HC Deb 08 November 1966 vol 735 cc1146-7
Q4. Mr. Ridley

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the increased urgency shown by Denmark in seeking to join the European Economic Community, what is now Her Majesty's Government's policy with regard to making an application to join.

The Prime Minister

I would ask the hon. Member to await the statement I have promised to the House.

Mr. Ridley

Is the Prime Minister aware that by dithering over this vital decision for two years he has caused our E.F.T.A. partners to lose confidence in the leadership of his Government? Will he now show some tough, purposive leadership? Otherwise we shall find ourselves going into the Common Market on the coat tails of the Danes.

The Prime Minister

I could not hear all that the hon. Member said in his supplementary question, but, as I have said, I shall be making a statement in the near future. I certainly do not accept that on any matter affecting our relations with E.F.T.A. or the initiatives we have taken through E.F.T.A. with the E.E.C. we have not improved on the impetus before we came to power.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is my right hon. Friend aware that other E.F.T.A. countries have made it very clear that they did not support the Danish proposal and are most anxious to seek full consultation before any action which might be taken?

The Prime Minister

I discussed this matter with the Danish Prime Minister when he was here on this recent visit, and these matters were further discussed at the recent E.F.T.A. conference, but in looking to the future hon. Members had better await my statement.

Mr. Heath

Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that when he makes his statement, if the Government decide that they wish to secure membership of the Common Market, he will state clearly those aspects of the European Economic Community which the Government accept, those on which they wish to negotiate, and those matters on which they are prepared to have future discussion?

The Prime Minister

I think the right hon. Gentleman had better await my statement and give his considered view of the statement when he hears it.