Yesterday evening saw the culmination of a weekend of Europhobic talk from the Tory Party. Theresa May informed the House of Commons of the government’s intention to opt out of all judicial and police measures as set out by the Lisbon Treaty. The government then plans to select what clauses to sign up to.
In the House shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the government of blindly charging ahead with abandoning these measures without properly identifying which clauses to sign back up to. And stuck in the middle, the BBC reports the Lib Dems are expected to push for the re-adoption of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
The EAW is a keystone in the 130 pre-Lisbon Treaty measures , a piece of legislation that more than 100 Tory MP’s lobbied David Cameron to abandon.
In yesterday’s Guardian Denis MacShane heavily criticised the plan to leave the EAW. He argued that without the legislation the terrorist Hussain Osmain (who had planned on setting off a bomb in Shepherds Bush tube station in 2005) would have been protected in Rome by lawyers and would not have been extradited to the UK and imprisoned. MacShane also asserts the UK would be left with stunted influence as it would be forced to resign from Europol and Eurojust.
The groundwork for yesterday’s statement was laid over the weekend by Michael Gove. The Mail on Sunday wrote of how Gove wanted a reform-or-out ultimatum on UK membership of the EU, with him strongly favouring the latter. According to Gove’s friends (the Mail’s source) he wanted to “claw back” sovereignty from the EU.
In the age old Tory Party battle over Europe the sceptics have made a major leap forward. Although there has been no outburst from Lib Dem MPs yet, Lord Oakeshott reports anger within the European parliamentary contingent, describing the Tory position as “short sighted and stupid”.
The Tories have abandoned the “common ground” and reverted to their most archetypal of roles, euro-bashing, in order to fight off the perceived threat of UKIP.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.