HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 cc1229-30
40. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Lord President of the Council whether in view of the fact that neither this House nor the general public have had an opportunity of giving judgment on whether or not Great Britain should apply for admission or negotiate terms and conditions for entry into the European Economic Community, he will arrange for a House of Commons debate on this subject.

Mr. Whitelaw

These matters are, of course, kept under constant review, and I would make any announcement that was to be made in the course of a future Business Statement.

Mr. Lewis

I thank the Minister for that uncustomarily evasive reply. Is he against the present procedure whereby all the political leaders are doing their utmost to prevent both the general public and this House from having an opportunity to discuss even the matter of whether negotiations should proceed? As we have not had a debate on this subject, and even now cannot be promised one, will he look at this matter with a view to our having a debate, if possible before Christmas?

Mr. Whitelaw

It is not for me to follow the hon. Gentleman in his various policy views. So far as a debate is concerned, I am always prepared to consider that. I prefer to answer such questions as these following the Business Statement rather than in Questions put to me on these occasions, since that is the proper place for me to answer them.