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European Community Legislation

Volume 178: debated on Wednesday 24 October 1990

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Motion made, and Question put,

That in the opinion of this House:—

(1) No Minister of the Crown should give agreement in the Council of Ministers to any proposal for European Community legislation—

  • (a) which is still subject to scrutiny (that is, on which the Select Committee on European Legislation has not completed its scrutiny) or
  • (b) which is awaiting consideration by the House (that is, which has been recommended by the Select Committee for consideration pursuant to Standing Order No. 102 (European Standing Committees) but in respect of which the House has not come to a Resolution, either on a Resolution reported by a European Standing Committee or otherwise);
  • (2) In this Resolution, any reference to agreement to a proposal includes, in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in co-operation with the European Parliament, agreement to a common position.

    (3) The Minister concerned may, however, give agreement:—

  • (a) to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny if he considers that it is confidential, routine or trivial or is substantially the same as a proposal on which scrutiny has been completed;
  • (b) to a proposal which is awaiting consideration by the House if the Select Committee has indicated that agreement need not be withheld pending consideration.
  • (4) The Minister concerned may also give agreement to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or awaiting consideration by the House if he decides that for special reasons agreement should be given; but he should explain his reasons—

  • (i) in every such case, to the Select Committee at the first opportunity after reaching his decision; and
  • (ii) in the case of a proposal awaiting consideration by the House, to the House at the first opportunity after giving agreement.
  • (5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption by unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (4), be treated as giving agreement.— [Mr. Chapman.]

    The House proceeded to a Division—

    ( seated and covered)

    On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wish to draw your attention to motion No. 5, paragraph (5) of which states:

    "abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (4), be treated as giving agreement."
    Is there any precedent in the history of British Parliaments for abstention being treated as agreement?

    Order. I should not go so far as to say that there was a precedent, but I can inform the hon. Gentleman that it is certainly not a matter for the Chair.

    The House having divided: Ayes 165, Noes 8.

    Division No. 337]



    Abbott, Ms DianeBaker, Nicholas(Dorset N)
    Allen, GrahamBanks, Tony(Newham NW)
    Arbuthnot, JamesBarnes, Harry(Derbyshire NE)
    Arnold, Jacques(Gravesham)Barron, Kevin
    Arnold, Sir ThomasBeggs, Roy
    Atkins, RobertBendall, Vivian
    Atkinson, DavidBennett, Nicholas(Pembroke)
    Baker, Rt Hon K.(Mole Valley)Benyon, W.

    Boscawen, Hon RobertLawrence, Ivan
    Boswell, TimLeighton, Ron
    Bottomley, PeterLester, Jim(Broxtowe)
    Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaLightbown, David
    Bowis, JohnLilley, Peter
    Brazier, JulianLivsey, Richard
    Bright, GrahamLloyd, Peter(Fareham)
    Brooke, Rt Hon PeterLofthouse, Geoffrey
    Browne, John(Winchester)Lord, Michael
    Buckley, George J.Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
    Budgen, NicholasMcKay, Allen(Barnsley West)
    Burns, SimonMacKay, Andrew(E Berkshire)
    Carlisle, Kenneth(Lincoln)Maclean, David
    Carrington, MatthewMcLoughlin, Patrick
    Cash, WilliamMans, Keith
    Channon, Rt Hon PaulMaples, John
    Chapman, SydneyMartin, David(Portsmouth S)
    Churchill, MrMellor, David
    Clark, Hon Alan(Plym'th S'n)Michael, Alun
    Colvin, MichaelMitchell, Andrew(Gedling)
    Conway, DerekMorrison, Rt Hon P(Chester)
    Cope, Rt Hon JohnMoss, Malcolm
    Cormack, PatrickMoynihan, Hon Colin
    Curry, DavidNeale, Gerrard
    Dalyell, TamNeedham, Richard
    Davies, Q.(Stamf'd & Spald'g)Neubert, Michael
    Davis, David(Boothferry)Newton, Rt Hon Tony
    Dixon, DonNicholson, David(Taunton)
    Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesNorris, Steve
    Dover, DenO'Brien, William
    Emery, Sir PeterOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
    Fallon, MichaelPage, Richard
    Fishburn, John DudleyPaice, James
    Flynn, PaulPatchett, Terry
    Forsythe, Clifford(Antrim S)Patnick, Irvine
    Freeman, RogerPatten, Rt Hon John
    Gale, RogerPike, Peter L.
    Garel-Jones, TristanPrimarolo, Dawn
    Glyn, Dr Sir AlanRaffan, Keith
    Godman, Dr Norman A.Redwood, John
    Golding, Mrs LlinRoberts, Sir Wyn(Conwy)
    Goodlad, AlastairSackville, Hon Tom
    Graham, ThomasSainsbury, Hon Tim
    Greenway, Harry(Ealing N)Salmond, Alex
    Greenway, John(Ryedale)Shaw, Sir Giles(Pudsey)
    Griffiths, Peter(Portsmouth N)Shaw, Sir Michael(Scarb')
    Grist, IanShelton, Sir William
    Hague, WilliamShepherd, Colin(Hereford)
    Hanley, JeremySillars, Jim
    Hargreaves, A.(B'ham H'll Gr')Skeet, Sir Trevor
    Harris, DavidSmith, Tim(Beaconsfield)
    Hawkins, ChristopherSpearing, Nigel
    Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir BarneySteen, Anthony
    Heathcoat-Amory, DavidStevens, Lewis
    Heseltine, Rt Hon MichaelStewart, Andy(Sherwood)
    Hind, KennethSummerson, Hugo
    Home Robertson, JohnTaylor, Ian(Esher)
    Hordern, Sir PeterTaylor, Rt Hon J. D.(S'ford)
    Howarth, Alan(Strat'd-on-A)Taylor, John M(Solihull)
    Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyTebbit, Rt Hon Norman
    Howell, Rt Hon David(G'dford)Thompson, D.(Calder Valley)
    Howells, GeraintThompson, Patrick(Norwich N)
    Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Thurnham, Peter
    Hughes, Robert G.(Harrow W)Tracey, Richard
    Hughes, Simon(Southwark)Wells, Bowen
    Hunt, David(Wirral W)Welsh, Andrew(Angus E)
    Irvine, MichaelWheeler, Sir John
    Irving, Sir CharlesWise, Mrs Audrey
    Jack, MichaelWood, Timothy
    Jackson, RobertWoodcock, Dr. Mike
    Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelYeo, Tim
    Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineYoung, Sir George(Acton)
    Key, Robert
    Kilfedder, James

    Tellers for the Ayes:

    King, Roger(B'ham N'thfield)

    Mr. Neil Hamilton and Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.

    Knight, Greg(Derby North)
    Knowles, Michael


    Clay, BobSkinner, Dennis
    Corbyn, JeremyTaylor, Teddy(S'end E)
    Cousins, Jim
    Cryer, Bob

    Tellers for the Noes:

    Knapman, Roger

    Mr. Eric Illsley and Mr. Bill Michie.

    Nellist, Dave

    Question accordingly agreed to.