Shadow cast over Cameron’s plans to withdraw from social chapter

Ruth Lea and Lord Trimble talk to Left Foot Forward about David Cameron’s plans to withdraw from the socail chapter.

Ruth Lea, former Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, has cast doubt over David Cameron’s policy of renegotiating the social chapter. Answering a question by Left Foot Forward at Conservative party conference fringe event, Lea said:

“The Social chapter was a special protocol at the time of Maastricht but it was absorbed into the major treaties during Amsterdam. The social chapter is therefore no more.”

Left Foot Forward reported earlier today on the difficulties of withdrawing from the social chapter and the potential worker rights that would be put at risk. Cameron’s plans to opt out of the social chapter were reported in today’s Guardian.

During her prepared remarks at the TaxPayers’ Alliance event entitled “Europe: the ticking time bomb,” Ms Lea said, “At some point we will have to renegotiate our relationship with the EU and end up with something close to the Swiss arrangement which is actually based on trade.”

Sharing the podium, Lord David Trimble said:

“We could say to the European leadership we want a treaty making the EU more democratic. If we don’t get it, we will have a referendum on in or out.”

Dr Lee Rotherham of the TaxPayers’ Alliance set out what he saw as the options for an incoming government:

“It could and should cut the green wire and do a thorough study of the costs and benefits of EU membership. It could then cut the blue wire and renegotiate the social charter & fisheries. The fall back option is to snip the red wire and yank the damned thing out. Withdrawal is not a dirty word, just ask the Vatican.”

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