HC Deb 17 November 1969 vol 791 c826
7. Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government intends to vote for the expulsion of Greece from the Council of Europe at the Council of Europe at the Council's forthcoming meeting.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. George Thomson)

It would be premature for me to say now how we shall vote when the question of Greek membership of the Council of Europe is discussed at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers on 12th December. The Greek Government still have an opportunity to convince European opinion that they are prepared to make an early return to democratic practices.

Mr. Winnick

Since there is no chance of the Greek Government changing their spots, will my right hon. Friend give a pledge here that if there is no change between now and the next meeting of the Council of Europe, when a decision will be made, Britain's vote will be for Greece to be expelled from that body?

Mr. Thomson

Her Majesty's Government's decision remains as it was set out by my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on 7th May and subsequently in this House. It is that unless the Greek Government are in a position to conform to what is required by the Council of Europe, it will not be possible for that membership to continue.

Mr. Wood

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Foreign Secretary has now taken legal advice on the question of whether in this question the unanimity rule applies or not?

Mr. Thomson

We are quite satisfied on the question about the legal questions which lie behind voting in the Council of Ministers, but the House I am sure would hope that it will be possible for the necessary changes to be made inside Greece to prevent that kind of situation being reached.

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