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European Economic Community (Motion And Amendments)

Volume 645: debated on Monday 2 October 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to the House and to the Prime Minister for delaying the important debate which we are about to have, but I want to submit to you two connected and short points of order before we begin.

On 28th June, I moved a Motion about the European Common Market, and looking at the terms of that Motion it seems to me to cover all the points that are raised in today's Motion and the proposed Amendments to it.

My Motion was in the following terms:
"That this House, being gravely concerned at the pressure to make this country enter a European common market and the consequent threat to subject its independence, its membership of the Comonwealth and its right and power to plan its economy in its own way, to a political union with Germany, France, Italy and Benelux, as well as at the threat to the survival of the Commonwealth inherent in these proposals, urges Her Majesty's Government not to enter into any negotiations concerning such entry until expressly empowered so to do by a conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and by this House."
At the end of the debate, HANSARD records:
"It being Ten o'clock. the debate stood adjourned."
you, Sir, having indicated that it would not be right for the Closure to be moved, there being points of view which had not been adequately covered in that debate.

The point which I am putting to you is whether the Motion and Amendments now on the Order Paper do not now offend against our rule against anticipation, the other Motion, covering exactly the same ground, standing adjourned.

The second point I put to you, in the event that the Motion and the Amendments on the Order Paper do not offend against the rule against anticipation and are, therefore, in order, is that the only Amendment on the Order Paper which is a direct challenge and opposition to the Government Motion is that standing in my name and the names of my hon. Friends, namely, to leave out from "House" to the end to add:
"regrets the decision of Her Majesty's Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome, as being calculated to intensify the cold war, perpetuate the division of Europe, destroy the effectivness of the Commonwealth and fatally impair the United Kingdom's power to plan its industry and agriculture, to assist underdeveloped countries and to further world security and peace".
I and the House would be grateful to you if you could indicate which Amendments you propose to call, Sir.

The answer to the first part of the submission of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) is that in applying the rule against anticipation I am required to take into account the reasonable prospect of the matter being further debated. I am in some difficulty in imagining that the hon. Member's Motion has much reasonable prospect in the circumstances.

Selection is a matter for me, and I propose to select the Amendment which stands in the names of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and other right hon. and hon. Members. I am in the happy position that, so far as I can see, everything that is is desired to be said in support of the other Amendments can be said upon the issues then arising. I will not blackmail myself in any way, but I will bear in mind the fact that the hon. Member has an Amendment on the Order Paper.