Dominic Grieve attacks Michael Gove EU 'obsession' in Tory war

Posted On: 
19th April 2016

A senior Conservative MP has accused Justice Secretary Michael Gove of being blinded by a “single issue obsession” over Europe.

Dominic Grieve fought back at Michael Gove's claims about the European Court of Justice
PA Images

Dominic Grieve said the Justice Secretary could not “see the wood for the trees” and was peddling statements “which simply don't bear proper scrutiny”.

The Intelligence and Security Committee chair made the comments as he fought back at Mr Gove's claims the European Court of Justice was seizing greater powers over UK affairs.

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Mr Gove had told Radio 4's Today programme the ECJ can overrule attempts by the UK to resists financial services regulatoin.

"The court has been strengthened recently, through the new charter of fundamental rights," he claimed.

“It can now control how we apply asylum rules, how our intelligence services monitor suspected terrorists, and even who we can deport.”

But speaking on the same programme, former Attorney General Mr Grieve said the examples were “unfounded and indeed untenable”.

He said claims the ECJ was interfering with British intelligence services were “simply wrong” and noted the court merely interprets EU treaties which do not include national security.

“The examples put forward by Michael are general in their nature, they are not sustained by clear evidence and in some cases they seem to me to be the result of a sort of single issue obsession, so he is no longer seeing the wood for the trees,” Mr Grieve said.

"The problem I have with what Michael says is he has had a fairly consistent pattern since the start of this referendum campaign with coming out with statements which simply don't bear proper scrutiny.

“He alleged for example that the Prime Minister's Brussels agreement that he had secured wasn't worth the paper it's written on and no international lawyer has agreed with him – indeed I don't think his own department would agree with him on that.”

And he added: “Simplistic statements which are not backed by any credible evidence are not helpful to that discussion."

Making a speech in London later, Mr Gove will warn that the ECJ has taken charge of terrorist suspect monitoring, asylum policy and issues such as prisoner voting.

On asylum he will say: “Britain has lost control of a vital area of power and the European Court will increasingly decide how our policy must work.”