The Justice Secretary Michael Gove has said that David Cameron’s hard-won EU renegotiation deal isn’t actually legally binding. Speaking to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Gove stated that the deal is just an “agreement” and the European Court of Justice doesn’t have to abide by it.
Here is what Gove told the BBC, the added emphasis is ours:
“The facts are that the European Court of Justice is not bound by this agreement until treaties are changed and we don’t know when that will be. I do think it’s important that people also realise that the European Court of Justice stands above every nation state, and ultimately it will decide on the basis of the treaties and this deal is not yet in the treaties.”
What Gove is saying, is that because there hasn’t been a treaty change, the deal that Cameron claims to have made with the EU to improve Britain’s membership isn’t really worth anything. This is important because Cameron spent months trying to convince the rest of the EU’s leaders to sign up to the deal, and now that they have agreed to it, Cameron is using it to campaign for Britain to remain in the EU in the upcoming referendum, which will take place on June 23.
Gove’s attack on the deal is also important because it will test how well the Conservative Party can cope with senior members being on opposing sides of the referendum campaign. Not only is Gove in Cameron’s cabinet, he is also a close personal friend of the Prime Minister — they have even shared family holidays together.
Cameron tried to convince Gove to back the Remain campaign, but Gove feels so strongly that he wants Britain to leave the UK that he is campaigning to leave.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has said that Gove’s comments aren’t true and Cameron’s deal has “legal force.” The added emphasis is ours:
“It is not true that this deal is not legally binding. Britain’s new settlement in the EU has legal force and is an irreversible international law decision that requires the European Court of Justice to take it into account.”
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