the point of Parliamentary scrutiny

A great deal has been said in recent months about parliamentary scrutiny of the UK government over Brexit – a degree of scrutiny rarely accorded to the laws handed down from Brussels during the time of the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU.

UK Parliamentary scrutiny now knows no bounds given that Brexit is so close – or is it ?   All the scrutiny is aimed, of course, at ensuring that the UK remains in one form or other as a member or dependent associate. That the Westminster parliament should remain subject to the EUrocracy orchestrated from Paris and Berlin. 

The Westminster parliament has this year broken the bounds of our Constitution, and the Supreme Court has aided and abetted in the violation of the Constitution framed after 1688 – a Constitution which provided

  • the framework for our current constitutional monarchy
  • the  all important Rule-of-Law to protect property and personal rights
  • and therefore enabled Britain’s subsequent commercial success
  • and provided rights to the peoples of Britain’s colonies, witness Hong Kongers fears and protests today

See my assessments on 25th September and 3rd October 2019 at www.rightwing.institute

But there is good news from Europe ! Or should I say, from the European parliament which is flexing its muscles in what limited powers it has to hold the Executive to account.

The following is a verbatim report from the EU Observer – an online pro European news service concerned about the democratic functioning of the EU.

By Koert Debeuf and Andrew Rettman

 

Sylvie Goulard, France’s nominee for the European Commission, lost the vote on her candidacy on Thursday (10 October), with 82 MEPs against her, 29 in favour, and one abstention.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, now has no choice but to name an alternative.

“We were quite surprised to see that someone as experienced as Sylvie Goulard was not able to take a number of concerns away,” Esther de Lange, a Dutch politician from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), said after the vote by two European Parliament committees.

Goulard was not able to dispel questions on “double standards”, de Lange said.

“How can you be unfit to be minister in France, while at the same time be good enough to be a European commissioner?”, she added.

De Lange referred to an ongoing French investigation into Goulard’s alleged misuse of EU funds in her time as an MEP, which saw her step down as French defence minister back in 2017.

But the death blow to the French liberal candidate came after an EPP nominee (from Hungary) had also fallen by the wayside and after Macron had earlier killed an EPP man’s chances of becoming commission president.

An EPP tweet, which accidentally showed one of the group’s internal messages online, reinforced the idea of a revenge plot.

“Guys, we are going to kill her in the vote later but do not say a … [sic] until then”, the EPP tweet said on Thursday.

The Elysee alluded to the plot in a statement, saying Goulard’s rejection was due to “political game-playing directed at the entire European Commission”.

But Goulard herself said only that she “took note of the decision” and thanked those MEPs who had voted in favour of her.

The decision came after MEPs had called in the French candidate for a second hearing in Brussels earlier the same day.

The EU funds investigation aside, Goulard’s previous €13,000 per month consultancy job for a US think tank had also raised doubt on her integrity in an initial hearing.

And Francois-Xavier Bellamy, a French centre-right MEP, continued to strike at the sore spot the second time around.

He alleged that “pressures have been put on many of my colleagues in this room from national heads of state and governments to dismiss” the tough questions.

Pernille Weiss, a Danish-centre right MEP, also accused Goulard of “double standards”, echoing the group line.

And questions on the sore subjects also flew in from green, far-right, and far-left MEPs.

She was “blurry on integrity … still very evasive and ambiguous”, Valérie Joron, a French far-right MEP said.

Dramatic upset

Goulard’s fall marks the biggest upset so far to Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president.

Goulard had insisted on Thursday that she had spoken with Von der Leyen on the issue of the EP funds probe and they both decided it was ok for her to apply for the EU post.

The commission’s legal services had also cleared her application, Goulard added.

And if the French authorities ever brought formal charges against her, then she would consider resigning, she had promised.

The €13,000/month post was not illegal, but may have been in poor taste on “more subjective” grounds, she had also said.

Liberal MEPs and some other centre-right deputies did ask less controversial questions on Goulard’s portfolio, which was to include the single market, defence, and culture.

She pledged to fight for social cohesion, in a counterpoint to her own lucrative consultancy income.

She also pledged to reduce carbon emissions, protect intellectual property from Chinese firms, promote European film, and defend small businesses and women’s rights.

The fate of two other candidates – from Hungary and Romania – also hangs in the balance after MEPs rejected two initial candidates, with von der Leyen yet to say if she accepted their replacement nominees instead.

Goulard’s early exit also calls into question von der Leyen’s stated intention to have a gender-balanced commission, with 13 women.

Now, together with French president Macron, von der Leyen has to look for another candidate for France as well.

the original report is to be found at  https://euobserver.com/institutional/146221

Paris and Berlin saw former French Defence minister, Sylvie Goulard as a key member of Von der Leyen’s top team – a team being tasked by the Franco-German axis to establish a fully fledged European Army and Defence Industry in the course of the coming 5 year term of office.

Von der Leyen was formerly German Defence minister.

Nick Clegg categorically asserted otherwise in debate with Nigel Farage.

And post Referendum Prime Minister Theresa May involved Britain in this  project – despite Brexit …

Ray Catlin