Tuesday, 19 January 2010
The House has been debating Conservative amendments to the Constitutional Reform Bill which is now in Committee Stage. When I say 'the House' I mean a draggle of thugs on the Labour benches (including the mouthy Denis MacShane) - maybe six or eight plus Chris Bryant, Min for Europe, on the frontbench plus fewer than that for the LibDems and rather more for the Conservatives. You might have reasonably expected more to turn out to listen to the debates given that the amendments are a belated effort to curb the power of the European Union. Many more are, of course, sitting out in the subsidised bars, cafes and restaurants of the House.
At the moment they're voting on an amendment which would require a referendum on further treaties transferring powers from Parliament to the EU. There's little chance of it being passed - the last vote on ensuring any further transfer be debated and passed by both Houses failed by 45 votes - but Mark Francois, Shadow Minister for Europe has said that should this amendment fail, it will form part of the Conservative Party's manifesto. There were great cheers from the Conservative benches. I suspect they've got a vote-winner with this one.
The nitty-gritty of any such referenda still has to be worked out and it's going to be much harder than the Cons are letting on given the self-ratcheting nature of Lisbon, the full effects of which we still haven't seen. But we will - this year is the year of confrontation as more people realise exactly what the European Union is and how this country has been sold out. 84% of our laws are now handed down from a committee of 27 unelected eurograndees in Brussels who have no interest in our national wellbeing.
Noes: 383 - majority: 120
PS: The LibDems were pasted by the Cons as was Chris Bryant who was dismissive, rude (he was asked to withdraw a remark) and shouty.