LME has written to David Cameron with a series of questions about his baffling attitude to Europe. Here is a copy of the letter, which we have also released to the media.
Dear Mr Cameron,
We are writing to you today to try and clarify your position on the EU. We have been confused by your recent statements on Europe and so we have an number of questions we hope you can answer.
1. Opting out of the Charter of Rights
Why opt out of a Charter of Rights that simply ensures that the EU has to respect fundamental rights and that any EU legislation that fails to do so, can be struck down by the courts? It is a safeguard, not a threat!
2. Giving UK law primacy over EU law
What is the point of agreeing common rules at EU level if each country is then free to break its agreements and override them by new national laws? Britain won its court case against France when they continued to ban British beef after it was declared safe, precisely because countries must live up to what they have agreed to. If French law had primacy over EU law, they would still be banning our beef!
3. Opting out of the Social Chapter of the Treaty
Having common rules for the common market on some aspects of social legislation ensures a level playing field, a single set of rules for companies to follow instead of the costly confusion of 27 sets of rules in a single market, and gives all workers, including British workers, basic rights and protections. Why should British workers be denied the rights enjoyed by their counterparts across Europe? What is so wrong with this legislation, that is accepted by every other government, including conservative governments, in Europe? You have mentioned the Working Time Directive – legislation that was NOT adopted under the Social Chapter (it is health & safety legislation) and was approved by the Council of Ministers under the last Conservative government with Britain abstaining. Didn’t you know this?
4. Opting out of co-operation on Criminal Justice
Are you aware that Britain already has, under Lisbon, the right to opt-in or opt-out of legislation in this field? Not that we should – criminal gangs operate across borders and we need to co-operate with our neighbouring countries in fighting them – but we can already choose which measures to sign up to.
And how do you respond to the comments of Pierre Lellouche, the French Europe Minister, who describes your plans as “pathetic” and says that your plans to try and renegotiate long-standing agreements will not work, as EU members want to concentrate on tackling big issues such as climate change, trade and security, rather than reopen discussions on things agreed by all countries?
We hope that you can answer our questions because there is a lack of clarity in your supposed pledges that indicate they have not been thought through and are intended simply to placate, for the time being, the extreme eurosceptic element in your party.
We look forward to hearing from you.
We’ll keep you posted here on any response we might receive.