Tory rebels fail in vote to curb Brussels’ power

PRIME Minister David Cameron survived a test of his party leadership yesterday after eurosceptic Conservative rebels failed to win backing for tougher curbs on the flow of power to Brussels from Britain.

Only 39 MPs voted for an amendment declaring the sovereignty of the UK parliament in relation to EU laws, while 314 voted against.

The flagship European Union bill, which has survived a vote to halt its passage into law, is meant to defend Britain against unwanted EU rulings and laws and would mean any wholesale changes at EU level would have to pass a British referendum.

Conservative Europe minister David Lidington said the legislation would shore up sovereignty and give ministers next to no “wriggle room” on Europe. “Any future changes to EU treaties, however minor, will need to be ratified by a full act of parliament,” Lidington said.

But Conservative rebel Bill Cash said that “without a doubt” the bill had been watered down as a result of the coalition arrangements – part of an “alarming stream of acquiescence.” “Which is more important, the coalition or the national interest and the sovereignty of parliament?,” Cash asked.