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Report from the Foreign Secretary

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    Report from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


    Introduction

    Mr Speaker, this report aims, as stated in the Guidance Document, to provide the House with information about the policies which my department aims to undertake under my stewardship. This Government is not afraid of taking the bold action that is needed in the sphere of foreign affairs and this statement shows that we are committed to doing so. My main policy aims will be: structural reform within the (M)UN in order to ensure that the policies set out in this and other reports by future Governments can actually be achieved instead of simply being thrown by the wayside; negotiations with the EU to repatriate powers back the HoC Government either through direct negotiations or through strengthening the Canon Amendment in order to effectively block EU law in areas where we feel that UK law should take precedent and strengthening the Commonwealth and establishing a free trading zone.


    Structural Reform within the (M)UN

    Since my amendment to remove the role of the MUN, there has been little activity from any Foreign Secretary bar myself within the MUN. While this ought to be decried, it is important that we examine the causes of this lack of involvement. The main reason, in my opinion, is that the Foreign Secretary lacks the ability to actually implement policy within the MUN and therefore I am proposing structural change to establish the following groupings:

    - An European Union grouping focussed on negotiating on EU law and shaping the opinions of the EU rep within the MUN

    - A Commonwealth grouping allowing negotiations with the Commonwealth so that we can discuss policy changes affecting the Commonwealth and so that we can add an extra dimension to the House in the form of opinions from the Commonwealth on Commonwealth issue.


    The above groupings will have a positive impact upon this House. They will allow more tangible results to be achieved via the policies and the legislations enacted by this House. This House will also be able to know the opinions of these groupings on policy. For example, should one seek to challenge EU policy in any given area, rather than the House simply dismissing policy because ‘our European counterparts may not like’, we can firmer opinions and therefore dismiss this concern.

    Yet we can go further. We can begin to seek international treaties and agreements on issues and hence actually debate these types of Bills as well within the House. These structural reforms will increase activity in both the HoC (through giving us more to debate) and the MUN (through there being more to discuss there and also through new aspects to the MUN).

    In the coming weeks, I intend to write a position paper setting out the HoC’s position on this matter before drafting amendments to the MUN charter. Following the successful implementation of these amendments, I will then seek to amend the HoC Constitution to take into account the House’s membership of these blocs and also to factor in the new aspects and opinions on policy and how these will be conveyed to the House.


    Negotiations with the European Union with regards to the repatriation of powers

    Once the above structural reforms have been passed, we aim to begin to repatriate powers back from the EU to the HoC Government. We will seek to do so either through the channels of negotiation or through amending the Canon amendment. Our priority will be negotiations, but should this not work, we will then do so through amending the Canon amendment.

    This Government will seek to return powers from Brussels in areas where we feel that the EU should have no say. We will seek to regain control of our waters by reforming the Common Fisheries policy. We will also re-negotiate on security and justice powers. This Government is determined to ensure that this Parliament holds the powers that it wants to hold regardless of the EU. We will also seek to reform CAP to ensure that it is a fairer system. This Government will also slash red tape from Brussels and negotiate to ensure that European regulation does not strangle our businesses and our recovery.

    While we are committed to negotiations where appropriate, the Government could also strengthen the Canon amendment to ensure that we regain these powers. We will amend this amendment so that EU Law shall be considered the lowest priority of law and that, in places where there are both Acts of Parliament and EU Laws, this House shall choose for Acts of the UK Parliament to be the only laws that apply to this HoC.

    We do not seek confrontation, but peaceful negotiations. That said, we have other means of ensuring that this Government can achieve these policy aims.


    Development of the Commonwealth

    The Commonwealth is an invaluable partnership that this country has with its counterparts, yet Parliament after Parliament, this House has neglected its partners. This Government will seek to end this decline. Following structural reforms in the (M)UN, we will work with our Commonwealth partners to establish a free trade zone. I would like to remind members who effectively rejected this Bill the first time around that, through the successful passage of the Canon Amendment, this law would take priority over EU Law and therefore such a zone would not be in any way illegal. This free trade zone would allow us to reduce the amount of aid which is spent on Commonwealth countries and allow the private sector to trade without tariffs. Such a zone would be of immense value to all parties involved and would help to fuel the recovery.

    It has been suggested that we extend the Commonwealth into some kind of free migration zone (perhaps comparable to the Schengen zone). This Government has no plans to do anything of the sort for this Parliament and indeed the fact that some members of the Schengen Agreement are now seeking to remove themselves from the zone suggests that this is not a policy that we should seek to emulate any time soon. Ideas about a two tier Commonwealth is another policy that this Government will not be adopting. In seeking closer ties, we must not divide the Commonwealth.


    Further Policies

    It is my intention to continue to be actively involved in the MUN as well as within the House. I will establish a thread in the House where I will post the responses of the Government to the various issues raised by representatives. This will help to foster debate as well as increase the transparency of this Government. I also hope that this thread will serve as a question thread for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


    Concluding Remarks

    Mr Speaker, as the House can see, this Government is embarking on the bold reform which will allow the role of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to become far greater and will help to provide tangible results, activity and an extra dimension to debates which this House needs. I welcome questions from all sides of the House. I commend this statement to the House.
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    Thank you Mr Speaker for posting my report. I'd like to add that as of today the HoC is a partner of the Baltic Partnership Grouping of the MUN.
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    I am sorry but I cannot support the repatriation of powers from the EU.

    I believe that we need to be in the EU and there has to be reform of the EU.

    The EU MUN is myself and I was planning a wider EU Group should the Baltic Partnership collapse. The EU has been given Observer Status of the group and has been nominated for the Secretariat role.

    I wear 3 hats on TSR, Leader of the Lib Dems, Leader of the Pro Europe Society and MUN EU Rep.
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    I am sorry but I cannot support the repatriation of powers from the EU.

    I believe that we need to be in the EU and there has to be reform of the EU.

    The EU MUN is myself and I was planning a wider EU Group should the Baltic Partnership collapse. The EU has been given Observer Status of the group and has been nominated for the Secretariat role.
    They are our powers in the first place and we have every right in asking for powers back. We can still reform the EU, but if we want to bring powers back to our sovereign Parliament, then who can stop us?

    I look forward to working with you in the MUN to bring the EU bloc to life. It's something that I've pushed for on a few occasions and will be publishing a position paper on this shortly.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    They are our powers in the first place and we have every right in asking for powers back. We can still reform the EU, but if we want to bring powers back to our sovereign Parliament, then who can stop us?

    I look forward to working with you in the MUN to bring the EU bloc to life. It's something that I've pushed for on a few occasions and will be publishing a position paper on this shortly.
    I am sorry but I disagree with you on the Repatriation of Powers. This needs to be Voted for by this House.

    I look forward to working with on the EU Bloc idea. In my Welcome post in the MUN Forum I have outlined what the postion of the EU within the UN is.
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    I am sorry but I disagree with you on the Repatriation of Powers. This needs to be Voted for by this House.

    I look forward to working with on the EU Bloc idea
    Any repatriations of EU powers back to this Parliament will be presented in treaty form to this House so that we can debate what powers we have negotiated back. I intend to publish the paper within the next few days/ week or so and then I look forward to working with you on bringing this bloc to life.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Any repatriations of EU powers back to this Parliament will be presented in treaty form to this House so that we can debate what powers we have negotiated back. I intend to publish the paper within the next few days/ week or so and then I look forward to working with you on bringing this bloc to life.
    Good that we will be Voting on this. I will be Voting Against and I am sure that other Pro Europeans will also vote agai9nst it.

    I look forward to working with you.
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    Good that we will be Voting on this. I will be Voting Against and I am sure that other Pro Europeans will also vote agai9nst it.

    I look forward to working with you.
    I respect your decision, but hopefully I can persuade you that the powers which we will seek to repatriate will be those that will benefit the UK by having them back in the hands of the HoC.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    I respect your decision, but hopefully I can persuade you that the powers which we will seek to repatriate will be those that will benefit the UK by having them back in the hands of the HoC.
    Everyone knows my stance, screaming pro-European who wants reform.

    I await your detailed plans.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    I respect your decision, but hopefully I can persuade you that the powers which we will seek to repatriate will be those that will benefit the UK by having them back in the hands of the HoC.
    What powers exactly?
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    (Original post by obi_adorno_kenobi)
    What powers exactly?
    Security and Justice powers in particular. We also want to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, CAP (though I believe that there are reforms coming in during 2013). We also seek to remove red tape which unnecessarily holds back the economy.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Security and Justice powers in particular. We also want to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, CAP (though I believe that there are reforms coming in during 2013). We also seek to remove red tape which unnecessarily holds back the economy.
    We have have an opt in arrangement regarding Security and Justice.

    Yes I agree that CAP and CFP should be reformed but I want this kept at EU Level
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    I support this statement.

    I am pro-EU however there are areas such as CFP and CAP in which membership of the EU is currently harming us and as such powers over these need to be devolved back to the UK.
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    We have have an opt in arrangement regarding Security and Justice.

    Yes I agree that CAP and CFP should be reformed
    We certainly do, but there are policies which we need to opt out from before we don't have that option any more. There's a fair few from what I remember.
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    I am sorry but I cannot support the repatriation of powers from the EU.
    :facepalm: what a stupid statement to make, even I a French Pro-European Union Die Hard can see the need for repatriation of powers to the UK. Sheesh.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    I am pro-EU however there are areas such as CFP and CAP in which membership of the EU is currently harming us.
    No just no.
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    We certainly do, but there are policies which we need to opt out from before we don't have that option any more. There's a fair few from what I remember.
    Were not part of Schengen nor the Euro.

    I look forward to seeing your list
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Security and Justice powers in particular. We also want to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, CAP (though I believe that there are reforms coming in during 2013). We also seek to remove red tape which unnecessarily holds back the economy.
    Look, mate, this kind of junk language might get Morgise hard but you don't need to employ it with me! "Red tape which unnecessarily holds back the economy" means what exactly? Do you mean the minimum wage? The working time directive? Health and Safety requirements? Or is there something more noxious that you have in mind?
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    Yes I agree that CAP and CFP should be reformed but I want this kept at EU Level
    I intend to negotiate at EU level on these issues. We have the option of using the Canon Amendment and reforming that as well though to ensure that we get what we want and I will not rule out that course of action should negotiations fail.
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    An effect of this action, Labour's plan of Renationalisation of the Railways. I have stated EU Law as a reason against this, Directive 91/440

    Can someone explain the Canon Amendment please?

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