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United Kingdom Veto

Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the number of Common Market initiatives the Government have vetoed in the Council of Ministers during the past year and the results achieved thereby up to the present date.

As has often been explained in the House, it is the Council's practice to continue discussion of important questions of policy until there is sufficient area of agreement to enable a decision to be taken by consensus. Each member State is in a position to block agreement unless interests to which it attaches importance are met. There are several questions of importance to the United Kingdom currently under discussion in the Council on which no consensus has yet emerged, but where we shall continue working for an agreed solution.The Council thus seldom resorts to formal voting except on budgetary matters, and the United Kingdom has not found it necessary to exercise a veto during the past year.