EU Referendum

Europe judges could throw out Dave’s deal: Agreement isn’t legally binding, say Commons researchers

  • David Cameron’s EU deal could be thrown out, say Commons researchers
  • Controversial agreement isn’t legally binding; Europe judges could scrap it
  • Verdict flies in face of Prime Minister’s insistence his deal is legally binding
  • Study backs Michael Gove who warned the deal could be ‘reversed’ by ECJ
David Cameron¿s controversial EU deal could be thrown out by European judges, according to a respected source of impartial research
David Cameron’s controversial EU deal could be thrown out by European judges, according to a respected source of impartial research

The shaky legal status of last month’s Brussels agreement means it ‘cannot guarantee all the outcomes envisaged’, said a report from the House of Commons library.

The verdict flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s insistence that his deal is legally binding.

Commons Leader Chris Grayling will deliver a second blow to the agreement today, warning it will do nothing to reassert the sovereignty of the British parliament over Brussels, and will leave the UK at the mercy of the European courts.

The House of Commons library, which provides neutral research and advice to MPs, said the European Court of Justice, which is the ultimate arbiter of EU law, ‘could not enforce’ the deal if it clashed with EU treaties.

Researchers warned that uncertainty around the legality of the deal mean that parts of it could end up ‘effectively being reversed by the courts’.

And they said key parts of the agreement, including curbs on welfare payments to EU migrants, still had to be agreed by the European Parliament ‘which is not directly bound by’ the deal.

The study backs the verdict of Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who warned that the deal could be ‘reversed’ by the ECJ. It effectively torpedoes Mr Cameron’s claim that the agreement is ‘legally binding and irreversible’.

Mr Cameron will attempt to get on the front foot over Europe today with a controversial claim that leaving the EU could result in interest rates rising.

But Commons leader Chris Grayling will use a speech in London to warn that the deal negotiated by Mr Cameron will do nothing to restore the sovereignty of parliament.

‘The degree to which the European Union now governs our lives is not changed by this agreement,’ he will say. ‘The renegotiation has not returned powers to Parliament or the people.’

Commons Leader Chris Grayling (third from the left) will deliver a second blow to the agreement today, warning it will do nothing to reassert the sovereignty of the British parliament over Brussels


A controversial EU deal with Turkey could send a new wave of migrants towards Britain, Tory MPs warned yesterday.

Desperate EU leaders, including David Cameron, are willing to hand Turkey more than £4billion in aid in return for help in stemming the flow of migrants. The cash includes up to £500million from the UK.

Turkey is also demanding visa-free access for its citizens to continental Europe, together with fast-tracked membership of the EU.

In addition there is a refugee exchange programme which would see the EU admit one refugee from camps in Turkey for each Syrian it takes back from the Greek islands. Tory grandee Sir Edward Leigh said 77million Turkish citizens would ‘be allowed to come and work here and live here without any check … and there’s nothing we can do about it’.

Fellow Tory Peter Bone said: ‘The British people can only be certain that 77million Turkish citizens won’t have the right to come to this country… if we vote to come out of the European Union.’

The deal is due to be finalised by EU leaders next week. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the prospect of Turkey joining the EU remained ‘many years away’.

Mr Grayling, one of six Cabinet ministers campaigning for Brexit, will add: ‘A vote to remain is a vote to leave the EU court and unelected EU judges in control of a whole raft of our laws.’

Mr Cameron originally said he would demand that his reforms were enshrined in ‘full-on treaty change’. But EU leaders rejected his demand, and the Prime Minister had to settle for a less formal agreement between the EU’s 28 member states.

Last month he said the agreement was ‘already legally binding and irreversible’. A Government White Paper on the deal also stated that it ‘is legally binding, irreversible and delivers for the UK’.

But the study by the Commons library raises serious doubts. The report says that the deal is binding on the member states that signed it. But, critically, it is not binding on other EU institutions, such as the parliament and the ECJ.

Referring to the deal as ‘the Decision’, the report states: ‘Even if the Decision is accepted as legally binding under international law, it is not necessarily legally enforceable under either EU or domestic law.’

The report said ‘it could be problematic’ if there was an ‘inconsistency’ between the Decision and European treaties.

‘The Decision probably cannot be reversed without the consent of the UK. But it cannot guarantee all of the outcomes envisaged in it. This is because some depend on factors outside the control of the parties to the Decision.’

The verdict further undermines a deal, which critics say falls far short of the ‘fundamental change’ originally promised.

Priti Patel MP and ‘Gang of Six’ launch Vote Leave campaign

Mr Gove, Labour veteran Gisela Stuart, and ex-British Chambers of Commerce boss John Longworth will be appointed to key posts in the Vote Leave campaign. Mr Longworth stepped down from the BCC earlier this week after clashing with No10 over his support for Brexit.

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