Monday, October 22, 2007

Er, Hello?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote to David Cameron with the following enquiry:

Dear Mr Cameron,

May I first say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Secondly, I have a question for you. In your speech to conference in Blackpool this year, you said:

'But it wasn't just that, it was the cynicism of it. He told us things that he know he can't do: 'British jobs for British workers' is illegal under EU law. 'Deporting people for gun and knife crime', you can't do that because of the Human Rights Act. I
have to say to our prime minister: 'If you treat people like fools you don't deserve to run the country let alone win an election'. '

and later on you said:

'And we heard from Alan Duncan how we will introduce regulatory budgets to cut that regulation and I can tell you that we will get out of the European Social Chapter so we can make those rules in Britain rather than in Brussels.'

However, as I am sure you are aware, in a written question asking how a country would withdraw from the Social Chapter, Mr Barosso replied,

'The Commission assumes that when the honourable member refers to the Social Chapter in the Treaties, he is referring to the social provisions contained in Articles 136 to 145 of the EC Treaty. These provisions are part of the whole Treaty and cannot be isolated. All member states are bound by the Treaties they have signed and ratified and which have entered into force, including the social provisions they contain. Consequently, a withdrawal from these provisions by a Member State would require an amendment of the EU Treaty in accordance with Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union.' From President of the European Commission

Article 48 states that:

'The government of any Member State of the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties on which the Union is founded.

If the Council, after consulting the European Parliament and, where appropriate, the Commission, delivers an opinion in favour of calling a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States, the conference shall be convened by the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to be made to those Treaties...

The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.'

So what I would like to know is how come you attacked Gordon Brown on telling us huge porkies about deporting criminals and then weren't so honest yourself about the social chapter? I have seen Mr Redwood's proposals on amending the 1972 ECA and various QC's specialising in EU law did agree with me in saying that his proposals would land the UK in the ECJ, so that's not really an option.

How are you proposing to get 26 other countries to alter a treaty?

I look forward to hearing from you and remain,

Yours sincerely,


Today, I received an answer from his secretary Alice Sheffield, which has confused me somewhat and I need your help on it:
Dear Trixy,

Many thanks for your email to David Cameron regarding our proposals to develop a home grown Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act - I'm replying on his behalf.

While we recognise that such a project will not be easy, we believe that it offers an opportunity to protect important civil liberties such as the right to jury trial and our national tradition of freedom of speech and parliamentary democracy, whilst at the same time allowing more precise drafting so as to ensure that the rights conferred by the European Convention of Human Rights are applied in a manner that is less open to criticism.

Applications of the rights under the Convention in cases such as that of the Afghan hijackers and instances of the inability to deport criminals when there appears to be little or no grounds for believing that they will be at any substantial risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment are clearly unsatisfactory.

This is the start of a process in which we intend to carry out widespread consultation. We intend by encouraging debate in this important area to build a broad consensus of how best to protect civil liberties and human rights in Britain whilst balancing these rights with the responsibilities that each owes to others in our country.

It is our intention that the Bill of Rights will be compatible with our international obligations under the European Convention but will give British citizens a real sense of ownership of a document that reflects our core values as a nation.

I have attached an article written by David Davis MP, which explains our approach in greater detail.

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to write.

Yours sincerely,

Is it me, or did she just completely ignore my letter and write back to me about something completely different? I didn't ask about the Bill of Rights or the ECHR. I asked about an EU Treaty which Mr Cameron has said he will withdraw from elements off without saying how - apart from some shite by Mr Redwood which would land the country in the ECJ.



View from the Solent said...

Just play dumb.
Dear Alice, thank you for your letter, but there appears to have been an error in your records. You have sent me a reply to someone else’s question, not mine (copy attached). Perhaps they received my answer and are equally confused. Never mind, mistakes happen. I look forward to receiving an answer to my question.
Yours etc.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I was going to say something really witty, but VFTS' comment is much better. Go with that.