Friday, November 17, 2006

Disgraced MP and EU Fiasco.

I do love checking BBC News of a morning. Especially on day's like today. Tom Watson managed to beat me to commenting on the sad passing of a legendary footballer, although I may leave comment on his site later. Tom must have been in a rush when news-checking though, since he missed two interesting bits of gossip/information.

First,John Gray MP seems to be in a bit of a mess. He's blaming his imminent deselection as Conservative candidate on the fact that he is currently going through a divorce, something which he feels should not reflect upon his abilities as an MP. However, he conveniently neglects to mention that the instigation of the divorce was the affair he had while his wife was receiving treatment for cancer. It seems that poor Mr. Gray is not the exemplar of Opus Dave's compassionate Conservatism. Or maybe its just that even Tories find that some things are just plain bad taste, and that a guy who could cheat on his cancer-stricken wife is not the kind of guy you can trust to represent you in parliament. Either way, he's "hopeful" of winning the postal ballot of local Tories.

Just as hopeful as MPs are about the idea that we constitutionally have parliamentary sovereignty. MPs seem to think that if our veto powers on EU crime laws are removed, this would be lost. But, legally and constitutionally speaking, it has already been sequestered. One need only look so far as the Human Rights Act (2000) for evidence of this. I'm fully expecting some posts disagreeing with this point, so let me clarify. What I'm trying to say is that we don't have de jure parliamentary sovereignty anymore; it is this that our involvement in the EU has removed. I am not going to offer a value judgement upon this state of affairs (at least not for the time being, anyway). That said, I think that a case could be made for saying that we have had de facto sovereignty (although I know an Oxford Professor of Government who would utterly disagree with even this, more restricted opinion). I'm going to post more on this later, but I think we do need to consider whether removing the veto on crime legislation would alter de facto sovereignty (if, that is, we accept that we still possess it) and not get into debates about de jure sovereignty which has already been affected.


Anonymous AH said...

This can't affect parliamentary sovereignty, which we don't have either de jure or de facto as *parliament* isn't involved in making EU laws, regardless of whether the *government* has a veto or not. It might be seen as affecting 'national sovereignty' though.

11/17/2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger Scrybe said...

I'm not sure I follow what you're saying - surely the laws made by the current parliament are indeed sovereign (its not like the EU is the sole legislative body responsible for British law) unless it contravenes EU legislation. At the moment, parliament arguably is sovereign with respect to crime legislation, whereas removing the veto power would sequester such sovereignty.

I think I'd understand your point better if you mentioned when parliamentary sovereignty at a de facto level was lost - e.g. with the introduction of the HR Act - since provided legislation complies with the HR Act, parliament does have sovereignty, and it is possible for Britain to seced from the EU should it want full de jure sovereignty again.

I'm also not sure what you mean by 'national sovereignty' in terms of how this might be affected by the proposed EU veto-loss in ways it is not already affected by EU involvement.

Still, glad you figured out how to post - do keep posting, cos I aint spoke to you in yonks.


11/19/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous ah said...

My point is that if the EU is already making laws in the crime area then parliament cannot be sovereign in this area at the moment because EU law is supreme. This is so regardless of whether the British government has a veto in the process of EU legislation.

However, the loss of the British government's veto means that laws on crime could be passed without the consent of *either* the British parliament or government. That could be considered a diminution of national sovereignty.

11/20/2006 3:21 PM  

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