Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Britain & Europe

EU: UK Membership - Wriiten Question

Lord Stoddart of Swindon -

"To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take to honour the pledges made by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary that "Britain will be in Europe but not run by Europe".

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): This Government intend to play an active and activist role in the EU to ensure its success. We will champion vigorously the interests of the UK in the EU and work together to further our shared agenda. There are things that the EU can do better and we are confident in the UK's ability to drive forward change and move the EU in the right direction.

The Government have agreed that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from the UK to the EU over the course of this Parliament. The Government will also introduce a Bill in the autumn that aims to increase democratic and parliamentary control, scrutiny and accountability over EU decision-making. We are clear in our objective to restore democratic accountability of the EU and ensure that the British public are engaged and active participants in the UK's future within Europe.

The Bill will introduce a referendum lock so that any proposed future treaty that transferred competence or power from the UK to the EU would be subject to a referendum. This will also include any ratchet clause that would amount to a transfer of power or competence from the UK to the EU.

The Bill includes a sovereignty clause as set out in my Statement of 6 October 2010.