mogg said he backed Theresa May’s approach, arguing: “No reasonable person could oppose what she has proposed. The only people who do never wanted us to leave in the first place.
“The idea that a foreign court should rule on the rights of people living here is akin to the outdated colonial approach taken towards China in the unequal treaties of the 19th century.”
Mrs. May welcomed his words, responding: “I always bow to my honorable friend’s historical knowledge and references that he makes.
“The point is a clear one, which is that what we want to see when we leave the European Union is that citizens here in the UK have their rights guaranteed by UK courts and enforced by UK courts.”
Mr. Rees-Mogg’s arguments echo those made by Professor Franklin Dehousse, an expert in EU law at the University of Liège, at the beginning of June.
He said Europeans living in the UK would be “a super-privileged caste” if the EU got its way, and described their plans as a form of “colonialism”.
According to the plans, Europeans would have the right to bring non-European family members to the UK, send welfare and pension benefits to family abroad, and retain full access to public services and employment on the same terms as Brits.
“This could create an incredible legal vipers’ nest,” the professor wrote in a paper for the Belgian Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations.
“It is hard to justify that EU migrants, through the maintaining of many European regulations, will become some sort of a super-privileged caste in the future UK.”
Furthermore, “the UK would… become the only [non-EU] state submitted to the full and direct jurisdiction of the ECJ,” he wrote.
The extent to which the EU is pushing for European nationals to have superior rights to Brits was made apparent in an EU legal opinion issued in June, as reported by The Times.
It said an Algerian illegal had the right to live in the UK with his wife, who has Spanish and British nationality, without proving her income. Currently, a Briton wanting to do the same and bring a non-EU spouse into the UK needs to prove they have an income of at lead £18,600.