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Common Market (Accession Of Portugal And Spain)

Volume 76: debated on Monday 1 April 1985

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will know that on Thursday night there were important negotiations in Brussels over the accession of Spain and Portugal to the Common Market. If one believes what one reads in the press — I always do — those negotiations reached agreement on fishing, a subject of supreme importance, not least in the south-west of Cornwall, particularly in my constituency. I was surprised on arriving in the House to find that no arrangements had been made for a statement on the negotiations, apart from one on the summit. I believe that the Prime Minister may wish to make a statement on the latter tommorow. However—

My point of order, Mr. Speaker, is how on earth I, as a Back Bencher whose constituency happens to be nearer to Spain than any other constituency, deal intelligently with the questions being put to me, not least by my fishermen who are worried stiff about this matter, when I have no reliable information on which to go? Has there been any application to make a statement to the House on the details of the negotiations and, if not, why not?

Order. It is nothing to do with me whether the Government are to make a statement today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I cannot answer such questions, but I shall hear what the hon. Gentlemen wish to say.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I point out, so that there is no mistaking the matter, that hon. Members with constituencies in the west midlands, where there are extensive motor car interests, are as concerned as is my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) about fishing. I wish to illustrate the breadth of concern about this important matter.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I know that the two hon. Members who have spoken are relatively new and I know, too, that they have made a bit of bread and butter out of the Common Market in their time, but perhaps you would suggest to them that there are various ways in which they can bring further embarrassment on their Government. For example, they could have tabled a private notice Question for a Minister to answer. They could have done what my hon. Friend the Member for Blyth Valley (Mr. Ryman) did a few minutes ago and made a Standing Order No. 10 application. The truth is that they want to have their cake and eat it. They do not have the guts to take on their own Government.

The hon. Gentleman is extremely helpful, as he knows much about the procedures of the House.

Bill Presented

Local Government Act 1972 (Amendment)

Mr. Tony Baldry presented a Bill to amend Part II of Schedule 1 of the Local Government Act 1972 to create the County of Banburyshire: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Friday 19 April and to be printed. [Bill 117.]