James Forsyth

Patten Nonsense

Patten Nonsense
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Chris Patten is trying to assure us all that there is nothing to worry about in terms of foreign policy in the EU Treaty previously known as the Constitution. Playing a weak hand, Patten tries to change the subject, telling Mark Mardell

"The biggest issue to effect our sovereignty in the last few years has been our commitment in Iraq; without having any real say over what was happening there; which British servicemen and women were being shot at and being killed there. 

"That is a huge sovereignty issue. Nothing, nothing, that happens in the European Union is going to be anything like that in its dimensions." This argument simply doesn’t reflect the facts. First, Parliament voted explicitly for Britain’s involvement in the war—if Blair had lost that vote, he’d have resigned and no British troops would have been committed to the combat phase of operations. Second, at the 2005 election there was not a constituency in the land where you couldn’t have voted for an anti-war candidate if you wanted to. You can’t ask for more than that in a representative democracy.

Say what you like about Iraq but there’s no getting away from the fact that our sovereign Parliament voted for British participation in the conflict. To claim that the war has somehow eroded Britain’s sovereignty is absurd

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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