What delightfully garbled logic. If we try to leave the European Union then:
It was there at the heart of the so-called constitutional treaty, but almost nobody noticed. It is there again in the reviled reform treaty, but no one has mentioned that so far. Turn to clause 57 and article 35, then: "Voluntary Withdrawal from the Union". Scan, for the first time, precisely how we\’d get out of Europe. You can (paragraph 1) decide to withdraw if you like. You must (paragraph 2) negotiate with the council of ministers. You\’ll need to agree the details of that withdrawal and a framework for future relationships with the EU. The European parliament will want to approve this, too.
Thereafter, every dotted line signed, you\’re out. The treaties of membership don\’t apply – unless (paragraph 3) there\’s still haggling to do over the small print; in which case, you\’re free from those obligations after two years while the argument goes on. But note (paragraph 4) that you\’re off the council the moment you signal your intention to pull out. You have no voice in other decisions the EU may take. The ministers who remain will use qualified voting. No vetoes apply.
So therefore we can\’t leave because it would all be too complicated.
Which really rather misses the point. All of this only comes into effect if the
Constitutional Reform Treaty is ratified. The current situation is that we pass an Act of Parliament and we\’re out.
All of which means that it\’s a great deal simpler for us to leave now rather than later, doesn\’t it?