What is the place of parliamentary sovereignty in the UK constitution?
Parliamentary sovereignty is considered the most important part of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK and means it has the power to create or end any law. It means the courts do not have the jurisdiction to overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Eurosceptics believe we should leave the EU and are often worried that the UK is losing its independence and identity by being part of the EU and that being a member state means that parliament sovereignty has been compromised. This is because European law is superior over national law and this was established in Van Gen den Loos which involved a conflict of Dutch Law and EU law on customs duty. The Dutch government argued that the EU Court had no jurisdiction to decide whether EU law should prevail over Dutch law instead it should be up to the Dutch courts to decide however the European Court of Justice rejected this argument. Treaties and regulations made by the EU are directly applicable meaning they automatically have to become part of UK law and have a vertical direct effect meaning that an individual can use EU legislation to sue the UK and direct horizontal effect which allows individuals to use EU legislation against another individual. If member states don’t implement EU legislation, they are penalised and fined. This shows how member states including the UK have transferred sovereignty right to the EU and this means no member state can rely on its own law when it conflicts with EU law. Normally Acts of Parliament take precedence over judge-made laws due to parliamentary sovereignty but since joining the EU, judges have to ignore laws made by our parliament if they conflict with EU laws and this once again shows the impact of EU law on UK law. Michael Gove argues that the EU limits the UK’s government’s ability to control its own affairs and said due to being a part of the EU the government isn’t able to do various things such as: remove or reduce VAT and build houses where they are needed.