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The Renegotiation Terms

David Cameron reached a deal on 19 February 2016 at the European summit which he claimed to amount to a major renegotiation of the terms of the UK's membership of the EU. This "deal" marked the start of the referendum campaign.

The claim that this changed the terms of Britain's EU membership unravelled during the course of the campaign. Lord Howard of Lympne QC, among others, rightly branded this attempt at renegotiation as having "ended in failure".

This farcical "renegotiation" according to its terms would only have come into effect if the British people had voted to stay in the European Union, and is therefore now legally a dead letter. It is still worth examining as an exercise in spin and legal obfuscation which is sadly only too typical of the unsuccessful, but dangerous at the time, efforts made to mislead the British people into voting "Remain".

We explain the legal form of the summit deal, and why it would not have been binding on the European Court. We also assess the terms on "Ever Closer Union".  Contrary to all the spin,  this phrase will remain  in the Treaty Article and preambles where it now sits, and the detailed terms of the deal will make no difference to the legal position of the United Kingdom. And finally, we demolish the claims that it would have resolved the UK's problems in financial services in the face of Conflict with the Eurozone.