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European Constitution

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

12. What progress has been made in discussions on a new EU constitutional treaty; and if she will make a statement. (134743)

I have had regular discussions with my German colleagues during their presidency—so too has my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who met Chancellor Merkel most recently on 24 April. Our discussions cover many issues, including the way forward on institutional reform. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, there is no consensus at present among EU partners on this issue. This will obviously be discussed further at the European Council in June.

Can the Minister confirm that, if there is a European Union constitutional treaty, its provisions can be implemented in the United Kingdom only through an Act of Parliament and, irrespective of the outcome of any referendum, that Act of Parliament remains paramount?

The constitutional position is slightly different from that, but I will not argue the detail. Where any international treaty requires changes in domestic law, in order to be implemented such a treaty has to be ratified by parliamentary process.