Fresh Start is a research project whose sole objective is to build a better relationship for Britain within the EU. It is not focused on leaving the EU, nor is it focused on reforming the EU, it is only concerned with reforming Britain’s role within the EU. The founders of this project are Andrea Leadsom, George Eustice and Christopher Heaton-Harris, respectively the Conservative Members of Parliament for South Norhamtonshire; Camborne & Redruth; and Daventry -with Heaton-Harris, prior to his election in 2010, served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 until 2009.
A wider campaign exists for a new relationship with the EU and takes the form of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for European Reform - it has quite a “Priti” membership list – which is open to all MPs, and which was set up in order to ensure that pro-reform voices from across the parties could be heard, in order that a consensus on changing our position in Europe might stand a better chance of being achieved.
For those three MPs – and any other MP – who believe that powers can be repatriated from the European Union, Christopher Booker’s column in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph is required reading; and from which:
“The project’s core doctrine has always been the acquis communautaire: the rule that once powers are handed over to Brussels they can never be given back. That is why it is futile to talk of Britain negotiating a “new relationship” with Brussels involving repatriation of powers. It cannot happen, because it would be in breach of the project’s most sacred principle.”
“There is only one way in which we could force the other EU states into negotiating a new relationship for Britain. If our politicians, led by Mr Cameron, were actually to read the treaty, they would find this power under Article 50, inserted at Lisbon: such a negotiation can only be triggered if we notify the EU that we wish to leave it. Then, and only then, would our EU colleagues be compelled (rather than “persuaded”) to enter into the negotiations necessary to establish our “future relationship with the Union”.”
While it is incredible that Leadsom and Eustice obviously have not read the Lisbon Treaty – otherwise they would not be suggesting that which they are – what is even more incredible is that Heaton-Harris, he who spent 10 years as an MEP and who one would assume is conversant with the Lisbon Treaty “inside out”, most certainly cannot have read it either.
It is not even as if Leadsom, Eustice and Heaton-Harris could devise a new name for their project.
On such ignorance are careers built, ones aided and abetted by an equally ignorant (on purpose) MSM.
Update: Just after posting this article I notice that Richard North, EUReferendum, has also written on the same topic – and so much better.