HC Deb 31 July 1962 vol 664 cc404-5
Q5. Mr. Warbey

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now give an assurance that, if an outline agreement on the terms of British entry into the Common Market is reached during the Summer Recess, he will not seek Parliamentary approval for it before the next Session of Parliament.

The Prime Minister

The Government abide by their undertaking given in Parliament on 3rd August, 1961, that no agreement … will be entered into until it has been approved by this House after full consultation with other Commonwealth countries …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd August, 1961; Vol. 645, c. 1651.] As I told the House on 12th July, the Government would not hesitate to ask for the recall of the House for any reason if it should be necessary to do so during the Summer Recess.

Mr. Warbey

Has the Prime Minister realised that his failure to give the assurance asked for in the Question is profoundly disturbing? Is he seriously contemplating the possibility of bulldozing the provisional approval through Parliament during a short sitting in the Summer Recess? If he is not willing to have a General Election on the subject, will he at least give an assurance that Members of Parliament will have a full opportunity to consult their constituents and their party conferences before they are asked to cast a decision in the House?

The Prime Minister

I do not quite know what the purpose of that supplementary question is. I thought that the House was rather anxious that in certain circumstances it might be right to recall it. I am only saying that, if those circumstances should arise, the Government will ask for the House to be recalled. I am also repeating our pledge that no agreement will be entered into until it has been approved by the House.

Mr. P. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are to be further negotiations during the course of this week and that these negotiations can result either in success or failure, depending on how one interprets these words, or something in between? This being so, if there is either success or failure or something in between, what will be the position of Parliament on Tuesday of next week?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend has stated with impeccable logic all the possibilities, but I think we had better see which of them happens.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the Prime Minister yet say whether he has decided that any provisional agreement which may be reached will be published in a White Paper before the Prime Ministers' Conference?

The Prime Minister

I will consider that further.