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European Community (Dublin Meeting)

Volume 974: debated on Thursday 29 November 1979

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asked the Prime Minister when she expects to make a statement consequent on the meeting of EEC Heads of Government in Dublin.

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend is attending the European Council today and tomorrow. She will report fully to the House on her return.

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that whatever arrangements the Prime Minister makes on her return from Dublin they will have to be debated in this House and possibly agreed by further Councils of Ministers? If concessions are made in relation to the EMS, the value of North Sea oil, an increase of 1 per cent. in VAT, or a commitment to build large atomic power stations, it will mean that whatever gains she has made will be at the expense of the powers of this House.

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to comment on the particular matters that he has raised when discussions are taking place in Dublin. The question of a debate is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister hopes to be able to make a statement on Monday.

If my right hon. Friend has any spare time in Dublin, will she have an investigation made to discover why the Government of Southern Ireland are so successful, through the tax reliefs they grant, in attracting mobile international industry to the south of Ireland?

I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will have many matters to discuss in Dublin. If she can also manage to find out the answer to my hon. Friend's question, it will be very valuable.

In view of the copper-bottomed pledge given recently by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the Dispatch Box that he would not be a party to any sell-out of our fishermen and fishing industry anywhere—in Brussels or in Dublin—can the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the right hon. Lady, who is now in Dublin, give an equal pledge that she will fight to the death any suggestion that this issue may be used as a bargaining counter in any other market?