European Communities Bill
Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Second Reading [15th February].
Question again proposed.
It is a commentary on the sombre background against which this debate takes place that the C.B.I. has had to cancel its meeting tomorrow with its opposite numbers in the Six because of the industrial crisis.The timing of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy is affected, too. His theme in this debate, as we shall hear later, and his theme for the weekend's talks with President Pompidou has been transmuted into dreams of great-Power status in candlepower Britain. [Interruption.] As I intend to show, the industrial background is part of the background to this Bill and to its Second Reading. Last October my right hon. and hon. Friends by a majority decided to oppose entry into the Common Market on the terms negotiated by the Government. But for those on this side of the House who took a different view and supported the terms which the Government had negotiated—indeed, for all of us who sought entry on the right terms—one thing is clear. It is that the advantages we saw from entry on the right terms—[Interruption.] This is not a laughing matter. It is an extremely serious one. It is that the advantages we saw from entry on the right terms, and, in particular, those which could accrue to our science-based and research-based industries in a wider market, would not accrue automatically from entry. They would have to be fought for and won in a highly competitive and challenging market, and they could be won only by the vigour and virility of all our industries, public and private. Obviously, from that point of view the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not be talking from strength this weekend. On one point at least the right hon. and learned Gentleman will have our backing, and that will be if he talks firmly about the campaign of denigration which is going on in Europe about Britain. In this context, the House will have seen that the Sunday Press reported as follows: "Six fear for Britain's future"
We may have these doubts about our ability to pay our bills because of the crippling burden imposed on our balance of payments by the terms negotiated, irrespective of the present state of British industry. But for Common Market countries to be talking at this time about industrial troubles in Britain is pure insolence. It is interesting to note that that quotation excluded Italy, which has been overcome by far greater industrial problems in recent years than Britain under either of two successive Governments. That quotation also forgot France in 1968. Perhaps there will be some comparing of notes at Chequers this weekend. It also ignored the fact that the Germans have begun to enter the post-war world of industrial trouble. We can have our arguments here about Government policies and the achievement of the Government in providing the grim industrial backdrop to this debate. But whatever arguments we may have here are not for export, and I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will make that clear when he is discussing these matters with European statesmen. I do not propose today to go over the arguments about Market entry which animated the great debate in all parties and the debate in the House last October. There is no need for me today to repeat the facts and the arguments which led this party to reject entry on the terms negotiated. In my view, recent developments—especially the Market's projected farm price increases—greatly strengthen the arguments which we then used on the basic decision about the terms, both as they affect the higher cost of living in Britain, with their effect on price inflation and as they affect our multi-million pound contribution across the exchanges. I refer to the recent increased estimate of the cost made by Dr. Mansholt. I do not propose to go into the basic issues of this great debate. Our views were fully stated—our majority decision and the views of those who could not accept entry on these terms, as well as the views of my right hon. and hon. Friends who take a different view. What has been common to the great debate is the sincerity of all who seek the closer unity of Europe by whatever means and whatever terms may be negotiated, the sincerity of the aspirations expressed on one side of the House or the other and on one side of the argument or the other. One reason why the great debate here and in the country has been worthy of the importance of the subject has been not only the sincerity of all who have taken part but, no less important—[Laughter.] I am aware that hon. Members opposite are very nervous, but they should not show their nervousness by girlish tittering. I am entitled to say that every serious person who has taken part is entitled to say that what has been important is the sincerity of those who have taken part in the great debate, and no less important is the acceptance by each of the sincerity of those who have taken a different view. Before I come to the lay-out of the Bill and the deep constitutional issues raised by the Government's decision on how to transform their treaty commitment into legislation, it is right briefly to draw attention to those areas of the negotiated terms where the legal instruments of accession differ materially from the terms commended by Ministers in their reports last summer and in our two major debates. I have in mind particularly New Zealand, sugar and fisheries, on all of which we made clear our profound disbelief at the time of the alleged guarantees which the Government claimed to have secured. Our doubts and disbelief have now been proved justified. On New Zealand. I will not repeat all that we insisted on in 1967 when the then Foreign Secretary and I met the Heads of Government of the Six before making our appreciation. The House will know that our appreciation and our application were made only in the light of the reactions of those Heads of Government to our minimum requirements. So I will not weary the House by repeating what we insisted on for New Zealand, because last July in 91 lines of small type in HANSARD there was set out what had been said by my noble Friend, Lord George-Brown, the former Foreign Secretary, about the minimum terms that the Labour Government would accept in respect of New Zealand, together with the basis on which the Cabinet decided on application. I will remind the House of this last point. What the Cabinet decided on this basis was that for New Zealand"Serious concern over the coal strike in Britain and doubts about whether the British will be economically reliable partners in the Common Market were expressed by representatives of the Six in Brussels yesterday. French, German and Benelux delegates said they were beginning to wonder whether Britain would be able to pay her farm and other bills as a member of the Market."
That was manifestly not achieved by the Chancellor of the Duchy, nor did he pretend last July that it had been. But it is now clear that what the right hon. and learned Gentleman misled at any rate some hon. Members here and in New Zealand into thinking he had secured is markedly different from the texts of the protocols. It was and is a question of the veto, a question of on which side of the court lies the veto power. Does it lie with those who would use it to insist on prolonging beyond 1977 the transitional arrangements by vetoing any break off, or does it lie in the hands of those who would use it to prevent the temporary arrangements from continuing into the 1980s or, as the Labour Cabinet insisted, for a generation? Where lies the onus of proof? Where lies the veto? That is what we exchanged arguments about in the House last June and July, after the right hon. and learned Gentleman reported. In the House last summer, the Chancellor of the Duchy—and, indeed, from time to time, the Prime Minister—clearly indicated that the veto would be on our side, on Britain's side, against any Common Market countries which sought to stop or further to reduce the flow of low-priced New Zealand food into Britain. It was on this basis that the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, now the Prime Minister, commended the deal to his own Parliament on 20th July last. He reported that an earlier proposal to require a unanimous decision had been rejected, and said:"a transitional period would not be enough unless it were for a generation, e.g., arrangements that would need to be, if not permanent, at least equal in effect to a permanent change."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1971; Vol. 821, c. 1491.]
But it has been. Article 9 of the Treaty of Accession, signed by the Prime Minister, says:"It would be a breach of faith for the concept of unanimity to be reintroduced."
Protocol 18 now makes it plain that the New Zealand arrangement to 1977 is a transitional measure, not a continuing one:"Subject to the dates, time limits and special provision provided for in this Act the application of the transitional measures shall terminate at the end of 1977."
Thereafter—this is what we now hear—"The United Kingdom is authorised, as a transitional arrangement, to import certain quantities of butter and cheese to December, 1977."
not a continuation of the transitional arrangements for butter imports—"exceptional arrangements"—
The House was led to think that the post-1977 arrangements would be for carrying on the transitional arrangements. That is what the House was told in the debate last July, and it is what New Zealand was told. The Foreign Secretary told the House:"shall be determined by the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission".
But Protocol 18 says that there is an end. The transitional period will cut off in 1977, after which, we are told, there are to be "exceptional arrangements", but there is no guarantee that they will be, either in form or in amount, a continuation of what has been agreed from now to 1977."There is no end to the transitional period".—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 22nd July, 1971; Vol. 821, c. 1713.]
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has not had an opportunity of reading in HANSARD the replies that I have given to other right hon. Gentlemen on his side about this matter. There has been a misunderstanding. There is no change at all in substance in the protocol from the agreement reached in June, and that is accepted, of course, by the New Zealand Government. The misunderstanding has arisen about the unanimous agreement which has to be reached on the exact quantities and prices at that time, as I explained to the House the day after I returned from Luxembourg. But there is no doubt about the continuity of the arrangements. The dispute that we had in Luxembourg was on whether or not there had to be unanimity about continuation. There does not have to be unanimity about continuation.
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his lengthy intervention. I had read the answers which he gave to my right hon. Friends the Members for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and Stepney (Mr. Shore). Of course it is understood that there does not have to be unanimity about the need to do something, but there has to be unanimity about what is to be done. I want to come to this point.The mere fact that we have read the right hon. and learned Gentleman's answers does not mean, after the way in which his answers of last July have been changed in the protocol, that we have to accept his answers any more. The House will have noted two things about this. First, the post-1977 arrangements, if agreement is reached—the right hon. and learned Gentleman is not denying this—do not automatically involve the quantities covered in the transitional arrangement. They have to be new, "exceptional" arrangements—a complete breach of what the Foreign Secretary told us. He said that there is no end to the transitional period; but there is: it is cut off in 1977. The implied commitment now is only for exceptional arrangements, with no mention of quantities. The protocol could be met by exceptional arrangements to provide one pound of butter, avoirdupois or its metric equivalent, per year. There is nothing in the protocol to rule that out, and there is no power in the hands of the Government to enforce anything different, because they cannot use the veto. Consequently, the unanimity concept which Mr. Marshall—[Interruption.] I have also studied not only what he has said but what has been said in New Zealand since this protocol. Secondly, the unanimity concept has been imported into the text signed by the Prime Minister. This is in clear default of what we understood last year. The veto is there, and it is in the form of "the continued arrangements", the exceptional arrangements, not the rundown of the transitional arrangements, which is subject to veto.
Supposing, for example, there was a proposal for only one pound of butter which we might meet by offering £1 to the budget, unless there was the provision of unanimity on the voting on the amounts we might be in difficulty. The unanimity provision on the voting on the amounts and price is a protection for New Zealand.
Of course one can veto one pound, but it does not follow that the Commission will come back with anything comparable with the maintenance of the transitional arrangements. We shall be a long way past 1977 if we have a Commission which is not intending to carry it on and the French determine that it shall be. I said that Mr. Marshall had said that it would be a breach of faith if the unanimity concept was introduced. He said that on 19th January in New Zealand:
that is, of the Prime Minister of New Zealand."The New Zealand protocol agreed between Britain and the Six incorporates all the terms for the protection and continuity of New Zealand's trade in dairy produce as settled in Luxembourg. The only point which has been changed is the requirement of unanimity on the details of the continuity of our trade beyond 1977. This provision was deliberately omitted at the request of both Britain and New Zealand when the Luxembourg text was drawn up. Its inclusion at the last moment is therefore a departure from the previous understanding"—
That proves the point I have been making. If the right hon. Gentleman wants me to read further from the statement by Mr. Marshall, he goes on to explain why it was done—because the French would not agree. Similarly, Commonwealth sugar, on which we and many hon. Members oppo site laid great emphasis last summer, has turned out a little different from the euphoric statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman last year. We warned the Government that the mere writing into the record of the Chancellor's statement to the Lancaster House conference provided no guarantee; nor did the Six reaction emodied in the phrase aura à coeur. Protocol 17 provides no reassurance. We are told that:"I am disappointed that on this one point the parties have not maintained the original text."
That is for just over two years from entry. Thereafter, the sugar-producing countries, or a number of them, have the option of an Association arangement or a trade treaty with the Community. I"until 28th February 1975, the United Kingdom is authorised to import from the exporting countries and territories referred to in the Commonwealth Sugar agreement."
told the House that at the time. Protocol 22 goes on to say:"The Community will have as its firm
I take it that that is the translation of aura àa coeur, which is slightly better than some that were mentioned at the time, one being "bearing in mind"—purpose"—
on the export of sugar. That is what the Protocol now says and the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirms it. Will the Prime Minister explain when he comes to wind up why in all the mass of documentation, declarations and protocols which accompany the treaty, and which supplement and interpret it and explain the basis on which Britain signed it, there is no inclusion of the Lancaster House statement? Why is that not appended to the treaty as a protocol or in some other form? Did not the Government press for it, or if they did, why was it refused, and if so, by whom? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney fairly pointed out—and he was paying a tribute to the Government—when the Government felt strongly about getting their point of view incorporated, as in the case of sterling balances, the exchange of letters confirming the agreement was incorporated as a treaty document. If that was so on sterling balances, why not on sugar on behalf of all in the sugar-producing islands for whom this House really stands as trustee? Then fisheries "Transitional arrangements". Article 100 of the treaty allows members"the safeguarding of the interests of all the countries whose economies depend"
Beyond that date the Commission has the initiative in making proposals, and then the Council:"until 31st December, 1982, to restrict fishing in waters under their sovereignty or jurisdiction".
It does not say it will or must. The derogation is in force until 31st December, 1982, and the Council has to decide. Unanimity rule? Veto? Whose veto? It really is New Zealand again in the case of fisheries, except that it takes effect a few years later. There is no automatic continuation of the temporary provisions, with a veto on attempts to end them, but the working out of new and conceivably entirely different provisions which could follow. It is worse than New Zealand because with New Zealand there is some commitment to do something. How much is not stated. Here there is no commitment whatever which could follow. One of my right hon. Friends on Tuesday drew attention to the absence of any guarantees on regional policies where the regions of Britain, with their great distance from the Community's centre of gravity, are so manifestly particularly vulnerable. I believe that to many of my hon. Friends this is one of the aspects of the treaty and associated documents which give them the most concern. Having raised these four points where there appear to be some difference from what the House was told on the terms of the actual binding agreement, I want now to turn to the main feature of this debate, and say something on the form and terms of this Bill and the constitutional implications."acting on a proposal from the Commission…shall examine the provisions which could follow the derogations in force until 31st December, 1982".
I am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. Before he comes on to the details of the Bill, could he deal with the most important, if rather more academic, point raised last night by his hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), which only he can answer? It was, in effect, whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) was speaking on behalf of the Opposition when he said they would re-legislate and re-negotiate if they got the opportunity?
I was proposing to come to that. The hon. Gentleman will not be disappointed. The right hon. and learned Gentleman put the same question to me on 28th October last, and I answered him. I will come back to the point, and will even give the hon. Gentleman the actual reference in the OFFICIAL REPORT, where he can look it up himself instead of taking up the time of the House.I want to come back to the question of the form and terms of the Bill and its constitutional implications. I and many in this House feel that it is an indication of the frivolity with which some allegedly serious newspapers have reported and argued the great debate—in marked contrast to the serious arguments of so many hon. Members of this House, on both sides, and on both sides of the argument again this week—and that it is a further indication of that frivolity that so many pro-Market newspapers or pro-Government newspapers greeted the publication of the Bill as a smart little trick pulled off by the Government to frustrate the Opposition, a slick little measure to outsmart Parliament. That was how it was greeted by the pro-Conservative allegedly-independent Press. There has been virtually no consideration by these papers of the rights of Parliament, of the vast constitutional implications. The form of the Bill helps the Tory Party, helps the Marketeers, and that is all that matters when we get public comment on this important matter. What would these editors have said if a Labour Government had sought to join a grouping of nations of which they disapproved—a N.A.F.T.A. or a strengthened Commonwealth, for example—and then used such a slick procedural device to get it through? What denunciations they would have thundered about Magna Carta, Simon de Montfort and the battle of the 17th century—the Bill of Rights! But when this Bill was published these self-proclaimed watchdogs of freedom did not bark in the night; and for the same reason as Conan Doyle's mute canine. It was because they recognised the miscreant just as the dog did in the Conan Doyle story; and their reaction, therefore, was not to sound the alarm but to lick his boots. If the watchdogs of freedom in this country do not raise the issues involved in the Bill, we have to do it in this House. Indeed, it has been done in speeches this week made from both sides of the House. Some words of mine in the country after publication of the Bill—words which I think fair and considerate to the Government and which related purely to the form and constitutional implications of the Bill—were sharply criticised in The Times, not I believe maliciously but through characteristic imperception, as implying a repudiation of entry on any terms whatever. That is not the position of the Labour Party, either by decision of conference or of the parliamentary party, as we have made perfectly clear and as we have voted. What I want to say now is irrespective—[Interruption.] I hope that hon. Members opposite are going to recognise their responsibilities as trustees for the future of Parliament, and I want them to take this matter seriously. What I want to say now is irrespective of the view that I take or that my party takes or that any of us take about the terms. The words I am going to use now would have been absolutely the same if we had judged the terms to be acceptable. What form should the legislation have taken if we, as the Opposition, had felt able to vote for entry on the terms negotiated? Ministers in the debate have quoted the White Papers and debates of 1967 and of February, 1970, all of them pronouncements in the context of the Labour Government's application for entry, given the right terms. What is not at issue, and cannot be, is the transfer of a marked degree of sovereignty, including the requirement to legislate to give effect to regulations, decisions and directives of the European Economic Community. That was always understood. On the sovereignty issue, I quoted, as Prime Minister, and again recently, what I said in our debates in 1961. I repeat it to show where we accept the Government's view, but also where we part from it—apart, of course, from the fundamental unacceptability of the terms. I said then, and have repeated since:
I think that all of us would have decided in the light of the terms and what was to happen whether and how far sovereignty should be surrendered. As a Government, had we got the terms we sought from our applications, we never contemplated a Bill of either this form or this size. We made clear that consequential legislation would take up a whole parliamentary Session. We knew that that would have to be so. I was warned to expect a 1,000-Clause Bill—a phrase that was in common use as indicating the scope and form of parliamentary action consequent on signing the treaty. The Leader of the House—I understand that he is not here—would confirm that I raised our understanding of the form of legislation required with him several times in the debate on the Address last November and on successive Thursdays at Business Question time in November and January. What we had in mind—I have urged this many times and I put it in all seriousness to the House—was a full legislative process to implement whatever obligations we would have shouldered in acceding to the treaty. There are, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has reminded us, a number of legislative actions of different forms having regard to our existing laws and to the constitutional practice of this House. On this point, I welcome the announcement of the Joint Committee of both Houses. But it is, of course, too late to announce it on Second Reading of a Bill which preempts the entire rôle of Parliament, in respect both of past decisions and of future decisions of the E.E.C. The Bill should have followed on and reflected the recommendations of the Joint Committee and not prejudged the major issues, leaving the Joint Committee to operate as a sham. What should the Government have done? First, there are, of course, many decisions of the Community included in the 25·401 kilogrammes of documentation whose implementation can, within existing legislation already passed by this House, be effected by Statutory Instrument, as we already use them, whether requiring the affirmative procedure or subject to negative procedure by Prayer, or, as in some cases, at the unprayable, unfettered discretion of the Minister. The right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned cases such as the food and drugs legislation. No doubt they would include also some veterinary regulations and other regulations about the size of lorries, many of which will be affected by the Brussels agreement. For all of these cases, the Government should have legislated in accordance with our practice and should have made the relevant orders to fulfil their obligations—orders that require affirmative Resolutions, or are prayable against, or whatever our own procedure might have required. It would have been according to the practice of this House. Where it was necessary to amend legislation, it should have been done by amending legislation passed through the House or by Statutory Instruments where appropriate. Secondly, there are all the cases governed by legislation—that is, by Statute—where, throughout our history, amendments have had to be made by the process of legislation—that is, by Second Reading Committee either on the Floor of the House or upstairs. Report and Third Reading, followed by the normal legislative practices in another place, followed by consideration of Lords Amendments here, and so on. I believe it is axiomatic that laws created by the legislative process on which this House has always insisted cannot be amended or repealed except by the same legislative process as created them. This I have repeatedly urged on the Leader of the House. Either he has not listened and accepted that clear duty of his or—more seriously—he has been overborne by some right hon. Members opposite. The legislation which is required—again for the purpose of the argument accepting the Government's decision to enter on these terms—covers hundreds upon hundreds of Clauses, laboriously examined and worked out by this House, democratically examined and worked out by this House: successive Companies Acts, financial legislation—I will come to taxation separately—nationality legislation, judicature and judicial legislation, immigration legislation, industrial legislation, nationalisation Statutes, trade, navigation and establishment legislation, consumer protection, and legislation for regional incentives. However costly in terms of parliamentary time—and this for any Government was, I think, a known and predictable cost of entry, like the financial costs one sets against the financial advantages—all the legislation which had to be changed should have been changed by the democratic parliamentary process. The third case relates to the future decisions of the Commission. Again where these fall under existing delegated powers they should be the subject of new orders brought to the House. Where there were relatively minor or repetitive decisions, or where there were clearly going to be a lot of orders in a whole series raising very similar points, I believe that the House would have been prepared to agree to new legislation empowering action by order in such cases in future, even in cases where in the past statutory legislation would have been required. But—and here I come to the fourth class of cases—future decisions of the Community involving changes in Statute legislation should be carried through by new Statutes, based on the same legislative process as created the Statutes which now, because of accession to the Treaty of Rome, require a change. Still, in all of this, I am taking, for the purpose of argument, the fact that this treaty has been signed and that there are commitments, exactly as the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir R. Turton) did yesterday in a speech which hon. Members on both sides welcomed. He was not on the whole contesting the basic issue of entry, but was saying that, given acceptance of entry, this Bill was not how the legislation should have been done. This is where the Bill is totally unacceptable. The Labour Government, on making application, fully understood and made clear that if we secured acceptable terms and signed the treaty our laws would have to be changed, harmonised and re-drafted to conform with Community decisions. That is not in question. We clearly stated it. We never said that it would be done by ukase, decree or the imposition—literally at a stroke this time—of an alien system of law and of a new judicial hierarchy of power, with criminal offences created by statutory orders perhaps signed, for all I know, by a civil servant, which cannot under this Bill be considered by this House or changed. That, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones) said yesterday—and no doubt the Solicitor-General will reply later—is how it seems to us, having studied the Bill. In our judicial system, evolved over centuries, the judge does not get involved in a case himself so much as listen to counsel for and against and then decide independently. That system is to be assimilated much more closely to the French system of law, where the judges are advocates for both sides, are examining juries, and at the end of the day pronounce judgment. It is extraordinary that all this can be proposed to be imposed on this country with no pretence at a legislative process. What we envisaged was acceptance of the obligations incurred by proper, established, constitutional legislative processes. That is not in question. The Prime Minister quoted some words of mine at Question Time two weeks ago. But of course we had to make that clear. We had to do it this way. That was, I think, the point he misunderstood about my speech in Bradford. I have read and heard arguments that what I am proposing, such a method of proceeding, would be to present Parliament with an unreality in that this House would have the nominal power to reject or amend a Bill, or reject an order, but that every issue would have to be made an issue of confidence by the Government. There is clearly something in this argument, but, quite apart from the constitutional issues I have mentioned, there are two real points for the House to consider. First, and especially when the changes involve the application of a fundamentally different system of law, there can always be more than one way of finding the right form of legislative words to meet our needs, to meet the obligations, and Bills introduced by the Government to give effect to those obligations which I am assuming for the sake of argument would be capable of amendment in this House by due legislative process which ensure the best decision without breaking treaty commitments. There is really nothing in the Treaty of Rome—I have studied it very carefully—which confers on the Solicitor-General the ukase-making powers of the Little Father of all the Russias. It is not in the treaty itself; he has just assumed them in the drafting of this Bill. Nor in my study of the treaty could I find anything conferring the doctrine of divine right, which this House refused to whole dynasties of monarchs, on a palace official, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; but he had assumed this divine right. With whatever residuary humility either right hon. and learned Gentleman has survived the past 20 months, each of them might, in a more expansive moment, just concede that there might be two ways of giving effect to a Community decision and that it is just possible that another hon. or right hon. or right hon. and learned Member from either side of the House could put forward a more appropriate legislative form than that which was adopted by the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen But I think there is a second and more important point here. Clause 2, in addition to a blanket assimilation of our laws to decisions already taken, also provides for the adoption of decisions which have still to be taken. At least if we go through the 42 or 43 volumes we know what has been decided, so far as we can understand them, but none of us can know what we are legislating away in this Bill as regards decisions yet to be taken. We cannot know what they will be. I believe that the Government—and this would have been true of any Government, of any party, negotiating acceptable terms—if forced as a result of the Bill to face constitutional legislation in this House to give effect to their actions, as opposed to automatic acceptance without reference to Parliament, would be much more careful and considerate before agreeing to a Community regulation or decision. In particular, we have heard a great deal about the Luxembourg compromise on the use of the veto where essential national interests are involved. I think that if the Government had to face legislation as a result of these collective decisions in Brussels they would think much harder and much longer before deciding not to use that veto where the veto was possible in the national interest. It is an essential part of our constitutional practice that a Government are accountable to the House for their actions, but this Bill fundamentally shifts the balance between the Executive and the elected legislature, and in the wrong direction. It is a much bigger change in the balance, over the widest possible area of social and economic life, than anything we have seen, certainly over the last 100 years, and some would say the last 200 or 300 years, and this is a shift towards the Executive from the Legislature. I have heard it argued that this is a political matter, not a constitutional one, and that a Government which acted irresponsibly could be called to account by those procedures which survive this Bill—by Supply Days and the rest. True; but there is a limit to the number of Supply Days, censure Motions, Standing Order No. 9 debates, and so on, to say nothing of the recall of Parliament. There is a limit to how often one can recall Parliament during a recess, and an action carelessly taken, or deliberately taken, might come at a time when priority had to be given by this House, as we have given it in recent weeks, for example to Rhodesia, or Northern Ireland, or any given industrial situation. But if the Executive in Brussels had to face the certainty of ultimate legislation it would be more careful, more considerate, of Parliament. This would apply to any Government, any party, particularly where a foolish or careless or irresponsible decision was taken during a long parliamentary recess and where there was no immediate accountability. There is one particular aspect of this—which I do not think as far-fetched as The Times suggested recently—which is very much in the minds of hon. Members concerned about the ability of one Parliament, or, still more the ability of a Government without parliamentary reference, to bind a future Parliament. From time to time there are acute differences between the main parties in this House and in the country. This Government abolished I.R.C., the Prices and Incomes Board and the Consumers' Council within a few days of taking office. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen may cheer if they wish. I am not concerned with the merits of those decisions, but they were abolished, and clearly an incoming Government should be free to reconstitute them, as indeed we shall. But suppose there were a move, started by other member countries in Brussels or even initiated by Her Majesty's Government, to make a regulation banning or severely hampering any future I.R.C. in the sacred cause of preventing distortions of competition. Or regional incentives; suppose investment grants came under such an edict. I think it is more likely that right hon. Gentlemen's chosen instrument of investment allowances could be forbidden. But that is not the point. One Government's acceptance of restrictive regulations could prohibit the legitimate freedom of action of their successor. Take R.E.P., which the Government are committed, disastrously, to rescind; this is another case. Or take help for Upper Clyde, Cammell-Laird, Rolls-Royce, the Shipbuilding Industry Board. Careless or doctrinaire decisions connived at or even initiated by a British Government could not only tie future Parliaments in an indefensible manner but could even condition the rule in which manifestoes are drawn up and major election issues can operate. I am not relating this to a particular party or Government. Any Government might be tempted to go along with something in Brussels which would prohibit something not at present banned or vetoed by a Brussels decision, but if at some future date they had to face legislation they would think twice about it. Consider the case of pressure from Market countries to restrict the size of a steel producer to 5 or 10 million tons—I believe that right hon. Gentlemen, to their credit, resisted this last year—or to place an upper limit on the size of gas, electricity, coal or rail transport organisations or to place limits on the writing off of public sector capital, which this Government may have to contemplate in the case of coal in a few days' time. What this House has the freedom to decide today conditions our ability to meet the challenge of the Market in making these industries more efficient. On all these I believe that a Government accountable to Parliament through the need to face legislation and not just a casual Supply Day or Adjournment debate would be more careful, more democratic, more responsive to the needs of the national interest, even within the Market, even fully accepting the requirements of the Treaty of Rome. Finally, the biggest issue of all facing this House—"The whole history of political progress is the history of gradual abandonment of national sovereignty…The question is not whether sovereignty remains absolute or not, but in what way one is prepared to sacrifice sovereignty, to whom and for what purpose…whether any proposed surrender of sovereignty will advance our progress to the kind of world we all want to see."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd August, 1961; Vol. 645, c. 1667.]
Many hon. Members want to cut in but I really feel that I ought to get on. However, I will give way.
I have listened with great attention to the long and important argument that the right hon. Gentleman has been putting. If a Government led by him or anybody else at some time adheres to the Treaty of Rome, however the consequential matters are dealt with in this House, in the way he suggests or in any other way, they will still have bound subsequent Parliaments.
I had hoped that I had made that point clear. I made it clear last October. What I am saying—this is a different point, and I am sorry but I have to get on—is that any Government of any party which have to face a legislative process will be less likely to act irresponsibly. Certainly anything accepted at Brussels is binding once the Treaty of Rome is signed. I was talking about the mechanism by which future decisions are taken.But the biggest issue of all facing the House is that which has dominated every issue of parliamentary freedom for over 700 years—control over the levying of taxes and the appropriation of Exchequer funds, the actions of this House and its paramouncy in Committee of Ways and Means and in Committee of Supply. The Bill in a very real sense transfers a major part of parliamentary control of taxation and appropriation to Brussels, which was not contemplated on anything like this scale when the White Paper of 1967 was laid. Since then we have the whole take-over, food levies on a rapidly rising price scale, all our customs duties—the prerogative of this House from ancient time—and the proceeds of a 1 per cent. value-added tax. We oppose levies. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite supported them quite outside the Market argument, even before they had a glimmering of what terms might be negotiated. We oppose V.A.T. Paragraph 44 is the one the Solicitor-General will quote. I have an answer if he wants. We oppose V.A.T. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite announced its introduction as a domestic decision, nothing to do with the Market. The House has the right and, as trustees of past constitutional victories and as trustees for our successors here, the duty to retain the taxing power in this House. Whatever our treaty commitments, the House should retain control. I have tried to deal with the issue, as did the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton yesterday, on its constitutional merits, regardless of the terms, regardless of whether we should be intering on those terms. We on this side have made clear our outright rejection of those terms. I have told Parliament how an incoming Labour Government would act, in my statement in the House on 28th October, 1971, reported in HANSARD at columns 2103–2104. But, all that apart, even if we had today been debating terms which carried the full-hearted consent of the British people—which the Prime Minister manifestly has not got, despite his election pledges, as he has not got the full-hearted consent of Parliament, or we would not have seen him involved in the way he has been this week—all that apart, even if we could all have gone forward on these terms, the Bill raises fundamental issues about the rights of the House and about our parliamentary democracy. We have our duties as parliamentarians, as servants of this House, as inheritors of the rights and powers of this House in our democracy. Because this Government in this Bill treat those duties, those rights and those powers as of no account, we shall cast our vote tonight unhesitatingly against the Bill.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Before you entered the Chair the Leader of the Opposition gave the House a clear assurance that he would provide an answer for his hon. Friend—
Order. That is not a point of order.
Further to that point of order. I said that it was answered on 28th October.
That is not a point of order. It is a point of debate.
What I think is a point of order for you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is this: as the right hon. Gentleman, clearly by inadvertence, failed to give the information—
Order. The hon. Gentleman is taking up valuable time for debate. He should not raise bogus points of order.
The point I am trying to make is this: would it be in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the right hon. Gentleman to catch your eye again later in the debate to clear up this point?
That remains to be seen.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is quite customary in this House for a Member to say at the end of a speech, "Before the hon. Gentleman sits down—", although he has already sat down, and I should like to say, "Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down—"
That is not a point of order.
I want to deal with the arguments advanced by the Leader of the Opposition relating to the legal and constitutional aspects of the Bill, beginning by making one point clear. Despite what the right hon. Gentleman said about the change in the nature of the institutions from 1967 to 1970, the constitutional and legal consequences within this country are precisely the same today as they were at the time of the right hon. Gentleman's original application.The right hon. Gentleman's presentation of the way in which, in his view, it would have been possible to legislate for access to the Communities cannot be based on an intention to mislead the House. It must be based, however, either on a failure initially ever to understand what the basic legal implications of the Communities were or a failure now to recollect what they were. I will trace them through for the right hon. Gentleman's benefit, to explain what they are. It is common ground that the Foreign Secretary, when he spoke after the application by the right hon. Gentleman's Government, pledged that his Government would be accepting precisely the same treaty aims and obligations in letter and in spirit as the Community countries. He said that the then Government accepted without reserve all the aims and objectives of the three treaties. He pledged the full determination of his country to succeed in that task, and, incidentally, acknowledged that the Communities were a dynamic organisation that would evolve and continue to evolve. He spoke with the support of the then Government. What the House will find difficult to understand is the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has sought to present a quite different view of the way in which the legislative implications of accession to the treaties and to the Communities could begin to be undertaken. He is right to say that Clause 2(1), on which he spent some time, is at the heart of the Bill. He is quite wrong to suggest that it does anything that has not been anticipated by anyone who in recent years has had to analyse the implications of joining the Communities. This is true regardless of any changes in the pattern of financing the Communities. It is right at the heart of the concept of the European Communities. The pattern was set out in the right hon. Gentleman's Government's White Paper of 1967, from which I wish to quote three passages, trying to discover whether they have been misunderstood by the right hon. Gentleman himself. It said:
So far, so good."If this country became a member of the European Communities it would be accepting Community law. By 'Community law' is meant the whole body of legal rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties or their instruments,…"
Here we have the concept which has been central to everyone's understanding of what the Community is about—directly applicable Community law, self-executing Community law, providing, in the terms of Clause 2(1), that it takes effect"…it would be necessary to pass legislation giving the force of law to those provisions of the Treaties and Community instruments which are intended to take direct internal effect within the Member States."
This is what the exercise has been about. I shall explain further how it was expounded on behalf of the right hon. Gentleman's Government. The right hon. Gentleman made a point of suggesting that there was a difference because implementation by the Bill covered future Community, directly-applicable law as well as that now in existence, and he began to suggest that he would have devised the inter-position of legislative machinery to avoid that."without further enactment".
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman goes on—
I must finish this point because I want to complete the quotation from the White Paper. Then I shall certainly give way. The third quotation which I wish to make from the White Paper of the right hon. Gentleman's Government is this
There has never been any mystery about this. It is a point which is well understood, for instance, by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). It is one of the points he has made and which has been made by those who have challenged the implications of our joining the Community. For the right hon. Gentleman at this stage in the game to imply or to suggest that this was a point which he had never understood is a cause of a great deal of concern. One would like to know whether he failed to understand it initially."The legislation would have to cover both provisions in force when we joined and those coming into force subsequently as a result of instruments issued by the Community institutions."
What has been worrying me about these regulations is that they are apparently all entrenched. They have to be applied by English courts. Is there an agreed translation? Does it depend on calling evidence as to how they should be translated?
No. English will be an official language of the Communities upon our accession. I will deal with that in addition to the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition. English will be an official language. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that all member States will see that future instruments will be published in English as one of the official languages in the official journal. From the moment that they appear, even in draft, they will be in English.
As to existing regulations, is Parliament to have any opportunity of looking at the translations and seeing whether they are right, because translation is often very difficult?
The work of translation has been carried through. During the course of further stages of the Bill, Parliament can look at every relevant text of any official English translation. Once we join the Community, English will be an equally authoritative official language. There will be no question of having to look at a French text or any other, for there will be an English text as an official language which can be scrutinised.The concept which I have been explaining of Clause 2(1) has been plain and acknowledged. The Leader of the Opposition suggested that this was something he had discovered for the first time on reading Clause 2(1) of the Bill. I will explain why I say that because I do not make that kind of point without being able to substantiate it. The Lord Chancellor of the previous Conservative Government, on 2nd August 1962 said:
The right hon. Gentleman's own Lord Chancellor, Lord Gardiner, on 8th May, 1967 said"regulations lay down a code which becomes part of the law of each particular State ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords. 2nd August, 1962 Vol. 243. c. 419.]
This is the important point—"…membership of the European Communities involves the acceptance of a body of law derived from the Treaty."
This is the central point. If the right hon. Gentleman has failed to understand this is one of the two constitutional innovations outlined by the White Paper published by his Government in 1967, one wonders where he has been in the last three or four years. Clause 2(1) is wholly compatible with the principles enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman's Government. That is applicable to Community law which does take effect directly. The contrast is drawn between that and indirectly applicable Community law. In relation to that, as the White Paper says:"…an enactment applying as law in the United Kingdom so much of the provisions of the Treaties and of the instruments made under them as they had direct internal effect as law within the member States and providing that future instruments similarly took effect as law here."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 8th May, 1967; Vol. 282, c. 1201–02.]
That is in paragraph 21. That is embodied in Clause 2(2) and it was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman's Government for dealing with indirect Community law. Article 189 makes crystal clear that that kind of law is dealt with by the law of the member States, which is the means by which that result could be obtained. The contrast between these directives and regulations is so simple that it is breathtaking to find that the right hon. Gentleman could seriously have suggested that conclusions reached by his own Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords had escaped him."Legislation of this character poses no new problem. The necessary provisions would be enacted by Parliament, or possibly be delegated legislation issued under Parliamentary authority which could cover future as well as present Community instruments."
We always enjoy the right hon. and learned Gentleman's patronising attitude. It just happens that other parties also have good legal advice and not advice of the kind which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has been giving this House in the last year.What he read out was entirely compatible and consistent with my speech on this Bill. I envisaged the possibility of what was mentioned in paragraph 21, that we might have legislation which would facilitate future statutory orders, which is exactly what is said here, by the word "possibility". Paragraph 21 also refers to "complex legislation", not arrogant legislation like this.
I am sorry if I seemed patronising, but on occasion one is patronised oneself. I come back to the central point, the point about paragraph 21, which is that it has nothing at all to do with the point which I have been making. Paragraph 21 has to do with indirect Community law in respect of which this Bill, by Clause 2(2), takes power for delegated legislation to give effect to indirect Community law. Part II makes all the necessary changes by statute on the face of the Bill.I simply cannot begin to understand how it could have escaped the right hon. Gentleman's notice that Clause 2(1) is dealing with constitutional innovations which are described in paragraph 22 of the White Paper.
As I understood the right hon. Gentleman, he was suggesting that this kind of Community law, the directly applicable Community law, could and should be made available to the House and the country by what I think my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East described as a pointless exercise of re-enacting word for word the regulations into the law of this country. He was right to describe it as that because the regulations are directly applicable and it was never in contemplation by the right hon. Gentleman's Government, or by his Lord Chancellor, that Community law of that character would become re-enacted in this House.In the same speech from which I have quoted, the then Lord Chancellor said:
Not, be it noted—on the advice of the distinguished legal figure who was Lord Chancellor in the last Government—by re-enactment through the conventional processes of this House or by annexation to or inclusion in the Bill. I do not begin to challenge that this is an important point. That is why the right hon. Gentleman's White Paper described it as one of the two constitutional innovations. To say that it was something not foreseen and not observed is to miss the central reason why this Bill is correctly drawn and in accordance with what has always been anticipated. To turn to a more detailed point for a moment, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) asked specifically about the availability of one regulation produced towards the end of December last and asked why it had not been included in the bundle so far published. The fact is that those so far published are those published pre-Accession up to a cut-off date of 10th November. Those subsequently published will also be produced in the same form of official translation right until accession at the end of the year. Thereafter, of course, they will appear in the official journals. To return to the different line of attack launched by the right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones), in which he began to comment on the general shape and nature of the Bill, he found himself in some difficulty in deciding on which flank to mount his attack. At one moment he was suggesting that the Bill was opaque or obscure, as the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. Denzil Davies) suggested. He could not sustain that in the face of the opposite comment from his right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) that it made only too clear the consequences which followed from the application made when he was a member of the last Government. The Government are content to rest on that point—whether it is clear or obscure—on the comments made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East and the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh). The right hon. and learned Gentleman was equally at a loss to know whether to criticise the Bill for being too short or too long. At one moment he was commenting on the appearance of the company law Clause in the Bill, and his right hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) began to make some comment on the appearance of a Clause in the Bill about films and statistics. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not know whether to complain because the company law Clause was in the Bill and was not coupled with a major and dramatic reform of company law or because it had not been left out altogether for some future occasion. In the way that we might expect from him he hedged his bets about in characteristically urbane fashion. Suppose that—"Community law would become fully available in the United Kingdom by the publication of English versions of the Treaties and subordinate instruments."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords; 8th May 1967; Vol. 282, c. 1201–3.]
What I sought to indicate was the total failure of this Bill to spell out the consequential changes in English law which would flow from its provisions.
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Member for his intervention because it was precisely that point to which I was about to address my remarks.
I must deal with one intervention at a time. Suppose we had undertaken one of the courses suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and said, "We have to take into our law some changes in the company law; let us therefore take this opportunity to recast the whole of the Section that is touched on, let us restructure that bit of company law, let us take on board the rest of Jenkins or whatever it may be." That was one option. The alternative would have been to do nothing at all because we could have deferred it for a while; it was not very important as it stood. Suppose that we had done either of those things. It is easy to see the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his tongue firmly in one cheek or the other, according to choice, saying, "You are using European legislation as an excuse for transforming the whole of our company law, wicked, wicked Government." On the other hand, had we done nothing he would have said, "You are using European legislation as a means of concealing from the House a major consequence of accession."What we have done is precisely what the right hon. and learned Gentleman urged us to do. We have used Clause 9, which provides an illustration of the principle on which the Bill is founded, to make the consequential changes in the statute law of this country. It is for that reason that it is there. We have used Causes 8 and 12 in the same way, to take illustrations from those matters mentioned by the right hon. Member for Workington.
Would the Solicitor, General consult the Chancellor of the Duchy who, I believe, said that he regarded this part of the legislation as "packing"? He said that the cinematographic films Clause should be brought into the Bill in view of the major importance of all the other matters and that was why I quoted it.
I do not know where the right hon. Gentleman gets this notion of some comment by my right hon. and learned Friend—
Speeches to the Press.
It is a total misunderstanding of the structure and shape of the Bill. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is asking me, and I am answering his question, why the Bill makes important and necessary changes in statute law. [Interruption.] Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman have a suggestion to make about dealing with some important, or trivial, amendment of a Statute which follows from indirectly applicable laws?
There is a whole range of changes and implications involved in English law flowing from this legislation, some of them spelled out by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) yesterday and many of them spelled out today by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition.
I still look in vain. Hon. Members opposite have had some time now in which to examine the volumes of Community legislation and to point out to us, as no doubt they can, changes in statute law which we have failed to make and which we ought to make. If they can come along with that kind of point we will look at it. I make this perfectly plain, in answer to the point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton)—the Bill makes what amendments and repeals of our statute law are necessary to give effect to accession in January 1973 with the exceptions mentioned by my right hon. and learned Friend, for example, V.A.T.My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton asked what was to be done about consolidating amendments to be made to Acts of Parliament. I agree that it is right that everything should be done to ensure that the amendments made by the Bill are available to practitioners in a convenient form, in a consolidated version. The House may be aware that there is a new, official revised edition of the Statutes being prepared under the supervision of the Statute Law Committee. That new edition will be different from its predecessors in that it will be a collection of individual booklets, one for each Act, kept together by loose-leaf type binders—what many practitioners have sought for a long time in the normal fields of law. Those Acts will be published in groups according to subject matter and the first instalment is due out within a matter of months. I have made inquiries of the Editorial Board and I understand from it that it is prepared to give priority in this new publication to the areas affected by the amendments made in the Bill by way of repeal or amendment in the European context.
I am afraid the Solicitor-General has gone past the point I wished to put to him. I should be grateful if he would tell us how it is that the Government make the distinction in the Bill between changes in company law which are referred to specifically and measures affecting the coal and steel industry which are covered by a blanket provision in an earlier part of the Bill. Why is there this discrimination?
I am glad to explain this to the hon. Member. The changes made in the repeals Schedule, Schedule 3, are changes which can be given effect to simply by repeal. The changes made in Schedule 4 proceed by way of the adaptation or extension of existing statutory codes on such subjects as food and drugs, so that people in this country will be able to work within the familiar framework of a statutory code to which they are accustomed.The changes made in Part II are the necessary substantive changes in aspects of our Statute law. The Restrictive Trade Practices Act needs to have a substantive change, so do the Companies Act, the Films Acts, and so on. Those substantive changes are made in Part II. The impact on the coal and steel industries of Clause 2 is in only one aspect, the power of the Minister or the Secretary of State to give directions in the national interest. In so far as Community law could reach a conclusion that that power was being exercised in a wrong or improper situation, that would be a matter to be taken up by the Community institutions or another member State before the Community Court. This, again, is familiar ground and is one of the central aspects of the E.C.S.C. Treaty which the Labour Government accepted. If we had made no change, the Secretary of State would have been obliged to exercise his discretion whether or not to give a direction or what direction to give without regard to his duty to comply with Community obligations. Clause 2(2) says that anyone exercising any power may have regard to the consequences of Community law. That is the only change it is necessary to make, and that is the change that is made. The right hon. and learned Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Sir A. Irvine) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen both wondered why "may" and not "shall" appeared in Clause 2(2). That also relates to one point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. If we had included in Clause 2(2)—which enables delegated legislation to be made—the word "shall", it would have had the effect of giving the Government of this country no discretion as to the manner in which they responded to an indirect Community obligation. If the Community makes a directive the result of which we have to achieve in a manner we can choose for ourselves, and if we had said in Clause 2(2) that Her Majesty in Council "shall" make subordinate Instruments, we should have been left without the option of proceeding by direct legislation. I entirely agree with the Leader of the Opposition that when the Communities proceed by way of directive, which does not have direct effect in this country, and it is up to us to decide how it should be done, in most cases where a change of Statute law is necessary we should respond to that directive by enactment through the customary processes of Parliament, as we are doing in the Bill. I entirely agree that we should respond to the directive by making legislation in this House on a matter of any substance. I agree also with the point made in the Labour Government's White Paper that this response to a directive could possibly be by delegated legislation, and that is the function of Clause 2(2). I hope that I have explained the structure of the Bill sufficiently to dismiss the suggestion of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) that the Bill is a conjuring trick. I assure him that there is no false bottom in this Dispatch Box, it is the same as it ever was. There are no cards up my sleeve. The cards embodied in the legislation come from the hand that was dealt by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and they are all upon the table face upwards.
Before the hon. and learned Gentleman gets too near to sitting down, will he answer a question which I addressed to Ministers yesterday? Does he deny that the power of making regulations with the force of law in the E.E.C. resides not merely with the Council of Ministers but also with the Commission acting on its own?
There is no mystery about that. The point was made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton when he asked whether the terms of reference of the proposed Joint Committee to look at the extent to which Parliament can examine Community instruments would extend to instruments emanating from the Commission as well as from the Council of Ministers. The answer is, "Yes, they will". The answer to the question asked by the right hon. Member for Battersea. North (Mr. Jay) is also, "Yes".The Government are concerned that Parliament should have the opportunity, which the proposed Committee will afford, of deciding how best it can respond to this constitutional innovation: namely, the directly-applicable laws of the Community. It is right, therefore, that the Committee should have a wide framework of reference. The right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South said that the Government should have come along with their own proposals of how that should be handled, and he said, using one of his uncharacteristic Americanisms, that we were seeking to pass the buck to Parliament. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has great flexibility in choosing his points of criticism, and I have no doubt that had we said to the House, "This is what we think ought to happen but, if you like, chaps, you can have a look at it", the right hon. and learned Gentleman would have said that we were trying, to use an Americanism, to railroad Parliament. We have done what we believe to be right.
Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman think that some indication could have been given to the House of what the Government had in mind? I wish he would not conceive some posture of mine which I would not take. He knows this is an old trick, and I hope he will not continue it.
I do not want to speculate too far about postures which the right hon. and learned Gentleman might assume, but the point stands as I have made it. It is something for Parliament to consider. There are many options, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciates, and examples are available in Community Parliaments.The Bill embodies the implications set out at the time of the original application. It is disingenuous, not to say slightly unattractive, of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to have described these consequences of that application as embodying the imposition on the people of this country of an alien legal code. He spoke similarly in his speech at Liverpool about a system of civil law unknown to Britain. He spoke al-out the Code Napoléon, which I was meant to be translating at a stroke for the benefit of my right hon. Friend into the laws of this country. The whole approach is characteristic of the right hon. Gentleman. When he was in office, paragraph 26 of his Government's White Paper had this to say about the nature of the continental law that is about to be applied:
"The nature of these matters dispels the idea that the continental origin of the relevant provisions would necessarily make them difficult to apply in the United Kingdom."
I am sorry that the Solicitor-General did not also quote what I said in Bradford. I am sure he will do so. I did not complain this afternoon about the fact that there was a change in alien law. I said that it should be carried into this House with full care by a legislative process, which is a very different point. The hon. and learned Gentleman, perhaps not deliberately, is falsifying what I said this afternoon.
That is the tragedy: I am not falsifying it. The right hon. Gentleman has just reiterated and re-presented his fundamental misunderstanding of what the Labour Government were involved in for several years. He has failed to understand the implications of directly applicable Community law. It is characteristic of the right hon. Gentleman when in office to describe something by the bland adjective "continental" and to switch to the alternative epithet of "alien" as soon as he moves into Opposition.There is a Napoleonic aspect in the posture of the right hon. Gentleman. The truth is that accession to the Communities—which he set in train on behalf of his Government in 1967 and which, as he has made clear in his speech this afternoon, he would again set in train on behalf of any future Government he might lead—is unacceptable to him only at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman himself acts on a classic Bonapartian text: "Not tonight. Josephine". There are a number of other points raised by hon. Members on both sides of the House with which we shall have an opportunity to deal when the Bill is examined in Committee of the whole House. I shall try to deal with some of these points in the course of correspondence. I close by saying that the Bill is the logical and inevitable consequence of a historic decision, as the right hon. Gentleman described it on 2nd May, 1967. Let it be noted that he has not resiled from his ultimate determination as then expressed to pursue with all the vigour and determination at his command that application and let it be further noted that the Bill effects the full domestic legal consequences of that application accepted on terms endorsed by this House last October, and does so in form as well as in substance in complete accordance with our own constitution.
We have listened to a very interesting address by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General. He tried to score debating points, but missed some very fundamental aspects of the Treaty of Rome and also of the Bill which we are now considering.In the course of my remarks I should like to pose certain questions relating to company law and also to the common law of the United Kingdom. Before doing so, I wish to make it abundantly clear that we must all accept that this legislation introduces a fundamental change in our constitution. Though we may accept the basis of the Treaty of Rome and of the Bill, we must bear in mind that this is a matter of individual choice and opinion. It surely must be said that nobody in this House or elsewhere has a clear understanding of all the implications of the legislation. This flows from the complicated nature of the treaty and the various laws and regulations which have been passed since its inception. Even the best of us, including many lawyers, have not been able to go through the documents and study them as fully as we should like. I regret that on a great constitutional issue such as this we have, through bad management, become involved in party politics. This matter transcends all political thought and party considerations. I have not very much time at my disposal today; and I regret that I am unable to enumerate the reasons for this, but I believe that it is the fault not of one side of the House but of both sides. I want to pay tribute to the courage and integrity of some Members of this House who, without fear or favour, have expressed their point of view honestly and sincerely. Whatever the future may hold for these Houses of Parliament, whether we go into Europe or stay out, it will be recorded for all time that at least there have been some people prepared to stand up for their beliefs irrespective of the consequences. Their names will be remembered long after many of those who have moved from pillar to post are forgotten. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister—who is an honourable man, who has shown his sportsmanship in other fields and who even has an appreciation of the arts—has seen fit on this great occasion to reduce his stature by indicating to some of those to whom I have referred that they should throw aside their convictions and beliefs and support a point of view which the right hon. Gentleman holds near and dear. This matter has upset me a great deal. The hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) points his finger at this side of the House, but I must tell him that I am seeking to make no political point. There are those on this side of the House who have courage and conviction, and I salute them.
The pressures mentioned by the hon. Gentleman are pure Press speculation. There is no evidence.
That may be so; it is not for me to say; but if there is a grain of truth in that speculation it does not enhance the standing of the Prime Minister on this important issue.
What about the 69 hon. Members opposite who voted for the principle of Europe in October? Are they going to vote tonight?
I have said that I do not uphold any man or woman who has not the courage of his or her convictions on a great constitutional issue such as this. Irrespective of the future consequences, they should make up their minds and vote in accordance with those convictions. Do not let us mince our words. That is my personal view.When the treaty was first introduced to this House by the Macmillan Government, most of those who voted in favour of the opening of negotiations sincerely believed that we as a nation could not accept the full implications of the Treaty of Rome and believed that it would have to be amended to meet our requirements. I never believed that that could be brought about, and I was one of 12 hon. Members who voted against the proposal even to enter negotiations. That was reasonable and understandable because of one simple factor which even the hon. and learned Gentleman has failed to realise. The treaty was based upon Continental law and concepts which to some extent were foreign to our way of thinking and our system of society, and it has been proved conclusively that the two systems are impossible to marry. This Bill seeks to impose in Statute law certain penalties upon companies—
Is not the Scottish system of law in the Continental tradition?
A great deal of it is. It is based upon Roman law, and, while Continental law is Byzantine-Roman law, it has a connection. In the Act of Union of 1707, we agreed to try to unify the law of Scotland with that of England. Even to this day we have not been able to accomplish that completely.I am reminded of a very important constitutional issue which has not been settled to the satisfaction of the people of Scotland. It is whether a breach of the Treaty of Union will be perpetrated by accepting the Treaty of Rome, bearing in mind the implications of the Treaty of Union. No answer to that question has been forthcoming. Continental law is different from English and Scottish law. When one considers that a Court of Justice is to be set up under the Treaty, a different and most fundamental issue arises which should disturb the hearts and consciences of my Liberal friends. If anything, they stand for the liberty of the subject, and there is a difference between Continental law and our law even on that issue. In this country people are considered innocent until they are proved guilty in a court. On the Continent an accused man has to prove that he is innocent. Ultimately, the law of this land will be altered to such an extent that our common law will be brought into line with the law of the Common Market countries. Another fundamental aspect of our way of life is that ignorance of the law is not accepted by our courts as an excuse. If we pass this very short Bill, we shall accept a large volume of Common Market legislation which I am sure no one has read and understood. We are all ignorant of those laws, and that is not looked upon as being correct in our courts at present. Before I was side-tracked by the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan), I was about to deal with that aspect of the law of the Common Market which concerns the imposition of penalties upon businesses. As I understand the position, penalties will be imposed not by our own courts but by the Commission in Brussels. The Commission or its officers will have the right to go to any business conducting transactions which are thought to be against the interests of the Community to check books, balance sheets, stocks, transportation, and so forth. If perchance that business is reported to the Commission as being guilty of a breach of the Community's regulations, a considerable fine can be imposed upon it. What is more, the Commission is not only the investigator; it will be the judge, the jury and the executioner, since it will decide the penalty. It is stipulated that the Commission p forbidden to seek instructions from any Government. In other words, even if our Government feel that I.C.I. or another of our big companies has not acted against the Commission's rules and regulations, they cannot interfere because they are prohibited from doing so. In practice, the Commission will be the most important part of this organisation. It will have considerable powers to ensure that its decisions and rules are carried out, even though the Governments of the member countries are opposed diametrically to what it may decide. The next part of the organisation is the Council. Here again, broadly speaking, it takes certain decisions on policy which are followed by the Community. As I understand the position, it reaches its decisions by a simple majority. For Britain, with all her different interests throughout the world, there is no doubt that this will mean that a majority decision can force her into accepting policies which are not in keeping with her true interests. This would be the case from the very beginning in such matters as farming, food, the value-added tax and other fiscal measures. In these respects, the power of this Parliament will be vested in a Commission which will decide what should be done on the basis of majority decisions. Then we hear a lot of talk about the Assembly. The Assembly is probably the most ineffective institution of the Community. It is composed of nominated members. They are not elected. Any Member of this House who keeps his nose clean will be nominated. Any Member who is a man of independent point of view will not have a hope in hell of being nominated. That is a fact of life in this place. That is why we have Patronage Secretaries. The patronage of this House has been going on for years, and I wish that I could see some method of altering it. Those who will go to the Assembly, even though it is of little importance, will be the good boys in the eyes of whichever party is in power. The Assembly's greatest power is that it can dismiss the Commission, but only if there is a two-thirds' majority of the full membership in favour of it. As I see it, that is not a very great power. Agriculture has been discussed, and I shall not go into detail on that. We have heard the farmers' point of view. However, we have a responsibility not only to farmers but to consumers, whose point of view has sometimes gone by the board. Our people at the moment are paying and will continue to pay a very high price for food for the simple purpose of satisfying the farmers of France. The other important aspect of Common Market policy on agriculture is that we shall be compelled to abdicate our right to make agreements with other food-producing countries throughout the world. As a nation, we shall not be permitted to negotiate food agreements with Australia, New Zealand, America or anyone else, because the negotiation of food agreements will be the responsibility of the Common Market countries. This policy will cost the British people dearly as the years go by and the price of foodstuffs goes up. I think that the present trends clearly indicate what the future is likely to be. My considered judgment is that we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg at present. Food costs in this country will go up by leaps and bounds. Trade with other countries is another important aspect. We are still a great trading nation. We are apt to decry ourselves so often. Our industry is competitive. Our balance of payments position is proof positive of that. I say, with all the sincerity at my command, that we should not decry ourselves in the way that we constantly do. This is indeed a great nation for trade and commerce. However, we shall be surrendering one of the greatest aspects of our national sovereignty by giving away the power and the responsibility to negotiate trade agreements with other countries. Ultimately this will be the responsibility of the Common Market countries.
I want to be as quick as I can.
I agree that this is a very important point. However, does the hon. Gentleman agree that to a large extent we have already lost this power over the capacity with whom and how we trade through N.A.T.O. and the United Nations?
I agree that we have conceded certain powers, but we in this House can suggest alterations within the G.A.T.T. or any other agreement. We do not alter such agreements here, but we can make suggestions to our Ministers. I do not want to argue that point. I will come to it later.I want now to go on to the free movement of capital and the effect that this may have on our development areas. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition touched upon this matter. As with other items in the treaty, there is no great clarity on what will be the ultimate policy of the Community on this matter. There is power under the treaty to make or to encourage firms to go to certain areas. However, I do not think that we shall be able to use the methods which we have adopted in the past to encourage industrialists not to develop in an industrial part of the country but to go to Wales, Scotland, the North, or other development areas. We shall be prohibited from doing that, because firms will have the alternative of going to any Community country they so desire. We will not be able to prevent them as we can at present. Mention has been made of transport policy. We should not lightly cast this aside. Under the treaty considerable alterations can be made in our transport policy, in regard to not only road and rail but air and sea transport. This in itself could have a fundamental effect on many aspects of life in this country. I turn now to the balance of payments and a member State's right to safeguard that position. We have been told that the balance of payments should to some extent be safeguarded. However, it is reckoned, by the best authorities I have been able to obtain, that if we go into the Common Market it will cost us at least £1,000 million on our balance of payments. This is indeed a matter of great concern. Turning to the economic advantages of going into the Common Market—
Order. I have no control over the length of the hon. Gentleman's speech, but he will recall what he said to me about it. He has taken nearly 25 minutes.
No, I do not think so, Mr. Speaker. I thought I had taken about 10 minutes at most.
To be absolutely accurate, the hon. Gentleman has taken 23 minutes.
If I have encroached upon the debate too long, I apologise to the House.I will wind up with one phrase. Britain as a nation does not require to be shackled to any part of Europe for ever and a day, which is what the Bill would undoubtedly mean, notwithstanding what my right hon. Friend said. Our rôle in the world is greater than that. While we are not the military power we used to be, nevertheless our institutions and way of life are the envy of all. This is accepted. No one should decry our militaristic standing. The Japanese were very sorry that our Foreign Secretary had to come back to vote on the Bill. They were sorry not because they like the look of him, but because of the sensibility of some Members of this House, and the right hon. Gentleman has a great deal of sense. Our example is copied throughout the world. We can still play a wonderful rôle, not by raising barriers against nations, but by knocking down barriers and restrictions—I believe that the Common Market raises barriers and restrictions—helping the free flow of trade and commerce throughout the world on an equitable and just basis, and devoting our skill, know-how and conviction towards endeavouring to establish a better world order by amending and strengthening the United Nations, with all its imperfections and limitations. This is the only hope of the human race surviving. Away with all selfish combinations such as the European Economic Community. This would be inward-looking. I understand that the President of France will be discussing with our Prime Minister at Chequers this weekend a unified policy on the atom bomb. I suggest that Britain has a greater rôle to play. We shall not play it if we become a part of Europe and this House becomes a county council.
The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) has always been against Britain joining the Common Market. He still is and always will be. I fancy that he would have voted against the Act of Union as well, which has brought such great benefits to Scotland. I hope the hon. Gentleman will feel that my speech will answer a good many of the points which he made.My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reminded us at the start of the debate that on two occasions this House has instructed the Government of the day to negotiate acceptable terms which could be recommended to Parliament for British accession to the European Communities. The first was in 1961 and the second in 1967. On the latter occasion the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, as Prime Minister, asked the House to approve Cmnd. Paper 3269, in which his Government stated their intention of pursuing their application for membership
This was mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General in what I thought was a brilliantly virtuoso speech. At the end of that debate on 10th May, 1967, the House voted on the principle of entry. We agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that this was "an historic issue" and that party politics should play no part in it. The result was a resounding victory for the credibility and integrity of this House. It reflected no more and no less than sincere conviction. Some 488 right hon. and hon. Members voted in favour and only 62 against, giving the Labour Government one of the largest majorities in our parliamentary history. In a powerful and eloquent speech the Prime Minister, as he then was, said:"with all the vigour and determination at our command".
The right hon. Gentleman appears to have turned full circle twice on this issue. That makes him the very last person who should pontificate on sincerity. On 7th June, 1962, the right hon. Gentleman attacked the whole concept of the Treaty of Rome because it was "anti-planning". He emphasised his party's opposition to the development of the E.E.C. on political lines. Five years later he was a powerful advocate for the economic and political advantages that would flow from Britain's entry. Now, his utterances are so obscure that we almost need simultaneous translation. But there is no doubt about the way in which his left wing interpret what he says today. They believe, as he wants them to believe, that if his party returns to office the treaty would be revoked and we would withdraw from the E.E.C. As we all know, what are called by some "Tory terms" have been recognised as acceptable by every right hon. Gentleman who belongs to the Labour Party and who was concerned with initiating the negotiations or with conducting them, with one exception only—the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition himself. In these circumstances, why did he appoint as his three Front Bench spokesmen two right hon. Gentleman and one hon. Gentleman who are known to be against joining the E.E.C. on any conceivable terms if it is true that all he wishes to do is to reopen negotiations? In an utterly unconvincing speech on the first day of this debate the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) made great play of his view that no British Government have any hope of negotiat ing satisfactory continuing arrangements for, for instance, New Zealand dairy exports. I see no problem here, unless one calls in question the good faith of the Community. If one does that, one can reach all kinds of different conclusions. But I cannot conceive how, in the same breath, the right hon. Gentleman can go on to confirm that it is still the policy of the Labour Party, if ever it has the chance, to renegotiate better, permanent terms for New Zealand dairy exports. It makes no sense to me. I do not think that it makes much sense to many hon Members. The way in which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in his speech today, very carefully avoided answering the question about renegotiation was very interesting."We are choosing the right course, the best course, for Britain, and for Europe."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May 1967 Vol. 746, c. 1096.]
My right hon. Friend did answer. The hon. and gallant Gentleman should look at HANSARD.
We shall, perhaps, be told more about that when the debate is wound up.The Labour Party's attitude seems to boil down to this: that a British Government have no chance of getting acceptable and fair terms for New Zealand dairy products or for, for example, cane sugar exports of some Commonwealth countries at the end of the transitional period; but the Labour Party considers that it has real prospects for negotiating permanent and better terms in this and other respects. That prospectus is both fraudulent and silly. The change of Government in 1970 in no way diminished the vigour and determination—to use the words of the Labour Government's White Paper—with which the negotiations were carried to a successful conclusion. Last October we discussed the principle again, on that occasion in the light of the terms agreed for the transitional period, and again the House was in favour by a big majority of 112, which would, incidentally, have been nearer 200 than 100 if there had been a free vote on the Opposition side of the House. So the will of Parliament is abundantly clear. The formula that has been devised to try to enable most of the Opposition to vote in the "No" Lobby against the Second Reading is a sham. It is a transparent fraud and does not even provide a figleaf of respectability behind which naked party games can be carried on. [Interruption.] I do not find that anything to laugh at. I assure hon. Members opposite that their Socialist colleagues on the Continent do not consider it funny, either. Our deliberations on the principle of entry, the terms and the signing of the Treaty of Accession are past history. What matters now—even hon. Members who are against joining would agree with this—is that we should look forward to prepare to meet the challenge, to concentrate on the Community which we are entering, with its potential and its imperfections, of which there are many, and to consider how Britain can best help shape, improve and strengthen it. In this purpose Britain must play a leading rôle, in some respects the leading rôle. I want now to refer briefly to two main subjects in my short speech. I wish to discuss, first, the need for close consultation between organisations, bodies and individuals in Britain and their counterparts in the Community, and the Community institutions. Second, I want to talk about the impetus which British should give the enlarged Community for a move towards political unity in certain important respects. One of the most widespread fears about British entry frequently expressed—apart from an instinctive fear of change—has been centred on the loss of sovereignty and what are so often called "the faceless bureaucrats of Brussels". Together with many hon. Members, I have been lucky enough to meet many of them and have found them anything but faceless. My fear is quite the reverse. It is that the hoarding of national sovereignty, the failure to give as well as to take, will prevent decisions being taken in the best interests of the Community as a whole and of Britain in particular. It is the sheerest nonsense to pretend, as has been pretended throughout the debate by opponents of entry, that we shall suddenly be presented with regulations and directives to which the House will take strong objection. I have been unable to find one example, since 1958, of a regulation or directive that emanated from Bussels to which serious objections have been taken in the national Parliament of any one country of the Six.
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman give way?
I am anxious not to give way on this occasion because I do not want to speak for too long.
The Community institutions are far from perfect. In some ways they are even crude and cumbersome. It was difficult to strike the right balance in the fairly early days of the E.E.C. between power and accountability. What matters, if we have hopes of making real progress beyond a mere customs union and common agricultural policy—which leaves much to be desired—is to improve the institutions and, if necessary, amend their powers and terms of reference. If we in Parliament have been somewhat insular in our thinking, as I think we have, and obsessed with arguing the toss about the principle of entry, we cannot say the same about many representative bodies in Britain which have busied themselves for a long time, and especially over recent months, in preparing for the future. All sorts of professional people, doctors, veterinarians, patent agents, farmers, individual firms or trade associations and chambers of commerce have been active in Brussels using their influence, and their presence there has been very much welcomed. That is a very good omen indeed.But one sad very conspicuous absence has been that of our trade union leaders. It is a very unfortunate state of affairs that the T.U.C. should oppose our entry, largely on ideological grounds. That view is shortsighted and extremely damaging to the best interests of its members. This week in Brussels there is an important trade union meeting taking place. There was another such meeting last week. They will go on all through this year and in future years. It is extremely important, in the interests of organised labour in the enlarged Community, that whatever dogma British trade union leaders may hold about the European Community as a whole, they should be present to take part in such deliberations for the benefit of their members. Regular meetings of this sort are being held in Brussels. In coming to the question of the institutions, I intend to be even more brief. It is obviously no use reaching agreement in principle of harmonisation policies if the decision cannot be implemented. The balance of power between the various institutions must be right and our representatives on each such institution must be of the highest quality, as I am sure they will be. The Commission has a key rôle to play as the guardian of the treaties. Nevertheless, the real power today rests with the Council of Ministers and the permanent representatives. The balance may change in coming years and I am sure that we shall use our influence to ensure that whatever changes come about, they will he the most satisfactory. I am equally sure that we shall use all our influence in the European Parliament. I see an urgent need for new thinking about the rôle and structure of the European Parliament. It is important to have such an institution as a two-way channel of communication between national Parliaments and the other Community institutions and as a democratic check on the Commission and the Council of Ministers. There is at present the Vedel Committee, which is an ad hoc body, sitting and it is due to report in April. Whether or not hon. Members are in favour of joining the E.E.C. they will, if we join, as I am sure we shall, wish to ensue e that the European Parliament is an effective body. I was astonished to hear the right hon. Member for Stepney say that the European Parliament "seldon met". In fact, either the European Parliament or one of its committees met on 300 days last year; 300 out of 365 is surely not "seldom". It was ignorant of the right hon. Gentleman to make such a statement and it is astonishing that the chief spokesman for the Opposition should show such prejudice against the European Parliament. How far during the next few years can and should the enlarged Community move towards political unity and what can Britain do to speed progress? This is quite a question, but there are two obvious spheres in which urgent action is necessary; first, the question of economic and monetary union, on which I do not propose to comment, and, second, the working out of joint foreign policies, which is closely linked with defence questions. Here an enlargement of the Community will itself provide an opportunity for taking stock and acting as a spur to further action. I look upon 1972 as a planning year in this respect. I look upon 1973 and 1974 as years for action, and I am sure that that will come. As for the working out of joint foreign policies, prospects are brighter than they were. The Davignon Committee was originally set up on an ad hoc basis but has virtually established itself as a permanent institution and is laying the groundwork for real progress. This week for the first time Britain is officially represented on it. The question of a security conference with the Soviet Union and suggestions for a degree of disarmament, with appropriate safeguards, must be high on the agenda of the Davignon Committee in preparation for a summit meeting between all the members of the present Community and those who are about to join. There are many other items, such as relations between Western Europe and China; the influence which the enlarged Community could bring to bear on the Middle East dispute; our relations with the United States, not only in trading but in political matters; and the greater share that we must be ready to accept of our own defence. If, as I hope we shall, we join the E.E.C., we must exert our influence in these, as in other, matters. In addition to the few items I have mentioned, one can think of the need for more co-ordination of our aid to developing countries and a common approach to racial problems which threaten the prospect of peace, particularly in Africa. These are all matters which can be considered in a European context and on which it would be beneficial for free Europe to speak with one voice. The sooner we are closely involved in discussing all these problems and using our influence in that discussion, the happier I shall be. It would be self-delusion to suppose that we can make headway with such major issues when we cannot even agree on the timing of joint recognition of Bangladesh. We have everything to learn and all the way to go; and, from the point of view of political unity, Britain will be a founder member. I have so far dwelt on the imperfections of the Community and with some of the problems and frustrations that lie ahead, just as I have had in mind some of the good points. It is said that
Certainly overstatement can damage the best of causes. My attitude to the whole concept of a united free Europe, and of Britain's rôle in it, is one of qualified optimism. Others have been more ecstatic about their hopes and have been lavish with their praise, both spoken and written. For example, who said:"the world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool."
That was said by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). Another prominent right hon. Gentleman opposite—guess who?—said"my guess…is…that, 10 years from now, if Britain becomes a member of the Community, it will be healthier for Britain, advantageous for Europe and a gain for the whole world."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1967; Vol. 746, c. 1323.]
That was said by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). In 1966, another right hon. Gentleman opposite said:"we shall lose all influence with the Common Market as it faces these new problems if we once say that we do not want to join…A Europe of which we are not a member could move in very dangerous directions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st January, 1971; Vol. 809, c. 1399–1400.]
That was uttered in this House by the right hon. Gentleman the present Leader of the Opposition. Here is a real teaser. Under the chapter heading "We are Europeans now," we read"We believe that the alternatives provide a second-best compared with the results of a successful application. We believe that we shall benefit ourselves and Europe, both politically and economically, if our application is successful."
I note that the authors of that sentiment are:"The Channel has ceased to matter and, strategically, we British have become Europeans whose prosperity and security depend on that of the rest of Europe."
Incidentally, 10 years later two of the three co-authors of the document in which that was written acted as tellers against their own Government, who were trying to put that theory into effect, though, to be fair, they wrote what I have quoted before the Soviet Union occupied Eastern and Central Europe and the possibility of joining the Warsaw bloc arose. Perhaps the advantages were best summed up in that excellent pamphlet "One Europe" published in 1965. These words appeared therein:"Richard Crossman, Michael Foot and Ian Mikado."
I take this chance to correct a statement I made elsewhere to the effect that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was joint editor of this pamphlet. He was not. He has assured me that he merely saw and discussed at least one of the drafts, which I understand was the final draft. In any case, he was a member of the Conservative Cabinet which in 1962 applied to joint the Community. On 10th May, 1967, he voted for the Motion approving the White Paper and the principles of entry. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West speaks in the debate, as we hope he will, we look forward to hearing why he has changed his mind. I go along with the statements I have quoted, but even in them there seems to be an element lacking. There are bright prospects for Britain and for the enlarged Community, but we can gain them only by our own strenuous efforts. If the democracies of Europe, including Britain, cannot set the world an example in practical idealism and co-operation, no one can. The most notable feature of the opposition to our joining Europe has been its totally negative character. No one who is opposed can agree on any constructive alternative. The course that Britain is following is natural, correct and logical. It is dictated by yesterday's tragic follies, demanded by today's grim problems and supported by the hopes for tomorrow of everyone who really loves freedom and prizes peace. This is a good Bill, which will set us on this course. I cannot believe that the Mother of Parliaments, having willed the end so clearly, will now make us the laughing stock of the world by denying the Government the means. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) used moving words when he spoke in the House on 25th February, 1970:"If Britain is to rise again in strength, she must join and contribute to the wider conception that is Europe. This can be done only from within. To be excluded means eventual isolation."
that is, the British Parliament—"the responsibility is on both sides—on us"—
That was very good advice. The Community has followed it; we should do so too."to keep our resolution; on the Community, to make tolerable the terms of our entry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th February, 1970; Vol. 796, c. 1248.]
I had not intended to speak in this debate, but having heard nearly all of it, I was struck by two points that have been made.The first was made by the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox), a dedicated internationalist. He said that this was the start of some internationalism. I agree, although many do not. We on this side would at least agree with that. He said that he could not understand people who voted in October for entering Europe now perhaps voting against. He said that this was not a party matter and that the argument about voting against a government we dislike—I do not like this Government much at all—would not hold good. If the Government are defeated and we do not go into Europe, I agree that it will be bad for future Governments, whether Tory or Labour, and very bad for Britain. The hon. Member mentioned sovereignty. I do not want to be a cynical materialist, but I doubt whether there is any strike or strife in this country arising from a loss of sovereignty. The miners are striking for another fiver in their wage packets, not because of a loss of sovereignty—[An HON. MEMBER: "That is the function of politicians."] That may be so, but the point about sovereignty we should forget—[Interruption.] If my hon. Friend would be quiet and listen, he might learn something. I have some personal as well as political reasons for not liking Her Majesty's Government. Apart from their many other sins of omission and commission, there are 1 million unemployed. I hate to think what the figure may be next week. We also have the situation caused by their complete lack of understanding of the miners' dispute, a mishandling which will set this country back to an extent terrible to contemplate. My son-in-law is one of that 1 million. My daughter will not want, but every member of the unemployed does not have a reasonably well-heeled father-in-law. However, from the Government's complacency one gained the impression that they do not understand that. When my daughter tells me how her husband is frustrated and unhappy because of the psychological effect of being a month unemployed, I think that anything which will get this Government out is worthwhile. As for retraining—it will be months before he can get a place. That is my most important reason. The other is my agricultural interests. I have 90 young calves and large numbers of new-born pigs at risk every time there is an electricity cut. I have 200 cows being milked at odd times. All my operations are being interrupted. This is on a small scale, when one considers the fantastic interruption which is going on in major industries, but it is severe for me. Hon. Members may say, rightly, that I should not allow this kind of thing to alter my judgment on this important subject. I agree, but when things be come personal, they become very important indeed—and I am only human. The other speech which made me want to intervene was that of the Minister of Agriculture. He robustly insisted, against his hon. Friend the Member for Leek, whom I have been quoting, that this was a party affair and appealed to his hon. Friends on the third Bench below the Gangway to treat it as such. If that is the case, I know my duty, but again I am doubtful. The Minister of Agriculture was barracked by hon. Members on this side when he said this, because he was putting party before country. There was reference to Chamberlain in 1939. But several of my hon. Friends are also barracked from the same quarter that they are putting country before party. This is a confusing attitude and it does not help one like myself, who is in doubt. What we are deciding is whether this Bill is the correct vehicle for amending our legislation so as to enter the Common Market. The arguments for and against and about the terms were basically finished in October. Like the hon. Member for Leek, I am no lawyer, but, as a junior Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, along with my colleague, now Lord Hoy, I have taken through the House one Bill with 100 Clauses and one with just under 100 Clauses. I would have welcomed a Bill of 12 Clauses. When my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said that he would like a Bill of 1,000 Clauses, I thought, "God forbid!" I listened to my right hon. Friend's speech carefully and disagreed with the first part, about the terms, which he said had altered so radically that he could not agree with them. But I must admit that the rest of his case against the Bill—other than the fact that he wanted 1,000 Clauses—was convincing. As many hon. and lay Members know, when one has to consult lawyers, one stumbles on them in every corner of this House. One who is a friend of mine and who is pro-Market said when I consulted him that there was not a very logical case for opposing the Bill but that there was a very strong illogical case for opposing the Government. I found that not very helpful. I was sorry that I did not hear the speech yesterday of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones), but what I understood of it—there was a lot of legal stuff in it—was very convincing. Of course, it is his job to convince one against one's will, and this did not leave me much better off. I now await my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), for whom I have a great personal respect—although I do not agree with some of his views. I could touch on many aspects about agriculture in relation to joining the Common Market but it can be seen that I am unhappy and undecided. Frankly the balance is coming down in favour of the party of which I have been a member for 35 years, but if I vote in the "No" Lobby I shall do so with a very heavy heart.
The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie), in his very moving and sincere speech, emphasised to the whole House the difficult which many people find in deciding what precisely we are voting about today. The House is aware that I am one of those who voted against entry on 28th October. I believe that Parliament made a mistake on that occasion and that the prospects for nation and people in co-operating with the Community, instead of becoming part of it, would have been much brighter and much less insecure.Now we are considering a Bill to implement that decision, a Bill the like of which Parliament has never debated before. For proof of that we need look no further than the Explanatory Memorandum which shows that for the first time in our history we are giving real and substantial powers to an outside body to make laws for Britain and its people. I have voiced before my fears, for Scotland and Britain, of the present Community laws, directives and regulations. We must accept, in consequence of the Bill, for example, the Community's decisions on the designation of central and non-central areas which could seriously undermine regional policies. We must abandon our present pricing policy for steel, with the severe repercussions which could follow on heavy industry in Scotland and the whole nation is to accept a burden of contributions which could damage our economy and balance of payments. These matters were obvious to all in October and in my opinion there is nothing fundamental in the Bill which should come as a surprise to any pro- or anti-Marketeer. On 20th January, I said that, with my views, I could not bring myself to vote for any Motion relating to the Common Market as long as the treaty remained unsigned. Since it has been signed, I have been thinking seriously on what is the right thing to do. I have discussed it with my constituents. I have read in the newspapers of great pressures imposed upon my colleagues. I feel neglected that on no occasion have I had an approach from the Patronage Secretary or the Prime Minister, so I have had to decide without their help. Having discussed this with my own constituents and colleagues, I feel that we have now a situation in which it is as certain as most events in Parliament that Britain will enter the Community, and from what we have heard any alternative Government would not withdraw from these treaty obligations. Under the circumstances, I believe it could only serve to undermine our nation's standing and prospects, as well as the standing of the Government at a critical time, if the decision tonight were taken by a tiny majority. I feel that my duty is certainly to do what I can to minimise the problems that I believe will stem from Community membership and to maximise the opportunities which membership is claimed to have. In these circumstances, I shall not be opposing my colleagues as I did in October.
One of my hon. Friends, in the course of an interesting and penetrating speech yesterday, admitted that he was at a loss in many respects to follow the complicated legal arguments which were being exchanged across the House. I must confess very frankly that my comprehension is no different, but I believe that if this Bill is passed with its accept-once of some 120 treaties, it will prove the biggest bonanza for the legal profession since the Romans first drew up a code of law.Last October, Parliament strained at the gnat. Today we are being asked to swallow the camel, humps and all. In October last year, we took six days of discussion to decide the principle of accession to the Treaty of Rome and now after three days of debate, the Government are demanding that we subject ourselves to such a strain on our digestive processes that we might well choke, in spite of certain assistance from the Gallic culinary art. I am appalled at the sheer effrontery of the Government in asking us to set the seal of approval on these proposals which are so colossal in their extent and so far far reaching in effect. This is perhaps the most fiendish example of Procrustean persuasion since torture was outlawed in this country. It has been conceded that we shall be obliged to accept a certain loss of sovereignty but we are glibly assured that this will be more than compensated for by the advantages which it is claimed will accrue to us. Coming from a Government who have proved themselves so incredibly inept and incompetent in the economic and political situation in which we find ourselves, I find such an act of faith impossible to accept and even if I were keen on joining the E.C.C., I would delay the formal ceremony until we had a Government who showed themselves capable of pursuing the best interests of the British people. I make no apology for voicing the gravest misgivings about the effect which the step we are now being asked to take will have upon Scotland and its people. The document "A Regional Policy for the Community", which was published in 1969 in all its verbiage, does no more than express hopes and good intentions for regional policies. We are painfully aware that as far as our regions are concerned, much more than this is necessary. In yesterday's debate, the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox) made reference to the difficulty which faces all Governments in pursuing policies of regional development. He went even further. He claimed that in the past 40 years, regional policies in this country generally had not been very successful. Let him speak for Tory Governments. As far as they are concerned, this is certainly true, because during Tory Governments emmigration from Scotland is high, unemployment is high and investment is low. Labour Governments have done better in this respect, though not well enough. At the moment we have a Tory Government with the highest unemployment since the 1930s, with the abolition of investment grants and more people joining the Armed Forces because they cannot get work. But Scotland is more than a region. Scotland is a nation and the Scottish people do not want to run the risk of their country becoming an economic backwater depending upon handouts from their Big Brother, or on second-rate tourism. In his book "TheSocial and Industrial History of Scotland Professor Mackinnon has this to say about another union, the Union of Parliaments which took place in 1707:
That was a union which took place in 1707. The point is that, in spite of our native adaptability, our inventiveness, our skills and our diligence, we in Scotland are still not on the sure road to the kind of progress we feel we should have made. I hope that the House will bear with me a little if I trace briefly the Scottish scene during the Industrial Resolution. Henry Hamilton in The Industrial Revolution in Scotland writes:"The Union was at first a dismal disappointment from a material point of view and the disappointment lasted to the fourth decade of the century. Scotland expected a burst of prosperity from freedom of trade with England and its Colonies which did not come. Instead of it, came increased taxation with loss of her French trade and no appreciable expansion of trade with England and her colonies in return. Politicians who had carried the union against bitter opposition seemed to have sold their country for a mess of pottage. The revenue did not by a long way balance the expenditure of Government. Customs and Excise produced very much less than before the Union…Coin was very scarce and paper money almost the only currency. Lack of capital, which the Union failed to produce, lamed every effort at economic development."
It is a sad commentary on our times when we see what the Clyde has been reduced to today. The Carron Ironworks in Scotland were founded in 1759. In 1727, a number of charcoal furnaces were erected in Scotland. It is interesting to note where—Invergary, in Invernesshire, and Taynuilt and Inveraray, in Argyllshire. This shows that industry was working out into the Scottish countryside. Scotland's industry has undergone changes. I am not suggesting that we should not be prepared to undergo similar changes, but there is a great deal of difficulty involved in that if we are to enter the Common Market. We had in Scotland, for example, a huge tobacco industry. In 1775, tobacco imports into Scotland totalled 46 million lb. in weight, while re-exports totalled 43 million lb., mostly to France. This went with the loss of the American Colonies. Then Scotland developed a flourishing textile industry. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, there were 4,000 looms in Glasgow, 500 of them in Anderston, in my constituency of Kelvin-grove. In Paisley, in Irvine and in Saltcoats—indeed all over Scotland, the textile industry flourished. In 1771, two million yards of linen cloth were exported from Scotland. The interesting point is that in the same year Scottish imports totalled £1,386,329, re-exports totalled £1,353,861, and home-produced exports £503,473. There was, therefore, a very comfortable and very handsome trade surplus 200 years ago in Scotland."In the course of the nineteenth century, the Clyde became famous all over the world for the skill of its shipbuilders and engineers and the excellence of its craftsmanship."
I am sorry, but I wish to get on.
Please—I have 200 years to go. I hope the hon. Gentleman will allow me to get on.French lawns and cambrics of Scottish manufacture were sent all over the world. I am moving now to the heavy industries which came to Scotland. One hundred years ago, Scotland's pig iron accounted for almost 30 per cent. of the British total, and in 1865 there were 128 blast furnaces in Scotland. All this indicates the industrial nature of the Scottish economy. We are not a backward agricultural nation. We are a proud industrial society and we have no assurance that our industrial set-up will continue. All Governments have found it difficult to maintain it, and I believe that the present Government are willing to write Scotland off in an industrial sense. But we do not want to be left holding out a begging bowl to big brother England. Why is it, for example, that we are being deliberately misled about the extent of oil finds in the North Sea? Why is this played down? Is it perhaps because hon. Members opposite are afraid that the Scottish nation will for the first time in a very long time become self-supporting? There is a strong possibility that that is the reason for the attitude. I draw attention to something else. In October's debate and again in this debate, we have concentrated almost entirely on material advance and the acquisitions which we expect to accrue from it. But what about the quality of the life we ought to be leading? The years of striking affluence in the members of the community have unfortunately also brought about a sad change in behaviour, if not even in the character of the people. I say this in all seriousness. The "rags to riches" progression has made them discourteous, self-centred and neurotic. They seldom have time for a kind word or courteous gesture to strangers. They are caught up in the rat race. I cannot see what makes hon. Members who support this Bill believe that our going into Europe will influence them. Will not we succumb to the same pressures? I cannot imagine, for example, the French welcoming our entry into the Common Market because of the influence we shall have over them. We have been bandying Americanisms about today—or at least the Solicitor-General has. I will add one. The attitude seems to be, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I am not against co-operation with other countries in Europe. As many hon. Members have said, we are certainly part of Europe. But I believe that we in this country can play our part in man's advancement just as well, if not better, by maintaining our own institutions, our own entity and our integrity. I certainly will be voting against the Bill.
I think we all agree that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller) made an interesting and unique contribution to our debate. I want to deal with the issue on which he touched at the beginning of his speech and which I believe is central to the debate—sovereignty. I think that it is incumbent upon those of us who support entry to deal with it. Over the last three days, the word has been used frequently and I have reflected upon how it would be defined by various Members. I suspect that there would be about 630 different answers.To some, sovereignty means the right to negotiate trade treaties; to others, it means the right to negotiate defence treaties; to others, the right to question Ministers; to others, the right to reject legislation; to others, the right to amend legislation. But, listening carefully to the debate, it would be difficult to define sovereignty as an isolated, separate thing. I do not believe that sovereignty is absolute and can exist in isolation. I believe that all sovereignty is circumscribed in some way. For example, the sovereignty of this Chamber is circumscribed by the over-all sovereignty of Parliament, while that of Parliament is circumscribed by the over-all sovereignty of the British people. I am not using these words to avoid the issue. I do so because I am genuinely concerned that what is generally thought of as the sovereignty of this Chamber should be protected in many ways when we enter the E.E.C. and deal with the impact of legislation which already exists. I have always accepted that it was explicit in our negotiating stance that we would have to accept the regulations and existing legislation of the Common Market. Hon. Members opposite have said that this is a constitutional outrage. If it is a constitutional outrage in 1972, it was equally so in 1967 and in 1970. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General adequately proved that this afternoon in the devastating way with which he dealt with the Leader of the Opposition. To carry on the Napoleonic metaphor, my hon. and learned Friend dealt with the Leader of the Opposition in the way in which the Russian general dealt with Napoleon in 1812—he lured him into his territory until the right hon. Gentleman destroyed himself. In considering the question of protections for our sovereignty when we enter the Common Market, I do not believe that the European Parliament is an adequate substitute, or is likely to become so in the lifetime of most of us, for the sovereignty we have in this House. Parliaments that endure are not created; they are the fruit of a lengthy organic growth; and I do not believe that a European Parliament can spring up from the foam like Venus, perfect and beautiful. It will be a very long time before the institutions of the European Parliament are sophisticated and delicate and efficient enough effectively to control the Council and the Commission. So I think it is incumbent upon us on this side and on hon. Members opposite, who will support us later, to devise methods whereby we have some effective control over the decisions of the Council of Ministers and of the Commission. What opportunities will exist for Members of this House to comment upon decisions before they are made by the Council of Ministers, to express their opinion upon policies before they are agreed by the Council of Ministers? I am very pleased that my right hon. Friends are setting up an ad hoc committee—my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mal-ton (Sir Robin Turton) referred to this in his speech—and the sort of checks and balances that I would welcome are, first, an obligation to inform. I regret that in this Bill there is no obligation to inform. In the German Treaty of Accession, Article 2 lays a specific responsibility upon the Federal Government of Germany to inform members of any Community decisions that are to be taken. I should like, therefore, to see an obligation to inform. I should like also to see an obligation to examine proposals before the Council of Ministers agrees upon them. I believe that the only effective machinery for this—although I am not an enthusiast for Select Committees—would be a Select Committee on European affairs which would have the right to examine the regulations at the draft stage. That is the key point, because it is at the draft stage that the feelings of this House can be expressed. The Committee should have the power to call the relevant Minister before it and it should also have the right to report quickly to the House and to ask for time for these drafts to be debated before the Council of Ministers decides. This is very similar to the system that Holland has devised. Of all the countries in Europe Holland has devised the best system of effectively looking at legislation before the Council of Ministers agrees it. Finally, since I promised to be brief, the last obligation should be an obligation to approve or disapprove. Technically, this exists. Since the foundation of the Common Market, no country in Europe has actually rejected a regulation, but in fact if it were put before this House under the positive procedure for dealing with statutory instruments, the House would technically have this right. Clearly, if it were exercised, there would be a major political row, but one is none the worse for that. The right exists as a result of Clause 2(2) of this Bill. In conclusion, I should like to turn briefly to the nature of the vote this evening at 10 o'clock. Last night, in a delightful and characteristic speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) argued that if the Bill is not given a Second Reading the Government need not resign. I believe that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), if I understood him correctly, made the same point on the wireless the other night. I believe that constitutionally—and I have looked at the precedents—that is the position. Indeed, when my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury said this, several hon. Members opposite were nodding in agreement, as it were. But I wonder whether this is a realistic situation. If the tellers return tonight and the two Labour tellers stand on the right and announce the defeat of this Bill, will those Members who were nodding last night sit mute and inglorious on the benches? Will there not be a resounding cry of "Resign"? Will the Leader of the Opposition, at 10.15 p.m., get up on one of his ever-helpful points of order and say: "Although the Government have lost the Second Reading, I want to make it quite clear that we are not pressing them to resign; we want them to remain in office to carry out their whole programme of social and education reform"? The political reality is that if the Bill is defeated on Second Reading tonight the Government will resign, but I would say this to many of my hon. Friends who may vote against the Bill tonight. They are voting on the issue of Europe. That is what they are voting on. But hon. Members opposite who will be voting are not voting on the issue of Europe. They are voting on their general support or lack of support for the Government. Hon. Members opposite who will be voting tonight against Europe, who have been consistently against Europe, will be followed into the Lobby and accompanied by a whole string of their colleagues who are infinitely more pro-European than I am. This, I think, indicates the political nature of the Division this evening. So I think the Division at 10 o'clock this evening is of crucial importance. I believe that if the Government do not carry the Second Reading, they will have to resign. I do not use this as a threat because the hon. Members on this side who have strong views on Europe are not responsive to this, and I would not expect them to be—but it is important because it means that we shall not enter Europe. I do not believe that, as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, he can renegotiate. Brussels is not waiting for that; Europe is not waiting for that. We know perfectly well that the Leader of the Opposition would like to be in the centre of the stage at Brussels, that the limelight has an irresistible attraction for him, that he cannot resist the temptation to be the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral. But Europe does not look at him in the way in which he looks at Europe. So I believe that the decision tonight is of crucial importance—of crucial importance to the Government and of crucial importance to Europe. If we say "No" to Europe tonight, it is no for ever.
In a minute I will return to some of the points made by the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Kenneth Baker). Before doing so, however, I want to make one or two references to the speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for Lewis (Sir T. Beamish), who spoke as self-appointed spokesman for the Socialist International. I very much regret that he is not in his place. He shares the prima donna attitude of some other hon. Members—not many, I am happy to say—in that he comes in, makes his speech as spokesman for the Socialist International, and leaves immediately so that no one can attack the Socialist International. Later he assumed the mantle of spokesman for the Trades Union Congress. I recommend that he try to get elected to the General Council before he presumes to give advice as to what the trade union movement should do.But the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not without some importance because I believe I am right in saying that he is Chairman of Conservative Members for Entry into the Common Market and he has been collecting statistics and making dark remarks about the numbers he might yet get to support him during the past 12 months. It is very important to remember, therefore, that apart from the quotations he read out, padding his speech and making it unduly long, the only real point he contributed to this discussion was one that may figure in the week-end discussion between the Prime Minister and President Pompidou, because the hon. and gallant Member for Lewis has long been an advocate of a joint defence policy. It is of singular importance, I think, that we are asked now to enact the legislation which is really of crucial importance and in many ways decisive, before ever having had from the Government or from the Chancellor of the Duchy, or from the Prime Minister himself, any outline at all of the Government's intentions as far as the setting-up of a third nuclear command is concerned, to which this party has always been unalterably opposed, and as far as nuclear sharing with France and then perhaps with other members of the Community is concerned. I quote this as one example, and I do not intend to go into it in detail, of the poverty of information that the Government have given to Parliament and the country before asking us to enact the legislation. However, this debate deals with two precise items. The hon. Member for St. Marylebone was quite wrong to use the term "Europe" all the time. There is no Bill before the House for the people of the United Kingdom to prove that they are good Europeans or for the United Kingdom to join a nebulous geographical quantity like Europe. That is the misuse of language in which other hon. Members have engaged over the years. Europe is much larger. I doubt very much whether the hon. Gentleman or the Prime Minister would wish us to join a Community embracing both Western and Eastern Europe if it existed now. I wonder whether that would be advocated by the Government at present. The hon. and gallant Member for Lewes, whose absence I still regret, reminded me of a very interesting incident. When he was acting as spokesman for the Socialist International he challenged hon. Members on this side, saying, "The European Socialists want you all in." I was reminded of a semi-public meeting in Westminster Hall at the beginning of October last year when he shared a platform with Lord George-Brown. We all know that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, the Chairman of the Conservative Members for Entry into the Common Market, has long maintained that one of the reasons why he is eager to go in is that he believes that the way to keep this country safe for capitalism is to enter the Common Market. There he was sitting on the platform, with only the Chairman dividing him from my old friend Lord George-Brown, who said "I cannot understand members of the Labour Party not wanting to go into the Community, because that is the surest way to make this country and the whole of Europe a Socialist commonwealth." I expected the hon. and gallant Gentleman to jump up and say something, but mum was the word. He did not contradict Lord George-Brown but sat there in stony silence. Therefore, when he tries to appeal to us on behalf of European Socialism, I must reply that he should speak out more freely in the presence of my friend Lord George-Brown. There are far more serious issues than the nonsense the hon. and gallant Gentleman contributed to the debate and the propaganda he read out to us. The most serious issue concerns the kind of transfer of power embodied in the Bill. One of the gravest weaknesses of the Solicitor-General's speech was his complete avoidance of any mention of taxation. How can a Solicitor-General, who, by virtue of his office, is so closely and intimately associated with taxation legislation—we all know he is the chief legal adviser to the Treasury Ministers on matters of taxation—speak for half an hour or 35 minutes without even mentioning taxation? I am glad the Father of the House, the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) is present, because I have the opportunity to pay my modest respect to him for his massive speech yesterday afternoon. The Solicitor-General, one of the chief constitutional and legal spokesmen for the Government, spent 90 seconds—I counted them—in referring to that remarkable speech. He did not devote any time to the massive case we heard from the right hon. Gentleman, because he could not do so. He played the old game of quotations that the Government have adopted; ever since the debate started they have substituted quotation-mongering for making a case for their legislation. That is the new doctrine by which they conduct these proceedings. We are told—and the Prime Minister will repeat it later tonight—that the House is asked to make a most momentous decision, but the Government do not make a case for their own legislation. They just bandy quotations about. I must tell the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that I am in no way impressed by one lawyer quoting the Lord Chancellor in the Labour Government as having used a certain legal formulation. What counts is for the Government to bring the legislation to the British people and the House, which they have never done before. I should like the hon. and learned Gentleman to come to my constituency, to the town hall in Penistone, and to go on to the platform. There are quite a lot of Conservatives in Penistone. It is not where I have my biggest majority. I am not inviting him to the part where there are hardly any Tories. Let him read out quotations from a former Lord Chancellor to make his case. He will be off the platform in 25 minutes. Nobody will listen to him. The same would happen in many other constituencies. The way the Government are continuing the discussion by quotation-mongering is a scandal. They must not answer frivolously as if we were in an Oxford debating society. The question of taxation is very serious. We see the handing over to another authority of the right to tax the people of this country, without a General Election. It is the gravest offence to the rights of the people of this country committed by a Government in more than a hundred years.
Would not the hon. Gentleman accept that when his Government were in office there was a time when they handed over to the International Monetary Fund the decisions about their Exchequer and Treasury policies, and instituted policies of nil growth in response to this country's international trading difficulties, which entry into the Common Market would ease and non-entry would worsen?
Everyone should give way once, even in a debate in which there is not much time left. But I must say with all charity that what the hon. Gentleman said is not strictly relevant to the point I was making. [Interruption.] Conservative hon. Members know very well that I am not one of those who blindly supported my Government's relations with the International Monetary Fund, and I am entitled to say what I am saying now. When the hon. Gentleman examines HANSARD tomorrow he will see that there is no analogy between the two examples. We are talking about the permanent signing away of the rights of the people of this country and their representatives in Parliament to levy taxation and make appropriations. That is completely different from the matter to which the hon. Gentleman referred.We are also involved in equally serious matters that are not to do with taxation, the sort of matters the Solicitor-General played about with this afternoon when he was making great play with the kind of criticism my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones), the Attorney-General in the Labour Administration, might have made if he had put the matter in a different way. What a ludicrous way of proceeding! It is the Government's constitutional and legal duty—we do not know for how much longer—to provide in this debate the reasons why they proceeded as they did, not to argue on paper formulations with my right hon. and learned Friend. We were singularly unimpressed, although the Prime Minister seemed to be laughing for the first time in the past three weeks when he listened to that speech. We can understand why, but his laughter will not last very long. In fact, the Solicitor-General was avoiding his duty in this debate, which is to answer the case of the Father of the House and to prove to Parliament and people outside how the reduction in the sovereignty of Parliament is to be made good by other means. He completely failed to do so. We are told by hon. Members on both sides that there are wonderful committee systems in other Parliaments that will do the trick. What. nonsense! Anyone who has regularly visited France since de Gaulle came to power and President Pompidou was Prime Minister and who sees what they did to the French Parliament will know that France had a powerful Parliament once but that the combination of de Gaulle and President Pompidou destroyed it. It is a shadow of its former self. It has all the commissions on paper. They meet all the time, but without having any real power or influence. Their power is non-existent. The evidence is well known to the hon. and learned Gentleman, who knows as much as we do about these matters. It is quite typical that in the closed meetings between the Prime Minister and President Pompidou there was a meeting of minds. The Government in this legislation are abolishing the British constitution by unconstitutional means. That is the real charge in this debate.—[AN HON. MEMBER: "Rubbish.")—"Rubbish" is not an argument. The hon. Member must do better than that. I repeat the charge that the Government in this legislation are abolishing the British constitution by unconstitutional means and that between President Pompidou and the Prime Minister there was a meeting of minds. All my hon. Friends who keep talking about a powerful European Parliament which will preside over the ushering in of a Socialist community in the E.E.C. must forgive me when I ask for the evidence. The evidence is the other way. What the Prime Minister has agreed with M. Pompidou is the very reverse of a strengthened European Parliament. He has agreed with the President not to move in that direction. The Prime Minister had to accept that as a condition before M. Pompidou removed the French veto. Many people know the facts; I am not producing something new and startling. It only sounds new because those on the Treasury Bench have not mentioned it in any of their speeches. One can make a contribution to this debate based on modest research and sound startlingly new because of the lack of information from the Treasury Bench. The trend is the other way. What has been agreed between M. Pompidou and others is the setting up of a new secretariat, not of a stronger European Parliament. This secretariat is preparing a meeting of, it is hoped, the Six plus the Four in October and the trend is towards giving far more power to the authoritarian aspect of the Community. No. fig leaf is provided for this and the European Parliament is not intended to be developed by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is now talking about advancing joint foreign and defence policies which will be even further removed from the authority of this House than they already are in a number of cases. In the last resort, this House has always had power to call for a Select Committee, to overturn the policies of the Government. That power will disappear because it is not only a matter of accepting taxation legislation but also a matter of accepting decisions on foreign and defence policy made by an authoritarian body having once emaciated this House of Commons and prevented it from exercising control over such policies. I return to the question of setting up a third nuclear command, the brainchild of the Prime Minister—the apple of his eye—as was shown by his lectures at Harvard University a few years ago. He has not said much about this recently. It has most dangerous international implications. Involved in all this is the attitude of the United States of America to the European Economic Community. It is quite wrong to think that any longer the United States is thinking of setting up a special office as it once did in the Embassy in Grosvenor Square and trying to hurry us into the Economic Community. That is all "old-hat" now. The United States is gravely concerned about the kind of tariff policies and the dangerous third nuclear command policies which some people in the Community are harbouring, some such as Herr Strauss in West Germany. He made a speech in Westminster Hall some time ago and said that if Britain did not go into a joint nuclear command, his party in Germany were not interested. I am sorry that the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes is not present because he is much closer in his philosophy to Herr Strauss than he is to Herr Brandt. Those are the great problems which form the background to this debate. The Government, by the kind of legislation they are using, have avoided putting many items of detail before the House of Commons. The narrow grounds of this debate tonight with its wide background are very clear. We are not voting on Europe or on the idealism of many people in the Six countries and this country who have dedicated their lives to creating a better Europe. Many of my hon. Friends, unlike the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes—who is a European of recent date in spite of the fact that he spouts so much about it—have dedicated their lives to this. One of the satirical aspects of the debate is that many right-wing elements and militaristic defenders of old imperial glory are now coming forward as the greatest exponents of European glory because they hope that they may lord it over other parts of Europe in future. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who is now on the Government Front Bench, is not far removed from people of that ilk. If I may be allowed to use a French word, that is the attitude which some of the nouveaux internationalists are now adopting. That is where their inspiration comes from. Many of my hon. Friends have dedicated their lives to internationalism. Some of them support joining the Common Market and others do not. All have the opportunity tonight to defend the rights of Parliament and the sovereignty of the British people and to show this Government that they have seen through the Government and will not support them.
On a point of order. Some of the speeches in this debate have been inordinately long. I do not think that hon. Members who have made them have realised that time is limited.
I am sure that other hon. Members will have taken notice of what the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Tuck) said.
This Second Reading debate is the first occasion upon which the House of Commons has ever had before it as a specific proposal the proposition of British membership of the European Economic Community. It is the first time that we have ever debated this matter in the form and in the way in which this House historically takes its decisions; for it is part of its habit and its shrewd wisdom that it does not take its decisions on matters of theory, on hypothetical possibilities, upon approving or disapproving White Papers. It takes its real decisions—and examination of its history at the moments when it has asserted its power and vindicated the liberties of the people will prove this—on the occasions when specific legislative propositions are put before it. Now is the first time that we are asked in that form to consider British membership of the Community and its consequences.This is why it has been—worse than a waste of time—a vanity and vexation of spirit, to listen to the cross-fire of quotation and counter-quotation. It does not help us or rescue us from the necessity of taking our decision now, and perhaps in the days to come, to refer to a White Paper of last year, or three years ago, or 10 years ago, or to what some other right hon. Gentleman said several years before. We are approaching this question for the first time as a practical one. Never till now has the House of Commons had placed before it proposed legislation on which it must take a definitive view and on which it must envisage as a practical issue what it will mean for this country if we accede to the Community. The Bill, whatever its defects, does manifest some of the major consequences. It shows first that it is an inherent consequence of accession to the Treaty of Rome that this House and Parliament will lose their legislative supremacy. It will no longer be true that law in this country is made only by or with the authority of Parliament—which in practice means the authority of this House. The legislative omni-competence of this House, its legislative sovereignty, has to be given up. The second consequence, which is equally manifest upon the face of the Bill, is that this House loses its exclusive control—upon which its power and authority has been built over the centuries—over taxation and expenditure. In future, if we become part of the Community, moneys received in taxation from the citizens of this country will be spent otherwise than upon a vote of this House and without the opportunity, necessarily preceding such a vote, to debate grievance and to call for an account of the way in which those moneys are to be spent. For the first time for centuries it will be true to say that the people of this country are not taxed only upon the authority of the House of Commons. The third consequence which is manifest on the face of the Bill, in Clause 3 among other places, is that the judicial independence of this country has to be given up. In future, if we join the Community, the citizens of this country will not only be subject to laws made elsewhere but the applicability of those laws to them will be adjudicated upon elsewhere; and the law made elsewhere and the adjudication elsewhere will override the law which is made here and the decisions of the courts of this realm. Those three facts, those essential sacrifices of sovereignty, are evident upon the face of the Bill; and they are not disputed, although they are sought to be qualified, and I will come presently to the qualifications. There is, however, a fourth consequence which, though not manifest, is inherent and implicit. That is the progressive strengthening of the Executive as compared with this House, or, to put it the other way, the continuing diminution of the power of this House to influence and control the Executive, as I will presently prove. Let me come first to the two grounds on which the propositions I have stated are—not disputed; they cannot be, they are in the Bill—but upon which it is sought to palliate them and render them palatable. The first is the de minimis argument—"Don't worry; it's not very important, because it will not refer to many subjects or very important matters." The second is the remonstrance "Don't worry, because, at any rate in future, we"—whoever "we" is—"will be participating in whatever decisions result in the overriding authority of the Community being exercised in this country." I will take those two arguments in order. First, the de minimis argument. Of course, it is true that at present the great majority of Community law which will become part of our law, either directly and automatically under Clause 2 (1) or by directive through legislation or the regulation-making process, refers to two subjects. It refers to the common tariff and what is implicit in that; and it refers to the common agricultural policy, in the broadest sense of the term. Although these are important matters—many of us would consider that they are far-reaching in their consequences—they are still relatively narrow compared with the whole sweep of administration and legislation. But this is intended to be only a start. Of course, the receptacle which is formed by Clause 2 will not initially have much put inside it. It starts life by no means full; but it is a receptacle which is intended progressively to contain more and more external powers, legislation and decisions. It is a receptacle created to be progressively filled. Let me put it in practical terms to my right hon. and learned Friend. Imagine it was proposed to him during subsequent stages of the Bill: "Very well; we take you at your word, that it is only on these two subjects, broadly speaking, that these cessions of sovereignty are to occur. Let us then have an amendment; let us write in words which will limit the applicability of Clause 2 to those two subjects." My right hon. and learned Friend would instantly repudiate any such proposition. He would have to, because the argument, the ground, on which British membership of the Community has been eloquently argued by himself, the Prime Minister and all its greatest advocates is not that the effect will be minimal but that this is intended to lead progressively to the political unification of this country with the countries of Western Europe. That has been said candidly, frankly, over and over again. So, although this surrender begins as minimal, it is intended to become maximal; and that intention is implicit in the policy and declarations of the Government. Then they say, passing to the other defence, "Ah, yes; but then, as this develops, as we go from the minimal to the maximal, at each stage—in the making of each new regulation, in the entry of the Community into each new area—we, the United Kingdom, will be a party to the decision; and since the Government are sitting in this House, since the Government will still be responsible to this House, it will be this House which will, in effect, still control the elaboration of Community law and Community powers and the progress of political unification at each stage." This is the argument—that we in this House will still be in charge. Let us examine this process stage by stage. Let us take it for convenience in the case of a regulation—not one of those regulations which, as the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) pointed out, can be made by the Commission by itself, but one of those more substantial regulations which are made by the Council of Ministers. My right hon. and learned Friend announced that it was intended to consider ways in which this House could be "apprised" of proposed regulations. That is generous, that we should at least have the opportunity of knowing what is going on. But it is not by being "apprised" of what is proposed that this House exerts its control or ever has done. It has been done by the power to vote upon it and, potentially, to throw it out. However, at that stage, it would be only a draft: there would be no point, when we were "apprised" of the proposed regulation, for example, or of the proposed development of the Community, in throwing it out. We should be invited to take note of it. The views expressed on both sides of the House would be taken into account, "with great interest". One can almost rehearse the wind-up speech which would be heard from the Government Bench. Then the Minister goes to the Council of Ministers and eventually, sooner or later, he conies back with the decision, the common decision. If it is in the form of a regulation or if it involves legislation or if it is merely an act which can be implemented by the Executive, this House once again can address itself to it. We can address ourselves to it, but can we deal with it as we now deal with every proposition which comes from the Executive? There was an interesting exchange on Tuesday between the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) and my right hon. and learned Friend. The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire asked:
that is the stage we have reached in our imaginary journey—"…if when the Minister reports back and a debate takes place…"
My right hon. and learned Friend correctly replied:"…the decision of Parliament is against the decision of the Common Market Communities, how would we resolve that situation?"
A fine basis for asserting the continued control of this House over the Executive, to be able to say, "But we can break the treaty" ! Of course all treaties can be broken. In that sense no parliament can bind its successors. All agreements can be scrapped, all engagements can be reneged upon. Is that the dishonour that this House intends—to enter into this with the arrière pensée that if we do not like anything that comes out of it we can always break the treaty? No, the clear fact is that at no stage will the House of Commons be able to take a decision with binding effect, neither before consideration in the Council of Ministers nor after a Community decision. Not only can this House in those circumstances take no binding decision, but neither it nor any future House can reverse that decision. And here we come to one of the most fundamental truths of this whole debate, that the power of this House depends, in the last resort, upon its power, humanly speaking, to reverse previous decisions; and not only the power of this House, but the power of those whose servants we are—the electorate. What meaning has the right of the electorate to send hon. Members here unless, so far as legislation and administration can bring it about, what has been done in the past can, if the electors desire it, be reversed? So it is implicit and inherent in the nature of the Community that the control of this House over the Executive is progressively diminished, and consequently that the self-government of the electorate is diminished. Let no one say that it is rare for something proposed by the Government to be thrown out. This would be a very simplistic objection. How often does it happen in a game of chess that the king is actually taken off the chess board? Yet one could not play a game of chess if it were not possible to take the king. It is the knowledge that this House can defeat the proposals of the Executive—and if not this House, then a future House of Commons—upon which the power and authority of this House depend, and upon which depends the thing that we in this country call democracy. There is something else. Criticism of the Executive is not always, perhaps not mostly, negative. We do not only come to the House and say to the Executive, "Why have you done this, or why are you proposing to do this? We do not like it." We also say often enough—it is the stuff and matter of Supply debates—"Why don't you do what you are not doing or are failing to do?" In the Community, however, the Executive has no initiative. The initiative lies, by the constitution of the Community, with the Commission. We cannot say to the Government, "Why do you not do this?", just as, when something is done by the Council of Ministers and by the Community, we cannot effectively call them to account for what they have done. So it remains a fact that, as the Community develops with this country as a member of it, so the control of this House and of the people of this country will diminish and shrivel. Now, I am very far from saying that there are no circumstances in which it would be right, wise, beneficial, for a country with its eyes open to surrender its sovereignty; that even for Britain—the extreme example perhaps—there are no circumstances in which it would not be right, necessary perhaps, to say that we would give up all we have historically clung to, the sovereignty of this House, our judicial independence, the control of the House of Commons over taxation and expenditure, in return for something which we hope to gain thereby. There is nothing inherently impossible in such a proposition. But there is a condition attached to such a course being embraced. What is given up, what is paid, is not the personal property of hon. Members of this House or of any one Parliament, but comes from and is held as a trust for the entire people of this country. It follows that for such a course to be taken it is indispensably necessary that it should be seen to be willed, and heartily willed, by the overwhelming majority of the people."That would be in breach of the treaty."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1972; Vol. 831, c. 275]
Will my right hon. Friend give way?
We are all in this debate speaking under great constraint of time, and I hope that on this occasion my hon. Friend will excuse me.Such is the nature of this decision, that that condition necessarily attaches to it. That, of course, is the significance of the famous words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister about the full-hearted consent of Parliament and people. Those words were not plucked up as a verbal infelicity for which he was to be held to account. They have become so famous because they enshrine a manifest and necessary truth. That condition does not exist. I will take it in its two parts—the people first. I do not think that any hon. Member would be bold enough to say that he believed he could claim the full-hearted consent, the strong positive will, of the people of this country to give up all the things we know we have to give up in order to join the European Community. Let me put it more personally to my hon. and right hon. Friends here. Most of us in this Chamber, not myself, did not happen to mention the European Community in their election addresses—
Some did, but most did not. I ask hon. and right hon. Members to address to themselves this question: "Did I tell the electorate in June, 1970, whether or not I was in favour of entry"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I will complete the sentence. "Did hon. Members tell their electorate, whether or not they were in favour"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I will start again; the syntactical construction was apparently a little too difficult. "Whether or not hon. Members were, or expressed themselves, in favour of joining the Community, did they say to their electors plainly that they were in favour of this House giving up its legislative supremacy and surrendering its control over taxation and expenditure and of an over-riding superimposition of courts and laws over the courts and laws of this country?" If they said that—and only if they said that—and if, moreover, they said that this would be done without further reference to the electorate, then they had some excuse at any rate for neglecting the evidence, which I do not believe anyone can seriously neglect, that the people of this country have not given their full-hearted consent to any such thing.
But surely my right hon. Friend must understand that we all made our position perfectly clear about parliamentary power and sovereignty when we, like my right hon. Friend supported the original application to join?
And in 1967, too.
If my right hon. and learned Friend believes that it was made clear to the electors at the last election that this was to be the price of British membership of the Community—a membership which was proposed to them not, as it is now for the first time being proposed to this House, as a practical proposition, but only as something which would be negotiated—then indeed he belongs to a very small number of exceptions.However, it is said, "Let it be Parliament that decides. Let us wrap it up, so that what we are talking about is the full-hearted consent of the House of Commons". There was a debate in October—a debate which did not deal with a precise proposition such as this—when the House decided affirmatively by a vote of seven-twelfths in favour. In no country with a written constitution, in none of the other countries which are participating in this operation with the United Kingdom, would such a proportion justify the major step which is involved in joining the Community. All of them have safeguards which require a much more generous margin even than that on which the House voted on 28th October.
May I ask my right hon. Friend why he voted for the principle of entry in 1967 when there was a majority of more than 400 in this House? He has not answered that question.
That vote was in favour of negotiation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Genuine negotiation."]—In favour of genuine negotiation but, as I said earlier—and I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) was here—we none of us have the right, faced with this Bill, to go back to White Papers and declarations in previous years. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] None of us can shelter behind the past. We each have to take our decision in the open upon the proposition which is now before the House.Before I conclude, I want to glance at the state of full-hearted consent in this House now. Is it a full-hearted consent which is anticipated from this House as the necessary legislative condition of British membership of the Community? My right hon. Friends on the Front Bench do not think so. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not think so. In order to secure a narrow majority in the Division tonight, they have brought to bear upon hon. Members of different views, despite my right hon. Friend's assurance that they would have an absolute right to vote as they so decided on this question, every available form of pressure. Is that a sign of belief? [Interruption.] One hon. Friend behind me says that we are not voting on the Common Market. Indeed we are, and it is on the Common Market that it will be shown tonight that there is not full-hearted consent in this House. For this House, lacking the necessary authority either out-of-doors or indoors, legislatively to give away the independence and sovereignty of this House now and for the future is an unthinkable act. Even if there were not those outside to whom we have to render account, the very stones of this place would cry out against us if we dared such a thing. We are here acting not only collectively but as individuals; and each hon. Member takes his own responsibility upon himself—as I do, when I say for myself "It shall not pass".
The import of the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was such that, if the House does not take proper cognisance of it tonight, it may never have another opportunity to do so. The right hon. Gentleman was saying that, if we pass this legislation. we shall put in jeopardy not only the rights and freedoms of the House of Commons, but the entire constitution of our land as we know it. It is the first strand of the rope that will hamper our freedom it is the shackle that will bind the traditional freedoms of this House and of this country as a whole.Various devices have been used to try to mislead people. On the one hand, they feel that to be good Europeans they should join Europe. On the other hand, they become confused when the lying, malevolent propaganda is pointed out to them. There have been examples of this in this debate. People have said, "Is it not a good thing for our country to go into Europe?" However, this Bill is not about that aspect at all. Judging by the argument advanced by the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Kenneth Baker), one was almost led to believe that, in view of the state of the country under the present Government, the only solution is for us to join the E.E.C. I do not accept that. I believe that the only solution for this country in getting out of its present difficulties is to have one more urgently required strike. We want to see a strike on the Treasury Bench. We might then have a chance to do something about the problems which afflict us. I wish to develop further the superb arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman. His arguments are critical in our discussions of the Bill. I have promised that I will not speak for very long in order to give other hon. Members an opportunity to contribute to this debate. There have been times when I have been diametrically opposed to many of the views of the right hon. Gentleman. But one fact is crystal clear. If this Measure is passed, neither the right hon. Gentleman nor I will count for very much any more and, as he said, what is more important is that nor will the people who sent us here. I was extremely perturbed by the attitude that the Government adopted about the problems facing New Zealand. Her Majesty's Government ought not to dismiss too lightly a nation of our British Commonwealth which gave of itself so magnificently in very dark hours when, as I understand it, we were defending all that this House and the people of this nation stand for. During those dark hours, we had magnificent support from New Zealand, as we did from other Commonwealth nations—
I do not know what the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) finds so funny. Perhaps I have misunderstood him. Perhaps he was not old enough to know what was going on at that time. But if we had not won the ideological argument, the hon. Gentleman would not be here to be so humorous—
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Certainly, I will.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for being courteous in that respect at least. As I understand it, he was saying that because New Zealand sacrificed so much in the last war, in some way it deserved special favours. Does not the same argument apply to Mr. Smith and Rhodesia?
The answer to that is simple. The Government of New Zealand happens to be legal and properly constituted. I am amazed that a Liberal of all people should take up the cudgels on behalf of a semi-fascist organisation. The hon. Gentleman should be ashamed of himself.As the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said, from time to time we have agreed on all sides that this country should seek to negotiate. It so happens that I did not agree that we ought to take the chance. However, the right hon. Gentleman thought that was worth while, and he had every right to take that view. But now that the real propositions are coming back, anyone who is willing to negotiate and to accept whatever comes out of that negotiation will tie our hands for the future in a most irresponsible way. The Treasury Bench is totally irresponsible. It is the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West who is being realistic. It is quite wrong for those who feel genuinely that we should join the E.E.C. to label those hon. Members who oppose British entry as "anti-European". That is not the case. I believe that, if we are not shackled by the Treaty of Rome, the probability is that instead of a very tight arrangement which may threaten this House, the nation and its people, something may emerge which will bring us nearer to a form of United Europe and, who knows, to a form of worldwide co-operation. Like the right hon. Gentleman, I believe that from time to time there have been greater military powers, richer nations, and so forth. But what cannot be taken from this nation is its remarkable contribution to the development of a free democratic society. Britain can contribute more to Europe by not acceding to this Treaty, and, what is more, in contributing more to Europe, we shall contribute more to the world. If we pass this Measure, that possible contribution will be lost for all time. This is a bad Treaty, not only for Britain but for the rest of Europe, by which I mean those countries which are not signatories. It will create all sorts of complications if we go in. There are certain countries who are signatories to the E.F.T.A. Agreement. They have certain obligations to one another. Some of them may be joining the E.E.C. What is to happen to the agreements that they have signed with those who will remain the rump of E.F.T.A.? A serious situation will arise. If we are not careful, we may create a bitterness in Europe which will be used to advantage by those who do not like freedom and democracy. I do not want to make political points one way or the other. But the right hon. Gentleman was right to say that it would be arrogant of us to assume that we can jeopardise the rights of this House and, more important, the rights of those who sent us here. That is really the issue. For the first time we see, perhaps more than ever before, the real relationship between this House and the people of Britain. It is a remarkable relationship. It is the nearest that man has devised to the achievement of democratic freedom and democratic expression. If the authority of this House and that of Britain are destroyed, tonight's work in this House would wreak havoc, not only for our nation but for Europe.
In the interests of brevity, I shall not take up any of the arguments adduced by the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy). The only remark that I make about his speech refers to when he said that if the Bill goes through we will not count for much any more. If that is the case, the Community must be a very formidable organisation.Until my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General spoke today this Bill was something of a mystery to me. My hon. and learned Friend shed a lot of light on it. But there is still very much more that I need to understand about it. I have no doubt that in the long hours that lie before us we shall go through it in detail. However, I do not believe that it is very important that I should understand the Bill in detail tonight. What we are here to decide is what this Bill represents, because, assuming that it receives a favourable vote and eventually gets on the Statute Book, this country will go into the Community. At this late hour, I want to persuade some of my right hon. and hon. Friends who are against the Bill to change their minds. That may be a forlorn hope, but I shall try. I do not think that I shall succeed if I confine my arguments to growth rates, investment, or even sovereignty. I shall try another way, and, for the purpose, I have divided those who oppose entry into four groups. I shall deal briefly with the first three groups. The first comprises those who oppose entry for party advantage. I do not find their arguments credible or convincing, because they are not confined to the merits of the case. They are contrived for other purposes. Listening to them, it is incredible to think that two years ago they spoke so differently. The second group—I am glad to see the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) in his place, because I think he leads it—reminds me of the fable of the Persian fisherman who, fishing in the river, dragged up on to the bank an ancient wine bottle, and when he took out the stopper, instead of wine, a gigantic fearful-looking genie came out.
He was a Tory.
The right hon. Gentleman and others like him magnify the difficulties. They cannot see; they ignore the advantages. What that fisherman saw was fear, and that is what the right hon. Gentleman and his friends suffer from.The third group, under the leadership of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), consists of the calculating machines. I will not add the word "desiccated", that famous expression. I respect that group. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) is probably in that group. I respect them. I believe that they made a conscientious attempt to assess the cost and count the gain. I got the impression that if this honest attempt had produced a credit in their minds instead of a debit they would support entry. However, I believe that their attempt is doomed. As the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) said, one cannot know the unknowable. I believe that the obituary notice of the calculating machines was written in The Times last October—I expect right hon. and hon. Members will recall—which published two letters of identical length, each taking two-thirds of a column, signed by a total of about 500 economists, of whom 199 said that it was a good thing, 208 said that it was a bad thing, and 97 said that they did not know. I will spend a little longer on the fourth and probably largest group. I greatly respect their views. I do not share all their fears, although I share some. I respect them because I believe that they represent much that is best in Britain. They oppose entry because of the fear that something they regard as precious will be lost and that something which they regard as irreplaceable in our national life will go if we join.
That is so.
I will take as my example—I warned him that I should do so—my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), but I could just as easily take my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). Anyone who knows my right hon. Friend's record in war and peace will recognise this. In war, he placed his life at the disposal of his country.
So did miners in the pits.
In peace, my right hon. Friend places his brain and energy at the service of his country. He wishes to pass on to his children and to the younger generation intact all the threads in the national life which he believes helps to give us our heritage.I have not asked my right hon. Friend, but I suspect that no terms which substantially preserve the Treaty of Rome would be acceptable to him. I suspect that if we paid nothing to the Community budget my right hon. Friend would still be against joining. That is not the issue for him or for many hon. Members. It is the pattern of our national life which he wishes to preserve and which he thinks is at risk. Those fears are shared by many. I believe that my right hon. Friend and his friends are right in thinking that there will be great changes. We are changing direction, and perhaps something which my right hon. Friend values greatly will be lost. Indeed, something which I value greatly will be lost. However, I put it to him this way. This is the point which I wish to make. I will take, first, our national life. Change is constant and much that I value is obliterated daily. Our increasing population, scientific development and greater mobility have transformed and are transforming our lives. We have to adapt ourselves to these changes. We accept controls on our individual freedom unheard of 100 years ago. It would make Tories of 100 years ago blue in the face. We accept this because in our modern society the actions of a neighbour of whatever sort impinge greatly on another. In that environment much that is valued by the individual must go for the greater good of society. As in national life, so in international affairs. Surely scientific development, particularly in transport and the media of communication, has forced nations together and made nonsense of nationalism. We see the manifestations in the many treaties and arrangements which we have made. Surely it is natural, in the first place, for this process to operate most strongly in the areas of common interest, culture and origin. I cannot see this stopping. Indeed, we resist it at our peril. Inevitably it will bring change. If we resist, in the end it may bring destruction. It is lucky that I picked on my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West because we all know that he has studied the ancient Greeks to a great extent—far greater than I have. He will know that they contemplated deeply the destructive effect of change and that Plato, in one of his books, contrived a city State in which all decay was stopped because all change was resisted. Today we know how wrong he was. I do not say that it is a matter of cause and effect. But if we look at Greece today, the cradle of democracy, what do we see? We see the grandeur of the ancient ruins and the colonels' régime. I have referred to this fourth group of opponents of entry as representing much that is best in the British way of life. For that very reason, they have a vital part to play in the development of Britain and Europe. I urge them to seize the opportunity. Do not be misled by opinion polls or votes which in many ways are a charade. I believe that, after decades in the doldrums, this country is on the move. The tide is flooding and the nation intends to catch it. I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to come aboard. Their services are needed as never before.
I should like to start by referring to the notable speech by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). Having carried a large part of the Labour Party with him in his speech, he had one of the largest and most sympathetic audiences this House has given him for many months. I never thought to hear the Labour Party in this House cheering the right hon. Gentleman, of all people, for a defence of liberty.
I can understand the right hon. Gentleman's reluctance to discuss the past. I will not question him on that. I am not concerned with what he said yesterday but with what he intends to say tomorrow. I welcome his intention to assist the campaign against the Prime Minister in my constituency and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) tomorrow. The right hon. Gentleman will hardly be surprised that I have put on the Order Paper today an invitation to the Prime Minister to come and tell the bewildered Conservatives of North Cornwall which particular Conservative Party they are supposed to be following.
Tell them which one you follow.
In the debate there have been four major themes; the principle of our entry into Europe; the terms; the matter in the Bill; and who will win tonight and by how much. On the first two of those, I have always supported the principle ever since I can remember being politically conscious; and the terms, though not ideal, seem to be as good as could have been obtained by any Government in the last 10 years—not by the Liberal Party 13 or 14 years ago, when we should have applied for entry, but by any Government of any political persuasion.On the matter of the Bill, the argument has largely been about the surrender of sovereignty. My position is this: it is not the surrender of national sovereignty I fear; it is its victory. There must inevitably be some surrender of national sovereignty in joining Europe. I am not a bit surprised by that. Not one of the arguments put forward by the lawyers against the Bill has raised my eyebrows. I am not so much concerned with national sovereignty either. I am much more concerned with the development of personal sovereignty. What I want is to ensure that this House or the parliament of Europe in the future has the power to protect the liberty of the individual. I believe that by our entry the whole nation will gain sovereignty in the best and widest meaning of that term. Some hon. Gentlemen who have spoken in these debates seem to have imagined a sovereignty that we no longer possess. That is also true of their attitude to individual liberty and the powers of this House to protect it. I believe that they live in a world of their imaginings. This House is by no means a perfect protector of individual liberty. What is important is to develop the protection of individual liberty within the Community. We ought to be asking what kind of Europe we want to build by this Bill and in the future, and what we are trying to bring to this Europe. Is it to be a mere customs union, or is it to be more? Is it to be a European Economic Community, or a United States of Europe? My answer to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who asked what each and every one of us put in our election addresses, is that I suspect that I am one of the very few hon. Members of this House who stated baldly in his election address that he wanted Britain to enter Europe. I stated that because I wanted to build a United States of Europe. I used those very words. That implied a massive surrender of what the right hon. Gentleman would call national sovereignty. I am happy to accept that. The right hon. Gentleman and I disagree on the fundamental point. The Bill will not decide what kind of Europe we build in this sense, and decisions we have to take in future will, therefore, be far more important than, perhaps, the decision we shall take tonight. But I want it to be far more than a customs union. I want it to be a United States of Europe. The question for me, therefore, is how to bring that about. There are some on both sides of the argument who say, "Let us wait and see; let us wait for a European consciousness to develop; let us wait until public opinion demands it." I believe that there is great danger in that. Either Europe must develop as a nation, or it will wither as a concept. If we leave it to public opinion, we are saying, "Leave it to the member Governments". But they have a built-in vested interest in inertia. If the Community does not develop and go forward into an integrated planning community, my children will have a far less exciting future ahead of them, and they may even have ahead of them the petty squabbles and even the wars which have characterised the history of European states. We sometimes claim to have a political genius—although the events in Northern Ireland and the recent handling of the coal strike have made one wonder. If we are to justify that political genius we must do so by forging a new dynamic towards political integration. We must help to create European consciousness and develop a European parliament as the power house of Europeanism and the protector of the European's liberty. The European parliament must be given the authority and power. That authority and power can come only from democratic elections and the making of decisions and the creating of Community policies, policies not for nations but for Europe. By these policies, particularly on regional development and the problems of the environment, the European parliament can work the transmutation I desire, from a Europe of States to a Europe of people—European people. So, what of tonight's vote? There has been much talk of pressure on various hon. Members, and the Liberal Party has not been free of this, not, I hasten to assert, from within, but from other parties and, indeed, from the Press. For the Press, the continuing Common Market debate is a Francis Durbridge political series in which every episode has to work up to a cliff-hanger in which the hero is left poised hanging by his fingertips, about to plunge into the abyss below. The impression has been given that it is more important who wins than the issue over which the battle is fought. I believe that there is more to politics than winning or losing, and the great debate cannot be conducted by counting heads, either here or in our constituencies. Strange coalitions will be forged in the Lobbies tonight. There are some who have been arguing for or against our entry into Europe for years. Some have been arguing for and against our entry into Europe for years. Some have always opposed it, still oppose it and will say, "No." tonight. There are some who once opposed it but who now support it and will say, "Yes". There are various combinations. There are those who say that it is now too late. That seems to be a perfectly reasonable argument provided that one is in the position of having said that we ought to enter when it was not too late. But what of those, many of them on the Labour Benches, who have always supported our entry into Europe, who still support our entry, but who will vote "No" tonight? They are indulging in the luxury of thinking that Europe will win without them. They want to have their gateau and eat it. I recognise the reasons and understand the sort of party political pressures applied to them. But I do not respect them. I do not regard the vote tonight as a matter of confidence in the Government—I have none. This is a matter of principle. I have not been so long here that I have none of that. Let us suppose—as we are told—that the vote tonight is very tight. I do not believe that it will be very tight. We have been told that sort of thing before, and it has not turned out that way. But even if it is, what of it? Am I to desert principle and my election promise? I have no intention of doing so. I believe that I speak for the great majority of my hon. Friends, in spite of rumours to the contrary. There is no truth in those rumours. There is no truth in the rumours that the vote will be very tight and that the Liberal Party will desert its European principles. It will not. That is not intellectual arrogance. Hon. Gentlemen will follow their conscience. In my party there are no Whips or pressures applied. It is not intellectual arrogance which forces me to vote in this way. Those who oppose entry may be proved right by history. I cannot do more than vote as I judge. To judge one thing and vote another would be to give reality to the public caricature of politicians. It is important that some Members of the House are free to put principle before party. That is what I intend to do tonight. I shall vote not for or against the Government, not for or against a General Election, but for Europe.
I shall not comment on most of the points made by the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe), although I agreed when he said that had we joined the European Community many years ago we would have been better placed to iron out some of the difficulties and imperfections which now exist and which will receive our attention when we become a full member.I wish to comment, first, on the economic advantages that will accrue when we join. When one has looked at all the economic arguments, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that there will be substantial opportunities to increase our wealth once we are a full member of the E.E.C. I will say something to confirm this in connection with an industry in my constituency later in my speech. We must face the fact that the large trading bloc is very much the rule in the world today. Staying outside a trading bloc carries with it the considerable risk of a decline in one's ability to secure fast economic growth. Once a country is in a position to increase its wealth substantially, it does have power to misapply that which it has created, but I do not believe that this Government are in any doubt about the need for Britain to have a large and expanding home market, given that we are so dependent on very sophisticated and technological industries. I do not believe that it is possible to maximise the scientific skill and ingenuity of our people and at the same time put ourselves in a trading position which is narrow and offers no real chance for expansion. The countries which signed the Treaty of Accession last month are fully aware of critics of the Community who say that it is an inward-looking, essentially white man's trading bloc. The arrangements and agreements that it has already made with the developing world override that argument. I am certain that the enlarged Community will always be conscious of the need to adjust trading policies, wherever possible, to help the developing world in its efforts to raise living standards. We should also remember that joining the E.E.C. does not run counter to our efforts to secure the liberalisation of world trade as a whole. Britain will have more influence in this sphere as a member of this large and influential group than if we were simply attempting to liberalise world trade on our own. I wish to make only one further comment about the economic changes that will come about when we are a full member. We must consider not only the great opportunities for this country, important though they are, but also the immediate impact and possible hardships to which many people in this country will be subjected unless action is taken early. Pensioners and many people living on small fixed incomes will not benefit from our entry into the E.E.C. unless the Government take direct action to ensure that they will benefit. We must make certain when making calculations as to what is proper help for pensioners that the benefits are on the generous side and that the increase goes to people as of right. The Government have gone some way to prepare for this now that they are committed to an annual review and up-rating of pensions. We should not lose sight of the fact that on the Continent of Europe the employer makes a higher contribution to insurance and welfare schemes than does his counterpart here; and higher contributions from employers should be easily sustainable when we get faster economic growth as a result of our entry into the E.E.C. On the political effects, one question is often asked: will turning the group of Six into the group of Ten make it easier to pursue a policy of improving relations with the U.S.S.R. and the countries of Eastern Europe? I warmly welcome the efforts of Chancellor Brandt in this sphere. Nor do I forget that when talking of the E.E.C. we are talking only of one part of Europe. Since the war all Governments in this country have tried to secure a peaceful and negotiated withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Eastern Europe. I do not believe that if this happy event were to occur we would get immediate demands by the countries of Eastern Europe to join the E.E.C. On the contrary. They would immediately pursue policies of neutrality and friendship to West and East such as are now pursued by Finland and Yugoslavia. If we are to move towards this state of détente, it is important for the Soviet Union and its allies to see that the democratic nations of Western Europe are working together. If they see us disunited and in different organisations, they are unlikely to engage in serious negotiations. But if we are working together they will feel that discussions with Western Europe would be, at least potentially, of great help and, therefore, worth participating in. In addition, trading arrangements can be made more favourable between West and East Europe so that we can benefit from being a full member of the E.E.C. Industry in my constituency will benefit considerably by our entry into Europe. Both Vauxhall and Chrysler produce trucks in Dunstable, providing employment for thousands of people and thereby generating considerable prosperity in the area. For historical reasons the United Kingdom is the largest commercial vehicle producer in Western Europe. However, we are at present shut out of the E.E.C. market by a 22 per cent. tariff and differences in regulations concerning weight, length and number of axles. In Dunstable Vauxhall was on a three-day week before the power crisis began, not because of inflationary wage claims or inadequate investment, but because of the world and home demand situation and also, I believe, because of the 22 per cent. tariff imposed by the E.E.C. Being a member of E.F.T.A. does not provide a great stimulus for truck production because of the small size of that market. In this Country the United States-owned subsidiaries produce the whole range of trucks from light to heavy, whereas their counterparts on the Continent do not produce anything but light vans. Our entry into the Common Market will, therefore, bring substantial export gains for this industry in my constituency. Indeed, if the regulations on trucks are harmonised, we shall be able to use our expertise to enter the fast-growing trans-Continental truck market. For firms in my constituency and for British industry as a whole, our entry into the E.E.C. is essential.
I begin by paying tribute to the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). He and I differ on almost every subject. On this one, however, I am with him absolutely and I commend his speech to the House.We have heard a lot about sovereignty. The word has been tossed around like a weasel word by various hon. Members. We have been told how our sovereignty may be shared. Those who speak in those terms suffer from a legal squint. In fact, sovereignty knows no fellow. One is either sovereign or one is not. When I was a student of politics and law, sovereignty meant power to give orders to all and to take orders from none. Now the curtain is drawn aside to reveal Article 189 of the Treaty of Rome in all its naked horror. That provision is brought into play by Clause 2 of this damnable Bill. The regulations, directive and decisions of the Council and Commission are binding. They are self-executing. We see that from Clause 2, which brings them all into play. The Queen and Parliament take orders from Brussels. Where has gone the power to give orders to all and to take orders from none? I do not have time to deal in great detail with this point. This principle applies to all important aspects of our national life. I will give only one example. Consider the depressed areas. We shall be deprived of our power to give assistance to these regions and to firms in them which we might otherwise be in a position to help. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, these areas of the country which we are anxious to help are handicapped because of their great distance from the centre of gravity. It is said that if we enter Europe we shall be handicapped because of our distance from the centre of gravity, and we shall thereby become one of the depressed areas. An example of a country's inability to help occurred in Italy in 1964. The Italian Government tried to introduce the equivalent of our industrial development certificate scheme, but the E.E.C. Court ruled that such action was against the Treaty of Rome, and that decision was subsequently upheld. In Belgium there was a major case in which the Commission objected to a national regional aid scheme on the grounds that it did not fall within the exceptions permitted under Articles 92 and 93 of the E.E.C. Treaty. In June, 1970, the Commission initiated proceedings under Article 93. Belgium had committed the sin of granting aid to industrial companies which were in difficulties. These grants, totalling 800 million Belgian francs, were made in 1968. The Commission took action in 1971. The grants went mainly to small and medium-sized businesses. After this sum had been used up, Belgium awarded sums directly out of the budget of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Commission decided that no further aid must be given in this form and under these procedures. That decision put an end to subsidies. The Commission did not take any further proceedings, because Belgium toed the line and did not give any aid in the form objected to. The Commission were very firm in saying that, in future, all potential aid to industry would have to be given via the law on economic expansion, which imposes strict conditions. Subsidies, it said, come under regional aid and are not meant to keep non-profitable firms artificially alive. I wonder what would have happened to Rolls-Royce if we had been bound by these conditions then. I wonder whether we would have been able to give the aid which we have given. In August, 1971, the Commission announced that it was going to proceed against the Italian Government under Article 93(2) over certain grants to the Friule-Venezia region. So far, nothing has happened. The matter is probably under discussion with the Italian Government. The fact remains that, if we enter this union, we shall lose control over our whole national life as we have known it up to the present day. This is not a free association of parties who are free to make their own rules for that association and also to enjoy its benefits. This is a shotgun marriage, in which the poor bridegroom, the United Kingdom, is going in with a gun at its back and its hands manacled and unable to make the rules for this marriage. They are all made for it and it has to accept them, whether it likes it or not. All that it can see is the vague hope of some future intercourse with its spouse, but it has to pay very dearly for that intercourse because it has to provide most of the dowry. This immoral association should be condemned and rejected outright.
I would make only one comment about the passionate defence of total sovereignty by the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck). He neglected the fact, which I pointed out in an earlier interruption, that this country has undergone a continuing series of losses of sovereignty in regard to N.A.T.O., Western European Union and the United Nations.
We can leave N.A.T.O. and the United Nations.
That may be so, in theory, but since the last war this country has entered into a whole series of arrange ments in which it has abdicated some sovereignty.Listening to this debate, reading the newspapers and listening to the radio, one has got the impression over the weeks and months that the whole of Britain is composed of violent pro-Marketeers or equally violent anti-Marketeers. This is why so much argument has arisen as to where the real feeling of the public and the House is concerned and directed. There is a number of violent anti-Marketeers and of pro-Marketeers, but there is a much more significant element in our society, both here and outside, who are genuinely uncertain about the course of events. Although, like myself, they are convinced that we should go into the Common Market—I have said this in speeches and shall vote tonight as I have voted consistently in the past—they do not claim that everything will be wonderful as a result. In earlier days, I looked favourably on the idea that we could stand on our own and that we had no need to enter into any of these arrangements. I became convinced that it was not practical for an island like this to stand completely alone in a world of growing economic power blocs raising their tariff walls against us. I then considered whether we could salvage something of a new Commonwealth concept of international trade. The more one studied this idea, the more one realised that it is just as impracticable. It is well known to most hon. Members that a whole series of developing countries long ago began to change their pattern of trade with this country because they wanted to industrialise and to make the things which we used to sell them. So the whole pattern, by which we supplied manufactured and semi-manufactured goods and bought back only their raw materials, was on the fade long before we began discussions on whether we should join the Common Market or not. Another attractive concept which would have pleased me, because of my close ties across the Atlantic, was the idea of N.A.F.T.A. With all our oceanic background and outward-looking attitudes towards maritime trade, that might have been a splendid alternative. It suffered from only one great difficulty—no one else wanted it, especially not the United States and Canada. Therefore, one was forced back on the assumption that there was no alternative but for us to join the Common Market as it stands. If one has to make a simple declaration of faith, I do not think that, in positive terms, it will make that much difference in great benefits for us, in the short term at least, but we have no alternative now other than to ratify the adherence to the Treaty which Ministers gave a short time ago. I am not talking in party terms. However, I would say to Ministers of this or any future Government that, precisely because I do not think that at the moment we have the overwhelming and enthusiastic support of the country for our entry—they are going along with us, a little bewildered and worried—we shall have to be particularly careful to ensure that the assurances which we have given, especially to minority groups, about the effects of this Treaty on their livelihood after the end of the derogation and transitional periods will be kept and that we shall continue to look after their interests in years to come. If I may in a sentence put a constituency or regional consideration, one element, very small, but, because small, all the more important for this House to look after, is that of the inshore trawlermen of this country, who remain anxious about their future. There is a great obligation incumbent on Ministers not to forget this element. There have been only two features of this debate which have really surprised me today. One was the extraordinarily effective speech, if I may say so, of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) who earned the rapt attention and the praise of hon. Members on the Labour benches. I heard a Liberal Member say this a few moments ago. Since the right hon. Gentleman sat down, some hon. Members opposite have spoken of his effective and superb oratory in their acclaim for what my right hon. Friend had to say, but if he had been speaking on any other subject they would have dismissed his remarks as Fascist demagoguery without a single blink or murmur or change of expression. We all know this perfectly well.
No I cannot give way. I promised to keep strictly to the time limit.The second surprise I had was that, of all people, the Leader of the Opposition chose in his opening remarks to pay tribute to the sincerity of hon. Members on both sides of the House in the way they have conducted their attitudes to the Common Market. Of course, there are many like that. My surprise came because he of all people should have chosen to pay that tribute and to include himself in it. This was the highlight—or the lowlight—of this debate.
What about the Prime Minister?
The hon. Member has been here long enough to know that he should not address the House from a sitting position.
He makes me sick.
I am sorry about the hon. Member's digestion.The Leader of the Opposition was asked what his attitude would be if, as a result of a General Election, a Labour Government were returned. My right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) asked him, or attempted to ask him, what a Labour Government would do. The Leader of the Opposition merely referred back to the debate on 28th October. I am not surprised he did not enunciate again what he then said. What he then said was:
Then comes the iron hand inside the velvet glove:"As is well known, one Parliament cannot bind its successor. On the other hand, we recognise what is involved in a treaty signature. What we should do would be immediately to give notice that we could not accept the terms negotiated by the Conservatives, and, in particular, the unacceptable burdens arising out of the C.A.P., the blows to the Commonwealth, and any threats to our essential regional policies."
What an imposing threat in the armoury of the future policy of the Labour Government on this issue. It is precisely for that reason that all this talk which is going on about a General Election following the vote tonight and about what is going to happen upon our entry into the Market is wholly irrelevant. It is inconceivable, if the Conservatives win the election, that the same Ministers who signed that Treaty would not place the same Bill before us again. It is inconceivable that if the Labour Party were to win its leaders would do other than what the Leader of the Opposition said—sit down amicably and discuss the differences, but not fail to continue to adhere to the Treaty of Rome which we signed a few weeks ago."If the Community then refused to negotiate, as we should have asked, or if the negotiations were to fail, we would sit down amicably and discuss the situation with them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October, 1971; Vol. 823, c. 2103.]
There have been many notable, indeed deeply memorable, speeches in this debate. None of us can say that the quality of the debate has been in any way unworthy of the grave issues which are at stake in the lobbies tonight.My view of this fateful Bill is widely known. Certainly it is eminently well known in my constituency and on both sides of this House. I shall not, therefore, detain the House with a long speech. It will be recalled that I was unable to support the application to join the European Communities in May, 1967. Thus, I am reasonably well placed to appreciate the value, even the grandeur, of such speeches as those by the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir R. Turton). It may well be that they and other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will yet find it in their power to pull their Government back from the precipice. The principal issue of this debate is aptly summarised by Hugh Macpherson in the issue of the Spectator for 5th February, 1972. He wrote:
Our sovereignty cannot be bartered away by the Solicitor-General, or even by the Prime Minister, because it is not theirs to give. I speak not only of the sovereignty of this House but also of the higher sovereignty of the British people. It is suggested that the Prime Minister may say tonight that he will resign if he is unable to carry this Bill. His reason for saying this would be that his European commitment is crucial to his policies as a whole. If he had said that at the General Election, he would have been the vanquished, not the victor. He would not have been the Prime Minister today. This is a policy which has never been endorsed by the British people. They feel that vitally important decisions are being taken over their heads and behind their backs. They feel they are being treated as if they were the audience. Perhaps I could remind the Prime Minister of a saying of Oscar Wilde following the first night of one of his plays. He was asked how the play had gone, and he said, among friends: "The play was a great success, but the audience was a failure." The Prime Minister should know that the British people are not prepared to be treated as a failed audience in the debate on this great issue. In my view, he should be spending much less time trying to twist the arms—some would have said break the backs—of his hon. and right hon. Friends who feel they have no mandate to support this Bill, and more of his time trying to resolve the power crisis and other important crises facing the nation at this time. We have been deluged with documentation. The Eurobureaucrats have been even busier than I feared. It is difficult for hon. Members to digest all that is descending upon us. But what of our constituents? How do we communicate the burden of all these turgid writings to our constituents? It is difficult enough for any Member of Parliament to attempt to bring into this Chamber the documents needed to follow debates on this Bill. When it comes to attempting to inform our constituents of these documents, the task becomes utterly impossible. It is well appreciated on both sides of the House that I have expressed again and again my deep personal concern, if we join the Common Market, for the future of some of the poorest countries in the Commonwealth. I know this is a concern shared by hon. and right hon. Members on that side of the House. On the very sensitive question of Commonwealth sugar, the Government and the Press tend to treat the question as settled. They even imply that it is settled satisfactorily in the interests of the Commonwealth sugar-exporting countries. But all that appears in the text of the Treaty of Accession is the vague agreement in Brussels. There is nothing else; and because the Lancaster House communiqué was simply noted by the Six, there could be nothing else. This means that everything has been swept under the carpet with a vague declaration of intent. It is just not good enough. Anyone who thinks that he is protecting the poorer countries of the Commonwealth by supporting the Bill is sadly mistaken. We pressed for the Lancaster House communiqué to be negotiated with the present member States of the Community. That has not happened. All that the poorer countries of the Commonwealth have is a vague assurance which means nothing. To Ministers, I say that, even if they dragoon their way to victory in the Lobbies tonight, they should be warned. This is merely the beginning of a battle royal which they may yet be sorry to have joined, not only with right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of this House, but also with the British people."What Parliament is now confronted with in Clause Two of the Bill is the language of dictators. If it simply said that anything devised by Sir Geoffrey Howe and promulgated by Mr. Heath became the unamendable law of the land it would only be marginally more outrageous. Any attempt to question Government ministers about the effect of the Bill on the powers of Parliament meets with the same kind of dissimulation which has characterised every stage of the campaign to enter Europe."
I listened with enjoyment as usual to what the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) said, but with very little agreement. He talked about "dragooning" on this side of the House. I do not know what has been happening on this side, but we all know about the "dragooning" that has been going on among right hon. and hon. Members opposite. I do not think that that word came very well from him. He talked about the poorer countries of the Commonwealth, in particular the sugar islands. If he goes to the West Indian sugar islands, he will find that they are very satisfied indeed with the arrangements made. Hon. Members who oppose the arrangements of the treaty are really in the position of being more royal than the king by insisting that people are dissatisfied and have a bad deal when the people themselves say the contrary.I want to address myself to what I might describe as the "marginal voters" on both sides of the House. Some have worries about personal loyalty to their party, some about their personal views about Europe and tonight's vote. To all of them, whether on this side of the House or on the benches opposite, I want to say the same thing—that the honour of Parliament comes before personal considerations. On 28th October we voted by a majority of over 100 for the policy and principle of joining the E.E.C., and we voted, as has been said, in circumstances which were weighted against that position by the three-line whip in the Opposition. Since then, despite what the Leader of the Opposition says and despite what my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) says, nothing whatever in practical terms has happened to alter Parliament's position on this issue. We know nothing now that we did not know then. At that time we accepted the policy of the Government by a majority of over 100. All that has happened since then is that the Government have been acting on that vote of the House. Whatever stand individual hon. Members took then on either side of the House, that was the position taken by Parliament, and that is what the Government have been following. If this position is overthrown on the Second Reading of the Bill to implement that policy, we shall have demeaned the repute of our British parliamentary system, the very thing on which we set such store and whose merits we are anxious to import into the Community. Some may say that Parliament's decision on 28th October did not reflect public opinion. That was what my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said. But the fact is that public opinion is gathering behind the lead which Parliament gave, and that is surely as it should be. Let each of us know that what is at stake tonight is not just whether the British Government will be able to ratify the Treaty of Accession, not just the future of the Conservative Government. It is the honour and repute of our parliamentary democracy, which has been forged in this Chamber over seven centuries. Joining the European Community is a matter of high policy and principle. That principle was settled decisively by this House on 28th October.
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
No, I am afraid I cannot give way because there are other hon. Gentlemen who wish to speak.This Bill is to implement that decision. To fail to do so would be to make a fool of Parliament. Parliament is greater than the sum of all of us collectively. We must not put personal considerations before the institution of Parliament itself. The vote on 28th October was important in one way: the vote tonight is important in quite another way. Do not let it be shown that today's generation of Members of Parliament is unworthy of its predecessors, that the parliamentary system is so weighed that consistent government can no longer operate within it. It is a paradox—a paradox so big that, being so close to it, we may not see it—that on the very vote on which we are debating how to safeguard our parliamentary system within the European Community we are threatening to destroy the repute and credibility of the system by voting against the Bill. After the result of 28th October a vote against this Bill is too irresponsible to contemplate, and I am sure that tonight we shall put Parliament ahead of personal considerations.
That is the most extraordinary argument I have ever heard in this House. The hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) says that nothing has altered since the vote on 28th October. Apparently the hon. Gentleman has not been made aware of the fact that since then a Bill has been presented to the House, and also a Treaty of Accession. If the hon. Gentleman has not taken the trouble to read these two documents, he ought to have done so, because the more one reads them, the more one comes to the conclusion that those of us who years ago were perhaps encouraged by the concept of a United Europe are now faced with the reality of precisely what is happening to the sovereignty of this Parliament and to our country. As far as I am concerned, the more I have gone into these documents, the more I have come round to the conclusion that the destiny of this country, if it is to have any destiny at all, will be better outside the Common Market than within it.Let me just draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the Treaty of Accession. Article 2 says:
That is not so bad, but what about Article 3? It says:"From the date of accession, the provisions of the original Treaties and the acts adopted by the institutions of the Communities shall be binding on the new Member States and shall apply to those States under the conditions laid down in those Treaties…"
So, irrespective of what we may or may not decide in this House, we are then bound to accept all the agreements that have gone before, in the determining of which we have had no say. If anybody in his right senses wishes to give that sort of power, on the basis of the acceptance of this Bill, it is he, not those of us opposed to entry, who is denigrating this Parliament, he who is making the position difficult for the British people. Yesterday afternoon, I listened very carefully to the speech of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. When he dealt with the question of development areas, he made the following most revealing statement:"They undertake to accede from the date of accession to all other agreements concluded by the original Member States relating to the functioning of the Communities or connected with their activities."
We have the most serious regional problems, with high unemployment in areas like my own, in Scotland, South Wales and the North-East, yet we discovered that the right hon. Gentleman has not even discussed the question of regional development. If that is not buying a pig in a poke, I do not know what is. The right hon. Gentleman referred to me, saying that during a former debate I had put a question to him about the central areas which he had answered very effectively. But in fact he had totally failed to answer the point—I am glad to see that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has arrived. The Government really are dragging them back! Perhaps he will be a bit more successful here than where he has been up to now. [Interruption.] I am not denigrating the right hon. Gentleman. Perhaps his vote will count tonight. I am only saying that I am very pleased to see him here. That is a measure of how the people of this country are supposedly gathering their forces behind the lead given on the Common Market, as the hon. Member for Hove put it. There is so much support for the concept of entering the Common Market that there has been more arm-twisting on the issue than on any other I can remember. If any hon. Member feels very deeply about an issue, irrespective of what his Government decide, and no matter how much he is pressured, he should be prepared to put the interests of his constituents and what he thinks is right before anything else. [Interruption.] I would tell those hon. Members who came in only at the last General Election that I am an expert on that. I am a professional when it comes to the question of fighting for what I believe, no matter what my Government and my party have decided. I want all hon. Members tonight to put the question of the basic interests of our country, our people and this Parliament before anything else. If they do that they will support the opposition to the Bill. It is the Bill that we are opposing, for if it were accepted the Bill would be the most serious blow against our Parliamentary democracy that there has been in this century."I now want to turn to regional policy. There is nothing in the Bill on this subject, for the simple reason that there does not need to be."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1972; Vol. 831, c. 451.]
The aguments put forward by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), like most of those put forward by hon. Members opposite in this debate, are not arguments against the Bill. They are arguments against the whole policy of joining the European Economic Community. They ignore entirely the fact that this policy as my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) said, was approved by large majorities in both Houses of Parliament last October. They ignore the fact that this was again confirmed by this House in January when it rejected a Motion from the Opposition to postpone the signing of the Treaty. Therefore, it is quite clear that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when he went to Brussels and signed the Treaty in the name of Britain did so with the full authority of Parliament.Everyone, except it seems the Leader of the Opposition, has known all along that the Treaty of Rome involves an undertaking to bring domestic legislation into line with Community regulations not only of the past but also of the future. If we were to throw out this Bill tonight, we should be guilty not only of incredible inconsistency but of grave international bad faith. Parliament has an unmistakable duty to accept the commitments which flow from its own decisions. I am sure, therefore, that this House tonight will not fail to honour its obligations.
The right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) has had a long-standing association with those who have supported entry into the European Economic Community, and it is natural that he should have spoken with such feeling. Like him, although from a different point of view, I have had strong feelings on this subject which I will seek to express in this debate and possibly in some further debates, if they should happen to occur. Everyone knows, too, that there has been what might be described as a political background to this debate in the sense that the issue of entry into the E.E.C. has been one which has sometimes cut across party lines and created different shades of opinion within the parties as well as between them.That has added to the anxieties, difficulties and the agonising choices that some hon. Members on both sides of the House have had to make in reaching their decision on how to vote tonight. Certainly it would not become me, like my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), if I did not recognise what some of these anxieties are bound to be for hon. Members when they find themselves in conflict with their parties. Like my hon. Friend, I have had some experience in this respect. On this occasion I am in the happy position that I agree with my party—or perhaps I can say that my party agrees with me. [Laughter.] I am glad that this development gives rise to such well-nigh universal delight. Many of my hon. Friends do not relinquish or abandon their desire that this country should enter the E.E.C., and speaking for myself, and others maybe in different parts of the House, those of us who have been strongly opposed to this course in years gone by naturally feel that our opinions are fortified by the kind of arguments we think this debate has provoked. So we take all these things into account, even the conversations with some of his hon. Friends that the Prime Minister is alleged to have had. Of course we do not know whether to believe the reports in the papers or to attribute this solely to the Prime Minister's irrepressible spirit of conviviality. Whichever it may be, these conversations have taken place, and I do not think that we have a right to complain. [Interruption.] I am trying to cast a cloak of respectability over the Patronage Secretary. I do not believe that we should complain about these conversations and discussions that go on in this House, because the way in which Members and the House adjust themselves to new situations does not involve a dishonourable process. Everyone knows that it goes on. We were told in the debate yesterday that some of our previous debates had been dominated by economists but that this debate was dominated by lawyers. It is not at all a bad thing that some of our debates should be dominated by politicians. It is not a dishonourable title. The art of politics is the only way by which people can be governed in a civilised manner, and the way in which this House adjusts itself to new circumstances and positions is not something to be derided by my old friends in Fleet Street who seem to view these matters as if something discreditable and disagreeable was happening. I do not believe that is the case. So overpowering is the atmosphere to the delicate nostrils of Mr. David Wood of The Times that I have expected to wake up every morning to discover that he has fainted away altogether and has had to be carried back on a stretcher to the cold, puritan, non-profit-making clinic in Printing House Square. I have expected it to occur at any moment. Whatever accusations can be made against me—and I dare say there are many—I do respect the House of Com mons, and I respect the fact that politicians have to change their minds. When we come into this Chamber every day we pass on one side the statue of Winston Churchill and on the other side the statue of Lloyd George, neither of whom was noted throughout his life for inflexible allegiance to the ideas he had first thought of. We must be a little charitable and understanding in these matters, and I apply that to both sides of the House. The Solicitor-General sought to put the Government's case, which he did most impressively. Most speakers on the Government benches, the Solicitor-General principally, argued that they were entitled to do what they were doing, on the basis of the 1967 White Paper, Cmnd. 3301, and that the Government's best case for what they were doing rested on the foundation of that White Paper. That was not the principal White Paper that was discussed at the time, but it was the White Paper published by the Government of the day which described the legal and constitutional implications of United Kingdom membership. There are many answers to the Solicitor-General, or to anyone who seeks to defend what he is asking the House of Commons to do today on the basis of that White Paper. There is, first, the argument that the proposals for entry into the E.E.C. could have been translated into a different legislative form from the one proposed. I will come back to that later. There is the further argument that, however gracious a tribute it may be to my right hon. and hon. Friends to say that they showed such prescience in the writing of that White Paper, there is nothing more to be said on the question. That argument was used by many. It is flattering to my hon. Friends but a little too fulsome for my taste. The White Paper is not the last word in the matter. There are more things in Heaven and earth to be found than are in the White Paper of 1967. Hon. Members will remember the arguments we had in October last year, in 1967 and in 1962 before the 1967 White Paper was published. I do not think any hon, or right hon. Member would contend that the 1967 White Paper played a leading part in our discussions then. The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) right from the beginning of our debates on these matters has drawn the attention of the House to the sovereignty issue as he describes and defines it, and his manner of foreseeing what would occur is vindicated by our debate today. Leaving aside the right hon. and learned Gentleman and a few others, most hon. Members who have attended these debates would agree that overwhelmingly the argument about the Common Market has centred on the great issues of economics, the political union of Europe and the political problems that are involved, and that the legal and constitutional arguments played a subsidiary part. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Enoch Powell) was absolutely right in what everybody who listened to it would agree was a majestic contribution to our debate. It is only now, when the Bill is presented to the House in detail, that the House of Commons is at last brought face to face with the constitutional issue, and that, whereas all these other matters have played a leading part in our previous debates, we now have to confront the situation of what will be the effect on the House of Commons. I believe the House would agree that, whatever else may be our agreements or disagreements, it is our duty to our constituents and as Members of this House—those who like to claim it as an honour to be a Member of this House, as I believe it to be—to support the matter on its merits: not on the question of what somebody said in 1967, not even on the authority of the White Paper of 1967, but on its merits. The Prime Minister laughs at this, but it is not a matter to be laughed at. I believe the House of Commons will much better perform its duties if it argues the issue on the merits. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I cannot see why that proposition should be derided. I say this also because I believe that some of the arguments which were used by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster were most misleading. I do not say that the actual language was misleading, but the general purport of what he said could mislead. He was arguing in a sense that many of the individual rights of the people of this country are not so intimately affected by the measures, including this Bill, which we shall have to deal with because they deal mostly with commercial, customs and trade matters. He gave the impression that these matters were important, but were not things which touch intimately the lives of our people. But in the next breath members of the Government and others who support entry into the E.E.C. will argue that these are great decisions which will affect the whole future of the country and determine our economic well-being and development. Therefore, it is not possible to argue that these are subsidiary matters. What we are discussing is whether it is right to take away from this House of Commons considerable powers of decision over great matters and whether it is right for us to do so. This is an issue which this House should discuss and settle on its merits. This is not so easy because in order to settle the matter on its merits we must work our way through the forest of legal complexities involved in the Bill. This brings me to a point which was so strongly emphasised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General. It is what he describes as the "only way" theory. The only possible way in which he sees the decisions of the Community and the undertakings made under the treaties being put into legislative effect is by Clause 2(1). The subsection is written in the most ungrammatical terms; it has not even got the commas in the right place. I would have thought that if in a single subsection we are to deal a blow to the cause for which Hampden died on the field and Sidney died on the scaffold, we might at least get the punctuation right.
I am afraid the hon. Gentleman has been reading the New Statesman. If the comma were put where the New Statesman suggested, it would separate the subject from the verb. The New Statesman was quite wrong about the punctuation, as it is about most other things.
It was not the New Statesman at all. It was the Spectator. That is how the right hon. and learned Gentleman negotiated in Brussels. Now we know why we are left where we are. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must learn that he cannot settle these matters with his breezy ambiguities. They have to be settled by precise methods.The Solicitor-General claims that there is no other way of achieving what is intended than by means of Clause 2. Will he tell us whether that means that we shall not be able to table Amendments which permit us to discuss the detailed legislative enactments which the Clause is intended to embrace, such as the powers of British courts and how they are conducted, questions about laws covering immigrants and their rights, and matters such as those that I have mentioned about the competing authority of the Minister and the High Authority over such industries as steel and coal? Surely it ought to have been possible for the Solicitor-General to devise a Clause in such a way that this House would be able to debate all these great issues. In that way, instead of including the minimum of information to the British people, the Government would have extended the Bill to give this House and the public the maximum opportunity to debate all these matters. I suggest to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it could have been done in that way. When we come to the Bill's Committee stage, assuming we ever get there, we shall put down Amendments to all these matters. After all, in the debate on the Treaty of Accession the right hon. and learned Gentleman undertook that we should be able to amend the Bill to carry out a whole range of changes; so what is the use of the Solicitor-General, in his impressive speech, saying that it was only possible to do it in this way when all these enactments could have been specified in a much clearer way? The whole country would have known much better what was proposed to be done in its name. There are even worse provisions. Compared with Clause 2(4), subsection (1) is a model of Swiftian prose. I find it hard to imagine that anyone can understand what subsection (4) means. It may be said that these are not important questions; but they are important if this House of Commons is to exert its rights to try to ensure that these matters are discussed. We propose to put down Amendments which will cover all these various questions. We propose also to put down Amendments which will cover the subsidiary legislation and the Statutory Instruments. It is argued that because we have already plenty of Statutory Instruments there is no harm in having plenty more. That is an argument which can cut in the opposite direction. No one can deny that the growth of Stautory Instruments, the resort to them, and the limit on parliamentary debate on them over the past 10 years has been a growing menace to the proper conduct of our Parliament. Therefore, we must try to remedy that, too. Altogether, taking the various legislative enactments, the danger to the House of Commons, whoever may be correct about these legal questions, is that the responsibilities of Members of Parliament and Ministers progressively will be blurred if we go into the Community. The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir R. Turton) described the features of the House of Commons in terms of the rights of scrutiny and the rights of redress. I should put it in slightly different language. All the features of this House of Commons—I do not say that they distinguish it from other legislative bodies in any Chauvinistic or boastful manner—which we should do our best to preserve, which it is our duty to preserve, can be illustrated as follows, not in legal language. The first quality of this House of Commons is the link between individual Members of Parliament and their constituencies. The second feature is that Members of Parliament can be held responsible in the open for the way that they speak and vote. Those two features together are essential to any form of representative Government. The third feature of the House of Commons, which in some respects is more paradoxical, is that it combines, marries, the idea of extremely flexible possibilities of debate, discussion and procedure with the most precise forms of defining exactly what it allows the Executive to do. Somebody once said that the House of Commons was like the trunk of an elephant: it could fell an oak or pick up a pin. I believe that if we go into the Community all these various qualities or attributes of the House of Commons are bound to be injuriously affected. Indeed, some of my hon. Friends and some hon. Gentlemen opposite have argued—I understand it—that, in order to make the bureaucracy and the centralised Government democratic, we have to make these authoritarian institutions—it will be one of our purposes if we get into the Community—more responsive to the European Parliament. If that is to be the remedy for the situation—incidentally, that is a remedy which is bound by Pompidou's veto—then certainly all these features of the House of Commons which I have described will be gravely injured. All these features are bound to be injured by what is put forward and prescribed in the proposals now. If we go into the Community, Ministers at the Dispatch Box, whether they are engaged in debates before the regulations have been defined and agreed by the Council of Ministers or by the Commission, whether during the course of discussions or when they come back, will more and more have to say "I am afraid that this is a matter which the House of Commons decided should be removed from the final control of this House when the Bill was passed through it." That will have to be the answer which will be given on more and more occasions. As we proceed, if we do proceed, to try to establish an economic and monetary union in Europe, then not merely will some of these issues about customs, migration or taxation be removed, but many of the issues which govern the whole economic life of the country will be subject to the replies which Ministers will be enforced to give. They will have to say "The responsibility for these questions was passed away from this House of Commons when the European Communities Bill was given its approval by this House." I believe that this is a matter which Members of the House of Commons should consider very seriously. I have respect for the history of this House. There is nothing reprehensible in people recalling that some of the liberties of the people of this country enshrined in this House go back not merely to the conflicts of the seventeenth century, which will certainly apply to many of the matters with which we have to deal—the power over taxation which resides, or is still to reside, in this House—but to the controversies which prevailed in the House of Commons during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. If people say to me that all these are remote, old-fashioned ideas, I reply that they are as up-to-date as the ideas that brought the Labour Party into being. It has always been the argument of many of my hon. Friends that one of our purposes in politics is to ensure that economic power shall be made responsive to the elected representatives of the people. It is that up-to-date principle which I believe can be gravely undermined if we accept this diminution of the rights and powers of the House of Commons. My belief about this is that however complicated the legal machinery may be, however difficult it may be to decide exactly what will be the legislative consequences, no one can dispute the proposition that the Bill is the most deliberate proposal for curtailing the powers of this House that has ever been put before Members of Parliament. The plain statements in the Bill, to be derived from all its complexities, is that it will be our wish, if we pass it, that many decisions will be taken away from this House and taken elsewhere. Therefore, it is incontestable—I do not say immediately, but as the years pass—that the passage of this Bill would make a great difference, would alter fundamentally the relationship between the British people and the British Parliament. If we are to take a Measure with such a consequence as that, we have the right to do it only if we have the approval of the British people for doing it. When the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West was speaking, he was interrupted by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on that point, who suggested that that approval in a sense had been sought by members of his party because of the applications made in 1967. If I have misunderstood what he said, I do not wish to misrepresent him. I merely wish to illustrate the fact that it was part of the argument, and an essential part. But 1967 is not relevant to that proposition. It is 1970. The proposition of the Prime Minister on this subject is that the last opportunity that the British people had to settle this question was in June, 1970. If the Bill is passed, that will be the fact. If that were to be so, I should have thought that it would have been tile responsibility of the political leaders of all the parties in this country to make sure that at the last General Election the issue was openly presented to the people. That was not the case, because—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] If it was the intention of the Prime Minister to have presented that issue openly to the people at the last General Election, why did he say in his election manifesto that the commitment was to negotiate—no more, no less? It is not out of animosity in that respect but because I believe it follows from the case which I have sought to present to the House this evening that I say to the Prime Minister that I should have thought that even those hon. Members who are most passionately eager that this country should go into the European Community, and especially those hon. Members in a sense who believe that the whole future of this country must rest with that destiny, would have been more eager to ensure that they had the overwhelming support of the British people in doing so. I believe that the British people will insist upon it. So when we vote tonight, we shall not only be voting against the Bill and the form in which it is presented: we shall be voting to ensure that the British Parliament will keep faith with the British people.
For more than a decade the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) has sustained his opposition to the European policy, usually from a position below the Gangway, and we respect the view which he has always taken. But I must say to him that the argument he put before the House tonight—that last October, when it voted, the House did not appreciate what it was doing and that only in this debate has it known what the question was about—I found one of the most singularly unconvincing arguments he has ever advanced.Surely, sovereignty—this is what his argument was about—and the power of the House of Commons has been one of the major themes of the discussion on European policy from the beginning. The hon. Member may say that he did not understand, but he cannot say that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends did not know. He can argue, from his own former situation, that he shared no responsibility for the late Government's White Paper of 1967. Very well. He may say that that does not sustain the argument for the form of the Bill. On the other hand, it does not permit his right hon. Friend, his leader, and his colleagues in the last Government to accuse this Government of not carrying through these measures in a constitutional fashion, because we are doing precisely what was in that White Paper, with the full authority of his own Lord Chancellor. There was one aspect of the hon. Gentleman's speech with which I agreed. I do not share the fears about the future of this House in its relationship with constituencies or in carrying on its business. In another connection, the hon. Gentleman emphasised the adaptability of this House to changing conditions. He was speaking about political discussions between Members and their own parties, but it applies equally to the rôle which this House plays in the life of the nation. This House will adapt itself to the new situation in a European community—and, what is more, will play its part in influencing the development of a European Parliament, to be effective in the institutions of the Community. I respect the hon. Member's deep love of Parliament, of which he has often spoken—[An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman does not share it."]—Indeed I do share it. I therefore find it all the more strange that he should not be prepared to respect a majority of 112 as the voice of the people of this country. When the Chancellor of the Duchy opened the debate, he made it clear that we are following the normal constitutional practice in relation to the conclusion of international treaties by British Governments. We have followed, step by step, the statement which I outlined to the House last June in response to a request from the Leader of the Opposition—a statement which was then warmly welcomed. In October, we had a decisive vote from both Houses in favour of the principle of entry. We signed the Treaty of Accession on 22nd January. We are now asking the House to make the changes in our domestic law which are necessary to implement that Treaty. By doing this, we fulfil the obligations which we accepted in that Treaty; and we are then enabled to exercise the rights of our membership in full. This is a logical and clear consequence of events, consistent with our intention stated last June and consistent with the normal procedures of the House. The vote last October came after more than a decade of negotiations; after a long period during which hon. Members had reflected on the matter and had discussed this thoroughly with all the various interests involved. When the time came for the vote, there was a free vote on this side of the House—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—Yes, there was; and there was, in effect, a free vote on the benches opposite. Now we have moved to the next stage in the proceedings. The Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon that he did not propose to raise again the basic issues. I agree. I believe that outside this House there is no desire now to reopen the debate of principle. The Leader of the Opposition did not wish to raise basic issues. Overwhelmingly the desire now, the decision of principle having been taken—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—is for us now to take the opportunities which are open for ourselves and for Europe. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) discussed questions relating to the working of a democracy. The successful working of a parliamentary democracy depends on two factors. The first is the need for Parliament to take clear and coherent decisions on the main questions of principle and on the measures required to put them into effect. That is what we are proposing tonight. The second is the need for Parliament to equip itself to question and, if necessary, challenge the way in which the decisions are administered. These are the two essential things for Parliament. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will be misjudging the interests of this country if they seek to obstruct this Bill, as the hon. Gentleman suggested they would, with a whole series of minor objections.
I shall be dealing with the major issues shortly. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale was allowed to develop his thesis. I wish to develop mine.The last thing the people of this country and the business community want is a continuation of uncertainty. The same is true of our friends abroad, and in particular those countries which will have special relationships with the Community. I believe, therefore, that this House—we are discussing the duties and responsibilities of the House of Commons—has a duty to show that it is clear and consistent in the decisions which it takes.
And is sovereign.
The Leader of the Opposition raised three particular points—New Zealand, sugar and fisheries—and while I do not wish to go into them in great detail—[Interruption]—like him—I shall comment on his querying of the unanimous voting or use of the veto which is involved. The three questions carry us far into the future.
Is 1975 that far into the future?
The Leader of the Opposition must surely agree that we cannot go into Europe and take decisions unilaterally, on our own. The question, therefore, if one is dealing for example, with fisheries as far ahead as 1982, is how we can best protect our rightful interests. If it is to be done on a majority decision, then there is a possibility of being outvoted. But if it is a question of a unanimous decision and we have the right of veto, then we have the ability to protect our essential interests. [Interruption.] With respect to hon. Gentlemen opposite, we have the right of veto.It is important for the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues to realise that other countries also have special interests which they wish to protect. It is because of this situation and the rights which each Member has that it is possible to reach an accommodation on arrangements of the kind we require. If the right hon. Gentleman has doubts about this, he should recognise that the whole history of the Community shows that, in practice, this is what has always happened. The Leader of the Opposition then said that special arrangements for New Zealand could consist after 1977 of 1 lb. of butter. Does he believe that a responsible Community of 250 million people, with nearly 40 per cent. of the world's trade, would propose an arrangement of that kind? If he believes it, why did he then want to join a Community of that kind? I do not believe for one moment nor does anyone else in the Community, that such a situation will arise.
If the right hon. Gentleman believes that the Community means business, why did he not get it written into the Treaty?
It is clearly written into the Treaty. There will be exceptional arrangements which will be negotiated, and we shall have a right of veto.There has been a great deal of discussion of the nature and construction of this Bill, and rightly so, because it is concerned, as the hon. Gentleman said, with the rights of this House and how these can be safeguarded in the context of our being a member of the Community. We naturally attach great importance to that, but, as to the Bill, there seems to be genuine misunderstanding of of the constitutional position. The hon. Gentleman was not prepared to acknowledge the White Paper of 1967. In fact the constitutional position has not changed in any single respect since the negotiations of 1961 when it was very fully discussed in this House time and again. It has not changed since the last Government's White Paper of 1967. The hon. Gentleman could have read his own Government's White Paper and discussed it with them. It has always been known that a certain amount of Community law, after discussion in the Community, after the Council of Ministers has decided, will become automatically applicable. It has always been known—and it was set out clearly in 1961 in the debate in the Lords and again in the White Paper. What we have done in this Bill, in Clause 2(1), is to make that effective. There have been various suggestions on how this should be handled. One suggestion is that the whole of the legislation which might be affected by any of the instruments should be re-enacted by Par liament. This would have the effect that the whole of the legislation on each of these subjects could then be amended and dealt with again: but the one part which could not be dealt with would be the new part which comes in the Community law. Therefore, what the House of Commons would be asked to do, what Parliament would be asked to do, would be to re-enact all those matters which presumably we would not wish to change, but rather to keep, because they are our existing law; but we would not be able to change that part which arose from Community law. I do not think that to ask Parliament to take on that sort of burden is a sensible solution to the problem with which we are faced.
Could not the Bill at least spell out the "liabilities, obligations and restrictions" which will fall upon the British people as a result of their entering the Community'? It has not done so. It has not tried to do so.
It is clearly set out in the documents of the Community. And, of course, as the Labour Government's White Paper said, the enactment also has to take care of the future. It specifically says this. This is what this Bill has done.It is the indirectly enacted part which we have set out in this Bill—where changes are immediately required, where repeals are to take place, and where there is to be substantial change in our law. Where these changes are not required till later, that can be done through legislation, or statutory instrument, as was, again, precisely, foreseen in the White Paper of 1967. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition mentioned the question of levies and taxes. Again, this is nothing new.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—The Leader of the Opposition was rather slow in saying "Oh" after his right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore). If he looks at his own White Paper of 1967, on the common agricultural policy, he will find that in paragraph 11 it is very clearly set out—the question of levies being levied at our ports, and allocated to the Community. There is nothing new in that.
Where in 1967 did it say there was an open-ended transfer of levies to the Market? Where did it say we had to transfer the whole of our customs duties, which was not even raised until 1970, or the 1 per cent. V.A.T.?
In paragraph 11 the right hon. Gentleman will find that the levies are to be handed over as to 90 per cent.—
For how long?
For the period July, 1967, to July, 1969, until the new arrangement was made.
Order. This is a considerable parliamentary occasion. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) was listened to in silence.
The principle of handing over levies is very clearly set out here, and if the right hon. Gentleman asks about customs duties it goes back as far as the original Treaty of Rome, in Article 201. There is, therefore, nothing which has changed; so everything which is done in this Bill is a procedure which was accepted by the last Government.
It was not.
We are following the lines laid down precisely in the 1967 White Paper. I am sorry to have irritated the right hon. Gentleman. There is, in fact, no argument against the nature and the construction of this Bill which justifies voting against it in the Lobby tonight. The decision has been taken on principle, and the Treaty of Accession has been signed. I believe we have now to look to the future. We have already been able to collaborate closely with the Community countries in seeking to resolve the world monetary and trade crisis which was precipitated by the United States measures last August. The crisis has been contained. It has certainly not been permanently resolved. The joint action between the Community and ourselves has played a considerable part, but we all recognise the need to go further, to move on to secure a fundamental reform of the international monetary system. By working closely with our partners in the enlarged Community we shall be able to exert a powerful influence in international discussions on proposals for reform.Similarly, there will be further negotiations next year covering the whole future of international trading arrangements. The enlarged Community will have a dominant position in world trade; nearly 40 per cent. of world trade will be with the Community, the largest trade bloc which the world has ever seen and which no other trade blocs together can equal. So with this dominant position it will be strongly placed to secure agreement with the United States and Japan on measures to carry further the liberalisation of trade which has added so much to the growth of prosperity in this post-war world. In the political field membership of the Community offers us fresh opportunities. Those who have read of the meetings between the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany will have seen the development which have been discussed there for closer consultation and collaboration in the wider questions of foreign affairs; and it has been agreed that we should take part with the existing members on the same basis in meetings of Ministers and officials. It is true that in most essentials the countries of Western Europe share the same vital national interests, but in recent years they have failed to bring their proper united influence to bear on world events. Looking to the future, the enlarged Community must aim at making its full contribution to resolving the problems of East-West relations, the problems of China's growing stature in the world, and the needs of the developing world. It is by exerting our influence through the enlarged Community that we can ensure that his aim is realised. We recognise, as I said when signing the Treaty—[Interruption.]—I am sorry that hon. Members opposite are not prepared to look to the future with an enlarged Community, as we are doing. It is the future of the Community, which is what this Bill is concerned with, that is to be discussed at the summit conference to be held later this year. I have no such inhibitions as the Leader of the Opposition about discussing the future of the Community and the future of the world trading, economic and political affairs with the Chancellor of Germany or the President of France, because both of them know full well that the major priority of all the members of the Community, and not only of this country, is to take the action necessary to get on top of inflation. We shall take our part in helping the Community in its rôle in world affairs. Of course it has also been the ambition of the Community to move on from a customs union to an economic union. When they were in power, the Labour Government found that an exciting prospect, and that is what it is. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that our objective must be to develop vigorous and effective regional policies and at the same time to remove the impediments to improving world trade. These are the prospects which are opened up to us by membership of the Community, for which we have now had successful negotiations.
For which we have sacrificed the past.
We have not sacrificed any of the past and we can make our contribution to the future. Anything which the future offers to us would be put at risk and destroyed if the opponents of the Bill had their way. Yet what alternative can they offer? They can offer only the negative proposition that Britain, which had turned its back on Europe, could still be secure and prosperous in its own right. Have they considered what the effect of turning back would be? The negotiations have succeeded, the Treaty of Accession has been signed and every Government in the world now expect us to ratify it.
The right hon. Gentleman was allowed to deliver a long speech this afternoon as he wished, and I am not going to be interrupted by him now. I believe that our friends would find it incomprehensible if we were to tear up the agreement—the very agreement we have struggled for more than a decade to achieve. For years to come they would understandably ask whether any trust could be placed in Britain's rôle in any future international agreements. Our influence in world monetary and trade discussions would be destroyed. These questions would be settled by the United States, the European Community and Japan. The Community would not be broken up if we were to defect. It would suffer a bitter shock but it would survive and go on. But Britain would not benefit from the progress it was making.I have dealt with many of the major issues raised in the debate. I will deal now in particular with one matter. As the House knows, I have always believed that our prosperity and our influence in the world would benefit from membership. I believed until recently that we could carry on fairly well outside, but I believe now that with developments in world affairs, and the speed at which they are moving, it will become more and more difficult for Britain alone. Faced with this prospect of change, I do not believe that any Prime Minister could come to this House and say, "We have secured the chance to join the European Community; we have signed the Treaty of Accession; we have the opportunity of full membership; but I now advise this House to throw them away." I do not believe that any Prime Minister could say that, and it follows from what I have said that this Bill is not a luxury which we can dispense with if need be. It has been a central policy of three successive Governments, irrespective of party, and of all three main parties in this House that Britain should join the European Communities if suitable arrangements could be negotiated. By a large majority this House decided in principle last October that Britain should join the Community on the basis of the arrangements negotiated by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy. Any Government which thereafter failed to give legislative effect to that clear decision of this House would be abdicating its responsibilities. I must tell the House that my colleagues and I are of one mind that the Government cannot abdicate their responsibilities in this matter. Therefore, if this House will not agree to the Second Reading of the Bill tonight and so refuses to give legislative effect to its own decision of principle, taken by a vast majority less than four months ago, my colleagues and I are unanimous that in these circumstances this Parliament cannot sensibly continue. I urge hon. Members to implement the clear decision of principle taken on 28th October last and to cast their votes for the Second Reading of this Bill.
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
Division No. 59.]
|Adley, Robert||Dixon, Piers,||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Drayson, G. B.||Hunt, John|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Astor, John||Dykes, Hugh||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Eden, Sir John||James, David|
|Awdry, Daniel||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Jessel, Toby|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Emery, Peter||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Farr, John||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Batsford, Brian||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Jopling, Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Fidler, Michael||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine|
|Benyon, W.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Fookes, Miss Janet||Kimball, Marcus|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Fortescue, Tim||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Blaker, Peter||Foster, Sir John||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Fowler, Norman||Kinsey, J. R.|
|Boscawen, Robert||Fox, Marcus||Kirk, Peter|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fry, Peter||Kitson, Timothy|
|Bowden, Andrew||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Gardner, Edward||Knox, David|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Gibson-Watt, David||Lambton, Lord|
|Bray, Ronald||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Lane, David|
|Brewis, John||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Goodhart, Philip||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Goodhew, Victor||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut 'nC' dfield)|
|Bryan, Paul||Gorst, John||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Gower, Raymond||Longden, Sir Gilbert|
|Buck, Antony||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Loveridge, John|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gray, Hamish||Luce, R. N.|
|Burden, F. A.||Green, Alan||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Grieve, Percy||MacArthur, Ian|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Carlisle, Mark||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||McLaren, Martin|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Grylls, Michael||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gummer, J. Selwyn||McMaster, Stanley|
|Channon, Paul||Gurden, Harold||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Maurice (Farnham)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Maddan, Martin|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Madel, David|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mather, Carol|
|Clegg, Walter||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Cockeram, Eric||Haselhurst, Alan||Mawby, Ray|
|Cooke, Robert||Hastings, Stephen||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Coombs, Derek||Havers, Michael||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hawkins, Paul||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Cordle, John||Hay, John||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Hayhoe, Barney||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Cormack, Patrick||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Mitchell, Lt-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Costain, A. P.||Heseltine, Michael||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Critchley, Julian||Hicks, Robert||Money, Ernie|
|Crouch, David||Higgins, Terence L.||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hiley, Joseph||Monro, Hector|
|Curran, Charles||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||More, Jasper|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Holland, Philip||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Holt, Miss Mary||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen. James||Morrison, Charles|
|Dean, Paul||Hordern, Peter||Murton, Oscar|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Hornby, Richard||Neave, Airey|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
The House divided: Ayes 309, Noes 301.
|Normanton, Tom||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Noll, John||Rost, Peter||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Royle, Anthony||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Tilney, John|
|Osborn, John||Scott, Nicholas||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Owen, Idris (Stockport, N)||Scott-Hopkins, James||Trew, Peter|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Sharpies, Richard||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Hardoe, John||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Parkinson, Cecil||Simeons, Charles||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Peel, John||Sinclair, Sir George||Waddington, David|
|Percival, Ian||Skeet, T. H. H.||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Soref, Harold||Wall, Patrick|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Speed, Keith||Walters, Dennis|
|Pounder, Radon||Spence, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Sproat, Iain||Warren, Kenneth|
|Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Stainton, Keith||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Proudfoot, Wilfred||Stanbrook, Ivor||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Steel, David||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Ouennell, Miss J. M.||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Raison, Timothy||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Wilkinson, John|
|Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Stokes, John||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Redmond, Robert||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Sutcliffe, John||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Rees, Peter (Dover)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Renton, Rt. Hn Sir David||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Tebbit, Norman||Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Temple, John M.|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Abse, Leo||Cohen, Stanley||Fitch. Alan (Wigan)|
|Albu, Austen||Concannon, J. D.||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Conlan, Bernard||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Fletcher. Ted (Darlington)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Crawshaw, Richard||Foley, Maurice|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cronin, John||Foot, Michael|
|Ashley, Jack||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Ford, Ben|
|Ashton, Joe||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Forrester, John|
|Atkinson, Norman||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dalyell, Tam||Freeson, Reginald|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Davidson, Arthur||Garrett, W. E.|
|Baxter, William||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Gilbert, Dr. John|
|Beaney, Alan||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)|
|Bell, Ronald||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Golding, John|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Biffen, John||Deakins, Eric||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Delargy, H. J.||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Body, Richard||Dempsey, James||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)|
|Booth, Albert||Devlin, Miss Bernadette||Hamling, William|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Doig, Peter||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Dormand, J. D.||Hardy, Peter|
|Bradley, Tom||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Harper, Joseph|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Driberg, Tom||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Hattersley, Roy|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Dunn, James A.||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Buchan, Norman||Dunnett, Jack||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Eadie, Alex||Hilton, W. S.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Edelman, Maurice||Hooson, Emlyn|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Edwards. Robert (Bilston)||Horam, John|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Cant, R. B.||Ellis, Tom||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Carmichael, Neil||English, Michael||Huckfield, Leslie|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Evans, Fred||Hughes, Rt Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Ewing, Henry||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Faulds, Andrew||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Fell, Anthony||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Fernyhough. Rt. Hn. E.||Hunter, Adam|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Lady wood)||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Janner, Greville||Mendelson, John||Sandelson, Neville|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mikardo, Ian||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Millan, Bruce||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Milne, Edward||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|John, Brynmor||Moate, Roger||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Molloy, William||Sillars, James|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Molyneaux, James||Silverman, Julius|
|Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Small, William|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Moyle, Roland||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Judd, Frank||Mudd, David||Stallard, A. W.|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Kelley, Richard||Murray, Ronald King||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Kerr, Russell||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Kinnock, Nell||Oakes, Gordon||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Lambie, David||Ogden, Eric||Strang, Gavin|
|Lamond, James||O'Halloran, Michael||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Latham, Arthur||O'Malley. Brian||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Oram, Bert||Swain, Thomas|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Orbach, Maurice||Taverne, Dick|
|Leonard, Dick||Orme, Stanley||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George(Cardiff, W.)|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Oswald, Thomas||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Padley, Walter||Tinn, James|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Paget, R. T.||Tomney, Frank|
|Lipton, Marcus||Paisley, Rev. Ian||Torney, Tom|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Palmer, Arthur||Tuck, Raphael|
|Loughlin, Charles||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Pavitt, Laurie||Wainwright, Edwin|
|McBride, Neil||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|McCann, John||Pendry, Tom||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|McCartney, Hugh||Pentland, Norman||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|McElhone, Frank||Perry, Ernest G.||Wallace, George|
|McGuire, Michael||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Watkins, David|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Weitzman, David|
|Mackle, John||Prescott, John||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Price, William (Rugby)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|McManus, Frank||Probert, Arthur||Whitlock, William|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Rankin, John||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Maginnis, John E.||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Richard, Ivor||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Marquand, David||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Marsden, F.||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Woof, Robert|
|Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor)|
|Marten, Neil||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Roper, John||Mr. Donald Coleman and Mr. James Wellbeloved.|
|Meacher, Michael||Rose, Paul B.|
Bill accordingly read a Second time.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker—
The old twister.
Order. Hon. Members must be seated. Mr. Harold Wilson.
In accordance with precedent, I want to ask the Prime Minister if he will now make a statement—[HON. MEMBERS: "What precedent?"] The precedent, if one is wanted, is 2nd March, 1951. Will the Prime Minister make a statement about the Government's intentions—
This is not a point of order.
On the following grounds—
Take your defeat like a man.
The first is that, in breach of his election promise, the Prime Minister has not got the full-hearted consent of the British people. Secondly, he has not got the full-hearted consent of Parliament. Thirdly, when he said he must get this through on Tory votes in a majority of this House, he has not done so. Finally—[Interruption.]
Order. I should like the House to come to order. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is entitled to raise—
Order. I should like the House to hear the whole of what I am going to say. I think the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to raise a point of order as to whether there is any business statement to be made, but not to enter into the merits.
I was on my fourth and last point. Since the right hon. Gentleman had not got it from his resources proper on his own side of the House and since his whole majority—[Interruption.]
Order. The House is doing itself no credit. May we have this point of order quickly?
I have only six or seven words left. Since the right hon. Gentleman's whole majority is given him by the Liberals, despite Rhodesia—[Interruption.]—will he now make a statement?
As this House has just given a majority for the Second Reading of the Bill, in which the Leader of the Opposition will perhaps note that the Government party voted three more than the Opposition's lobby, Her Majesty's Government will now continue with their consistent policy with the same determination as they have shown in the past.
Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[ Mr. Speed.]
Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Bill Lords