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How has British Sovereignty been compromised by membership of the European Union The word sovereignty itself means the legitimate location of power of last resort over any community It may be defined purely in legal terms as the power to make binding laws which no other body can break It may be viewed as the autonomous power of a community to govern itself a territorial concept relating to the powers of independent nation states AV Dicey defined British Parliamentary Sovereignty in 1885 as Parliament has the right to make or unmake any law whatsoever and that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having the right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament This has often stood out as the linchpin of the British Constitution and Hood Philips a twentieth century constitutional lawyer called it the one fundamental rule of the British Constitution Parliamentary sovereignty was effectively negated in 1973 when Britain joined the European Union which has injected a whole new judicial dimension into the constitution of Britain This meant that the British parliament lost legal and legislative sovereignty both de jure and de facto both in theory and practise in areas where European law took precedence The loss of sovereignty seems to have increased since 1973 with the growing scope of European intervention and with the reforms of the voting procedures One of the key reforms was the change from unanimous voting in the Council of Ministers so any one country could veto any policy to Qualified Majority Voting under the Single European Act 1986 For example in 1993 Britain was over ruled on the principle of a 48-hour working week Britain held a national referendum on continuing membership of the then EC in 1975 This was merely advisory technically and so in theory Parliaments sovereignty was not affected Parliament could not ignore the results and so Parliaments freedom to leave
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