UK & World News
Europe: Tory MPs Demand Return Of Powers
Tory MPs will today demand that David Cameron seizes back powers from Brussels, warning "the status quo is no longer an option".
A report called Manifesto for Change backed by Foreign Secretary William Hague calls for a "new and different relationship" with the European Union.
The Fresh Start group, which is said to have wide support in the party, has told the Government it "should not settle for anything less" than the complete repatriation of powers.
Mr Hague, one of the most senior Tories at the Cabinet table, has called the document "well-researched and well-considered" and suggested some of it could become party policy.
It piles more pressure on the Prime Minister ahead of his key speech on Britain and the the EU this Friday, where he is expected to set out how he plans to renegotiate the relationship.
Mr Cameron is due to meet Tory Cabinet ministers today to brief them on details of the long-awaited address, which has been moved forward.
He will reportedly tell ministers they can campaign for a British exit from the EU if he retains power and tables a referendum in the next parliament.
Downing Street appears confident that the public will vote to stay in the union if powers in a swathe of policy areas are returned to Britain.
But it is claimed the commitment to a referendum will only apply if the Tories win the next election outright and would not hold if another coalition was necessary.
Fresh Start, founded by George Eustice, Andrea Leadsom and Chris Heaton-Harris, will use the intense focus on Europe to launch its manifesto this morning.
It will demand the repatriation of key powers considered vital if the UK is to retain "national democratic accountability".
Proposals are set to include:
:: The repatriation of all social and employment law, such as the Working Time Directive;
:: An opt-out from all existing policing and criminal justice measures;
:: An "emergency brake" on any new legislation affecting financial services;
:: Stopping the European Parliament moving between Brussels and Strasbourg.
Other non-treaty changes that could save billions a year are identified, according to the Daily Telegraph, including reforming the EU budget for agricultural and fishing policy.
Mr Hague, who is carrying out an audit across Whitehall of all EU powers, wrote in the foreword: "It is a well-researched and well-considered document full of powerful ideas for Britain's future in Europe and, indeed, for Europe's future.
"Many of the proposals are already Government policy, some could well become future Government or Conservative Party policy and some may require further thought."
Mr Eustice, a former press secretary to Mr Cameron, said: "Although it would be a mistake for the Prime Minister to set out a detailed shopping list this far in advance of any negotiations, these proposals are intended to stimulate debate, to highlight those areas where change is required and also to help inform the Government's ongoing balance of competences review."
In his speech on Friday, Mr Cameron is expected to announce plans for a referendum on a new settlement with Brussels after the 2015 general election.
But he has already rejected calls for a straight immediate in/out referendum on British membership, which he said would present voters with a "false choice".
The Tory party as well as the coalition are deeply divided on the issue, and business leaders and the UK's international allies have warned against withdrawal.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned on Tuesday that uncertainty over Britain's membership could have a "chilling effect" on the economy by driving away investors and jobs.
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what do you think?
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The time of Empire and 'Splendid isolation' are gone. We need Europe a lot more than they need us. We do pay a lot to Europe but we get a lot back. How many innercity brownsite plots have been turned into houses for British people due to European redevelopment investment? Even before the market crash of 2008 our government (regardless of political party) couldn't afford to do this on their own. I've nothing against Cameron trying to negotiate a better deal for the UK, but this stance of aggressive demanding wont work. Not only does UK business want to stay in the EU, but as I've said - Europe dosent need us. And despite what UKIP, BNP and the Tory 1922 committee tell you WE CANT GO IT ALONE! The world has changed, its 2013 not 1913. Nobody says you have to like the EU - I dont want to be governed by a federal European superstate - but the idea of just walking away would harm us more than Europe. And give the Germans and French a free hand.
Spot on Stevie, but I fear it will simply fall on deaf uneducated ears!
Give back the powers give back are sovereignty give back are laws give back are boarders give back are money give us back are dignity
In English please!!!
If Hague wants this then it will be bad for the working people of this country. If IDS comes out in support of it, then it will be very bad for us.