“This is just about the most thoroughly dishonest political process I have ever been witness to. This is a constitutional treaty with profound, far-reaching implications and for the British Government to pretend it is something it isn’t and deny us a referendum is monstrous.”
– MEP Nigel Farage
GLOATING TRAITOR: Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown
By Jack Teague
GUTLESS Gordon Brown today handed over control of Britain’s immigration policy to Europe as he signed the controversial EU reform treaty in Lisbon.
Failed asylum seekers facing deportation from the UK could now appeal decisions and take their cases to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg.
It means unelected EU judges will be able to decide whether failed asylum seekers can remain in Britain. Applicants will even be able pick-up benefits paid for by taxpayers waiting for their verdict
The Government has previously admitted that the average bill for supporting such people is £129-a-week.
With more than 150,000 appeals heard in Britain every year, the bill for the taxpayer could go into tens of millions of pounds.
The treaty takes the place of the proposed EU Constitution, which was scrapped two years ago, after being rejected out of hand by France and Holland.
Neil O’Brien of Open Europe, an independent think tank who analyse Britain’s relationship with the EU, insisted the UK is signing up to the rejected constitution anyway, and by doing so is giving away its right to govern itself.
He said: “By signing us up to the rejected Constitution, Gordon Brown is giving EU courts the right to hear asylum cases.
“This could mean that decisions made by UK courts to deport failed asylum seekers will be overturned by Brussels.”
Under the treaty, the EU will also get a permanent president and a foreign minister – who will have the power to represent Britain at the UN.
To add to Mr Brown’s embarrassment, he was appearing in front of a House of Commons committee earlier today and missed the official ceremony, instead opting to send Foreign Secretary David Milliband to the event.
Mr Brown finally arrived in Portugal, hours later all of the other EU leaders and had to put his signature on the treaty behind closed doors.
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague believes that the PM’s late show in Lisbon made a bad situation even worse.
He said: “Gordon Brown has left Britain with the worst of all worlds today.
“With a stroke of a pen he has signed away a swathe of powers to the EU, but his sulky rudeness to our European partners means that he has actually managed to lose influence in Brussels.
“This latest blunder is another sign that Gordon Brown is struggling to cope as Prime Minister.
Liberal Democrat leadership contender Chris Huhne , a former Member of the European Parliament echoed Mr Hague’s views.
He said: “Gordon Brown’s no-show in Lisbon will please no one at home while raising serious questions about his good faith among our partners.
“This is inept and peevish behaviour that leaves Gordon Brown’s reputation for honest dealing with our EU partners hanging by a thread.
“The EU is a key player in ensuring our national interests in tackling climate change, terrorism and globalisation are met, yet Mr Brown is treating our partners like mud.”
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said that when he spoke to Mr Miliband in Lisbon moments before the treaty was signed and repeated his demand for a referendum, he was given “a hollow laugh” in reply.
Mr Farage said: “This is just about the most thoroughly dishonest political process I have ever been witness to.
“This is a constitutional treaty with profound, far-reaching implications and for the British Government to pretend it is something it isn’t and deny us a referendum is monstrous.”