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European Economic Community

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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asked the Prime Minister what are the outstanding issues of renegotiation which will be discussed at the next heads of Government meeting.

I expect that we shall be discussing those items which have been agreed at the Council of Ministers on March 3rd and 4th, together with any items they may have referred for decision at the next Heads of Government meeting.

I thank the Prime Minister for that reply. Will he say whether, in pursuit of the policy of protecting the powers of Parliament, he will raise the question of possible amendment, in this House, of Section 2 of the European Communities Act? On the question of the powers of Parliament in relation to the European Assembly, will he say whether we are committed at some unspecified date in the future to direct elections to that Assembly?

All these matters are still to be considered, including any legislation which may be necessary as a result of the decision of the British people. But there are certain vitally important matters which are of concern to Parliament in respect of parliamentary control which still have to be decided. For example, at present we are a very long way from reaching agreement on questions of the rights of this House and of the Government in respect of national aids for regional development. We are not satisfied, as we made clear in our manifesto. The same is true of certain industrial matters, including the matter of control over the steel industry, where the present situation is not acceptable to us.

When the renegotiations are complete, does the Prime Minister intend both to defend them and to attack them?

When the negotiations are complete, if we find that the terms—replacing the utterly humiliating and grovelling terms negotiated by the Conservative Government on the basis of full Cabinet collective responsibility—are the right terms, we shall commend them to Parliament. If we obtain terms that we regard as crippling to this country, we shall not commend them to Parliament.