David Cameron cannot just pick and choose European Union laws for Britain despite promising his party a "new settlement", a senior Brussels official has suggested.
The warning came from Cecilia Malmström, EU home affairs commissioner, just days before the Prime Minister prepares to give a major speech setting out his vision for a fresh relationship with the rest of Europe.
It also deals a blow to the Prime Minister's initial efforts to claw back 136 powers related to law and order. This is Mr Cameron's first step towards re-negotiating wider powers over areas such as agriculture, justice and employment laws.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Ms Malmström said it was a difficult process to opt out of a package of laws and then opt back into some of them.
It's amazing, in a disturbing way, the lengths our political class will go, to try to pretend we rule our own country, or that being a member of the EU involves some kind of Woolworths inspired 'pick 'n mix' option.“On each of these opt-ins there will have to be a negotiation and the other member states will have to agree,” she said. Ms Malmström added that it would be complex because “of these 136 laws, many are very connected”.
Alex Salmond suffers from the same affliction in a slightly different way refusing to be honest about the EU status, or lack of, regarding an independent Scotland:
José Manuel Barroso told the BBC it was “obvious” that if one part of a member state, like the UK, became a separate country then it would have to apply for EU membership.In Cameron's case, it simply isn't feasible to pass various EU treaties via Parliament then try to
He rejected Alex Salmond’s claim that talks over Scotland’s terms of membership would take place from “within” the EU, arguing that legally it would be an entirely new state.
For the Tories, pigeons are coming home to roost - big time. Here's what Labour MP Hugh Gaitskell, said in October 1962
"The Tories have been indulging in their usual double talk. When they go to Brussels they show the greatest enthusiasm for political union. When they speak in the House of Commons they are most anxious to aver that there is no commitment whatever to any political union."'Ever closer union' was always going to mean the Tory position of 'in Europe not ruled by it' would over time become laughably less and less plausible. But it seems, in the face of evidence, they would still rather destroy their own party first than admit to the truth.