HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 cc1503-4
Q1. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Heads of the Governments of the Common Market countries to a conference in London.

Q4. Mr. Barnes

asked the Prime Minister what communications he has received from the Heads of the European Economic Community Governments regarding Great Britain's application to join the European Economic Community following the summit meeting at The Hague.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer to what I said in reply to Questions from several hon. Members last Tuesday.—[Vol. 791, c. 1106–12.]

Mr. Marten

If the Prime Minister does have a meeting with the leaders of the Common Market will he take the opportunity of explaining to them—and will he explain to the House today—how far the Labour Government accept the safeguards in respect of negotiations on the Common Market so clearly set out in the Labour Party resolution passed at its conference in September of this year?

The Prime Minister

I have heard this a number of times. The opening part of the hon. Member's supplementary question suggests that the rest must be hypothetical.

Mr. Barnes

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that although the terms of British entry will be of great importance there is much more to our application than that? Is he fully satisfied that the Heads of Government are aware that des pite previous disappointments there is still a widespread desire in this country that we should now play a full part in the future political and economic development of Europe?

The Prime Minister

I feel that there is full appreciation among the Heads of Government about the position of the British Government and this House on this matter, as regards the economic and technological aspects of joining the Community, and as regards the political value.

Mrs. Short

Would it not be better if my right hon. Friend took no notice of the suggestion of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) but concentrated on hammering out a suitable alternative when he visits President Nixon next year?

The Prime Minister

I dealt with the question of alternatives, including N.A.F.T.A., worldwide free trade areas, and a reprise of the Kennedy Round, but none of these activities so far as there is a short-term hope of their leading to anything is incompatible with our application to join the European Economic Community.