HC Deb 25 January 1951 vol 483 cc299-300
46. Sir Herbert Williams

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the proposed Rule 35 of the Council of Europe approved by the Committee of Seven in Paris in December, 1950, which would involve, if adopted, a permanent forfeiture of the legislative sovereignty of the Parliament of the United Kingdom; and whether he will arrange that in future the representatives of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on the Council of Europe shall act in accordance with instructions approved by both Houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister

As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State yesterday to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, South (Mr. Mikardo). The second part of the Question appears to be based on a misconception of the position of Members of this House serving in the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe. As I explained in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) on 18th October, 1949, they speak and vote in the Assembly as individuals and are not responsible to this House in that respect. It follows that neither this House nor, of course, His Majesty's Government are in any way committed by the proposals to which the hon. Member refers.

Sir H. Williams

Would the right hon. Gentleman make sure that others who go to Strasbourg realise that our people go in a completely irresponsible capacity?

Mr. John Hynd

Will the Prime Minister assure the House that in considering these important proposals for the amendment of the Statute the Government will not be diverted to such a primitive consideration of isolationism as is implied in this Question?

Mr. Blyton

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Labour delegation at Strasbourg voted against the alteration of the Statute and that the Conservative representatives voted for it, which has brought about this Rule? Should not the question involved have been sent to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan)?

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