Responding to David Miliband’s expected comments in a speech on the EU referendum, Priti Patel MP said:
‘David Miliband talks of political disarmament but appears to have conveniently forgotten his leading role in the Blair Government that relentlessly surrendered national powers to the EU, gave away billions from the British rebate, campaigned to scrap the pound and failed to retain control over our borders.
‘As Foreign Secretary he signed us up to the Lisbon Treaty that sacrificed important EU vetoes and misled the public about the power of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Voters will be in no mood for lectures from someone who was wrong then on the EU and is wrong now. The safer option in this referendum is to stop handing Brussels £350 million every week and Vote Leave on 23 June‘.
David Miliband supported UK entry into the single currency, claiming this was ‘vital’. He was wrong then and he is wrong now.
- ‘David Miliband, the former head of Tony Blair’s policy unit who was elected to parliament last June, is to join a panel of Labour MPs who will put forward the pro-euro case at Labour party events throughout Britain’.
- In May 2002, Miliband signed a parliamentary motion claiming that the ‘five tests’ for scrapping the pound had already been met.
David Miliband supported the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the transfer of more powers to the EU institutions.
- David Miliband was Foreign Secretary at the time of Lisbon Treaty.
- He claimed the UK had an opt out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, stating: ‘A new legally binding protocol guarantees that nothing in the charter extends the ability of any court to strike down UK law’. The European Court has since ruled that the relevant Protocol ‘does not intend to exempt the Republic of Poland or the United Kingdom from the obligation to comply with the provisions of the Charter or to prevent a court of one of those Member States from ensuring compliance with those provisions’.
- The European Court has used the Charter to create a right to vote in elections to the European Parliament for convicted prisoners. The law firm Leigh Day stated that ‘the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has confirmed that the UK’s blanket bans on prisoners voting in European elections is likely to be unlawful. The decision opens up the UK Government to claims for compensation by prisoners unable to vote in elections held in May 2014 and further legal action if the UK Government refuses to take action to allow prisoners to vote in the May 2019 elections’.
- The Charter is a threat to national security. In July 2015, the Divisional Court struck down the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 as inconsistent with the Charter. In November 2015, the Court of Appeal referred the law to the ECJ to see whether or not it is allowed. When the Act was introduced the Home Secretary, Theresa May, stated that it was ‘crucial to fighting crime, protecting children, and combating terrorism‘ The European Court will hear this case tomorrow.
David Miliband will claim that ‘the European Union multiplies British power’ and that leaving means ‘less influence’. This is false. The UK is constantly outvoted in the EU institutions.
- On all 72 occasions that the UK has voted against a measure in the Council of Ministers, it has been outvoted. This is happening with increased frequency: of the UK’s 72 defeats, over half (40) have occurred in the last five years. This costs the British taxpayer £2.4 billion each year.
- The UK has been defeated in over 77% of cases in which it has been a party in the European Court. Since the current Government entered office in May 2010, the UK has been defeated on 16 occasions: a failure rate of 80%.
- The UK’s representatives are often outvoted in the European Parliament as well. The majority of UK MEPs voted against 576 EU proposals between 2009 and 2014, but 485 still passed, a failure rate of 84%.
David Miliband will claim leaving the UK will amount to an act of ‘unilateral political disarmament’. This is false.
- If we Vote Leave, we will remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and will still have the world’s fifth largest military budget. A vote to leave the EU is not a vote to endanger political cooperation or defence cooperation.
- Statistics from NATO show other EU countries have consistently failed to meet their obligations to NATO, spending just 1.29% of their collective GDP on defence, far short of the 2% target met by the UK and NATO as a whole.
David Miliband will claim that leaving the EU means ‘less security’. This is false, as many experts have made clear.
- The respected former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Richard Dearlove, has said: ‘the truth about Brexit from a national security perspective is that the cost to Britain would be low. Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights—remember the difficulty of extraditing the extremist Abu Hamza of the Finsbury Park Mosque—and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the European Union’.
- General Michael Hayden, the former chief of the CIA, agrees stating: ‘Sir Richard is right’ that a vote to leave the EU would have little impact on America’s willingness to work with the UK: ‘The union is not a natural contributor to national security’ and ‘gets in the way of the state providing security for its own citizens’.
- The EU’s own Frontex Agency has admitted that the EU’s open borders policies are damaging, stating: ‘there is a risk that some persons representing a security threat to the EU may be taking advantage of this situation’ and that ‘there is clearly a risk that persons representing a security threat maybe entering the EU‘.
- Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded land forces during the Falklands War, has said ‘membership of the EU weakens our national defence in very dangerous times’.
- Richard Walton, former Head of Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard (2011-15), has said: ‘membership of the EU does not really convey any benefits that we couldn’t access if we were outside it… Success in countering terrorism does not depend on any of us being members of a particular club. It is simply achieved through international collaboration to prevent known threats from passing across borders‘.
- The former Secretary-General of Interpol, Ronald K Noble has said the EU ‘is effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the Continent and make their escape’.
The EU and the European Court is weakening security.
- The European Court has said that our Government cannot require family members of EU nationals to have a permit issued by UK authorities, but must accept permits from other EU countries. This is despite the fact that Mr Justice Haddon-Cave found that permits from other EU countries are forged on a ‘systemic’ basis. This will make it easier for terrorists to enter the UK using forged documents. The former Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald K Noble, has observed that ‘eight Schengen countries were on the list of the top 10 nations reporting stolen or lost passports in Interpol’s databases’.
- On 4 February 2016, Advocate General Professor Maciej Szpunar issued an opinion stating that it was ‘in principle’ contrary to the Treaties to remove ‘CS’ from the UK, notwithstanding the fact that she had been convicted and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. It was subsequently revealed under parliamentary privilege that ‘CS’ was the daughter-in-law of Abu Hamza, who was convicted of attempting to smuggle a SIM card to him in high security prison.
David Miliband will claim being in the EU is needed to ensure ‘public services can survive the flight of capital from western tax authorities’. The EU is facilitating tax avoidance.
- Large companies have been using EU law to reclaim tax from HMRC. The OBR has forecast HMRC will pay out £7.3 billion in refunds over the next five years, enough to pay for twenty-five brand new fully-staffed hospitals. HMRC’s contingent liabilities for taxes being challenged under EU law are £35.6 billion, 105 times as much as what is spent on the Cancer Drugs Fund each year. The UK’s new 45% tax on corporate tax refunds is currently being challenged by multinational businesses under EU law, which could lead to billions of further payouts.
- The Commission has previously accepted that ‘there are many cases where it [the Parent-Subsidiary Directive] is being abused by companies to avoid paying taxes in any Member State’.
- This is on top of the £19.1 billion the UK sends to the EU institutions each year.
David Miliband will claim that being in the EU gives the UK ‘the power to help shape the negotiation of global trade deals’. This is false. The EU has an extremely poor track record at negotiating free trade deals.
- The EU has been very poor at negotiating trade deals. In 2015, the aggregate GDP of all the countries with which the EU had a trade agreement in force was $7.7 trillion. By contrast, the aggregate GDP of all countries with which Chile had trade agreements was $58.3 trillion. The figure for South Korea was $40.8 trillion and that for Switzerland was $39.8 trillion (albeit these all include the EU with a GDP of $16.7 trillion).
- The EU has failed to negotiate a free trade agreement with China. By contrast, both Iceland (which has a population of less than half a million) and Switzerland have negotiated free trade agreements with China.
- The EU has failed to negotiate trade agreements with major emerging economies, such as India and Brazil. It is safer to take back control of trade policy.
The International Rescue Committee of which Miliband is President is funded by the EU.