Former Prime Ministers, John Major and Tony Blair
LONDON – England – The incendiary irresponsible comments regarding Northern Ireland by former Prime Ministers, John Major and Tony Blair are refuted and debunked by Vote Leave.
Responding to the appearance of Sir John Major & Tony Blair in Northern Ireland tomorrow, Theresa Villiers MP said:
‘Support for the peace process in Northern Ireland is rock solid. The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland believe their future should only ever be determined by democracy and consent and not by violence. I very much hope figures who played such an important role in the peace process would not suggest that a Brexit vote would weaken that resolve in any way. Whatever the result of the referendum, Northern Ireland is not going back to the troubles of its past and to suggest otherwise would be highly irresponsible.’
‘Northern Ireland, like the rest of the UK, will flourish outside the EU. We can keep an open land border. The Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland has existed for nearly 100 years since the creation of the Irish state in the 1920s. It will continue if we vote to leave. There would be risks to manage but they are not significantly more serious than risks that are already managed effectively today through bilateral cooperation between the UK and Ireland.
‘The idea that thousands of non-Irish EU citizens would suddenly start crossing the border is far-fetched. If we vote leave and change the rules on free movement for non-Irish EU citizens, then if they come to the UK across our land border without legal clearance to do so, they would not be able to work, or claim benefits, or rent a home, or open a bank account and could ultimately be deported. There are plenty of mechanisms we can use to control immigration and deal with risks around illegal migration which do not involve physical checks at our land border. The reality is that there has never been a genuinely “hard border” enforced between the UK and Ireland and there would not be one if we leave.’
- Leaving the EU would not endanger the peace process. The pro-EU Northern Ireland Minister has said ‘I just do not think it would be put at risk if we left the EU’.
- The passport free Common Travel Area has existed since 1923. It is enshrined in UK law and will continue if we Vote Leave. The Irish Ambassador has said it would ‘still apply fully’.
- It is possible to be in the Common Travel Area without accepting the free movement of persons.
- The Republic of Ireland will not be used as a backdoor for migrants to enter the UK if we Vote Leave.
- John Major, Tony Blair and Alex Salmond all have a history of disastrous judgments on the EU.
Leaving the EU would not endanger the peace process. The pro-EU Northern Ireland Minister has said ‘I just do not think it would be put at risk if we left the EU’.
It is scaremongering to suggest that the Peace Process would be put at risk if we Vote Leave.
The Good Friday Agreement was a bilateral treaty between the Government of Ireland and Her Majesty’s Government. It did not depend on EU membership and would not be put at risk by the UK leaving the EU.
The Northern Ireland Minister, Ben Wallace MP (who is campaigning to remain in the EU), has said: ‘I just do not think it would be put at risk if we left the EU’.
The Irish Ambassador to London, Daniel Mulhall, has said: ‘we would continue to work together with the UK with regard to Northern Ireland. The provisions of the Good Friday Agreement would still apply fully‘.
The main international influence on the peace process was the United States, not the EU.
The passport free Common Travel Area has existed since 1923. It is enshrined in UK law and will continue if we Vote Leave. The Irish Ambassador has said it would ‘still apply fully’.
As the then Irish Minister of Justice, Kevin O’Higgins said in 1925, ‘there are no passport regulations as between this country and England [sic]. Consequently a person landing in England can come freely here, and a person landing here can go there without the necessity of procuring a passport’.
The Irish Ambassador to London, Daniel Mulhall, has said ‘the arrangements under the Common Travel Area’ would ‘still apply fully’ if the UK voted to leave.
The Immigration Act 1971 provides: ‘Arrival in and departure from the United Kingdom on a local journey from or to … the Republic of Ireland shall not be subject to control under this Act, nor shall a person require leave to enter the United Kingdom on so arriving… and in this Act the United Kingdom and [the Republic of Ireland] are collectively referred to as “the common travel area”‘.
It is possible to be in the Common Travel Area without accepting the free movement of persons.
The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are part of the Common Travel Area.
While the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man participate in the free movement of goods, persons in the Channel Islands do not ‘benefit from Community provisions relating to the free movement of persons and services’. The islands are ‘outside of the European Union for most purposes’.
The Republic of Ireland will not be used as a backdoor for migrants to enter the UK if we Vote Leave.
The Irish Republic has an opt-out from the Schengen borderless area. Migrants will have to pass through either UK or Irish border controls before entering the UK.
Ireland has an opt-out from the EU’s common immigration policy in respect of third country nationals. Third country nationals without a right of residence in Ireland will not be able to enter the UK.
Prospects of mass movements into the UK via Ireland are speculative. In the year ending 2015, just 21,700 EU citizens migrated to the Republic of Ireland.
The incentive for EU migration to the UK via Ireland will substantially diminish after a leave vote. The vast majority of EU citizens who move to the UK enter the UK in order to work. After free movement ceased to apply to the UK, however, many seeking to enter the UK will no longer have the right to work. Immigration powers would therefore apply:
An employer employing a person without a right to work in the UK is liable to a civil penalty of £20,000.
It is a criminal offence to employ knowingly a person subject to immigration control.
Illegal working itself has also just been made a criminal offence.
In addition, persons without the right to remain will be unable to rent housing or open a bank account.
Sir John Major’s record on the EU
- Sir John Major supported the ERM. This was a disaster for the UK.
- Sir John Major claimed he ‘addressed and corrected’ the EU’s ‘centralising tendency’ in 1992. He has since admitted the EU has ‘bypassed’ what he negotiated.
- Sir John Major refused to rule out joining the single currency. This would have been a disaster.
- Sir John Major’s Government was wrong about how the European Union would develop.
John Major supported the ERM. This was a disaster for the UK.
In October 1990, when John Major was Chancellor of the Exchequer, the UK joined the ERM. The ERM caused interest rates to rise to 15 per cent, led to millions of households going into negative equity, and pushed unemployment up to 2.9 million in 1993.
Major insisted remaining in the ERM for as long as possible at enormous cost to the UK economy. In September 1992, he claimed in a speech in Glasgow that: ‘The soft option, the devaluer’s option, the inflationary option, would be a betrayal of our future. And it is not the Government’s policy’ (The Guardian, 28 September 1992).
The resulting ‘Black Wednesday‘ debacle that resulted from Britain’s membership of the ERM cost the UK economy £3.3 billion, according to HM Treasury analysis.
The UK economy recovered rapidly after leaving the ERM.
Sir John Major claimed he ‘addressed and corrected’ the EU’s ‘centralising tendency’ in 1992. He has since admitted the EU has ‘bypassed’ what he negotiated.
John Major claimed that ‘the very centralising tendency that many are so worried about was addressed and corrected at Maastricht‘.
These claims have proven to be false. Since the Maastricht Treaty was ratified, there have been three other major Treaty changes – all of which passed significant power to the EU institutions.
Sir John Major has since admitted that the ‘subsidiarity safeguard‘ he had negotiated ‘was bypassed’ by the EU.
Sir John Major refused to rule out joining the single currency. This would have been a disaster.
- Sir John Major initially ruled out a referendum on joining the single currency and later refused to rule out scrapping the pound, with the 1997 Conservative Manifesto stating ‘we believe it is in our national interest to keep our options open to take a decision on a single currency’.
Sir John Major’s Government was wrong about how the European Union would develop.
It claimed subsidiarity mattered. In March 1993, the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, stated that ‘the principle of subsidiarity is now for the first time enshrined in the treaty as a substantial and legally-binding decision’ and that ‘the court is there and it will be the legal underpinning for subsidiarity’. The European Court of Justice has never struck down an EU law for breach of the principle of subsidiarity and it is unlikely that it will ever to do so. In December 2015, Advocate General Juliane Kokott said that EU legislation could comply with the principle of subsidiarity even if it merely recited an ’empty formula’ to the effect that the matter was better dealt with at EU-level.
It claimed EU citizenship would be benign. In June 1993, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, said: ‘Union citizenship does not override national citizenship … The concept of Union citizenship is benign’. In September 2001, the European Court of Justice declared that ‘Union citizenship is destined to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States’.
It claimed free movement would not apply to third country nationals. In July 1993, Earl Ferrers, a Government Minister, said: ‘The free movement provisions of the Treaty of Rome apply, in our view, only to European Community nationals’. Directive 2004/38/EC provides that free movement applies to the family member members of EU citizens, regardless of whether or not they are EU citizens themselves.
It claimed we would remain in control of our borders. In 1995, Major told the House of Commons that ‘we shall retain our border controls’. In December 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg decided that the UK could not require third country nationals who are married to EU citizens to obtain a permit from UK authorities to be able to enter the UK. The British Government is now instead obliged in principle to accept as valid permits issued by other EU countries. This is despite the fact that a High Court Judge had found that forgery of such permits was ‘systemic’.
Tony Blair’s record on the EU
- Tony Blair led the campaign to scrap the pound. This would have been a disaster.
- Blair continues to support Turkish accession.
- Blair has said there should be no limit to migration, even if it reached 1 million a year.
- Blair consistently gave up control to Brussels, claiming it was ‘utterly sensible’ to scrap British vetoes.
- Blair falsely claimed that the UK was exempt from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. His deception enabled the European Court to take control of the security services.
- Blair broke numerous promises on the EU, including that he would not diminish the size of the rebate and that there would be a referendum on the European Constitution.
- Blair is in the pay of a major donor to the IN campaign which caused the financial crisis.
Blair led the campaign to scrap the pound. This would have been a disaster.
In 2002, Tony Blair claimed it ‘would be a betrayal of our national interest’ not to join the euro. Blair is using the same arguments to stay in the EU that he used to make to join the euro. Today, he claims that ‘it would be a betrayal of the British interest’ to leave the EU.
Blair told The Andrew Marr Show that: ‘We were never in favour of Britain joining the euro’. This is false. In 2000, Tony Blair said: ‘our intention is clear. Britain should join a successful single currency… a successful single currency can bring clear benefits: in currency stability, in lower transaction costs, in transparency, trade, investment and jobs… The single currency can provide macro-economic stability’.
Blair has said there should be no limit to migration, even if it reached 1 million a year.
When asked whether there should be any limit to EU migration, ‘If it was half a million next year, a million the year after‘, Blair refused to contemplate abrogating free movement.
He advocated an open door to Eastern Europe, claiming: ‘those who say migration is out of control… are simply wrong’.
He accused those who warned of a flow into Britain of propagating ‘scare stories about the movement of workers from Eastern Europe’.
Blair continues to support Turkish accession.
During the campaign, Blair has said he will ‘always will be an advocate’ of Turkey joining the EU.
In 2002, Blair said: ‘I think this is a very important and exciting moment for the European Union and for Turkey. I believe we have an historic opportunity to set a firm date for the opening of accession negotiations for Turkey, and to send the clearest possible signal that the European Union wants Turkey inside the European family as a full partner’.
Blair has said: ‘I sincerely believe that EU membership is Turkey’s future. We shall work towards achieving that’.
In 2006, he affirmed that: ‘I support Turkish accession to the European Union, we have been working very hard with the Turkish government to achieve this’.
Blair consistently gave up control to Brussels, claiming it was ‘utterly sensible’ to scrap British vetoes.
Tony Blair signed the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties, which transferred control to the EU institutions and the European Court from the British Parliament and the British courts.
Blair was utterly indifferent about surrendering the UK’s veto in countless areas, claiming it was ‘entirely sensible’ for the veto to be scrapped. The UK has been outvoted on all 72 occasions that it has opposed a measure in the EU Council, with the rate of defeat accelerating since the Lisbon Treaty which Blair agreed to, costing the UK £2.4 billion each year.
Blair falsely claimed that the UK was exempt from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. His deception enabled the European Court to take control of the security services.
- Tony Blair claimed he had achieved an opt out at the time of Lisbon. Blair told the House of Commons’ Liaison Committee that ‘we will not accept a treaty that allows the Charter of Fundamental Rights to change UK law in any way’. He also told the House of Commons that: ‘it is absolutely clear that we have an opt-out from … the charter’.
The European Court has made clear there is no opt out. The European Court has made clear the Protocol negotiated by Blair is worthless, ruling that it ‘does not intend to exempt… the United Kingdom from the obligation to comply with the provisions of the Charter or to prevent a [UK] court … from ensuring compliance with those provisions’. The UK Supreme Court has since confirmed the Charter has ‘direct effect‘ in UK law.
The Charter has allowed the European Court to take control of our security services. Because of judgements of the European Court, the Divisional Court in London annulled the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 on the ground it was inconsistent with the Charter. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, had described the legislation as ‘crucial to fighting crime, protecting children, and combating terrorism’. She argued that without the legislation, ‘we run the risk that murderers will not be caught, terrorist plots will go undetected, drug traffickers will go unchallenged, child abusers will not be stopped, and slave drivers will continue their appalling trade in human beings’. The law has now been referred to the European Court for a decision as to whether it will be allowed.
Blair broke numerous promises on the EU, including that he would not diminish the size of the rebate and that there would be a referendum on the European Constitution.
No reduction in the rebate. In 2005, Tony Blair claimed that: ‘the UK rebate will remain and we will not negotiate it away. Period’. A few weeks later, he said that the rebate was ‘an anomaly that has to go‘. In December of that year, his Government agreed to give up a large part of the rebate during negotiations on a new EU budget deal. This has cost the UK over £10.4 billion.
No European Constitution without a referendum. The 2005 Labour Party Manifesto promised a referendum on the Constitution. The Constitution was revived under the guise of the Lisbon Treaty, which Blair agreed to without a referendum. This was also in breach of a clear promise Blair made that, if the Constitutional Treaty was rejected, that would be it: ‘What you cannot do is have a situation where you get a rejection of the treaty and bring it back with a few amendments and say, “Have another go”. You cannot do that’.
No European Court control over justice and home affairs. Blair claimed that cooperation in justice and home affairs ‘will remain intergovernmental’ and that ‘the European Court will have no authority to decide cases brought in United Kingdom courts on those issues’. Under changes as a result of the Lisbon Treaty (which Blair agreed to), the European Court acquired jurisdiction over justice and home affairs. As a result of this, the European Court is now in control of extradition, child protection and victims’ rights .
No legal personality for the EU. In 1997, Tony Blair claimed that he would make sure that the EU would not gain full legal personality, saying: ‘Others wanted to give the European Union explicit legal personality across all the pillars of the treaty. At our insistence, that was removed’. He agreed to this as part of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Treaties now explicitly state that: ‘the Union shall have legal personality’.
No more institutional debates. Following the signature of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, Tony Blair claimed that ‘the successful conclusion of the intergovernmental conference enables Europe to put institutional wrangles behind it and to move on to the issues that affect people’s daily lives’. This was misleading. The EU spent the next decade tied up in institutional debates, over the Nice Treaty, the failed Constitution and subsequently the Lisbon Treaty, all of which Blair supported.
Blair is in the pay of a major donor to the IN campaign which caused the financial crisis.
Blair has been paid around £2 million per year as a part time adviser to JPMorgan.
JP Morgan has given £500,000 to the IN campaign.
In 2015, JPMorgan spent between €1,250,000 and €1,499,999 lobbying the European Commission.
In November 2013, JPMorgan reached a $13 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice ‘for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages’. ‘As part of the settlement, JPMorgan acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public’. The United States Attorney General Eric Holder said: ‘the conduct uncovered in this investigation helped sow the seeds of the mortgage meltdown’, and said JPMorgan had ‘knowingly bundle[d] toxic loans and [sold] them to unsuspecting investors’.