February 3, 2016 / 9:34 PM / 2 years ago

Cameron says to assert British parliament is sovereign over EU laws

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to factory staff at the Siemens plant in Chippenham, southern England, February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Munns/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday he would seek to assert the sovereignty of the British parliament over European Union laws as he concludes his renegotiation of ties with the bloc.

Cameron is trying to finalize the details of a set of reforms he hopes will be backed by other EU leaders at a summit on Feb 18-19, though Britain’s largely euroskeptic press and some lawmakers in his ruling Conservative party say he has sought far too little.

It is unclear how such a declaration of sovereignty would work and how it would be received in the EU, though British media said it could bring London Mayor Boris Johnson, a potential successor to Cameron, behind the ‘in’ campaign.

Replying to a question from Johnson, who has refused to say whether he will campaign for Britain to remain in or to leave the EU in a planned referendum, Cameron said: “Asserting the sovereignty of this House is something that we did by introducing the European Union Act 2011.”

“I am keen to do even more to put it beyond doubt that this House of Commons (the lower house of parliament) is sovereign. We will look to do that at the same time as concluding the negotiations.”

In an interview with the BBC, Cameron refused to answer directly whether ministers were working on a law that would assert the sovereignty of the British parliament and be published alongside a possible EU deal.

“We already have asserted that parliament is sovereign,” Cameron said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Gareth Jones

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