The EU should keep out of our Brexit politics; its hypocrisy stinks – Bill Carmichael

“Pacta sunt servanda!” – that was the thundering response of the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to the news that the British Government is seeking to make changes to the Brexit deal signed in January.

Brityain's exit from the European union will be complete by the end of the year.

My inner city comprehensive was not posh enough to offer lessons in Latin, so I admit I had to look it up. For those of you also not lucky enough to attend a public school it means “agreements should be kept”.

Ms von der Leyen went on to attack the British for breaking international law and undermining trust – sentiments echoed by pretty much the whole of the UK Remainer establishment, which has never recovered from losing the referendum vote over four years ago

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In its defence our Government insisted the Internal Markets Bill is a minor tidying up exercise designed to clear up ambiguities in the original withdrawal agreement, prevent damaging tariffs on goods moving within the UK and protect the Northern Ireland peace process.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press statement at EU headquarters in Brussels earlier this week.

The Bill sets out rules for the “internal market” of the United Kingdom – in other words trade between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – once the transition period comes to an end next January.

It also governs how state aid will be applied – that is whether a duly elected British Government should use money provided by British taxpayers to help strategically important British companies. Am I missing something here? All these issues are entirely internal to the United Kingdom. What the hell has any of this to do with the EU or any other country around the world?

We are a newly independent, sovereign nation and no one has the right to dictate internal policy to us now. Indeed that was the whole point of Brexit – so we could take control of our own laws and money without having to go cap in hand to the likes of unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats like Ms von der Leyen for permission to run our own country!

And for the EU to deliver finger-wagging lectures on the need to obey the rule of law is stinking hypocrisy of the highest level, because the EU is notorious worldwide for regularly and routinely breaking any law or regulation that doesn’t suit it.

Boris Johnson and his Ministers say they're prepared to break international law to deliver Brexit.

Take, for example, one of the EU’s own regulations, the famed Growth and Stability Pact. This laid down a “cast iron” law that EU member countries should keep their budget deficits to under three per cent of GDP on the pain of massive fines and sanctions.

When smaller countries, such as Portugal or Greece, broke the rules during the height of the financial crisis just over a decade ago, the EU responded with dire threats of punitive action.

Indeed, Greece’s left-wing government was bullied by the EU into adopting extreme austerity measures that crashed the economy and destroyed the life chances of entire generations. Today, 10 years on, there is little sign that the Greek economy will ever recover.

But when the big boys – notably France and Germany – broke exactly the same rules, they were let off scot-free. The rules were not so much bent as completely broken to ensure France and Germany faced no sanctions at all.

The Financial Times, the most pro-EU newspaper in the UK, described France and Germany as “playground bullies” 
and added: “The message is clear. The EU has rules but not everyone has to obey them.”

In 2016 the then European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, let the cat out of the bag when he was asked why France has escaped any punishment despite breaking the rules year after year.

He shrugged his shoulders and said “Because it’s France!” adding that the rules, in this instance, should not be applied “blindly”. Tell that to the poor Greeks who have lost jobs, businesses and homes because of EU “rules”.

These appalling double standards, 
and the vindictive treatment of the poorest countries on the Continent by 
the richest, is precisely why the EU is doomed and why we were entirely right to get out before the inevitable collapse comes.

I’ve been searching for a suitable riposte to Ms von der Leyen’s comment and I have discovered there are some utterly filthy Latin insults that are not suitable for a family newspaper.

From the cleanest I’ve found I’m torn between “non décor, duco” (I am not led, I lead).