Thursday, December 14, 2006


An occasional Euro-briefing from Daniel Hannan

Vote for an independent Britain!

The Today programme on radio 4 is running a listeners poll to find the most unpopular law in Britain. The Christmas Repeal invites you to nominate the piece of legislation you would most like to see scrapped. You can vote online at

This is a huge step forward from two years ago, when Radio 4 wanted us to squeeze yet another law onto our already crammed statute book (in the event, listeners plumped for a Bill to allow householders to shoot intruders, but the Labour MP who had promised to propose the winning entry in Parliament backed out).

There are, of course, many otiose statutes: The Football Supporters Act, the Firearms Act, the Human Rights Act, the Hunting With Dogs Act and a goodly chunk of the illiberal legislation that has been brought in over the past five years under the guise of anti-terrorism legislation.

But there is surely one outstanding candidate for repeal: the 1972 European Communities Act. This is the piece of legislation that gives EU decisions automatic primacy over British Acts of Parliament. When it was passed, most people assumed that this precedence would be confined to cross-border questions, such as trade, competition and pollution. Thirty-four years on, we know better. Brussels is now the primary source of legislation in the United Kingdom, accounting for 80 per cent of our laws. This astonishing statistic, as regular readers of this bulletin will know, comes from the German Government; our own refuses to name a figure, claiming that it is too expensive to compile the data.

What is the point of voting when four out of every five legal acts in Britain are proposed, not just by people that we didn't vote for, but by unelected EU officials whom nobody voted for?

Scrap the 1972 European Communities Act, and we will automatically restore the supremacy our elected representatives. From that moment, EU directives and regulations would have force in this country only following a specific decision by Parliament to enact them; otherwise they would be treated as advisory.

I shall appear on the Today Programme on Thursday morning to argue the case for repealing the 1972 European Communities Act. If you share my belief in an independent, democratic Britain, please add your vote on the Today programme website. The address again:

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