HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc202-4
Q4. Mr. Lane

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a Ministerial broadcast this month on the progress of the Common Market negotiations.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Lane

If, as most of us hope, there is progress in Brussels this week and Paris next week, and fair terms eventually emerge, would my right hon. Friend continue to keep the debate on the inspiring level of his recent Royal Academy speech, so that the public can see this issue not just as an argument about butter and sugar—important though they are—but as a new and historical opportunity for the British people?

The Prime Minister

I very much agree with my right hon. Friend that one should deal with long-term political and defence questions concerning Europe as well as the detailed points on the Treaty of Rome which are being discussed in the negotiations in Brussels.

Mr. Pentland

In regard to the safeguards which are involved for Britain and the Commonwealth in the present negotiations, can the right hon. Gentleman now explain which must be fully accepted by the Six before the negotiations are finalised? If he would do so, it would relieve a great deal of anxiety in the country.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reports to the House each time he returns from negotiations in Brussels, and he will be doing so after he returns from the present meeting. At the end of negotiations, if they are successful, it will be possible to put before the House the complete picture. It is on that that the House will make its judgment.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

Did my right hon. Friend see that the Leader of the Opposition said on "Panorama" last night that, if the terms were appropriate, he would unequivocally support Britain's entry into Europe? Could he elicit from the Leader of the Opposition whether, if he is satisfied that the terms are appropriate, he will lead his party to back him into Europe?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that, if the Leader of the Opposition did make an unequivocal statement on "Panorama" last night, he will certainly stand by it.

Mr. Healey

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that he will make a full statement on his talks with President Pompidou as soon as possible after his return? In view of the fact that he has just assured us that he has no intention of pre-empting the functions of any of his right hon. Friends, and since the talks with President Pompidou are, according to the Press briefing, to concern primarily political questions on the future of Europe, will the Foreign Secretary join him on this mission?

The Prime Minister

I will certainly make a statement when I return, if that is what the House desires. That can easily be arranged through the usual channels. The Foreign Secretary will not be accompanying me to Paris.