The Lib-Lab pact to silence the British people is a disgrace, says Conservative leader, the day after the Government realised independent British foreign policy is under threat

Brussels 13th September — The Conservative Deputy Leader in the European Parliament, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, says that the Ming Campbell-Gordon Brown Lib-Lab pact on the Reform Treaty means that Labour and the LibDems are deaf to the truth that the EU Reform Treaty is a con on the British people. Only yesterday British officials held emergency talks in Brussels yesterday trying to strengthen the so-called ‘red lines’ meant to deny the right for European judges to challenge foreign policy.

Sir Robert said after the EU summit in June: “There is something not quite right about the draft reform treaty and the people know it. Labour maintains that it bears little resemblance to the Constitutional Treaty that preceded it. Yet, Heads of Government throughout Europe have contradicted this assessment.

In the Conservatives’ ‘Simplifying Treaty’ (below) which sets out a five point new direction for the EU in the form of a Treaty Sir Robert says that there is a positive alternative to the pseudo-constitution which it is now clear cannot protect the so-called ‘red lines’ Tony Blair negotiated in June.

Sir Robert said: “The 2005 Labour Manifesto promised a vote on the Constitution. The EU Reform Treaty is the constitution that dare not speak its name. It is a con on the British people for Gordon Brown to say he wants to listen when he is deaf to what political leaders are saying and deaf to the TUC and 120 of his own MPs.

“It is fundamentally wrong-headed to insist that the proposed new Reform Treaty (which amounts to a revival of the Constitution in all but name) is the only way forward for the European Union.

“The Reform Treaty sets out to move Europe in the wrong direction, towards ever more centralisation, while failing to address the real challenges facing Europe.

“The Simplifying Treaty provides a five point positive alternative. It is a route map for the people who want to be in Europe but not run by Europe.

“It shows there is another way for the British people.

Notes to editors:

The Simplifying Treaty’s Five Points

• Rejecting the Constitution and further integration

The Simplifying Treaty demonstrates that there is a positive and constructive alternative to the integrationist model set out in the new draft Reform Treaty. It also shows that there needs to be a rebalancing of the institutions and decision-making in Europe - in favour of elected politicians at Westminster and in the European Parliament. The text does not determine the detail of Party policy, but it is hewn from the underlying instincts of Conservatives that we want to be in Europe, not run by Europe.

• Improving democracy and accountability in the EU

The Simplifying Treaty seeks to stimulate debate about the kind of Europe we in Britain want to see. It is about emphasising a ‘lighter touch’ Europe that is more accountable, transparent and closer to the electorates in the Member States. It re-emphasises the role of nation states by introducing a number of mechanisms to strengthen the role of national parliaments in scrutinising and, if necessary, blocking European proposals.

• Tackling today’s challenges

The Simplifying Treaty contains provision for concerted EU action in pursuit of economic reform, climate change alleviation, global trade, and development, while adding mechanisms to improving the quality of regulation and functioning of EU policies in these areas – for example creating joint committees of MPs and MEPs to oversee the transposition of EU legislation into national law and combat over-regulation.

• Reforming out-of-date policies

The Simplifying Treaty removes from EU competence policies that have manifestly failed and recasts others as shared competences. This would pave the way for a fundamental overhaul of EU policies on Fisheries, Agriculture, Employment and Social Affairs, among others. The Treaty also allows greater flexibility by giving groups of Member States the option of pursuing further integration in specific areas if they wish to do so, while guaranteeing that those who do not participate retain the absolute right to continue to pursue national decision-making in these areas.

• Enabling further enlargement

The Simplifying Treaty’s structure is one that could be signed up to by any number of Member States in future so there would be no legal or institutional barriers to enlargement.

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