Fraser Nelson

System failure aids another EU power-grab

System failure aids another EU power-grab
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David Cameron's so-called “referendum lock" is supposed to ensure no more powers are handed to the EU. His thinking, bless him, is that if he just keeps a low profile and doesn't sign any extra treaties then things won't get worse. This fundamentally mistakes the way the EU works. As we say in the leader for this week's magazine, ever-greater integration is hardwired into the system. An example we cite is the coming European Investigatory Order, which Theresa May has naively described to other ministers as a tidying up exercise (Jack Straw said the same about the EU constitution).  As we put it:

“Another power grab is looming. Plans are being drawn up for a European order that would mandate British police officers to follow requests lodged from overseas. Given that Britain is home to 1.5 million migrants (twice as many as Brits living in the EU, according to Eurostat) this will place a disproportional burden on constabularies who are already facing budget cuts of 25 per cent. It is one thing to face a request from a Romanian police service, quite another to be forced to comply with their demands. And yet the British government’s response has been silence.”

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This is a simple case of system failure. No10 will know only too well how this can happen. Cameron should personally call Dominic Raab, a new MP who has made an extraordinary debut by pointing this out, and ask for a briefing. Or put Raab in a room with the Home Office's permanent secretary, and work out which one of them has the more convincing story. Britain has until the end of this month to opt out of the EIO. Cameron should think back to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the pledges he gave on Europe and ask: why take ths risk? These EU schemes have a habit of growing tentacles – so why opt in? There's no use having a lock on EU powers if Brussels has the key.