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Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK
Hague: Protect UK from EU
William Hague on Question Time
William Hague wants legal curbs on EU powers in the UK
Conservative Party leader William Hague has said he wants laws to stop European courts taking further rights away from the UK without a treaty agreement.

He told the BBC's Question Time programme that a Tory government would implement so-called "reserved powers".

The commitment is Mr Hague's first public sign of approval for plans outlined on 8 June by shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude.

Mr Maude's speech in Berlin advocated proposals for legislation to stop what he called "treaty creep", allowing EU laws to take precedence over UK ones.

'Reserved powers for UK'

Mr Hague told Question Time: "What I propose to do is write into law the reserved powers of this country, so that it will then be clear in British legislation that this is the right of this country, that the British parliament has the right to make laws."

The Tory leader added: "These laws would protect this country against judgments of the European courts which sometimes extend the powers of the EU in a way which was never intended when Britain signed up to the treaties."

Mr Maude said the EU had reached a "fork in the road" and faced a choice between a "flexible Europe" or a "superstate".

He also said he would demand a UK referendum on the measures in the Treaty of Nice if the government tried to push it through Parliament before the next general election.

His intervention came in a week in which former Conservative prime ministers John Major and Edward Heath both called for an early referendum on the single currency.

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Blair: No two-speed Europe
08 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Tory condemns 'treaty creep'
29 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Blair seeks to slow EU integration
09 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Hague calls for Europe poll
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