Britain will opt out of 130 EU justice deals
HOME Secretary Theresa May yesterday announced that the government will opt out of 130 European Union justice and policing agreements, a day after a senior member of the Cabinet suggested the UK should consider going alone.
Education Secretary Michael Gove, one of the favourites to become Tory leader, said there needed to be a referendum if the EU did not agree to handing back powers. And yesterday London mayor Boris Johnson, who could be Mr Gove’s main leadership rival, demanded a change in government “nonsensical” policy over supporting integration of the eurozone.
Mr Johnson said: “Government support for greater fiscal union wouldn’t just be misguided, it would be wrong.”
With Tory eurosceptics on the back benches increasingly demanding a referendum, Ms May was cheered when she announced the government was opting out of the measures.
The Home Secretary said the UK government would now negotiate taking on the elements that were in the national interest, while completely discarding others.
Ms May said: “The government is clear that we do not need to remain bound by all of the pre-Lisbon measures.
“Operation shows that some pre-Lisbon measures are useful, some less so and some are now entirely defunct.”
The decision, which must be confirmed by 31 May, 2014, will be subject to votes in both Houses of Parliament – and Ms May urged Westminster’s justice and European select committees to examine the planned opt-out.
The Home Secretary said a clearer timetable would be published in the new year.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the coalition position as “chaotic”, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying the government was only “minded to do so”, but Ms May had said she was setting out the “current thinking”.
Ms Cooper said the confusion followed conflicting messages over an in-or-out referendum on Europe.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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