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European Economic Community

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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asked the Lord Advocate how often he has visited the EEC; and what plans he has to visit the EEC in the future.

Since taking office, I have visited the EEC on one occasion, when I was a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the meeting of the Council and Conference of EEC Ministers of Justice held in Brussels on 26th November 1974. So far as the future is concerned, I am in fact leaving this afternoon for a visit to the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg, and I propose to go from there to Brussels, where I hope to meet members of the legal service of the Commission of the European Communities.

As the Lord Advocate is the defender of the constitutional Scottish legal system, will he ensure that whenever fundamental matters touching the jurisdiction of Scots law are to be dealt with in the institutions of the EEC his pleasant and informed voice will be there, through his attendance in person? Second, will he say a word about his Department's scrutiny of EEC secondary legislation?

I cannot guarantee that I shall be present on all occasions when questions of Scottish jurisdiction arise, but this is a matter on which I am most anxious to ensure that the separate nature of Scots law and the Scottish legal system is fully understood in all parts of the Community, including the organs at Luxembourg and Strasbourg, and, above all, in Brussels. As regards scrutiny, I assure the hon. Lady that my Department plays the fullest part, and will continue to play the fullest part, in ensuring that the special doctrines of Scots law are fully taken into account and that the special requirements of Scotland are allowed for.

Before going to Brussels, will my right hon. and learned Friend give us an assurance that, unlike the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing), he will not be carried away by the heady wine of Commission flattery and hospitality, but will be able to resist all the blandishments of the bureaucrats in Brussels, so that he will come back the good anti-Marketeer that he is, unlike the hon. Lady?

I hasten to say that no blandishments or excesses will make any difference whatever to my judgment. I should stress, however, that the visit I am making today is in no way connected with our continued membership or otherwise of the European Communities.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take it that we all hope that when he comes back from Brussels he will have a better reception from his own party than the hon. Lady had from hers?