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Friday, April 18, 2014

Lord Jay on Maastricht and unconstitutional change

... the doctrine that the Crown—that is, the Government—is entitled to make treaties without parliamentary approval becomes untenable when a treaty alters in a major way the whole constitution of the United Kingdom. On that doctrine, the Government can make a treaty with anyone from China to Peru, abolishing the wish of Parliament, and then inform Parliament that it had no right whatever to intervene. That is surely absurd.
[...] in my view the whole deplorable muddle over the treaty and what it does or does not mean overwhelmingly supports the case for a full and fair referendum, to enable the electorate to make up its mind. The treaty, after all —and there is no dispute about this—proposes revolutionary changes in the constitution of the UK and a major surrender of power over the economy, as has just been said, over foreign affairs, security and defence and on the legislation about citizenship.

17 February 1993


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