On the 19th of July 2011 Royal Assent was given to form the European Union Act of 2011. This act would force a UK and Gibraltar wide referendum, if proposed amendments to EU treaties passed more powers over to the European Union. But we're meant to be leaving the EU, so why do I mention it?
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The European Union Act of 2011 was put in place to allay fears that EU treaties could be amended or replaced in such a way that gave more power over to the EU without the proper permission of the people of the UK.
The basic principle was that any new EU treaty or amendment to an EU treaty that conferred more power, more competencies or extended the objectives of the EU could not be put in place until a UK and Gibraltar wide referendum was held, where the people agreed on a majority basis to ratify them.
This would therefore not have been an advisory referendum, as it says quite clearly in the original text that the majority of voters must have to be in favour of it before it being formally approved.
But the majority of this act was repealed by the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. All the protections against further encroaching power grabs by the EU were removed.
Ah, you say! But we're leaving the EU, so what does that matter?
My answer would be, isn't it funny how the legislation that covers holding EU elections was only partly repealed or tinkered with by the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, but the substantial part of that remained, which allowed us to hold the recent election. If we were meant to be leaving then why wasn't the law that governed holding EU elections also repealed?
And you do have to ask yourself, why would this be the case?
One of the arguments was, that this 2011 act might have prevented us voting to allow the EU to become more federal while we were leaving. So we needed the ability to vote with the EU27 on these matters out of courtesy.
But I also suspect that this act would have got in the way of Theresa May getting her Withdrawal Agreement through, as both true Brexiteer MPs and Remainer MPs would, for diametrically opposing reasons, have forced a referendum on its surrender clauses.
The problem for the UK now, is that we are embroiled in another EU parliamentary term and if, for whatever reason, this current in my opinion already unlawful extension is unlawfully extended again, then who knows what changes could be coming down the pipeline from the EU.
And without the protection of the 2011 European Union Act, then our parliament could agree to something that ties us in closer to the EU, without the say so of the people of the UK.
Now, I know this is not that likely and may actually only be a remote possibility. But do you now trust any of them?
And if you look at the latest Article 50 extension decision, you will see that it says quite clearly in paragraph ten:
"This further extension cannot be allowed to undermine the regular functioning of the Union and its institutions."
And secondly that:
"…the United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and shall refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives, in particular when participating in the decision-making processes of the Union."
That says to me we're being told to be less than full members and for our MEPs and ministers sat on the EU Council to vote with what the EU27 wants, even if we would normally vote against it. Has anyone told our Brexit Party MEPs this?
Finally, I just want to draw your attention to an anomaly in that latest EU decision on extending Article 50.
Although it also says in paragraph ten that "…the United Kingdom has a right to revoke its notification at any time", it also states in paragraph twelve "Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act by the United Kingdom should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement, and must not hamper its implementation."
But surely revoking the Article 50 letter would be a unilateral act by the UK that would definitely hamper the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement?
It does also state quite clearly in paragraph twelve that "This extension excludes any re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement."
So, those Tory leadership hopefuls who are promising to open the Withdrawal Agreement are leading their own MPs up the garden path!