HC Deb 17 February 1970 vol 796 cc205-6
Q2. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek an invitation to attend in his official capacity the next meeting of the Monnet Committee for a United States of Europe in order to discuss Great Britain's attitude towards European federalism.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Marten

As the Government have recently affirmed their total opposition to any federalism or supernatural—supranational—[Laughter.]—either would do—should the right hon. Gentleman not explain to our European friends and to this House what the Foreign Secretary means when he expresses his great enthusiasm for political unity in Europe? Is there not something slightly incompatible between these two statements in practice?

The Prime Minister

I have answered this question many times in the House, most recently on 3rd February in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck). I should have thought that all hon. Members were in favour of greater political unity in Europe. This does not mean federal or—I will try to get it right—supranational institutions on the political or defence side.

Mr. Raphael Tuck

Why is the Foreign Secretary still a member of that committee? In view of the assurance which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) and myself, that Britain would not join a federal Europe, would he instruct the Foreign Secretary to resign from that Committee?

The Prime Minister

By no means. Representatives on the Monnet Committee from Britain—it is only fairly recently that they have joined—represent the political parties in this House and not Governments, Oppositions or anything else. But my right hon. Friend, as a Minister, wherever he goes, is bound by the policies of the Government and the collective responsibilities of the Government, and he has never at any point associated himself with policies differing from those which he and I have proclaimed in the House.