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Monday, 3 October 2011

Cameron's constitutionality

In quashing the members of his Party Conference who want to challenge Britain's status in the European Union David Cameron is bang in line with his predecessors.

Prime Minsters and their Cabinets have their massive power because they are the active members of Her Majesty's Privy Council. After each election the Queen is advised whom to ask to be Prime Minister: that Privy Councillor then invites members and candidate members of the Council to come to Cabinet meetings, and all the other Councillors stand aside. Some Councillors in 'loyal opposition' parties speak against individual proposals to change, or even to keep, policies that they enacted when in government; but the underlying reality is the commitment of all Privy Councillors to the continuity of Her Majesty's Government.

Cameron is resisting a challenge to that continuity.

This position is reinforced by the fact that the United Kingdom's immersion is Europe has been made by a succession of Conservative Prime Ministers:
Treaty of Rome - Heath;
change from Economic Community to European Union - Thatcher;
 Maastricht - Major.

No Labour Prime Minister has such explicit responsibility [or culpability]. The EU is essentially a Tory gift to the British people, and to turn away from it would be a denial of the past that it would be extremely hard for any Conservative Leader to risk.

As to the democratic wish of the people: when has that really mattered?

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