“Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) (Con): Since you have been so kind as to call me, Mr Speaker, perhaps I may ask the Prime Minister how the changes resulting from the negotiation will restrict the volume of legislation coming from Brussels and change the treaties so as to assert the sovereignty of this House of Commons and these Houses of Parliament.
The Prime Minister: Let me take those issues in turn, because my hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise them. First, asserting the sovereignty of this House is something that we did by introducing the European Union Act 2011. I am keen to do even more to put it beyond doubt that this House of Commons is sovereign. We will look to do that at the same time as concluding the negotiations.”
The Commons exchange above is from Hansard on February 3. At the time, Boris had not taken a position on the EU referendum and his support was in play. The Remain-supporting Guardian duly reported this commitment under the headline “Cameron vows to put Commons sovereignty ‘beyond doubt’ “.
The Bill was to be the rabbit that the Prime Minister would pull out of his hat in the aftermath of his deal. But as the Sun reported this morning and as its own text confirms, there is no Sovereignty Bill in the speech.
In other words, the commitment was dangled as a bait before Boris and others. When they refused to take it, it was promptly dropped. Nothing could better illustrate the make-it-up-as-you-go-along nature of Cameron’s renegotiation – and the deal that flowed from it – than this gap in the Queen’s Speech today.
And it is on the basis of that deal, remember, that we are all being asked to remain in a reformed EU – I stress the Prime Minister’s own word. You don’t need to follow the day-to-day campaigning fuss and bother about Obama and Lagarde and Heseltine and those who once recommended the ERM and the Euro to draw the obvious conclusion.
As someone or other nearly put it, this rabbit is no more. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s pushing up the daisies. Its metabolic processes are now history. It’s off the grass. It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible. This is an ex-rabbit.
Beautiful fur, though.