19 FEBRUARY 2005, Page 19

Brussels owes us

From Bill Woodhouse

Sir: The surprise in his excellent article is that Daniel Hannan has not pointed out that our payments to Brussels are illegal (‘Give us our money back’, 12 February). For very obvious and good reasons it is against our laws for any public money to be paid to any organisation that does not keep proper books of accounts and condones fraud.

When the court of auditors yet again failed to sign off the books and Marta Andreasen exposed the lack of book-keeping and inadequate accountability of EU funds, I wrote pointing this out to our Chancellor, and sent a copy to his shadow. Oliver Letwin sent me a copy of the letter he too had written. The Treasury replied that we had treaty obligations to make our payments to Brussels. This is utter rubbish! No treaty can force the law to be broken, and were it to try it would be invalid under international law.

I next laid my evidence before my local Magistrates’ Court. With sadness they said the matter was beyond their competence but suggested that I give my evidence to the police. My chief constable felt unable to act but told me to put it to the Serious Fraud Office. My letter of 24 November 2004 remains unanswered.

Daniel Hannan is right: under our laws, if they still count for anything, we should immediately stop all payments to Brussels. However, as our payments from the time the Court of Auditors first failed to agree the accounts have been illegal, we should also demand the last ten years’ payments back. We are talking serious money. Some £150 billion at compound interest (standard for tax back) would give us all a tax break for years.

Bill Woodhouse

Mappowder, Dorset