Cox says 'no further' to the current terms of British membership of the EU
Conservative PPC Geoffrey Cox has written to the Western Morning News responding to a letter from a reader that he state the Conservative Party's intentions with regard to Britain's membership of the EU.
The letter is reproduced below:
Keith Woodward asks (26 October) that I flesh out Conservative policy toward the EU.
Conservative policy is to say “no” to a euro-constitution and “no” to the euro. We cannot subscribe to an EU federal state.
We shall begin to renegotiate our relationship with the EU. This is a very precise commitment. It means, starting with CFP, that we shall unilaterally withdraw from the CFP if the members of the EU do not agree to restore national sovereignty over fishing policy and national waters. Mr. Woodward is right. That would indeed be a breach of the “acquis communautaire” and of EU law. We are prepared to break it. We will demonstrate that we are serious when we say that we can go no further down the road of integration and require a major revision of the treaties to circumscribe the mandatory powers of the EU to a limited number of defined competences which are not subject to extension by the European Court of Justice. Other members could pursue common policies if they wished. He is right again that this would be a fundamentally different Europe, much more like that we agreed to in 1975, with no pretensions to statehood.
A Conservative government elected on such a pledge will have nowhere to hide and nowhere to run if it fails to do what it had said that it would do. It will, ultimately, either have to admit failure and retreat, in which case many such as I could not support it and the electorate would be free to boot it out, or hold a general election on the issue of Britain’s membership. Since that precise and ineluctable consequence would not be lost on the other members of the EU, there is no need for counter-productive threats of withdrawal. They will understand that, under the unwritten British constitution, an elected government, frustrated in its mandate, would be obliged to put that question before the electorate if reasonable negotiation failed.
As a Conservative MP, I will hold a Conservative government to its clear pledges. The charge of imprecision advanced by Mr. Woodward is quite wrong. The implication of his letter is that support for UKIP is a logical response to the circumstances and in the national interest. It is neither. It is, I believe, the delusion of those who are, with fateful irony, determined to put their party before country, whatever the consequences.
I understand why many people could be disillusioned with party politics. But the only alternative to the Conservatives nationally is not UKIP but Tony Blair. Every vote for UKIP prolongs Blair in power and advances the day when the European constitution and currency and then regional governments are pushed through and the national cause is lost. Throughout the South West, the alternative is the Liberal Democrats, a party of committed euro-federalists who no longer even believe in the nation. Therefore, a vote for UKIP in the South West is not only illogical, it is to put a loaded weapon into the enemy’s hands.
And, Yes, Mr. Woodward, the Conservative commitment to Gibraltar is as solid as the Rock.
Geoffrey Cox QC
Conservative PPC for Torridge and West Devon
3rd November 2004