Labour MEP accused of rank hypocrisy over NHS by Jonathan Arnott MEP

Labour MEP for the North East, Jude Kirton Darling, has been accused of rank hypocrisy by the region’s UKIP MEP, Jonathan Arnott, following claims made by the politician which stated how the proposed EU-US (TTIP) trade deal could lead the NHS open to privatisation.

Arnott said “The proposed TTIP deal is certainly dangerous, not just because of the impact on the NHS, but also because of the potential for national governments to be sued by big business.

“For years we have seen privatisation creep through the back door of our health service which has had a devastating effect in many of our hospitals. Staff have been put under increasing amounts of pressure, services have been left stretched, and across the country NHS trusts have plunged into the red.

“Of course it’s great to see Jude Kirton Darling now recognises the problems with TTIP, but doesn’t she think it’s a tad hypocritical for her to moan about stealth privatisation of the NHS, when it’s her party that part privatised the NHS with PFI contracts?

A report published by the British Medical Journal highlights of the 135 new NHS hospitals constructed between 1997 and 2009, 101 were financed through PFI, accounting for about 90% of the £12.2bn committed to building programmes.

Arnott added “Labour’s record on the NHS has been abysmal. It’s high time we took managers out the back offices, put more nurses and doctors on the frontline, and stopped taking out wasteful PFI contracts which will tie a noose around the neck of our health service for years to come”.

For more information please contact Sam Launder (Press Officer for Jonathan Arnott MEP) on: 07446065371

If UKIP Wins a Westminster Seat Next Month, Nigel Farage Cannot Be Excluded From TV Debates at the General Election?

Barring any massive shift in public opinion, UKIP will gain its first elected MP in just a few weeks time on 9 October. Parliamentary by-elections may normally be of interest only to political anoraks, but this one could have a profound and lasting impact on the UK.

Douglas Carswell did the honourable thing by ‘resigning’ his seat and forcing a by-election (MPs can’t legally resign of course, so the arcane method of forcing a by-election is for him to become the Steward of the Manor of Northstead which disqualifies him temporarily from being an MP). He was elected as a Conservative, so when he changed parties to UKIP it’s commendable and utterly democratic that he chose to ask the electorate whether they still want him as a UKIP MP.

UKIP members are still in shock from the two opinion polls conducted in Clacton. They show UKIP on an astronomical 56% and 64% of the vote (the 56% poll being conducted by the Conservative Lord Ashcroft). Carswell is certainly opposed to British membership of the European Union, but I think his decision to join UKIP is about more than that.

The Coalition Agreement in 2010 included many reforms to make the system more democratic, including giving voters the right to ‘recall’ corrupt MPs and vote them out of office immediately. Douglas Carswell is a huge supporter of this, and of increased democracy in general. Almost all of the Coalition measures have not happened. Lip-service has been paid to democracy but when it came down to it, other things were considered more important.

By the terms of that agreement, UKIP should have had 20+ new members of the House of Lords and even the Green Party should have had a dozen or so. The Greens have had 1; UKIP 0.

If Carswell is reelected next month, we can definitively say that we have a four-party system in the UK. At every level other than General Elections, UKIP has been in third place or better:

1. UKIP took far more votes than the Liberal Democrats at the 2012 and 2013 Council elections.

2. UKIP has finished second at a string of Parliamentary by-elections; the Lib Dems have lost many deposits and in one case dropped to eighth place.

3. Opinion polls vary according to methodology, but 24 of the last 25 polls conducted by all companies put UKIP ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

4. UKIP won May’s European elections, taking 24 MEPs. This is the first time in a century that a Party other than Labour or Conservatives have won a national election, and the Liberal Democrats finished in 5th place with just one seat.

One argument remains against UKIP being considered a major Party: UKIP has never actually won a Westminster seat. Indeed, a friend of mine who’s a Conservative supporter was pointing this out to me very strongly just 48 hours before Carswell came across to UKIP.

If UKIP wins a Westminster seat next month, on what basis can Nigel Farage really be excluded from any televised leaders’ debates at the General Election? Is it possible that OfCom could refuse to classify UKIP as a major party in 2015 – again, on what basis could it do so?

UKIP should go on to win seats in May – Thanet South, Thurrock and Clacton should return UKIP MPs, with many more UKIP targets. The by-election in Clacton isn’t just a by-election. It’s a question – do people want to stick to the old three-party system or is there room for a new player at Westminster?

 

Lightning always strikes twice in the European Parliament

Lightning can indeed strike twice. Only last week, democracy was subverted by the European Parliament stitching up the vice-presidents to break the mould of the usual system. This week, they apply similar undemocratic tactics to the composition of Committees.

In the European Parliament, the chairmanship (and vice-chairmanships) of a committee is allocated by strict formulas. The bigger groups receive the chair of more committees than the smaller groups. This is then rubber-stamped by a vote within the committees themselves. In this case, the EFDD Group (which contains pro-democracy members from Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Lithuania, Sweden and Latvia alongside our own Ukip delegation) was due to receive the Chair of the Petitions Committee.

I’ve been assigned to the Budget and Budgetary Control committees. So, I got yet another up close and personal example of how neatly anyone who dares to express views other than extreme europhilia is suppressed in this place. We had an Italian candidate for the fourth vice-president of the Budget Committee, who I duly proposed. The other political groups immediately outvoted him, despite the earlier agreement. It’s not because of Ukip either – elsewhere in the committees, the same happens to the German AfD Party – which isn’t in our group.

Eleonora Evi of the Italian Five Star Movement was due to be appointed as the chair of the Petitions Committee this afternoon. If any party has the right credentials to govern a Petitions Committee, it is the Italian Five Star Movement. They support direct democracy and standing up for the wishes of citizens. They want the public to participate in politics through online referenda.

Could it be, that the European Parliament would soon have a voice for democracy chairing the committee that deals with citizens’ petitions? What an incredible opportunity for the European Parliament to offer even one small concession to democracy!

Instead, the Liberal Democrat group saw a chance to power-grab. Ignoring the results of the elections, they repeated their ruse from the previous week and broke the agreement which had been carefully negotiated between every group in the European Parliament. They attempted to persuade the Petitions Committee to overturn the agreement, and the establishment groups didn’t just turn their backs. They supported this subversion of the process and democracy was defeated once again.

In the European Parliament as in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have proven themselves to be neither liberal nor democratic.

I came to this place already opposed to the European Union. But if I’d been a waverer, the utter hypocrisy of the last week would have persuaded me of one thing: it is beyond hope, beyond even the possibility of reform.

 

Stitch-ups, backstabbing and voters ignored: 24 hours in the European Parliament

When I arrived in the European Parliament, I fully expected that there would be stitch-ups, slanderous accusations, voters’ wishes ignored by the establishment and backstabbing from the political groups. At the time of writing, I have officially been an MEP for just over 24 hours – what has shocked me is that I have witnessed all of these happen already.

On Monday, the EU colours were paraded in military fashion and then on Tuesday the EU ‘national anthem’ was played to open the session, with pomp and ceremony to instill some kind of faux-European nationalism. Even pro-Europeans in Britain would have been shocked by what is going on in Brussels. Today Van Rompuy described Europe as ‘our new country’. That’s what the euro-elite see the European Union as being – a country, and they are fiercely nationalist when defending that ‘country’. They call for more European military co-operation, moves towards a European army. Even many in the ALDE (Liberal Democrat) group have been strongly in favour of war in Syria and Iraq.

The idea of ‘reform’ or ‘change’ has had plenty of lip-service paid to it by European leaders, but it was business as usual as the session opened. Tens of millions of voters, and well over 50% of those who voted in the UK, voted against euro-federalism. Yet when we vote later in the month for the President of the European Commission, we will have only one option put before the European Parliament. We will be given one candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker, to choose from.

The outcome of the vote for the President was already known well in advance, despite the so-called secret ballot. The EPP’s European Commission candidate (Juncker) will be supported by the socialists, whilst the socialists’ choice for the President of the Parliament (Martin Schulz) has been supported by the EPP. Overall the President of the Parliament is said to take home a package £213,000 a year. Schulz, an MEP who argues frequently against the use of tax havens will receive over £120,000 of the income in special tax-free allowances.

I listened to the speeches from the various candidates. I couldn’t countenance voting for Schulz or Lunacek, but there were two others. The British MEP Sajjad Karim had come to speak to us and request our support, but he is pro-European Union (an ex-Lib Dem who defected to the Conservatives). His public speaking is impressive, but ultimately I couldn’t vote for someone who called eurosceptics the ‘anti-EU Taliban’ and ‘a fraud on the British people’. If you want my support, it’s probably not a good idea to refer to me in those terms.

I was left with the hard-left Iglesias Turrion, a Spanish candidate – the leader of ‘Podemos’, which means ‘We can’. It was either vote for him, or spoil my ballot paper like most of my UKIP colleagues. Good practice for my Spanish to listen to his impassioned speech in his native tongue, rather than rely upon the translators. He spoke of the problems with austerity impacting on the Southern European countries, and he seemed to be reasonably eurosceptic. I actually found myself agreeing with much of his speech, whilst disagreeing with the hard-left economic policies that he stands for.

In the end I spoilt my ballot. Turrion is a newly-elected MEP, and I know nothing about him other than what I heard from his speech. But more importantly, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that voting would lend legitimacy to the stitch-up that has just happened.

With such stitch-ups a regular occurrence, the election of the vice-Presidents was actually far more interesting and eye-opening. It’s not massively important, but each group should have at least one vice-President to have the inside knowledge on what is coming up. I wouldn’t even think it worth mentioning in an article were it not for what I learned about European politics. There are 14 vice-Presidents elected, so the smaller groups (which include every UK Party except Labour) must co-operate to avoid the big groups dominating those positions.

With this in mind the Conservatives’ group, the ECR, approached us to propose a deal. Smaller groups should, they suggested, support each other’s’ candidates. Whilst we don’t agree with them politically, it’s the only way to get fair representation from each group. Holding our noses, we agreed to the deal, hoping that it would lead to the election of an MEP from our allies in the EFDD group, Italy’s Five Star Movement, for one of the vice-President positions.

When I arrived in the Parliament chamber, I noticed Conservatives’ voting list casually lying around on their tables. It clearly missed off our Italian candidate. They had reneged on the deal, without even having the courtesy to tell us – assuming no doubt that we might never find out. I took a quick photo of their voting list, and showed it to the Italians. They’d been betrayed by the Conservatives. When we challenged the Conservatives about it behind the scenes, they told us ‘it’s a free vote’. Why, then, did they have a voting list instructing their members to break the deal? They must have realised how weak this excuse was because their explanation had changed in the afternoon. By then they were blaming the Italian MEPs in our group for not being certain enough that the entire Group would vote that way, despite us having agreed to do so at our meeting.

Yet again the UK Conservative MEPs have said one thing, but done another. They talk a good talk back home in a measly attempt to appease the ever-growing dissatisfaction of their grassroots members, but when faced with the opportunity to support even a moderate eurosceptic from Italy they refuse to do so. And so I’ve re-learned one very important lesson: the British Conservative Party cannot be trusted. Interestingly, at today’s debates very few Conservatives indeed bothered to turn up. Not one UKIP MEP was absent from the morning session, but most of the Conservative seats lay empty.

After Cameron’s cast-iron guarantee of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, false hopes of renegotiation and plans to stop the arch-federalist Juncker becoming Commission President, perhaps it would have been more surprising if they’d actually remained true to their word.

A day spent in the hemicycle today would have been enough to convince any waverer that Britain must leave the European Union. The chamber is so far divorced from the realities of everyday life, and so opposed to genuine reform, that there really is only one option.

My first article for the Huffington Post – UKIP: The Perception, and the Reality

Over many years, British politics has thrown up a number of anomalies. Perhaps that’s the nature of politics – a business in which perception can often seem more important than reality – but it can take generations before a sense of perspective is reached.

Let’s go back a few decades. The Labour Party was traditionally seen as the champion of the coal mines, and the Conservatives as the Party of Grammar Schools. Labour, it was said, care about the environment more than the Conservatives. The facts don’t always sit with our understanding of history:

  • Margaret Thatcher, as Education Secretary, closed more Grammar Schools than anyone else
  • More coal mines closed under Labour than under the Conservatives
  • Carbon emissions fell under the Conservatives from 1979 to 1997 (without trying)

The 2014 local and European election campaigns threw up some similar anomalies about UKIP. In this article I’m going to take five of the main ones, and compare the public perception with the facts.

 
Anomaly no.1: UKIP’s candidate list was more diverse than that of those accusing UKIP of racism

Opponents of UKIP throw around the word ‘racist’ like confetti. I believe that in today’s society, an accusation of racism is one of the worst accusations that can be levelled against anyone. Therefore, bleating ‘racist’ at regular intervals devalues the meaning of the word.

The Greens and Liberal Democrats were the parties who attacked UKIP the most on this. The first political irony of 2014: UKIP’s MEP candidate list was more ethnically diverse than the Lib Dems or Greens. Neither the Lib Dems nor the Greens had a single non-white face in a winnable position on their candidates’ lists. Yet UKIP had Amjad Bashir and Steven Woolfe elected in the current wave of new MEPs. Our candidates’ list even had an Orthodox Jew.

UKIP’s ethnic minority candidates have had to put up with a lot of racial abuse and physical assault during this campaign, with even so-called ‘anti-racism’ campaigners aiming such racist slurs as ‘oreo’ or ‘coconut’ at them.

Anomaly no.2: UKIP, accused of misogyny, now has more women MEPs than any Party other than Labour

In 2014, UKIP had 7 women MEPs elected. Only Labour had more – and they achieved that through a quota system. Selection procedures should be about getting the best person for the job. UKIP’s selection process didn’t consider gender to be a factor in whether or not someone is capable of doing a good job as an MEP.

In fact, although only around 10% of those who applied to become candidates were women, 30% of our elected MEPs are women. There was no need for any ‘positive discrimination’ (and in my view all discrimination is still discrimination) to achieve this. A democratic vote of Party members ranked women candidates highly on the lists.

Anomaly no.3: UKIP’s immigration policy, attacked as ‘racist’, is actually the most colour-blind policy of any Party

This one really should be self-explanatory. Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives all support the current open-door immigration from 27 other countries in the European Union. However, they support limited immigration from those outside the European Union. The overwhelming majority of those who come into the UK from the European Union are white.

UKIP, on the other hand, believes that everyone should be treated on merit. Does a potential migrant have skills to offer the UK? Are they free from serious criminal record? Are they competing for jobs in areas where we have shortages at the moment? Have they learned to speak English to a basic standard? To UKIP, the answers to those questions are more important than which country you happen to have been born in.

And whilst we’re on the subject of racism, we’re the only Party that doesn’t allow ex-BNP, National Front or EDL members to join.

Anomaly no.4: UKIP’s LGBT track record doesn’t fit the ‘homophobic’ tag

Within UKIP, sexual orientation is something which isn’t made into an issue. Our newly-elected MEP for Scotland is openly gay, for example. But we don’t count how many people are gay in UKIP, we don’t label such people – people’s sexuality is their own business.

Our LGBT* wing is growing fast, but we believe that associations of members should be bottom-up rather than top-down. It’s a grassroots organisation, not a puppet or propaganda tool of the Party leadership. It has its own views on certain matters. Like UKIP’s ethnic minority members, our gay members are often subjected to abuse. They have even been accused of homophobia, just for being part of UKIP. I can scarcely imagine just how twisted a mindset has to be to accuse a gay person of homophobia, yet it’s a regular occurrence.

David Silvester – the one who made the ‘floods’ remarks about gay marriage – was allowed to remain in the Conservative Party for decades whilst making similar remarks. But they weren’t tolerated in UKIP, who expelled him. As UKIP is a Party of freedom of speech, I should point out that we defend his right to hold those views – however abhorrent they are. But when those views were associated with UKIP, he had to go.

Anomaly no.5: Other parties’ councillors and candidates have behaved worse than UKIP’s

Whenever one of the 2,200 or so UKIP candidates at this year’s Council elections said something out of line, it was front-page headline news. In any large group of people, it’s easy for some to slip through the net although we will be tightening up our selection procedures. The Party is in the process of dealing with those people, and don’t expect to see their name besides a UKIP logo again.

Oddly enough, the national press passed by the Lib Dem councillor who got 18 years in prison for bombing his own constituency. And when a councillor was found guilty of racially-aggravated assault, that did not become a major news story. Nor did the councillor pictured with an AK-47. Labour has sitting councillors who are ex-BNP, and selected a convicted fraudster in Harrow. A Conservative councillor kept his job after tweeting (et al) “I’m watching Machete – now THAT’s how you deal with immigration”, another Conservative councillor stole £150,000 from a pensioner with dementia and they selected a former BNP activist as a candidate in South Kesteven. Then in the final two weeks of the campaign, 17 councillors from other parties were arrested on various offences – some as serious as child porn.

Opponents of UKIP have a vested interest in attacking us, but ultimately such distortions simply alienate more people from politics. Let’s hope for a much cleaner campaign at next year’s General Election.

 

North East local election results

The First Past The Post system continues to make it difficult for UKIP to take Council seats across the North East, but UKIP fielded candidates in 102 of the 121 Council seats up for grabs this time.  A few key facts in these seats:

  • UKIP won 2 seats, with a further 63 second-place finishes
  • In these 102 seats Labour took 117,337 votes, UKIP 62,123, Conservatives 40,608, Liberal Democrats 24,535 and Greens 3,697.  
  • Where UKIP stood, we took 23.98% of the vote – up even on the 2013 shares
  • UKIP did better in Labour areas (average 26.7%) than in Conservative areas (average 19.7%)
  • 56 out of our 102 candidates took over 25% of the vote
  • Both UKIP gains were in Hartlepool, where UKIP took 30.5% of the vote across the Council where we stood.  
  • The scores in other Councils: South Tyneside 31.7%, Sunderland 26.8%, Gateshead 23.0%, North Tyneside 21.7%, Newcastle 18.2% 

Overall, these results represent massive progress for the Party.  I’d like to thank all of those who stood for UKIP, and congratulate the victorious candidates.  All eyes will now be on the European election count tomorrow (Sunday 25th), when the results will be known sometime after 10pm.

Thank you

Well here we are. After months of campaigning up and down the North East, dozens of public meetings, town centre Action Days, many hours spent knocking on doors and delivering leaflets, the day has finally arrived.

Many will have already voted by post, and others will be voting today despite the rain. UKIP supporters are the most hardy souls of the lot.

The highlight of the campaign was, of course, Nigel Farage’s visit to the Sage. I enjoyed speaking to an audience of 1,200+ people as we broke the record for UKIP’s biggest-ever public meeting.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped with the campaign, and everyone who is voting UKIP today.

 

Reason #0: Our predictions were correct

There’s just time for the 8th in my 7-part series of reasons for voting UKIP. I hadn’t planned or written an 8th piece, but figures out today demand it.

 

Today there’s one more reason for voting UKIP. At the end of last year, we highlighted the fact that from January 2014 we would have open borders from Bulgaria and Romania (in addition to the open borders we already had from 25 EU countries).

 

Other parties promised that we were scaremongering. They promised that there would be no mass increase in immigration. UKIP has nothing against Bulgarians or Romanians, but we do want to be able to control immigration. If you’re wanting to come in to the UK then we would expect you to:

 

  • Learn to speak English
  • Not have a criminal record
  • Have skills which benefit the UK
  • Have adequate health cover
  • Not add to the current over-supply of unskilled labour

 

If I were to emigrate to Australia, they would automatically expect such things. They would consider the Australian national interest.  So when we talk about unlimited immigration from Bulgaria/Romania from January 1st, the problem is the word ‘unlimited’.

 

The figures released today show National Insurance number registrations from Bulgaria and Romania by quarter. In Q1 alone, there have been 45,000 new registrations from Bulgaria and Romania. Since we opened our borders, we’ve had new National Insurance number registrations from those countries at a rate of roughly 500 per week.  Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems were convinced this wouldn’t happen. Labour apologised because when Poland and others joined the EU, we didn’t have ‘transitional arrangements’ to smooth the flow of migration. Well, we had transitional arrangements this time.  My Labour opponent in this campaign, Judith Kirton-Darling, has consistently said that transitional arrangements ensure that there will not be a mass move of migration.

 

The graph speaks for itself. It’s drawn to scale, no political manipulation here.

 

NINO registrations

 

Those who once called us scaremongers owe us an apology. Will we get it? I doubt that very much.  Vote UKIP today – for a Party that has been vindicated despite slurs from our opponents and much of the media.

Reason #1: Vote UKIP, Get UKIP

For over a decade, UKIP’s opponents have said that ‘a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote’. This time, opinion polls show that UKIP could not only take seats but win this year’s European elections. If you vote UKIP tomorrow, there’s a realistic chance that UKIP can win.

Labour has always suggested that a vote for UKIP could let the Conservatives in; Conservatives have always suggested that a vote for UKIP could let Labour in. This time, it’s clear to everyone: a vote for UKIP will let UKIP in. You could argue that a Conservative vote is a ‘wasted vote’ this time, as it’s only UKIP who could potentially beat Labour across the country.

From South Shields to Eastleigh, from Rotherham to Middlesbrough, we’ve proved that UKIP can be the main challengers in Parliamentary seats. Tomorrow, it’s time for us to aim to go one better. Can we be the first so-called ‘minor party’ to ever win a national set of elections?

Nigel Farage says that we can create a ‘political earthquake’ tomorrow. That will only happen with your support. Tomorrow, remember: Vote UKIP, Get UKIP.

What percentage of our laws actually come from Brussels?

In the wake of our opponents making various lower claims about what percentage of new laws in the UK come from Brussels, I thought I’d take a quick look at the UKIP claim that ‘75% of new laws in this country start life in Brussels’.  I apologise in advance that this is slightly more technical than most of my posts. In a sense it isn’t really a UKIP claim: it’s a claim from the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding which you can watch here for example.  All we say in UKIP is that such a figure broadly chimes with the evidence.  No two people will agree on exactly which ‘laws’ are actually laws, and in any case the figure changes from one year to the next.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg started his ‘political career’ as an MEP in Brussels.  At that time, he wrote this in the Guardian (source here): “Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels. The European parliament has extensive powers to amend or strike down laws in almost every conceivable area of public life.”  Back then it wasn’t fashionable to try to play down EU influence like he did on national television in debate with Nigel Farage, claiming the true figure was only 7%.  The percentage can only have gone up in the intervening years: the Lisbon Treaty has been signed since then!

There are five sources of new law in the UK. There’s the one everyone knows about – Acts of Parliament. Then there are Statutory Instruments, which are administrative measures laid before Parliament and take effect if neither of the Houses of Parliament vote against them. Many of these can’t be called ‘new laws’, but some can. More on that later. From the EU, we have Regulations (which become law automatically in the UK without going through Parliament), Directives (which tell us an end result that we have to achieve, so the UK government may use an Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument to introduce a Directive) and Decisions (the situation here is complicated, and not all of these are really laws).

A few years ago, Labour’s Richard Corbett came up with the claim that only 9% of our laws come from Brussels. Nick Clegg said 7% on live television in debate with Nigel Farage, and 14% is the other figure bandied about by our opponents at present. So what is the source of these figures, and are they correct?

The original 9% figure used by Richard Corbett and others comes from the UK Parliament’s Standard Note SN/IA/2888, which states that 9% of statutory instruments in 2004/2005 were used to enforce EU legislation.  

The later 7% (6.8%) figure is taken from a misreading of Research Paper 10/62 of the House of Commons Library, written by Vaughne Miller.  It says that 7% of Acts of Parliament have been used to enforce EU legislation, and gives a higher figure (14.1%) for the number of statutory instruments used to enforce EU legislation in 2009.

The paper itself (RP10/62) states:

“These figures are indicative of the impact of EU legislation on national law-making but they are not the full story. For example, they do not take account of EU “soft law” or the overwhelming majority of EU regulations, which can be several times the number of directives, and which are usually adopted in the Member States by measures other than laws.”

Likewise, SN/IA/2888 itself acknowledges that the 9% figure isn’t the correct one.  It quotes Denis MacShane (then Europe Minister) admitting “It would entail disproportionate cost to research and compile the number of legislative instruments enacted each year in the UK directly implementing EU legislation.  The picture is complicated.”

So the 6.8%, 9% and 14.1% figures cannot be taken as being an attempt to calculate the percentage of new laws in the UK which relate to the EU.  An EU Regulation has to be seen as an ‘EU law’; it is binding upon the member state.

As the EU has moved from Directives to Regulations, the UK Parliament in Westminster is increasingly bypassed.  Accordingly, the figures which show up in primary and secondary legislation must go down.  Under the old proposed EU Constitution, regulations would (correctly) have been renamed as European Laws.  This terminology was changed for the Lisbon Treaty, but the impact of Regulations and Directives remain the same.  Since 2010 there have been at least 3,600 new EU Regulations which automatically become law in the UK.  Not one of those would be counted in the ‘9%’ or ‘7%’ figure.

RP10/62 gives a 14.1% figure, whilst SN/IA/2888 gives just 9%.  This difference is because RP/10/62 excludes at least some local Statutory Instruments, eg. the M4 Motorway (Junctions 17-18) (Temporary Prohibition and Restriction of Traffic) Order 2014.

Many Statutory Instruments cannot be seen as ‘new laws affecting the UK’.  Neither RP/10/62 nor SN/IA/2888 takes this into account.  These may be:

a)  Annual, eg. the ‘Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (Index of Chargeable Amounts) Order

b)  Commencement Orders, Instruments which set a start date for part of a previous Act of Parliament

c)  A minor amendment to an existing instrument, eg. the Parochial Fees and Scheduled Matters Amending Order 2014

d)  Statutory Instruments may be budgetary regulations rather than legislative in nature

e)  Those Statutory Instruments which deal with devolved matters, and apply in only one country of the United Kingdom

The Lisbon Treaty came into force in December 2009.  Both SN/IA/2888 and RP/10/62 related to legislation before the time of the Lisbon Treaty, and before the EU had taken power over other areas of British law.  These are out-of-date figures and underestimates.  It is worth noting in passing that the number of Statutory Instruments rose substantially in 2010 following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty:

It’s clear that to use the 6.8% or 9% or 14.1% figures are highly misleading.  The German figure of 84% comes from Roman Herzog and Luder Gurken using a calculation including all German legislation and all EU legislation of any form:  “From 1998 until 2004 a total of 18,167 EU regulations and 750 directives were adopted in Germany (including amending regulations or directives).  During the same period the German Parliament passed in total 1,195 laws as well as 3,055 statutory instruments [Rechtsverordnungen are a form of secondary legislation].”

Such a calculation in the UK would be an underestimate, because many Statutory Instruments should not be counted as laws affecting the UK.  Conversely, some EU Decisions should also be included.  As the European Commission’s website states: “Decisions are EU laws relating to specific cases. They can come from the EU Council (sometimes jointly with the European Parliament) or the Commission.”  In 2009 there were 901 such Decisions; 606 from the Commission and 295 from the Council.

RP/10/62 gives a percentage of 53% for 2009, taking into account only EU Directives/Regulations as compared with UK Acts of Parliament/Statutory Instruments.

We can safely say that the true figure must be much higher, but how much higher?  We should take into account that:

1.  One Statutory Instrument may transpose several Directives into UK law.  For example, in 2007 the Motor Vehicles Regulations enacted a total of four Directives

2.  EU Decisions affecting the UK are not included in these calculations for 2009

3.  Many Statutory Instruments fall under a) to e) above

4.  There may be a double-counting issue which would have moderately depressed the figures (an EU Directive enacted by Statutory Instrument should be counted as one EU law, not one EU and one UK law)

Time is not available to fully analyse these points, but a cursory analysis would suggest that perhaps half of the statutory instruments in RP/10/62 should not be included in such calculations.  This, not taking into account points 1 and 2 above, would suggest a minimum figure of just over 69% of new UK laws starting life in Brussels.

An overall figure of 70%-75% would be broadly in line with taking into account points 1 and 2 alone, and the figure would be higher still if everything were included, but it’s difficult to make a meaningful estimate without making far too many assumptions.  For example, not all of the 901 Decisions from 2009 should be included as some did not apply to the UK; this would therefore result in an over-estimate.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Open Europe found that 71.9% of the cost of regulation affecting British business is EU-derived.

75% is not a figure which is set in stone. But on the evidence at present, Viviane Reding’s figure is the only one that really matches the evidence.