EU Constitution Co-Author on the Lisbon Treaty "Democracy at Stake"
2009-09-21 0:00

By David Barrett |

Former minister Gisela Stuart says Lisbon Treaty would create 'democratic deficit'.

Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who helped draw up the controversial EU Lisbon Treaty has warned that it puts the nature of British democracy at stake.

The former health minister, said the treaty breached a fundamental principle that voters should be able to remove politicians who are in power.

Miss Stuart sat on the committee which devised the original EU constitution, and which later became the basis of the Lisbon Treaty.

Irish voters will go to the polls next month in a crucial referendum on the treaty, more than a year after they throwing the ratification process into disarray.

Miss Stuart said the treaty would create a "democratic deficit" if passed.

"The nature of democracy is really at stake," she said.

"My basic test of democracy is: can I get rid of them? By casting a vote, you can change the people who are in control of you."

The former law lecturer and MP for Birmingham Edgbaston added: "Lisbon does not give you, as a citizen, the means to control the executive or the politicians who decide on your behalf, and that's the hurdle it fails on."

The treaty contains a "ratchet clause" which means that national vetoes - such as that possessed by Britain - can be scrapped without the need for referendums or political summits.

Voters will also be unable to remove a powerful new EU president, who will be selected by EU leaders rather than by a poll of the electorates in member states.

The Unelected Future President of the EU?

Irish voters brought the Lisbon programme to an abrupt halt in June last year when they rejected it by 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent. The treaty must be ratified by all member states and the Irish government was unable to do so without a referendum.

The next Irish crunch vote takes place on October 2.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph in March, Miss Stuart said she had changed her mind about Europe and described the original EU constitution as a "botched compromise".

She added: "The EU cannot continue with its current structure."


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