I listened carefully to what Iain Duncan Smith said on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday 6th December. I read carefully what Iain Duncan Smith said in The Telegraph on Wednesday 9th December.
I conclude the confident air he adopted shows he believes he and David Cameron are about to capture a UK opt-out from EU Regulation 883/2004 as a key part of the Referendum negotiations.
There’s a lot of talk about ‘Treaty change’ not being on the agenda, but there is evidence from the past about ‘Treaty amendments’ and how they can be negotiated.
Take the example of the tiny dot in the Indian Ocean known as Mayotte. It didn’t become an Outermost Region of the EU until 1st January 2014, and the progression from a French territory to become an OR, was an amendment to the Treaty of Lisbon which had been signed in 2008. Mayotte was added as the sixth French Outermost Region, fully integrated into the EU/EEA. France pushed that change through with the agreement of the other 27 Nation States of the EU, including the UK.
We do have to wonder if the fact that in 2008 Iain Duncan Smith voted against the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, has anything to do with his refusal now, in 2015, to recognise how the former French DOMs have changed in European Union Law! The latest letter signed by IDS states: “The Overseas French Departments (DOMs) are considered part of metropolitan France….” This is his latest ‘explanation’ of why the DWP included four French tropical territories in their calculations for the average winter temperature for France.
All of us must think very carefully what an opt-out could mean! If IDS got the opt-out, it’s a good bet that it wouldn’t be long before he introduced a Statutory Instrument to remove the annual uprating of our pensions, just as he did for the Winter Fuel Payment. He could stop it as early as 2018 - and in the last 3 years of this Parliament he could save a very useful £250 Million towards his cuts!
Take a look into the revised, revamped website www.winterfuelpayment.info for the latest stats, facts, and truth, about the Winter Fuel Payment.