Sir Bill Cash is Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee and MP for Stone.
On 31 January, we launched the European Foundation pamphlet Brexit is getting doneCelebrating the third anniversary of our leaving the EU and the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Foundation, of which Margaret Thatcher was patron.
All of the booklets and original analyzes we’ve produced—eg, the January 2001 edition of European JournalWarning about the dangers of European dependence on Russian power – available on our website.
Past directors include Alistair Heath, its editor Sunday Telegraph, Dr. Radomir Tylecott, and Dr. Jim McConalogue, director of Civitas. Matthew Elliott and William Sitwell of the Taxpayers Alliance were also on the team.
I founded the European Foundation in 1993 as part of the Maastricht uprising. With the help of brilliant volunteers including Daniel Hannan and Conor Barnes, we tabled hundreds of amendments in the Commons, providing briefings to European governments and MPs on the fight against the deal. This continued throughout the controversies of the Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.
Lord McAlpine lent us his house in Great College Street as Margaret Thatcher left, and as it became the epicenter of the rebellion there was a constant stream of ambassadors, journalists and other visitors, much to John Major’s displeasure.
We had seminars and parties with huge so-called Maastricht pies made by a butcher in my constituency. All this was constantly reported with an article called “House of Horror” by the great College Street Major!
We launched a national petition for the Maastricht Referendum campaign, with advertisements in national newspapers and donations. the sun, including a petition that the public can sign. It is then delivered to the Commons.
The aim was to protect UK sovereignty. Sovereignty is the right of a nation to govern itself through its own laws made by its own democratically elected representatives. It was abandoned when we joined the European Community.
Despite Northern Ireland’s central role in the ongoing row, many still do not understand the undemocratic nature of the EU law-making process. EU laws are passed behind closed doors by a majority vote of the Council of Ministers without a copy.
Before the European Communities Act 1972, passed by a handful of votes, the White Paper was “guaranteed” to maintain the veto “in our vital national interest”. However, we have never had an EU law rejected by our Parliament while we were members; A graphic example is that all 43 port employers, trade unions and the government strongly opposed the Ports Regulation, to no avail.
Remainers embedded in the civil service, the diplomatic service, the Lords, the BBC and other parts of the media must know that we have entered the community on false premises.
Sir Con O’Neill’s report to the then Foreign Secretary on the outcome of the negotiations in 1972 is recorded in the Kew archive. He said the discussions were “peripheral, accidental and secondary… what’s important is getting into the community… we have to get in”.
On whether we got a good deal, he said “I’m quite complacent on the whole”, admitting later that he failed to grasp the basic “political objectives in mind”, adding: “I’m sorry to say we probably thought that too. It was not fundamentally important.”
This is the status quo the Remainers are now defending, denying the results of the referendum and the 2019 elections.
The British people will never again be under the rule of 27 EU countries. Indeed, there are now growing demands for greater national autonomy from member states such as Italy and Poland.
The European Foundation has established its reputation for strengthening this; Thatcher emphasized that our work “researching and publishing information about European affairs is vital to both the Conservative Party and the country”.
We compiled a series of referendum bills and gradually persuaded MPs to put this choice to the electorate through a sovereign act of Parliament. This was necessary to bypass collusion between the government and the opposition front bench to stay in Europe at any cost.
The Maastricht uprising inspired the Spartans, who defeated Theresa May’s Third Withdrawal Agreement and forced her to resign. Boris Johnson won a huge majority by promising to deliver the referendum result.
Unfinished business remains. Both Johnson and Rishi Sunak claim credit for the passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and the retained EU law bill in the Commons without amendment. But these bills, now in the Lords, were attacked by the Remainers; It is essential to use Acts of Parliament to override Lords amendments.
We now control our own law books and our democracy. Get security bills online. If we hadn’t left the EU, we would have had to accept their Digital Services Act, which is totally inadequate.
Miriam Cates and I tabled an amendment to the Online Safety Bill, which the Government accepted in principle. This will provide important protections for our children from online harm, after all, prison terms for technology bosses who knowingly violate the new law. MPs could not do this with European law.
Our vaccine rollout was world-leading, and saved many lives, but was only delivered because we were not subject to EU law. Brussels has even passed a regulation to ban the release of this vaccine.
A House of Lords committee recently admitted that, contrary to the lies of the Remain campaign, “London retains its position as the second largest (or most important) financial center in the world and the most important in Europe”.
The European Foundation will continue to make clear that the rising cost of living is not the fault of the government or Brexit, but external global factors, such as the pandemic and Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
Yet the fact that the Conservative Party has passed important legislation, and made real progress in achieving Brexit, is because of its huge parliamentary majority. Without it, little can be achieved – and much can still be undone.
A party like Sanskar will not win any seats in the next elections. What they will do is split the Conservative Party – and thus Brexit – vote and put Labor in office.