Straw says abolish the European Parliament

21st February, 2012 8:55 pm

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called for the abolition of the European Parliament at an event organised by IPPR today. According to the Guardian, Straw said:

“I am now clear that there is a major democratic deficit within the EU. And it is absolutely certain, in my judgment, that the mechanism that was established 30 years ago to fill this gap of the democratic deficit, which was a directly elected European parliament, has not worked and, in my judgment, cannot work in that form. And the paradox is that as the European parliament has been given more powers it has become less, not more, legitimate and that is shown by the drop in the average [election] turnout across Europe.”


Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Redshift

    So what will solve the democratic deficit? Seems like a circular argument to me Jacky boy

  • Disappointed you’re giving Straw’s ideas such an airing. His case was poorly presented and not backed up with any proper fact. Yes, there are problems with the EP, but Straw’s ideas do not help in the slightest.

    • With the current financial crisis, I don’t think it’s a good idea to do such thing. They should focus on “recovery” rather than put more argument and create another never ending political crisis.

  • Given that democracy has been suspended in Greece and Italy this is rather like announcing the closure of the barn door long after the horse has gone.

  • derek

    So what is Jack going to replace the EP with? something like the big nations syndrome, Germany, Britain and France tripartite grip…….will this  grow into the UK is stronger together and bigger is best?

  • Duncan

    A democratic deficit is putting it bloody mildly if you were, say, Greek!  What does Jack recommend though?  The European Parliament has not solved the democratic deficit, but surely any call for its abolition must come hand-in-hand with a proposal for an alternative?

  • I have to say that the EP is little more than a talking shop.  Yes it scrutinises European Commission policy but the Council of Ministers provides far better scrutiny. One thing EP could do is scrap the appalling 300m euro per annum waste that is packing up and moving to Strasbourg once a month.

    • derek

      OK, so if all the reasoned debates point to the closing of the EP, who will scrutinise those far right members? the bail out plan for Greece is so severe that it could possibly push the Greeks to form a communist state?

    • The EP might not have power people can understand (in that the direction of the EU doesn’t depend on the EP), but it has serious legislative clout on almost all legislation. Regular MEPs have more scope to genuinely shape law that applies to 500 million citizens than Westminster backbenchers do.

    • The EP might not have power people can understand (in that the direction of the EU doesn’t depend on the EP), but it has serious legislative clout on almost all legislation. Regular MEPs have more scope to genuinely shape law that applies to 500 million citizens than Westminster backbenchers do.

  • AlanGiles

    Pompous old ass. He uses his favourite expression “in my judgement” twice.

    What judgement?. Another old has-been who should have retired long ago.

  • Daniel Speight

    It took many years for me to forgive Barbara Castle for In Place of Strife, in fact well after her death, but I doubt I will ever forgive her for helping Jack Straw up the political ladder.

    • AlanGiles

      We all make mistakes – I am sure she lived to regret it. I had actually forgotten that, Daniel – I always thought he escaped from an oil slick 🙂

      • I thought In Place of Strife was a lost opportunity – if it had been introduced, no winter of discontent, maybe no Thatcher….

        Straw on the other hand, seems to have shifted drastically rightwards from his time with Barbara! so lets not blame her…..

        • Daniel Speight

           Mike I’m guessing you are too young to have been there, but In Place of Strife was a reaction to the unions becoming too powerful for the establishment. We were seeing a far fairer distribution of the profits of our labour. This attempt was just a forerunner of Thatcher’s anti-union laws. Far better it be Tories that attack organized labour than our  own party.

  • W G

    I’ve become a little
    tired of this left/right nonsense – I actually see the European Union in a very
    threatening light; if you consider it to be a cuddly left wing organization
    keeping tabs on the right then you are wrong; the EU is becoming more meddlesome
    and intrusive by the day.


    On the money side, the
    present state of austerity has been in place for several years and yet the EU
    parliament keeps on furnishing itself with more glass palaces and chauffeur
    driven fonctionnaires; they know about the hardships back home but continue to
    gorge themselves on our money.


    I have an unhealthy
    dislike of Jack Straw, but his points stand – the more powerful a transnational
    parliament becomes, the less power national governments have (the less power
    the people have)

    His second point about
    public disinterest also stands; less than 35% of UK voters voted in the last EU


    As far as I am
    concerned the hard working people of Britain are paying for two governments –
    that’s money that could be going into training those working class youngsters
    (now adults) that the last 13 years of a Labour government have left behind.


    The European Union is
    draining Europe of its wealth. 

  • The parliament needs more influence and power, not less. Straw is essentially a Little Englander in any case

  • spot on – abolish it and get us the hell out of Europe 🙂

  • Davecargill

    There must be a better way than walking away from the table. No point in blaming others because of our own inability to make the case. All over the Northwest there are monuments of regeneration which would never have happens without the EU.


  • Martin Yuille

    The headline “Straw says abolish the European Parliament” does not match the content of Jack Straw’s stated opinion.

    “Straw says reform the EP”.  Not so striking as a headline. But this is an opinion which is worth fleshing out.  It’s a pity Jack says jack about that.

  • what is Parliament means?

  • The parliament needs more influence and power. Straw is essentially a Little Englander in any case


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends