Hague acts to assuage fears coalition is too pro-Europe

WILLIAM Hague yesterday pledged to enshrine the sovereignty of the British Parliament over the European Union, in a bid to quell fears among Tory activists that the coalition government is too pro-Europe.

Delegates at the Tory party conference gave the foreign secretary a standing ovation, after he said he would “reaffirm once and for all the sovereignty of our ancient parliament”. Currently, parliamentary sovereignty is only rooted in common law, but the government has decided to include a clause in the forthcoming EU Bill, stating that European law can only take effect in the UK if parliament decides that it should.

However, former foreign minister Chris Bryant dismissed the move as “posturing”, pointing out that the announcement will have little or no impact. All EU law only takes effect because of the European Communities Act 1972, which parliament can amend or repeal at any time.

Even Hague admitted the move would “not alter the existing order in relation to EU law” but insisted that it would “put the matter beyond speculation”.