EU Statement On Renegotiation

Speaking in the Prime Minister’s Statement on EU renegotiation in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th January 2016, Dr Fox said:

5 Jan 2016 : Column 36

Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset) (Con): I completely agree with my right hon. Friend on that point. However, the European Court has never defined “ever-closer union” but it has made reference to it 55 times in judgments since 1999. Legally, how would Britain be exempted from the concept of ever-closer union unless we were exempted from all such judgments—either those that might be made in future or those historic in nature?


The Prime Minister: Clearly, if we have a legally binding and irreversible approach that says that Britain is not part of an ever-closer union then the courts cannot use ever-closer union to provide a ratchet against Britain in future court judgments. It is an important matter. I accept that it is a symbol, but symbols matter in politics. Our politics is full of symbols. A symbol of being outside this ever-closer union speaks to the British belief that we joined a common market and not a political union, but, as I have set out, it does also have a practical application.