HC Deb 02 February 1970 vol 795 cc9-12
10 and 11. Mr. Turton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when the White Paper on the economic and financial effects of the United Kingdom joining the Common Market is to be published; and if he will arrange for the commissioning and publication of comparable studies by independent economists;

(2) whether he will make a statement on the recent decisions of the European Economic Community regarding the financing of the Common Market agricultural policy, of which Her Majesty's Government have been informed.

22. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a further statement on British policy in relation to the European Economic Community.

Mr. George Thomson

I would refer the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 20th January to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick). As to other studies, I suggest that we should await the White Paper, which will take into account the decisions reached by the Six in December on Community finance.—[Vol. 794, c. 250–1.]

Mr. Turton

Will the right hon. Gentleman make plain whether in the course of the negotiations it will be open to Britain to contend that the proceeds of the levy on food, customs duties, surcharges or the value-added tax, after 1974, if we join, can be used by the British Government in order to mitigate for those least able to bear it the hardship arising from the enormous rise in the cost of living?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, these are, of course, matters which must emerge during the course of discussions, but I take very careful note of what the right hon. Gentleman says. What will be important to us will be that the total cost of this should be reasonable, and that it should be fairly shared amongst the members, and what will be important will be the use to which the funds can be put.

Mr. Peyton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we can expect the production of this White Paper? Will he not agree that its production is likely to be one of those minor miracles, which it is much more difficult to produce than the Prime Minister finds it to promise such things?

Mr. Thomson

I think the hon. Member ought to preserve his carefully prepared supplementaries on the White Paper till he has actually read the White Paper.

Mr. George Brown

May I ask whether the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) put these points to Selsdon Park yesterday?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is not a question for the Government.

Mr. Wood

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether or not in his view the agricultural decisions which were taken at the end of last year have made an agreement between Britain and the Six any more difficult to achieve?

Mr. Thomson

In our view, the decisions that were taken on 22nd December, which have not yet been finalised, do not in themselves present any insuperable obstacles to British entry into a wider European Economic Community, although they leave a number of very important matters for negotiation.

45. Mr. Moyle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many regulations which have been issued since the inception of the European Economic Community by the Council of Ministers and by the European Economic Community and which are still in force will be required to be incorporated into British law in the event of Great Britain's becoming a member of the Common Market.

Mr. George Thomson

It is not possible to state a number in advance of negotiations, since this will be affected by any exceptions or modifications which may be agreed during negotiations and any arrangements for a transitional period. Subject to these considerations those regulations in force at the time of Great Britain's accession to the European Communities will be required to be immediately incorporated into United Kingdom law.

Mr. Moyle

Does the Minister agree that it would be a good idea for Her Majesty's Government to study the possible effects of the regulations on British law in depth before the negotiations reach finalisation so that the British people may know what they are letting themselves in for in going in for these negotiations?

Mr. Thomson

Yes. These matters, with all other relevant matters, are being closely studied. I refer my hon. Friend to the fact that in 1967 the Government laid a White Paper, Command 3301, on the legal and constitutional problems of United Kingdom membership and the European Economic Community.

Mr. Turton

Is not the time now ripe for an amended version of that White Paper giving details of the regulations which have been passed since 1967?

Mr. Thomson

I think that the White Paper deals with the general principles involved. If there are any particular matters in relation to particular regulations, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question.

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