Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, entered into force on 1 December 2009, it amends the Maastricht Treaty, known in updated form as the Treaty on European Union or TEU, the Treaty of Rome, known in updated form as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or TFEU. It amends the attached treaty protocols as well as the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community. Prominent changes included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 policy areas in the Council of Ministers, a change in calculating such a majority to a new double majority, a more powerful European Parliament forming a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of Ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure, a consolidated legal personality for the EU and the creation of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Treaty made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights binding. The Treaty for the first time gave member states the explicit legal right to leave the EU, established a procedure by which to do so; the stated aim of the treaty was to "complete the process started by the Treaty of Amsterdam and by the Treaty of Nice with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and to improving the coherence of its action". Opponents of the Treaty of Lisbon, such as former Danish Member of the European Parliament Jens-Peter Bonde, argued that it would centralize the EU, weaken democracy by "moving power away" from national electorates. Supporters argue that it brings more checks and balances into the EU system, with stronger powers for the European Parliament and a new role for national parliaments. Negotiations to modify EU institutions began in 2001, resulting first in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which would have repealed the existing European treaties and replaced them with a "constitution".
Although ratified by a majority of member states, this was abandoned after being rejected by 54% of French voters on 29 May 2005 and by 61% of Dutch voters on 1 June 2005. After a "period of reflection", member states agreed instead to maintain the existing treaties, but to amend them, salvaging a number of the reforms, envisaged in the constitution. An amending "reform" treaty was drawn up and signed in Lisbon in 2007, it was intended to have been ratified by all member states by the end of 2008. This timetable failed due to the initial rejection of the Treaty in June 2008 by the Irish electorate, a decision, reversed in a second referendum in October 2009 after Ireland secured a number of concessions related to the treaty; the need to review the EU's constitutional framework in light of the accession of ten new Member States in 2004, was highlighted in a declaration annexed to the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The agreements at Nice had paved the way for further enlargement of the Union by reforming voting procedures.
The Laeken declaration of December 2001 committed the EU to improving democracy and efficiency, set out the process by which a constitution aiming to achieve these goals could be created. The European Convention was established, presided over by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, was given the task of consulting as as possible across Europe with the aim of producing a first draft of the Constitution; the final text of the proposed Constitution was agreed upon at the summit meeting on 18–19 June 2004 under the presidency of Ireland. The Constitution, having been agreed by heads of government from the 25 Member States, was signed at a ceremony in Rome on 29 October 2004. Before it could enter into force, however, it had to be ratified by each member state. Ratification took different forms in each country, depending on the traditions, constitutional arrangements, political processes of each country. In 2005, referendums held in France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution.
While the majority of the Member States had ratified the European Constitution, due to the requirement of unanimity to amend the treaties of the EU, it became clear that it could not enter into force. This led to a "period of reflection" and the political end of the proposed European Constitution. In 2007, Germany declared the period of reflection over. By March, the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the Berlin Declaration was adopted by all Member States; this declaration outlined the intention of all Member States to agree on a new treaty in time for the 2009 Parliamentary elections, to have a ratified treaty before mid-2009. Before the Berlin Declaration, the Amato Group – a group of European politicians, backed by the Barroso Commission with two representatives in the group – worked unofficially on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. On 4 June 2007, the group released their text in French – cut from 63,000 words in 448 articles in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe to 12,800 words in 70 articles.
In the Berlin Declaration, the EU leaders unofficially set a new timeline for the new treaty: 21–23 June 2007: European Council meeting in Brussels, mandate for Intergovernmental Conference 23 July 2007: IGC in Lisbon, text of Reform
1979 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The European Assembly Election, 1979, was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom after the European Communities decided to directly elect representatives to the European Parliament. It was held on 7 June. Elections were held in eight other EC states. European elections were incorporated into UK law by the European Assembly Elections Act 1978. Out of the 410 members of the European Parliament, 81 were elected from the UK; the electoral system was First Past the Post in England and Wales and Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland. The result was a landslide victory for the Conservative Party, which won 60 of the 78 seats available in England and Scotland, their decisive victory in the general election of the previous month and divisions within the Labour party on whether to stay in the EC helped the Conservatives to such a comprehensive victory. There was a low turnout in the election compared with other states, the lowest in Europe. Voter apathy was an explanation, but it is the large number of elections in 1979 had a significant negative effect on turnout.
There were referendums in Scotland and Wales on devolution in March and the general election in May, as well as local elections in England and Wales. Source: UK Parliament Briefing Overall turnout: 32.4% Overall votes cast: 13,460,091 Source: UK Parliament Briefing Total votes cast – 12,873,852. Source Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive Total votes cast – 572,239. Conservative – Margaret Thatcher Labour – James Callaghan Liberal – David Steel SNP – Gordon Wilson DUP – Ian Paisley SDLP – John Hume UUP – Harry West Elections in the United Kingdom#European Parliament elections List of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom, 1979–84
European Communities Act 1972 (UK)
The European Communities Act 1972 known as the ECA 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which made legal provision for the accession of the United Kingdom to the three European Communities, namely the EEC, the Coal and Steel Community. The Treaty of Accession was signed by the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath and the President of the European Commission Franco Maria Malfatti in Brussels on 22 January 1972; the Act provided for the incorporation into UK law of the whole of European Community law and its "acquis communautaire": its Treaties and Directives, together with judgments of the European Court of Justice. By the Act, Community Law became binding on all legislation passed by the UK Parliament. Arguably the most significant statute to be passed by the Heath government of 1970-74, the Act is one of the most significant UK constitutional statutes passed; the act has been amended from its original form, incorporating the changes wrought by the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon.
On 13 July 2017, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, introduced what became the European Union Act to Parliament which makes provision for repealing the 1972 Act on "exit day", when enacted defined as 29 March 2019 at 11 p.m. but postponed by EU decision to either 22 May 2019 or 12 April 2019. When the European Communities came into being in 1958, the UK chose to remain aloof and instead join the alternative bloc, EFTA; the British government regretted its decision, in 1961, along with Denmark and Norway, the UK applied to join the three Communities. However, President Charles de Gaulle saw British membership as a Trojan horse for US influence, vetoed it; the four countries resubmitted their applications in 1967, the French veto was lifted upon Georges Pompidou succeeding de Gaulle in 1969. In 1970, accession negotiations took place between the UK Government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, the European Communities and various European leaders. Despite disagreements over the CAP and the UK's relationship with the Commonwealth, terms were agreed.
In October 1971, after a lengthy Commons debate, MPs voted 356-244 in favour of joining the EEC. For the Treaty to take effect upon entry into the Communities on 1 January 1973, for the UK to embrace the EEC Institutions and Community law, an Act of Parliament was required. Only three days after the signing of the Treaty, a European Communities Bill of just 12 clauses was presented to the House of Commons by Geoffrey Rippon; the European Communities Act came into being, Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 22 January 1972. Denmark and Ireland joined the Community on the same day, 1 January 1973, as the UK; the European Communities Bill was introduced the House of Commons for its first reading by Geoffrey Rippon, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 26 January 1972. On 17 February 1972, the House of Commons voted narrowly by 309-301 in favour of the Bill at its second reading, after three days of intense debate. Just before the vote the Prime Minister Edward Heath argued his case in the debate with the following words.
The Bill passed on to Committee Stage before its third reading. During this discussion in the House of Commons, MPs pointed out that the Government had structured the European Communities Bill so that Parliament could debate the technical issues about how the treaty enactment would occur but could not debate the treaty of accession itself and decried this sacrifice of Parliament's sovereignty to the Government's desire to join the European project. On 13 July 1972, the House of Commons voted 301-284 in favour of the Bill in its third and final reading before passing on to the House of Lords. Before the vote took place, Geoffrey Rippon argued in the House of Commons before the vote: The Bill passed to the House of Lords; the Act received Royal Assent on 17 October, the UK's instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited the next day with the Italian government as required by the Treaty. Since the Treaty specified its effective date as 1 January 1973 and the Act specified only "entry date" for its actions, the Act and the Treaty took effect 1 January 1973, when the United Kingdom became a member state of the European Communities along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
The European Communities Act was the instrument whereby the UK Parliament effected the changes required by the Treaty of Accession by which the UK joined the European Union. Section 2 says "the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect" in the UK, it enables, under section 2, UK government ministers to make regulations to transpose EU Directives and rulings of the European Court of Justice into UK law. The Treaty itself says the member states will conform themselves to the European Communities existing and future decisions; the Act and the Treaty of Accession have been interpreted by UK courts
1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum
The United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum known variously as the Referendum on the European Community, the Common Market referendum and EEC membership referendum, took place under the provisions of the Referendum Act 1975 on 5 June 1975 in the United Kingdom to gauge support for the country's continued membership of the European Communities — known at the time as the European Community and the Common Market — which it had entered two and a half years earlier on 1 January 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. Labour's manifesto for the October 1974 general election had promised that the people would decide through the ballot box whether to remain in the EC; this was the first national referendum to be held throughout the entire United Kingdom and remained the only UK-wide referendum until the 2011 referendum on alternative voting was held thirty-six years and was the only referendum to be held on the UK's relationship with Europe until the 2016 referendum on continued EU membership.
The electorate expressed significant support for EC membership, with 67% in favour on a national turnout of 64%. The referendum result was not binding. In a 1975 pamphlet Prime Minister Harold Wilson said: "I ask you to use your vote. For it is your vote; the Government will accept your verdict." The pamphlet said: "Now the time has come for you to decide. The Government will accept your decision — whichever way it goes." The February 1974 general election had yielded a Labour minority government, which won a majority in the October 1974 general election. Labour pledged in its February 1974 manifesto to renegotiate the terms of British accession to the EC, to consult the public on whether Britain should stay in the EC on the new terms, if they were acceptable to the government; the Labour Party had feared the consequences of EC membership, such as the large differentials between the high price of food under the Common Agricultural Policy and the low prices prevalent in Commonwealth markets, as well as the loss of both economic sovereignty and the freedom of governments to engage in socialist industrial policies, party leaders stated their opinion that the Conservatives had negotiated unfavourable terms for Britain.
The EC heads of government agreed to a deal in Dublin on 11 March 1975. On 9 April the House of Commons voted by 396 to 170 to continue within the Common Market on the new terms. Along with these developments, the government drafted a Referendum Bill, to be moved in case of a successful renegotiation; the referendum debate and campaign was an unusual time in British politics and was the third national vote to be held in seventeen months. During the campaign, the Labour Cabinet was split and its members campaigned on each side of the question, an unprecedented breach of Cabinet collective responsibility. Most votes in the House of Commons in preparation for the referendum were only carried after opposition support, the Government faced several defeats on technical issues such as the handling and format of the referendum counts; when the European Coal and Steel Community was instituted in 1952, the United Kingdom decided not to become a member. The UK was still absent when the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, creating the European Economic Community.
However, in the late 1950s the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan changed its attitude and appointed Edward Heath to submit an application and lead negotiations for Britain to enter the Common Market. The application was made at a meeting of the EC in January 1963, but the French president Charles de Gaulle rebuffed and vetoed Britain's request. Despite the veto, Britain restarted talks with the European Communities countries in 1967. Heath included negotiating membership in the 1970 Conservative manifesto. Heath became Prime Minister, led many of the negotiations: he struck up a friendship with the new French president Georges Pompidou, who oversaw the lifting of the veto and thus paved the way for UK membership. Between 21 and 28 October 1971 the House of Commons debated whether or not the UK should become a member of the EC, with Prime Minister Edward Heath commenting just before the vote: The House of Commons voted 356-244 in favour of the motion, with the Prime Minister commenting straight afterwards on behalf of the house.
No referendum was held when Britain agreed to an accession treaty on 22 January 1972 or when the European Communities Act 1972 went through the legislative process, on the grounds that to hold one would be unconstitutional. The United Kingdom joined the European Communities on 1 January 1973, along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland; the EC would become the European Union. Throughout this period, the Labour Party was divided, both on the substantive issue of EC accession and on the question of whether accession ought to be approved by referendum. In 1971 pro-Market figures such as Roy Jenkins, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said a Labour government would have agreed to the terms of accession secured by the Con
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis
2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom's component of the 2019 European Parliament election is due to be held on Thursday 23 May 2019. It will be the ninth time for the United Kingdom and the fourth time for Gibraltar to elect MEPs to the European Parliament. Candidate nominations must be submitted by 16:00 on 24 April 2019, voter registration must be completed by 7 May 2019; the UK's ongoing withdrawal from the European Union is expected to be the central issue of the election campaign, it is uncertain how long British MEPs will sit before the withdrawal process is complete. While it is the default position in UK and EU law for the election to take place, the UK Government is continuing attempts to avoid participation by agreeing withdrawal before 23 May; the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union on 29 March 2017 following a referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union. As a result, the country was due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, before the European Parliament elections took place.
Nonetheless, on 27 May 2018, it was reported that the UK's Electoral Commission had set aside £829,000 for its "activities relating to a European Parliamentary election in 2019". The Commission described the money as a "precautionary measure, so that we have the necessary funds to deliver our functions at a European Parliamentary election, in the unlikely event that they do go ahead"; the European Parliament resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament included these clauses: H7 refers to the re-allocation of some UK seats following the UK withdrawal from the EU, stating: "Underlines that the seats to be vacated by the United Kingdom upon its withdrawal from the European Union will facilitate the adoption of a new allocation of seats in Parliament, which will implement the principle of degressive proportionality. H6 has a contingency for the situation that the UK does not leave the EU before the 2019 election, stating that "in case the above mentioned legal situation concerning the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union changes, the allocation of seats applied during the 2014–2019 parliamentary term should apply until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union becomes effective"-The European Council drew up contingency plans allowing the UK to retain its MEPs should Brexit be postponed.: However, in the event that the United Kingdom is still a Member State of the Union at the beginning of the 2019-2024 parliamentary term, the number of representatives in the European Parliament per Member State taking up office shall be the one provided for in Article 3 of the European Council Decision 2013/312/EU until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union becomes effective.
After Brexit was delayed beyond its initial planned date of 29 March 2019, the possibility of a sufficiently long delay so as to require the elections to take place became more apparent. The period for withdrawal under Article 50 was first extended, with the unanimous approval of the European Council, until 12 April 2019 — the deadline for informing the EU of the intention to hold elections. By early April, the House of Commons had voted again to extend the withdrawal period, a deadline of 31 October 2019 was agreed; the UK Government therefore ordered preparations for the election. Ratification of a withdrawal agreement by the UK and European parliaments would still permit the UK to leave before October. If this occurs before 23 May, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar will not take part in the 2019 European Parliament elections scheduled for May 2019. Having elections for the European Parliament while the UK is due to leave the European Union has been seen as problematic, with the UK Government keen to avoid this scenario.
The backdrop of ongoing debate around Brexit is expected to be significant in how people vote, with the election expected to be seen by some as a "proxy referendum" on whether the country should leave the EU or not. Commentators suggest that the vote share for the two biggest UK parties, the Conservatives and Labour, could fall, with voters moving towards a number of pro-Leave or pro-Remain parties; the election is seen as being significant for two new parties, the Brexit Party and Change UK - The Independent Group. Following the prospect of a potential delay to Brexit, Conservative Party MEPs were asked by their delegation leader if they would consider standing again if there was a delay that would mean the UK staying in the EU beyond the date of the next European Parliament election. In April 2019, Labour said it had started its process for choosing candidates, while the Liberal Democrats selection process is ongoing; the Brexit Party are planning to run 70 candidates. Patrick O'Flynn, the Social Democratic Party's sole MEP, having been elected as a UKIP candidate, stated in April 2019 that the SDP will not be standing candidates at the election.
Northern Ireland has a different political context to Great Britain, with different parties traditionally standing. Sinn Féin are selecting a candidate for the Northern Ireland constituency on the weekend of 13/14 April 2019. In April 2019, Jane Morrice, co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition and a former deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, announced that she would stand as an independent in the Northern Ireland constituency on a pro-Remain platform. UKIP are standing on a platform of delivering Brexit. Nigel Farage, the
1994 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The European Parliament Election, 1994 was the fourth European election to be held in the United Kingdom. It was held on 9 June; the electoral system was, for the final European election, first past the post in England and Wales and single transferable vote in Northern Ireland. This was the first election with 87 MEPs, the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1993 increased the number of seats for the UK from 81. For the first time, the UK did not have the lowest turnout in Europe. Turnout was lower in the Portugal; this was the first European election contested by the formed UK Independence Party and the first European election in which the Liberal Democrats won seats. The Green Party lost more than three-quarters of the votes; the Conservatives' lost 14 seats, taking their number of seats down to 18, 42 fewer seats than in the 1979 election, the year they defeated the Labour Party in the 1979 General Election. This reflected the general unpopularity of the Major government at the time. Labour was under the interim leadership of Margaret Beckett following the sudden death of leader John Smith the previous month.
Sources: "European Parliament elections: 1979 to 1994". House of Commons Library. United Kingdom election results Sources: "European Parliament elections: 1979 to 1994". House of Commons Library. United Kingdom election resultsTotal votes cast – 15,292,722. All parties shown. Note 1: Campion's candidacy, with the ballot paper description'Peace Coalition', was supported by Democratic Left, the Greens and some Labour groups. Note 2: Kerr appeared on the ballot paper with the description Independence for Ulster. Note 3: Mooney appeared on the ballot paper with the description Constitutional Independent Northern Ireland. Peter Beazley Sir Fred Catherwood Derek Prag Madron Seligman John Bird Janey Buchan Geoff Hoon Henry McCubbin Christopher Beazley Nicholas Bethell, 4th Baron Bethell Margaret Daly Paul Howell Christopher Jackson Bill Newton Dunn Ben Patterson Peter Price Christopher Prout Patricia Rawlings Amédée Turner Michael Welsh Richard Fletcher-Vane, 2nd Baron Inglewood Labour – Margaret Beckett Conservative – John Major Liberal Democrat – Paddy Ashdown Green – Jan Clark SNP – Alex Salmond Plaid Cymru – Dafydd Elis Thomas UK Independence Party – Alan Sked Liberal Party – Michael Meadowcroft DUP – Ian Paisley SDLP – John Hume UUP – James Molyneaux Elections in the United Kingdom: European elections MEPs for the UK 1994 - 1999