§ 'Any selection of or provision for selection of United Kingdom delegates to the European Assembly or members to serve on any Parliamentary committee for the scrutiny of proposals for Community secondary legislation shall be subject to approval by resolution of the House of Commons'.—[Mr. Michael Foot.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
Discussion on the new Clause which we have just been debating ranged very widely and dealt with an extremely important subject. I am not saying that the matter of this new Clause is not important, but it is not of the same scale of significance as that of the Clause the Committee has just finished debating. As we are operating under the guillotine and are extremely eager that before it falls at 11 o'clock we should have opportunity to discuss the other two new Clauses after this one we hope to keep this debate brief, certainly as brief as we can, although we shall try to cover all the matter in the Clause.
First, I would recite as speedily as I can the events which led to our putting down this Clause. It deals with two
§ matters. One is the so-called ad hoc committee to survey the instruments which may be coming out of the institutions in Europe before those instruments are settled and decided upon, and how this Parliament can intervene to discuss them. The second is the composition and nature of the British delegation to be sent to the European Assembly and what should be the rights of this Parliament in such matters. Those are the two subjects which arise upon this Clause.
§ I would trace briefly the discussions we have previously had here on these two matters. I think the first suggestion for having the ad hoc committee was made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in an earlier debate in this Committee. If I have it aright, he suggested that there should be an ad hoc committee set up to discuss what sort of committee should then be set up to survey the instruments which would be coming out of the European institutions.
§ When he made that proposal some of us on this side of the Committee and, maybe, in other parts of the Committee, felt that to be a proposal, in so far as it was a way to deal with instruments coming from the Community, which should be incorporated in the Bill. We did not think it right that at the same time as the House of Commons and its Committees were sitting to discuss these matters there should also be an ad hoc committee discussing the same matters, for we thought that a most extraordinary way of 649 proceeding. Even so, we put down an Amendment referring to this. The Committee rejected it. I am not saying that the Amendment was the best devised Amendment, but it was an Amendment which sought to deal with the suggestion at that stage. However, it was not adequately dealt with then, so we are seeking to deal with part of the question in the new Clause.
§ On an earlier Amendment we discussed the composition of the delegation from this country to the European Assembly and how Parliament should retain some control over it. Our proposal was rejected by the Government, but during the debate it was suggested that a Select Committee should be established to examine the whole question of the proper form of the British delegation to the European Assembly. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman gave a forthcoming response to that suggestion, I said that we on this side would be prepared to consider it.
§ The Times and The Guardian newspapers have both discussed these matters as being questions which should be surveyed and examined by the House of Commons. I do not, therefore, wish there to be any misunderstanding about the state of the game. I am not giving away any secrets, and I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman will have no objection to what I say on this. On the initiative of the Minister in charge of the Bill and the Leader of the House, we had a meeting to discuss the proposed ad hoc committee. At the same time we discussed the suggestion of a Select Committee to consider our delegation to the European Assembly. Although there had been no decision by the Opposition on either of those matters, I expressed the view that the Opposition would be prepared to participate in the manning of those two bodies, if they were established, on one modest condition, which was that the Government should agree to accept our Amendment on the subject. This Clause is the Amendment.
§ It was perfectly open to the Government—and it would have been the most graceful way for them to deal with the matter—to have come forward with the Amendment, or an Amendment in a slightly different form, and the matter could have proceeded on that basis. Our only condition was that Parliament 650 should retain control by the passage of an Amendment such as that which is incorporated in the Clause.
§ I hope it will be fully understood by all those who write about these matters, whether in The Times, The Guardian or elsewhere, that the Opposition have not rigidly refused to discuss these matters. We have not refused to participate in those bodies, but we did not think it was proper for us to participate in them while these matters were being discussed in Committee. We certainly have not rejected the idea of participating in these bodies if they were to be set up. All we ask is that the Government should make some concession in return and give us the elementary, modest, parliamentary safeguard for which we asked in the original debate, in the meeting which I had with the right hon. and learned Gentleman and for which we are now asking.
§ I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will also not dissent when I say that the meeting which I had with him did not formally end, but dissolved, in the sense that once we suggested that an Amendment might actually be made to the Bill to incorporate, however modestly, the conclusion of our findings, the Government lost interest.
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)
Just to make the record clear, it dissolved because the Committee re-commenced its proceedings.
§ Mr. Foot
The right hon. and learned Gentleman was not present until the end. He had to come into the Chamber because there were proceedings on the Bill, and my right hon. Friend had to come here to move an Amendment. Therefore, I was at the meeting for a bit longer than was the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He will not dissent when I say that when I suggested this modest Amendment he expressed his distaste. It is extremely serious that the Government should have refused such a modest Amendment.
To take first the ad hoc committee, it is right that the House of Commons should have some possibility of surveying instruments coming from the Brussels Commission and other bodies of Europe before they are settled. That is a poor 651 third best to the precise detailed systems of parliamentary control which we and all hon. Members who oppose the Bill have been putting forward throughout the proceedings. Such proposals for surveillance over the instruments before they go to the Council of Ministers to be finalised are quite inadequate, but they would be a third best. No doubt we shall have to have a body to survey the best way of looking at these matters and a Select Committee of the House might be better than an ad hoc committee. The Select Committee on Procedure might be the best body. We are not opposed to it, but we hope that the Government will accept the Clause as a safeguard.
I turn to the rather larger question, which has much more serious ramifications. I refer to the proposals for the composition of the European Assembly and the British delegation to it. This is a matter of major importance. Even enthusiastic supporters of the Common Market realise that the institutions which exist in Europe at present are undemocratic and irresponsible, in the sense that they are not responsible to any elected body. Both the Brussels Commission and the Council of Ministers are not responsible to any democratic parliament.
Some hon. Members argue that the way to deal with the situation is to transform the European Assembly into a properly effective democratic body. I am doubtful about that proposition because the more people who seek to remedy the position the more it will interfere with the rights, authority and influence of the House of Commons. We believe that the only proper democratic protections inside the Community must be founded in the House of Commons or in the other individual parliaments of Community countries. We feel that no substitute for that will be satisfactory. Moreover, the attempt to build the European Assembly into an effective, powerful, democratic assembly could mean a further erosion of the influence and authority of the House of Commons.
Whatever view may be taken, the question of how Britain is to send a delegation to such an Assembly is of paramount importance. It is also an extremely complex matter, as various 652 articles in the Press have suggested. We have sought to argue that, whatever decision may be made about such an Assembly, it must be brought back to the House in the end for decision. We are not prepared to have any other system.
The Chancellor of the Duchy may say that this would happen if we were to have a Select Committee to examine the matter, or if the matter could be referred to the Select Committee on Procedure. No Select Committee of the House makes decisions on its own without being answerable to the House. But that proposition would not necessarily deal with the situation. We feel that it is a peculiar state of affairs when in a European Communities Bill, which seeks to deal with the changes required to carry Britain through into the enlarged Community, there is no reference to the composition of the British delegation to the European Assembly.
The Government may now suggest that the matter should be referred to a Select Committee, and I think that is a proper course. If we are to go ahead with the Bill and are to send a delegation to the European Assembly, all the ramifications of so doing could be considered by a Select Committee. Indeed, I wish that a Select Committee had sat much earlier on this subject so that it could by now have reported to the House. Many of the matters with which we have dealt so inadequately under the guillotine could have been much better dealt with if we had set up three or four Select Committees to examine the financial and constitutional aspects and if those Committees had reported to the House.
However, the Government's proposal for dealing with this matter was not that we should deal with the subject in open debate in the House. No doubt they will say that the matter will eventually come to the House. In this connection, I should like to read to the House a document which was sent by the Government Chief Whip to the Opposition, a letter dated 28th April this year. I read this document to show how serious are the constitutional implications of what is being proposed. Parts of this letter have already been published and the facts and figures are generally known, but I believe that the statements it contains should be known to the Committee.
653 The letter reads:It would be very helpful to have your preliminary views about how our delegation to the European Parliament will be composed from 1973. As you know there are to be 36 delegates. Presumably this would break down into 18 Conservatives, 16 Labour and two Liberals (it could be 17 Labour and one Liberal).The Liberals are not here to hear what was proposed in their name. It may be that they would withdraw their support if they knew how cavalierly the Government proposed treating them.We then have to consider the breakdown between the two Houses. Our first thoughts are that we should have about one-third of our delegation from the Lords. If so, and you thought it would be appropriate to have four members from the Lords, the effect would be to equalise the numbers each side in the Commons. Until any new or alternative system is worked out the delegation will have to comprise mainly of members of the Commons and in view of the amount of time that has to be spent in the European Parliament, the delegation would have to be—in effect—permanently paired. We have also thought it would be right to make one of our places available for a Cross-Bench Peer, and you may feel that you might wish to do the same. The commitment of members of the delegation is very considerable—almost 100 days per year, mostly during United Kingdom parliamentary sessions. The annual session of the European Parliament begins on the second Tuesday in March and consists of (approximately) monthly sittings lasting from two days a week upwards. In addition the major committees (Political, budgetary, agriculture, etc.) meet about once a fortnight. None of this operates before next year, but it would be particularly helpful to know your preliminary attitude to the breakdown and construction of the delegation. I have given it much preparatory thought and would very much welcome your views.There are many propositions, and I shall not delay the Committee by discussing them all. However the one preparatory thought to which much consideration was given was the possibility of a large number of the delegation in effect being permanently paired. In my opinion that is a very serious proposition.
As I pointed out on an earlier occasion, although I wish to elaborate it slightly now, during the war some Members of Parliament were given the right under the dispositions made by the war-time Government to be absent from Parliament for a period. One was Mr. Malcolm MacDonald who was sent as our High Commissioner to Canada. There were others. In order to do that the House of Commons had in effect to rupture the 654 relationship between Members of Parliament and their constituents, and a special Bill had to be passed to give them the right to be away. Many hon. Members at the time disputed whether it was proper for the House as a collective body to interfere with the association between a Member of Parliament and his constituents.
Any proposal for Members of Parliament of this House to be away permanently paired over some of the most important period of a parliamentary year—even though it may have occurred in the secrecy of some of the arrangements of the past—is an extraordinary one to put before the House. What is even more extraordinary is that it should have been suggested by the Government that this was a proper way to deal with it, with out it being brought to the House of Commons at all—
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
Will the hon. Gentleman give us the terms of the reply to that letter?
§ Mr. Rippon
Before the hon. Gentleman does so, perhaps I might interrupt him again. Of course, discussions through the usual channels do not preclude matters being brought to the House. The hon. Gentleman will also recognise the difficulties which have arisen in the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe. Hon. Members have been brought back quite unnecessarily for Divisions when there have been equal numbers of Labour and Conservative Members in Strasbourg. Many people have thought that action should be taken to rectify the position.
§ Mr. Foot
The Whips are under our control. We do not have to accept that. I give the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) the answer to which he is entitled. I will read the whole letter. Our reply is in accordance with the White Paper. I said:I am replying to your letter of 28th when you asked for my 'preliminary views' about the composition of delegates to the European Parliament.This is not a matter which my Parliamentary Committee thinks can be properly dealt with by discussions between us. These matters all 655 come within the ambit of the Common Market Bill now before Parliament. Clearly the nature and composition of any European Parliament, in which this country might participate, is a matter which touches upon several of the issues in the Bill itself. We therefore suggest that the Government should put down amendments to the Bill dealing with this important question, and the House of Commons would then have the opportunity to discuss all aspects of the question in the open. The composition of a delegation to a Parliament is not a matter to be settled behind the backs of our Parliament.That is and remains my view. We put down the Clause so that the matter could not be dealt with behind the back of Parliament.
In order that there shall be no misunderstanding, I make my position clear. I understand that there are many matters in the House of Commons which can be dealt with only through the usual channels, and if those channels are blocked, or incapable of operating, there are many difficulties in the conduct of parliamentary business. I also understand that there are some questions which touch upon major constitutional matters, as this one does, which can be dealt with properly only in the House of Commons itself. I say that as one who has spent most of his parliamentary life on the back benches. I have not changed my view because I have been transferred, perhaps temporarily, from the back to the front.
I have always held the view that many of the questions of the composition of delegations, particularly if they are to official bodies, should be dealt with in the open as much as possible. These are not matters to be dealt with by systems of patronage if that can be avoided. I am not saying it always can be avoided, but in the main I believe it can. Certainly, when we have anything so official as the composition of a delegation to a permanent European assembly, particularly one that is to be given considerable powers which are to be transferred from us, it is a matter of major significance.
The Government's suggestion was that we settle this matter through the usual channels. Had it not been for our reply, perhaps they would have continued to think that we could settle it that way. This is not a question of being pro- or anti-Common Market. I am sure that no hon. Member will argue that this is 656 not a question for the House of Commons. If we wish, we can insist that the matter shall eventually be brought to the House of Commons.
We are not laying down in the Clause how the composition of the delegation should be comprised. We are not saying what should be the numbers; we are not saying that we are opposed to the principle of having Members paired over a long period; we are not prejudging any of the issues of merit. All we are saying is that the final decision should be brought back to and passed by resolution of the House of Commons so that the House of Commons will have the same kind of control over the composition of the delegations as it has, as I said on a previous occasion, over the composition of the Kitchen Committee or some of the other Committees of the House.
This is an extremely modest proposal. It would not interfere with the proposals which the Government wish to advance and which we will certainly consider with open minds—the question of participation in the ad hoc committees or Select Committees or of referring these matters to the Select Committee on Procedure. We are prepared to consider these matters, in as objective a spirit as we can. All we are saying is that the Government should in return incorporate into the Bill not a major Amendment but a modest one which at least has this safeguard. Perhaps I can guess the reason why the Government did not like our proposition. Everything else in my speech I have proved, but we had a conversation with the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues on this matter and they did not like our proposals. I presume this was because they did not wish to have any Amendment to the Bill. We know that that would involve other difficulties.
§ [Miss HARVIE ANDERSON in the Chair]
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ How we are to keep final control over this matter in the Bill, which deals specifically with this question, is more important than the prestige of the Government. Having decided they would not have any Amendment to the Bill on other grounds, which no doubt we will debate at other 657 times, that decision, if it was a decision to refuse any Amendment to the Bill, was outrageous. It means that not only were they rejecting individual Amendments which, on their merits, might otherwise have been accepted, and therefore the House of Commons passes a worse Bill, but, having made up their mind not to accept any Amendments, they do not care about all the other arguments.
§ That was one of the reasons why I thought the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had treated the Committee with gross discourtesy. I do not believe it is because he is naturally discourteous, but because the Government have decided not to accept any Amendment anyhow, and have conveyed this feeling to the Committee. We have argued from every angle, and almost none of of the Amendments conflicts with the principle of entry, because such Amendments are forbidden. We have sought to improve the Bill; we have sought to change it by proposing Amendments concerning matters which we are entitled to discuss. Yet the Government have refused Amendments of this modest character.
§ I trust that we shall have the enthusiastic support of those of my right hon. and hon. Friends who are supporters of entry into the European Economic Community on this matter. They may say, "We did not know this was happening." Some of them have written rude letters to the newspapers on the composition of the European Parliament. If they are interested enough to write letters and articles in the newspapers on this subject, they might be interested to come and debate it when we provide time under the guillotine procedure.
§ I am glad to see some of my hon. Friends here. I do not know whether they will participate in the debate. However, I hope they will understand that the new Clause is a genuine attempt to ensure that this Parliament keeps control over these matters, control which we will not necessarily have if these matters are referred only to Committees afterwards. Once the Bill is passed the major legislation dealing with it will be out of our control and we shall have lost the possibility of enforcing our rights.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
Taking the long or middle term view, the fact 658 that we shall be in the Market in January, 1973, and that we have no Report stage, as suggested by my hon. Friend, may I ask him to consider the proposition that it is just feasible—no more than that—that the Parliamentary Labour Party at its annual conference could take a decision whereby we shall be under instructions not to send anybody to the European Assembly? That would put the Government in some difficult straits.
§ Mr. Rippon
The hon. Gentleman says, "It may be so". Surely he wants to repudiate the suggestion that Members of Parliament act on instructions from outside?
§ Mr. Foot
I did not interpret what my hon. Friend said as implying that. As for Members of Parliament acting under instructions, that is an extraordinary state of affairs. I am not quite sure by what process of spontaneous combustion Government supporters have agreed that there shall be no Amendment whatever to a Bill of this character. The right hon. and learned Gentleman should not talk to me about not acting under any kind of instructions.
§ Mr. Foot
From outside. Everybody knows the procedures by which the Labour Party defines its policy. It is a more democratic procedure than that by which the Tories arrived at their suggestion that it was only with the full-hearted consent of Parliament and the people that they would be able to carry these matters into effect. That was not passed at any conference. It may be partly on that account that the Prime Minister thought he could tear up his propositions.
I will conclude on this aspect. It may be said that we do not have to worry very much about the European Assembly—that we do not have to worry our pretty little heads about that. After all, M. Pompidou is against it. If he can control the British exchange rate he can make sure what form the European Assembly will take, especially since, as we heard today, the new Prime Minister of France is the very man who teaches us to stand by our obligations.
659 We had a debate earlier today about standing by our obligations, and we have been lectured by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his legal friends as to how we must stand by them. That is why we must be careful what the obligations are. How does the new Prime Minister of France talk about his obligations to the people with whom he signed? What he said has been quoted in the House by myself and by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). M. Messmer, the new Prime Minister of France, dealing with the question of New Zealand said:We must not forget that New Zealand is on the asking side. At the time of Britain's entry into the Common Market she (New Zealand) came on her knees to beseech us to allow her to go on exporting to Britain. We have condescended to grant New Zealand guaranteed exports to Britain for a period of five years.Condescended! He is almost as condescending as the French President.We have condescended to grant New Zealand guaranteed exports to Britain for a period of five years. If New Zealand now refuses to export to France this limit of five years could be reconsidered and reduced and we could look at the application with disfavour.When we quoted that passage before it did not make as much impact upon the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends as might have been expected. But we are now quoting the Prime Minister of France, on the 4th July—I suppose that it will be known as "British Dependence day". M. Pompidou says that he is not going to allow the right hon. and learned Gentleman in unless he has fixed his exchange rate according to the prescription of M. Pompidou. Perhaps he has a little longer to think these matters out than he thought—unless he is going to comply exactly at the prescribed date. One way or the other, having saved the country a fortnight ago by floating the £—either he will push the country back into catastrophy by putting us back on a fixed rate, according to the prescription of M. Pompidou or—
§ Mr. Rippon
These are matters outside the scope of the election of Members of Parliament to the parliamentary assembly but, for the record, on 29th June the Chancellor of the Exchequer saidI have made it clear that we intend to return to a fixed parity as soon as possible 660 when conditions permit. I recognise that there are some in this House who favour the permanent floating of the £. I would only add that I have spelled out my own view's at some length on previous occasions."—[Official Report, 29th June, 1972; Vol. 839, c. 1706.]
§ Mr. Foot
The right hon. and learned Gentleman surely notes the difference in tone between that statement of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer and the statement of the French President on British dependence day, 4th July, when he said that an indispensable condition of Britain's entry into the European Economic Community is that we should have returned to a fixed parity before the date of entry. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said that that does not affect what we are discussing. He has always tried to pretend, in his breezy manner, that all these matters are settled and that nothing will be altered by arguments of this nature.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke without the arrogance of the French President. I do not know whether he thinks that that statement is acceptable, and whether Britain should listen to that kind of instruction. I can understand his saying that when the Prime Minister met M. Pompidou the terms were fixed so clearly that M. Pompidou was merely repeating what the Prime Minister had said to him on that occasion. But what M. Pompidou thought when he made the agreement at the previous meeting, and opened the door for Britain's entry, was that we would stand by a fixed parity—and M. Pompidou, in his statement yesterday, says that our unilateral action was a departure from the agreement.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that he has to sort out these matters so he need not complain about the whole question. He may have more time than he expects, that is if he is going to retain the power of Britain to settle the exchange rate. The right hon. and learned Gentleman should not talk about settling the rate "as soon as possible". President Pompidou does not say "as soon as possible". He says "1st January". The right hon. and learned Gentleman may have much more time on his hands than he thinks. Alternatively, the right hon. and learned Gentleman may accept the dictation of the French President.
I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will begin to realise, even at 661 the end of these debates, that events will provide the real judgment on the Bill. Events are already overtaking the Government. Events are proving that what the Government have said in the course of this Committee stage is untrue. Events will prove that to be so next year even more than they are proving it now, if by any chance we have to enter on 1st January.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has plenty of time, if he wants to, to settle these matters properly and fairly. Why not accept the Clause? Why not say that whatever may be settled by the Select Committee, whatever may be settled in further discussions, eventually it will be brought back to this House of Commons to decide two simple questions, the form in which we shall participate in the ad hoc committee to discover the instruments which come out of Brussels, and the form in which we are to settle the composition of our delegation to the European Assembly.
The Government have only to say "Yes". If they do, they will at least show that our charge that they have determined to drive the Bill through without any Amendment is misplaced. At least one of our accusations will be disproved. I invite the right hon. and learned Gentleman, if he has any respect left for the rights of Members, to agree that this is a matter which should be settled by the House of Commons and not by the Executive acting alone and contemptuously of the rights of Members of Parliament.
§ Mr. Percy Grieve (Solihull)
All my life I have found that one of the labels which the Labour Party is most anxious to attach to itself can be summed up in the word "progressive". I suppose that, having regard to his position in the spectrum of politics of the Labour Party, no one in this Committee would lay greater claim to that label than the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) to whose speech we have just listened.
I am, however, bound to say that if one examines the word "progressive" in its true meaning one finds it astonishing that those who arrogate to themselves that label are those who, in the second half of the twentieth century, turn their 662 backs upon any concept of international co-operation in the European field and upon the ideal of European unity which is the finest ideal to have emerged from the war.
The speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale demonstrated this turning of the back by the Labour Party and their rejection throughout our debates on this Bill of that European ideal to which our adhesion to the European Economic Community will materially commit us. Turning their backs, Labour Members have sought every opportunity in our debates to denigrate what not only we on this side but large numbers of their own colleagues are seeking to do to secure adhesion to the European Economic Community.
This Clause is not what it appears to be on the face of it, a constructive contribution to our discussions, but another attempt to undermine the efforts which the House and the country are making to secure adhesion to the Community and to take part in the movement towards that united Europe which I believe will be one of the greatest foundations for future peace in Europe and in the world.
I agree at once that selection of the delegation from this Parliament to the European Assembly will present very great difficulties to Members in servicing that Assembly. Let there be no doubt about that. Those of us, and there are many on this side of the Committee, who serve on the Council of Europe know the very great efforts that are required in order to serve our constituencies, the House and the Council of Europe. Those problems will be not less but greater for those who will be serving in the European Assembly.
Article 138(3) of the treaty establishing the European Economic Community looks forward to the day when there will be elections to the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage. It states:The Assembly shall draw up proposals for elections by direct universal suffrage in accordance with a uniform procedure in all Member States.The Council shall, acting unanimously, lay down the appropriate provisions which it shall recommend to Member States for adoption in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.663 I have no doubt that the time will come when there will be a form of direct election to the European Assembly. It is a day to which I greatly look forward. I believe that the House and the country are greatly indebted to all those who are giving considerable thought to the way in which this shall be done in future, and not least to the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart), who has made his own proposals which are a serious contribution to our discussion.
But it would be idle to believe that in the period which will elapse between the end of our present debates here and our adhesion to the European Economic Community on 1st January next, those problems can be resolved. They are unlikely to be resolved in that time. For that reason I believe that the best course open to the House is to see whether, through the usual channels on which the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) has cast such aspersions, we can arrive at a mutual means of providing for the delegation to the Assembly in the same way as over the years, satisfactorily I hope, the delegations to the Council of Europe and to Western European Union have been selected.
I do not see how it is possible in this Bill, without prejudging problems which yet have to be solved and without prejudging the form in which the delegation shall be selected, and the way in which the delegates, when there is direct election, shall serve both in this Parliament and in the European Parliament, conveniently to incorporate provisions for selection which would not, as it were, put selection into a straitjacket. This seems completely unrealistic. It is an idle dream to think that between now and 1st January, 1973, we could conceivably arrive at a method of selecting the delegation which could be properly incorporated in an Act of Parliament.
For these reasons I oppose the new Clause. I hope that the Committee will reject it. I oppose it also because I believe that, like so many of the proposals made during our debates, the real reason for making this proposal is not what appears on its face, a constructive contribution to our discussion, but yet another attempted blow aimed at our adhesion to Europe, which is likely to be the most important way in which we can 664 provide for the peace of the world ant the future of Britain.
§ Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
I disagree with almost every word that has come from the hon. and learned Member for Solihull (Mr. Grieve). I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) will not be surprised if I say that I agreed with almost everything he said about the need for the new Clause. I am sorry that it appears that the Government will not accept it. As my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale has said, there are two other new Clauses we wish to discuss. Therefore, I shall not make a long speech. I shall concentrate on the question that arises if we have to send 36 delegates—from the House of Commons, I hope; not from the other place—to the European Parliament.
I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale on only two counts. One is that I think the strengthening of democratic control by the European Parliament and its committees over the Commission and the Council of Ministers will help to strengthen the influence of the national Parliaments on the work of the Commission and the Council of Ministers. That is something we can debate.
I disagree with my hon. Friend, secondly, in that in the new Clause we are asking thatAny selection of or provision for selection of United Kingdom delegates…shall be subject to approval by resolution of the House of Commons.This is somewhat in conflict with my view that each party should decide for itself how it selects its delegates. If the Labour Party contribution to 36 is 17, the Labour Party should decide for itself how those 17 will be selected or elected. I strongly advocate that view.
I want particularly to deny the proposition that keeps coming forward that a delegate to the European Assembly and the committees of the Assembly will somehow be divorced from the work of the House of Commons, will have to spend a long time on the Continent and will require to be permanently paired. I disagree with all that.
Let us take what will be the situation in the European Parliament for the next 665 six months. From the beginning of July to the end of the year, it is due to meet for 19 days in five sessions. But two of those sessions, lasting seven days, will take place during our parliamentary Recess, so that whoever goes will be away for 12days in six months. I have worked it out that this will amount to about 25 to 30 days a year during the time that this Parliament is meeting. As for the suggestion that this will interfere with constituency work, I remind the Committee that the European Parliament does not meet at weekends. It meets for four or five days a week, and sometimes for only two days in a week. Every Member of the House of Commons who gets selected or elected as a delegate can return to his constituency as often as he likes at weekends. What is more, I do not know whether in the course of the letter my hon. Friend has received the suggestion is made that the European Parliament and its committees will take up 100 days a year. The maximum number that anybody attends is 70.
If the work of the committees of the European Parliament and their methods of operation are improved, the two days a week could be reduced by one-half. To a large extent, the ineffectiveness of the European Parliament and its committees arises from the stupid way the committees work. Anybody who has examined the working of the European Parliament and its committees can see clearly how the procedures, the methods and the servicing need greatly to be improved. If somebody set about it in the right way, far more effective work could be accomplished in far less time.
Most of the committee meetings will take place within an hour or an hour and a half by plane from Heathrow. If the proper transport is established to get people backwards and forwards from Parliament to Heathrow and from the airport on the other side to wherever the committee is meeting, there will be no need for a great deal of time to be spent away from the House of Commons at these committee meetings. Sometimes a committee meets for two days. After voting in the House of Commons, a Member can catch the night ferry or a night plane and arrive the other side in the morning. I do not suggest that this should be done regularly, but it can be 666 done. A member could spend two days there and then return to carry on with his work here, just as if he had been attending a Select Committee outside the House.
I was attending the meeting of a committee at The Hague last week which had to send for a Member of the House of Commons to take part in a discussion about the proceedings for the next Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Member arrived, concluded his business there and returned to the House of Commons to take part in the vote on the Motion of censure last Thursday.
I therefore support the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale. I hope that the Government will think again about rejecting the Clause. Many hon. Members, journalists and letter-writers to The Times talk a lot of nonsense about the amount of time that must be spent in the European Parliament and its committees. If we set about it in the right way, we can make the European Parliament more effective and at the same time do what my hon. Friend wants, which is to strengthen the hands of the national Parliaments over the Commission's work.
I hope that the letter that my hon. Friend received will not be withdrawn and that we can set about establishing the representation on sensible lines, assuming that we are to go into Europe. The sensible lines are to let each party decide for itself how it is to select or elect its own membership.
§ Sir J. Foster
The question is: should the Clause be accepted? The method which should be adopted to select Members is not directly in point. I was interested, however, in what the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) said.
I shall try to persuade hon. Members that this form of Clause is not the right way to deal with a problem which cuts across parties. The request in the Clause—Any selection of or provision for selection of United Kingdom delegates to the European Assembly or members to serve on any Parliamentary committee…shall be subject to approval by resolution of the House of Commons—presupposes that somebody has decided what the selection or provision for selection is.
667 The Clause is inapt. It deals with procedure and with the conventions of the House of Commons. For instance, so many Supply Days are for the Opposition. The House of Commons works with the minority allowing the Government to get their business through and the majority allowing the Opposition to have quite a lot of rights and a lot of methods of voicing their opinion. Parliament cannot work properly without that arrangement. It would work in a very different way without it, because the majority have only to pass a Bill saying that no one on the Opposition side should be allowed to speak to give the Government a very easy time. The whole thing depends upon agreement between the parties. That is part of our democratic way. All elected assemblies have to deal with this.
But here there is a new problem where agreement must be reached between the parties and it must be reached under the conventions of the constitution. If the Clause was accepted what is to stop the Government saying the Labour Party shall not be represented in the European Parliament? There is no legal way of preventing that, but the minority must be allowed to have their say.
A Select Committee is only a very important way of having a talk between the usual channels. A talk between the usual channels will decide whether each side chooses its own people, which is much the most likely way of solving the problem. Each side could decide how many representatives it wanted from the House of Lords. I am not trying to prejudge what is the best way but I am suggesting that the Clause will not be suitable. We have to have a Select Committee and it must be debated by the House but it must not be subject to approval in the usual sense because unless approval is within very limited spheres the majority could wipe out the minority in the European Parliament. That is not what is intended.
§ Sir Robin Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
Can my hon. and learned Friend explain why every Select Committee of this House is subject to the approval of the House by Resolution of the House? He must try to get some knowledge of parliamentary procedure.
§ Sir J. Foster
All I am saying is that it should be done by agreement between the usual channels and then subject to debate in the House. Otherwise, the majority could oppress the minority and it would therefore be for the protection of the Labour Party that the Clause should not be passed.
I am assuming that the only wish is that what is being sought should be done in the best way. If it is wished to put difficulties into the way of the Bill I can see the point of trying to force the Clause through the Committee. But I am not assuming that that is what is desired. I am assuming there is a problem to be dealt with and, in my submission, on the selection of members it is not right to seek approval of the House of Commons for matters which must depend on the conventions in the functioning of the House. There must be agreement about some form of voting or not voting or else we must alter our voting procedure. It seems ridiculous that if we had a Motion of censure and five Members of the Government were down in a field because of engine failure, a General Election would have to be called. I see the Opposition Chief Whip smiling, but I am assuming he will be very careful not to run this risk. One could, I suppose, alter our voting procedure in the House, but that also would be a matter of convention.
It is not sufficient just to say that no one should be paired. I understand the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) to be against pairing. I can understand his objection to that—
§ Mr. Darling
I understand our complaint to be against the idea that, for a fairly long period, hon. Members would be permanently paired. I do not know whether I am correctly paraphrasing the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale, but I understand that to be the point. We say that Members are paired for the job which they do, just as we arrange it now for the Council of Europe.
§ Sir J. Foster
I understood the hon. Gentleman to be against pairing for the people who have these jobs to do. How-ever, if I am wrong in my understanding, so much the better.
669 Here again, one has to be careful about this and have a lot of conventions between the two sides. All of us as parliamentarians—I say this subject to the stricture of my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir R. Turton)—understand the conventions of the House. We understand that this place works only through a partnership between the minority and majority parties. It would not work otherwise.
We have to start from this angle: let us see what we can agree about in the way we deal with the European Parliament. I feel sure that, once the Bill is passed, the Labour Party, as it has in the past, both when the majority and the minority party, will make the democratic procedure work. But it will not work if our conventions and agreements are all subject to the approval of the House of Commons, for then the majority party could get its own way and wipe the minority party right down by insisting on things on which it ought not to insist. It is very unwise, therefore, to propose this Clause. If it is proposed merely to make the passage of the Bill more difficult, that is another matter, but the suggestions in it are unwise.
The second part of the Clause deals with the scrutiny of Community secondary legislation. Here again, I assume that everyone takes it that the Bill will be passed. But I recognise that there is a serious problem here. I raised it with one of the letter writers to The Times, The conventions of the constitution do not apply here in quite the same way.
Both political parties will be anxious to ensure that we have some form of parliamentary control over the legislation which is passed. That is certainly my view. For this purpose, resolutions of the Community of importance to this country—even a directive might be of importance—must be brought to the notice of the House at an early stage. But we must in this context remember that, under our constitution, once we have elected a majority party and it has chosen a Government, the Executive has wide powers not all of which are subject to the direct control of Parliament. Indirect control, yes, but not direct control. In the treaty-making power, for example, there is a wide gap where control by the House of Commons is not 670 very effective. In any case, a House of over 600 Members is not the best instrument for controlling detail.
All this needs careful consideration. I suggest that it might call for the setting up of a committee consisting not only of parliamentarians but having within it some form of outside representation—partly Members of Parliament, partly people with experience of foreign legislative processes, perhaps a few academics—
§ Sir J. Foster
The matter would then be put before a purely parliamentary Committee to sift it through. Again, one would have to go by agreement between the parties. Undoubtedly, it would be difficult, but, in my submission, it is no way of doing it to say that it must be subject to the approval of Parliament. The crunch will come at the stage of agreement in the Committee. The matter will then be debated by Parliament, and alterations may be made in the light of the debate, as the Government or Opposition see the force of recommendations or suggestions made. But just to have approval or non-approval is an inept way of dealing with these subjects because there does not seem to be any way of amendment. If there are amendments, the agreement of both sides must be obtained.
For those reasons, I think that the passing of this Clause would be completely useless and that it should not take its place in the Bill.
§ Mr. English
I am grateful to you, Miss Harvie Anderson, for calling me because I was bursting to speak whilst listening to the outpourings of rubbish from the two hon. and learned Members on the Government side whom I believe to be, in their varied ways, distinguished but who on this issue are obviously somewhat at sea. I wish to put one or two simple questions which may make the point clear.
The letter to which reference has been made says that Members who serve on the European Assembly would need to be away from the House of Commons for perhaps 100 days a year. That has been ably demolished by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling), who has served for so long on the Council of Europe and knows 671 many European institutions. Has anyone considered the real reasons why we are paired? One is that we need not be present on an occasion when we would otherwise be voting. In fact, that is the only reason. I should have thought that a similar situation would apply to the European Assembly.
The first question we should ask about the European Assembly is whether it votes. I see no reason for a Member saying that he must be in Brussels in order to vote at an Assembly which does not vote. I understand that its more normal custom is to endeavour to reconcile the opinions of all parties in the Assembly and to arrive at an agreed resolution. Even if it did vote, the outcome would not matter because it has very little power. Admittedly one may wish to be in Brussels to make a speech. But is it suggested—I doubt whether other European parliamentarians would accept the fact—that every one of our 36-strong delegation will make a speech on 100 days a year? It is possible that a Member of the House of Commons serving on the European Assembly will consider that on a given day there is a more important reason for his being here rather than in Brussels—unless he simply wants a trip to Brussels.
The sheer arrogance of the Government Chief Whip, who suggests that Members should be permanently paired is beyond belief. I sincerely hope that every Member will decide for himself where he wishes to be. I hope that every one of the 36 people in our delegation will decide for himself, according to his individual conscience, where it is more important for him to be. On one occasion it might be important for him to be here during a debate on the equivalent of the Third Reading of the Industrial Relations Bill if he was a member of my party—or, indeed, if he was a Conservative. Members may legitimately feel that they do not need to be here to discuss a White Fish Authority order and that they should be in Brussels to discuss the European agricultural policy.
These matters cannot be determined on a basis of permanent pairing. The 36 members of the delegation will be competent, reasonable people and they should decide for themselves.
§ Sir J. Foster
What will happen if a large number of members of one party 672 feel that they should be in Brussels and the others do not? How would the voting be arranged?
§ Mr. English
I suggest that the ancient principles of the House of Commons should be followed.
We have long experience of this sort of difficulty, and that is precisely why we have pairing. It is also precisely why we have Whips on both sides who say to Members "We know that you are totally bored by this subject. We know that it has been raised by the other party. But it is desirable that some of you should stay so that we may keep a respectable majority." I should have thought that since we are quite used to reconciling difficulties of this character in general the addition of one more additional case would not be beyond the wit of the Patronage Secretary and his opposite number on this side.
I turn to more serious issues, because I think they are more serious issues. Everybody has made the simple assumption that the delegation should consist of members of both parties. I would point out that this is an assumption based, as somebody said, upon the traditions and conventions of this place in the past. I think it will be quite clear to everybody that conventions of the past are not necessarily appropriate to a completely different situation in the future. There is every reason why, when we set up a Select Committee for example, it should consist of Members from both parties; it should consist of a distribution of opinion because it is a body which will report to the House and it would be futile if it reported only one opinion, which the House as a whole might not share. However, when we as a country are represented elsewhere it does not necessarily follow that we should be represented by Members from both parties. It may well be that we should be represented only by Members from the governing party in the State, which party the electorate decides.
One extremely important nation in Europe which adopts this principle is France. France sends to the very Assembly we are talking about a delegation which does not include the second party in the State. The Italians include in their delegation representatives of the 673 second party in the State, the Communists. It is not for me to decide whether the French are right or wrong, but we should discuss here—this is the point of the new Clause—what procedure we should adopt.
It might be that the House of Commons as a whole would prefer to have a delegation representing both parties but it might be—and if hon. Members would consider the implications they would see there is a case for the alternative view—that the House would in fact prefer the delegation to consist of Members from the majority party in the State, not perhaps out of a fit of pique by the Opposition but as a general principle that the members of the delegation should belong to the party governing the State, since they represent this country in a European institution, as, indeed, it is the party governing the State which is represented in the Council of Ministers. I would say that is something which commends itself for discussion here and that it cannot well be taken for granted.
Finally, I would say that I do part company with my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) when he says, in effect, that he distrusts the possibilities of direct election to the European Assembly. I do not. I think the Committee knows the consistency of my views about entry into the Common Market. I have been against it continuously, even when my own party was in power, and I am against it still, but once we are in it I would wish to democratise it. If we are to hand over to a European body power—as indeed the Bill does—to tax and legislate, personally I wish to try to restore some of that power to the electorate as a whole, even if it is to be a European electorate. I should like the people of this country to decide first whether they wish to enter the Common Market or not; but if they were to decide that we should go in, and that we should remain in, we should set our mind to considering the implications of the undemocratic nature of the institutions themselves. It is, in my view a pity that the Government have taken the most extreme Gaullist line on this question of democracy inside Europe. It is a tremendous pity because we could have gone into Europe and could have made it quite plain that we are a democratic 674 nation and that we believe that the European institutions should be democratic too.
The hon. and learned Member for Solihull (Mr. Grieve) said we could not possibly within the next three months draft a Clause to settle the method of selection or election of our representatives to the European Assembly. I am not an hon. and learned Member as he is, but I suggest that if he would look at my new Clause 8 he would see that there is nothing in it—I do not think there is anything in it—which could not be carried out under the law of England. I am not suggesting that he would agree with the principle of my Clause, but I suggest that it is a perfectly feasible proposition.
I should have liked to have seen this Committee discussing not merely the possibility of whether the House should discuss the election of the delegation but whether we should ourselves allow the electorate to determine the composition of the delegation, and there is nothing in the Treaty of Rome to prevent us from doing so. This would solve the problem of whether peers or Members of the House of Commons should be included. A peer could stand for election; if he was elected, well and good; if he was not, he would not be a representative. Meanwhile, as it is, the suggestion that we should include Members of the House of Lords in such a delegation is ridiculous.
Do we want to be the laughing stock of Europe? Do we want to be the only country sending a delegation consisting of unelected persons? In assemblies in Europe which have two Chambers, the representatives in both Chambers are elected. I know of no other Assembly within the 10 countries where the representatives of one House are not elected. Do we want to be made the laughing stock of Europe by sending representatives of an unelected House, representing nobody but themselves, or the Government that appointed them in the case of life peers, or their ancestors in the case of hereditary peers?
I suggest that we could well have applied the alternative and said that we would have a democratic delegation. The Government and, alas, my own Front 675 Bench are not as yet ready to countenance such a radical thought as that we should actually elect a delegation. That being so, I believe that all hon. Members who believe in democracy will support this new Clause [Interruption.] In referring to my own Front Bench I am speaking of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale. There may be others on the Front Bench who disagree.
§ Mr. Grieve
Would not the hon. Gentleman concede that foreign countries and their delegations are far more likely to judge our delegation by the quality of its Members than by the fact that they come from one or other House, and that many Members from the other place have served extremely well on the Council of Europe and will serve extremely well in the European Parliament?
§ Mr. English
I have always believed that the quality of members selected by a democratic electorate, though it may be different, is rather more varied than the quality of members selected by any other method of election or selection. I strongly suspect that throughout a large part of Europe the fact that our delegation was elected would make it respected. The hon. and learned Member for Solihull has had a distinguished career. At one time he was associated with General de Gaulle during the war, but I do not take the Gaullist view that democracy is to be frowned upon and selection is better.
However, I have made my point. I would prefer us to be as democratic as possible rather than to take a perpetual Pompidou line as the Government Front Bench does. At least the House of Commons, as the Clause requires, should discuss these issues as and when they arise. On that basis I support the new Clause.
§ Sir Robin Turton
I wish to be brief, although I have to cover a fair amount of ground because of the history of this and my peculiar position as Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure.
To take first the question of the delegation to the European Assembly, there has always been a good deal of dissatisfaction in the House of Commons over the system of selection of members to the 676 Council of Europe and Western European Union. Those are the only cases where selection of members is by the Executive and not by the House. Representation on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is decided by the Speaker on the advice of an advisory committee of Members.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Dodds-Parker) was in the same position as I was in the selection of Members to the Council of Europe. In 1954 I had to make the selection and faced a good deal of criticism. The complaint was that certain Members had been on the Council of Europe for 10 years and it was said that it was the party hacks who went. This is nothing to do with whether one is pro- or anti- the Common Market. It is a House of Commons matter and it is vital that the selection of members to the European Assembly is brought before this House, as happens with the appointment of every Select Committee.
The situation distresses me. I have great respect for my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster), but he obviously has not studied the matter in detail.: Those who have done the ordinary back bench "hack" work for many years have examined the system of the appointment of committees. I think my hon. and learned Friend exaggerated the importance of the party caucus. The value of putting a matter on the Order Paper is that it is brought out into the light. The House of Commons and the general public then know who will carry out this very important service of working in the European Assembly.
The hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) made a fair point. If there were to be outsiders on such a committee, it would of course be unlike the normal Select Committee. The House would have to approve any decision, and it may be a good thing to have as delegates members from universities, but the whole matter must be handled by the House of Commons.
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) appeared to suggest that the problem of the selection of members for the European Assembly should be put to the ad hoc committee. That may have been a slip of the tongue, but I should 677 emphasise that these are two quite separate points. It is not a matter of procedure. The question of selection is a matter entirely for the House of Commons and should be dealt with by the House of Commons.
I turn to the matter of procedure, and I have had a certain amount of experience in this respect. We have been looking around the subject but not actually looking at it, because of all the curious letters which have been passing between my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. That has prevented anything being done for a long time.
§ Sir Robin Turton
I beg my right hon. and learned Friend's pardon. It was a letter which passed between the two Chief Whips. We heard it read by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale a little earlier.
I must emphasise that it is important that this matter should be looked at urgently. The subject was mentioned as long ago as last November by the then Leader of the House, my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Whitelaw).
This is not such a narrow matter as that which is embraced by the terms of the new Clause. We must have not merely proposals for scrutiny of Community secondary legislation, but a much wider inquiry as to how far the House will have to change the whole of its procedures and many of its Standing Orders to carry out the duties involved should we become a member of the wider European Community.
We have been a little late in dealing with this matter. A Select Committee, whether it be the Select Committee on Procedure or some other Committee, should have got down to this matter months ago if a report was to be ready in time for accession to the Community on 1st January, 1973. It is a pity that the Government have not moved earlier on this matter. We in the Select Committee on Procedure have felt frustrated by not being allowed to go forward with this inquiry earlier.
§ Mr. English
I accept all the right hon. Gentleman said—bar one small point. Will he accept that many of us have a certain dubiety about the Select Committee on Procedure as at present constituted since, with the exception of the right hon. Gentleman himself, it consists almost entirely of people who believe passionately in Britain going into the Common Market, whereas we all know that half the Members of the House do not?
§ Sir Robin Turton
The hon. Member for Nottingham, West has misunderstood the position. This is not a matter between those who are pro-Market and those who are anti-Market. It is a House of Commons matter.
I have been very fortunate in the membership of my Committee. We have considered every problem that has been put to us, and, curiously enough, in our dozen or so reports we have reached unanimous conclusions. That is not to say that my Committee wants the work. I only remind the Government that this is a very big job and that the House is failing in not having appointed a body to look at this matter months ago.
As for the suggestion of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) that this is not a matter for a parliamentary Committee and that it can be done by the Study of Parliament Group, in my view that is to make the greatest surrender of our parliamentary rights that I have ever heard in all my time in the House. This is a matter that we must do. Every other member State in the Community has looked at the matter before entry. With the exception of France, in the course of negotiations for entry they have made special provisions for parliamentary control.
I fear what may happen to this Parliament if we enter on 1st January, 1973, without any expert examination and without any adjustment of our rules. Let us take the one small matter of financial control. How are we to work our system of financial control which is geared to a financial year which ends on 5th April, with a financial control which is geared to the end of the year?
§ Sir Robin Turton
That may be so. However, seven years ago the Select Committee on Procedure looked at the possibility. We were given expert advice from the Treasury that if we moved the close of our financial year from the present date to the end of the year it would make life impossible in the Civil Service. It would mean changing the whole parliamentary system. The Committee was told that it was quite unworkable.
I know that many other hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate. I conclude my remarks by asking the Government either to accept the Clause or to make it clear that they will see that a Committee is appointed immediately to look at this problem. Whichever Committee is given the task, it will have to be given power to go abroad in order to study what is happening in the other countries of the Six. I do not think that it should try to do it by taking evidence alone. It will require power to move abroad and, naturally, rather special powers because otherwise the work cannot be done.
I warn the Committee that unless we can get this procedure right, Parliament will not have the powers and we shall not be as good representatives as those from the other countries of the Six. We must see to it that there is proper consideration not only of the draft proposals but of the directives. That is probably the subject of the next Amendment.
If we fail, we shall fail Parliament, and we shall thoroughly deserve that fate.
§ Mr. George Cunningham
I must first apologise to the Committee for having missed the opening of this debate. I intend to intervene briefly on a narrow point.
I agree wholeheartedly with every word that the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) has said. In his dual capacities of Father of the House and Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure, when he speaks with the strength that he has employed today it behoves the whole Treasury Bench to pay great attention to what he says.
It will be a very sad day when this House of Commons has to take lessons from the German Bundestag on parliamentary methods of controlling the 680 Executive and on methods of controlling the actions of the Executive in the Community. The Bundestag, as no doubt has been referred to earlier, has methods of doing the second of those two things which no one in the Committee, certainly no one representing the Government, has yet begun to suggest we should adopt. That illustrates the fact that the House, which likes to cherish the idea that it is still in a vigorous state of life, has fallen upon days of decadence. Not only does it not have the power but it does not notice that it no longer has the power and does not take steps to restore its former position.
The narrower point which I want to state in answer to the case, if that is the rightword for it, stated by the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) relates to a recent incident which involved me and in which it was extremely important that a certain Select Committee, of which I am a member, was one whose composition had to be approved by the House.
A few weeks ago, for reasons which I shall not go into, it occurred to the authorities that it would be a desirable thing to expel me from that Committee. It occurred to them at roughly the same time to take similar action in respect of one or two other hon. Members. It so happened that the action in respect of the other hon. Members related to bodies or positions which were not within the control of the House. One of them concerned the delegation to the Council of Europe. A change was made in the representation of the House at the Council of Europe without the House knowing anything about it or having a chance to discuss it, on a ground which had nothing whatever to do with the merits of the person involved or the desirability of his continuing to form part of our delegation to the Council of Europe.
Precisely the same point applied in my own case. I am a member of the Select Committee on Expenditure, and as a result of what I shall euphemistically call a misunderstanding it was desired to remove me, quite wrongly, from that Committee. However, because the Committee has to have its composition determined by the House, it could not be done. I was able to stop the wrong action—it is now admittedly a wrong action—whichwas being taken erroneously as 681 part of party discipline. It was only stoppable because the Committee's composition has to be decided by the House.
I am devoted to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), but it occasionally happens that Whips on both sides of the House get things wrong and get over-enthusiastic in the job of party discipline. I do not know but I doubt whether that situation will change radically in the near future. Therefore, it is vital for that if for no other reason that the composition of Committees of the House and the composition of all delegations representing the House should be decided by the House. It is not only an academic matter, by which I mean the usual channels determining something, whether it is formally decided by the House or not. The power of formal appointment by the House can in certain circumstances mean a great deal, and the incident to which I have referred illustrates its importance.
§ Mr. Rippon
It might be helpful if I intervene at this stage to answer some of the points which have been raised.
As the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) said, the new Clause refers to two quite different but equally important matters. The Government have always recognised Parliament's concern with both. There is no question of the House of Commons not being able to discuss and, if necessary, decide these matters either through the usual channels, about which the hon. Gentleman knows more than I do because he is part of them, or on the Floor of the House.
I was grateful for the indication in the hon. Gentleman's speech that the Opposition were now ready to discuss matters of procedure and how we should deal with some of these issues through an ad hoc committee, a Select Committee or the Select Committee on Procedure.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) was a little unfair in his strictures on the Government. We raised these matters over five months ago and suggested that they should be dealt with in the way the Housenormally deals with them.
I am in a little difficulty over what the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, who is the shadow Leader of the House, said about what has gone on through the usual channels. I have no objection to 682 the hon. Gentleman indicating what my views were at the meeting. My views on these matters are not secret. I am not part of the usual channels. I thought it was a confidential meeting, but no matter. We have no transcript of these proceedings. However, I have said all along that I did not believe these matters could be dealt with by way of Amendment to the Bill; they are matters of procedure over which the House of Commons has and always would have full control. It is important that there should be a proper degree of flexibility. We discussed the ways that other Parliaments dealt with these matters and how Members of Parliament thought existing procedures could be improved.
We have heard a wide variety of ideas on how these matters should be handled. We have heard criticisms of the way that existing delegations are selected, and about problems of pairing, and so forth. These matters cannot be dealt with in an Act of Parliament, but we all recognise that, whether through the usual channels or otherwise, they have to be dealt with.
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale quoted a letter which he had received from my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip. I know nothing about these matters. I understood it was a preliminary exchange of views. It is for the hon. Gentleman to determine, because he handles these matters all the time, how far letters and communications of this kind are confidential. I only know that on one occasion when I wanted to refer to a letter which had emanated from the Opposition, I was told I could not even refer to it because such things are confidential. It must be possible in our parliamentary system, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) said, for some discussions to go on through the usual channels. That is what we have been trying to do.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I gather there have been some expressions of disapproval of the fact that I quoted the letter. I entirely agree, as I indicated in my speech, that the usual channels are essential to conduct a great deal of the business of the House of Commons. I fully appreciate that such matters have to be conducted on a confidential basis. I said to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, 683 concerning our discussions on the ad hoc committee, that I trusted he would not mind me referring to that matter, and he did not object in any way. I thought I did the same about the letter. If he had intervened to stay that I should not quote the letter, I should have understood. I thought it was proper to quote the letter, because I had referred to it on previous occasions. Moreover, I felt that it dealt with a matter of considerable public interest. We replied on behalf of the Parliamentary Committee of the Labour Party, so I thought it right to quote the letter. But if the right hon. and learned Gentleman's right hon. Friend thinks that I should not have done so, and feels aggrieved on that account, I am sorry. That was not my intention. I thought that I was entitled to quote the letter, because I was under the impression that it was an exchange of matters of public interest.
§ [Sir ALFRED BROUGHTON in the Chair]
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. R. J. Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)
On a point of order. Now that the letter has been referred to, can it be laid upon the Table of the House?
§ Mr. Rippon
It will be reported in tomorrow's Hansard. That will be all right. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale is the usual channels, which I am not. I therefore assume that he cleared his position before he started. It is not a point for me to make. He has dealt with it, and I think that I can now move away from it. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will appreciate what the hon. Member had to say about the question.
All I say on this matter, which affects every hon. Member, is that there has to be some method whereby we can have a general discussion about procedure. If a proposition is put forward through the usual channels and the Opposition disagree with it they have only to start talking and to say what they want. In that way we shall make progress. I am glad that the hon. Member has said that the Opposition are now ready to participate in these discussions.
But I do not believe that participation in discussions about the procedure of the House—which the House already controls in full—can be linked to an agreement 684 to incorporate a totally unnecessary and bad Clause into this Measure. The first part of the Clause covers much the same ground as that which the Committee discussed on 13th and 14th June, on an Amendment to Clause 2. We were then debating the proposition that the House should approve the list of names of representatives to the European Assembly.
The hon. Member now says that that Amendment may not have been as well drafted as the one that he has now put before the Committee. Certainly the new Clause goes slightly wider, because it calls for the approval ofAny selection of or provision for selection ofdelegates, which I take to mean approval not only of the final list but of the machinery from which it emerged and any changes in membership that might subsequently take place. The right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) pointed out one difficulty in dealing with a matter in this way, in that the majority might amend the proposals of the minority.
However that may be, I do not believe that the new Clause raises any point that we did not cover in the debates on 13th and 14th June. I remind the Committee what I said on 14th June, namely:There is no possibility of the House of Commons being by-passed, without there being discussion and debate on the composition of the delegation.Several hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), have mentioned the procedure adopted in other countries. Others have said that we should have regard to our experience in the Council of Europe Assembly and Western European Union, and there may be other considerations.If it is the wish of the Committee, the Government are perfectly willing to propose the setting up of a Select Committee to consider the ways in which members could be nominated for the European Assembly. That would provide a full opportunity for views to be expressed and examined. The Select Committee could report to the House, and the report could be debated if the House so wished. I hope that I have clarified the position.What I emphasised last night is that it is not right for matters of procedure to be dealt with in the Bill. It is unnecessary and would create an unreasonable restriction, but I agree that these matters should be discussed, and I hope the Opposition will be ready to do so in the usual way. I give the assurance that we should be happy with procedure such as a Select Committee, which would ensure that 685 the matter was debated and considered."—[Official Report, 14th June, 1972; Vol. 838, c. 1515–16.]
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Acton)
I have been listening with great attention to the right hon. Gentleman's argument. Does not he agree that it is not strictly a matter of procedure but of representation—not only of this House and the EEC, but of the British people? Does not he agree that, prima facie, his apparent refusal to accept this Clause or any other shows the degree to which he holds this Parliament in contempt?
§ Mr. Rippon
There is nothing that I can add to or subtract from what I said on 14th June. Many people share the hon. Gentleman's view that we have not put this into the Bill because we do not think it is important. That is not so. The Bill, like all Bills, has a particular and limited purpose, and I have explained it often enough. Its purpose is to make such changes in our domestic law as are necessary to give effect to our obligations under the Treaty and so, under our constitutional procedures, enable us to be in a position to ratify. It is not necessary—indeed, it is undesirable—to try to write into the Bill matters of procedure over which the House has always had and always will have complete control.
In so far as it is a matter of representation—and possibly that is not a way in which we can conduct our affairs—it is a matter which is still under the control of the House. Proposals may be made through the usual channels, but the House controls the usual channels. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, though he is now the usual channels, always took the view—and says that he still does—that in the last resort the usual channels were no substitute for parliamentary decision, and I agree with him. There is no dispute between us about that.
The House can control these matters in any way that it likes, and things may change. After all, we have this evening heard a whole host of ideas about how we should deal with this matter; whether it should be a delegation composed of the House of Commons in part, or of peers in part; whether it should be a delegation in which the representatives are chosen by the House as a whole; or whether, as the right hon. Member for 686 Hillsborough said, each party should make its own selection. We have heard anxieties expressed about the way in which certain Members are removed from various bodies as a matter of party discipline. That is something which many of us probably wholly deplore, but all these matters can be considered in whatever forum the House considers to be appropriate.
§ Sir Robin Turton
How could the House approve or disapprove the selection of Members for the European Assembly without having either a statutory power or a substantive Motion?
§ Mr. Rippon
The House can have a substantive Motion. My right hon. Friend explained to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) the difference between a Select Committee and some other form of committee. We do not necessarily have to have a Select Committee but, assuming that we do, it could be brought before the House. The House has within its power—it does not have to exercise the power that it has—to deal with these matters other than by making provisions in the Bill; provisions which, as I have said, are not only unnecessary but unduly restrictive.
There is nothing in our statutes to inhibit Parliament from making whatever arrangements it thinks best for dealing with these matters, whether it is the selection of the delegation to the European Assembly, on which we have spent most of our time this afternoon, or examining Community secondary legislation. These matters are governed by Standing Orders and not by statute.
§ Mr. English
It is important to get clear the meaning of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's undertaking, because he is speaking from the Front Bench. When he says that these matters will always be under the control of this House, is he giving a positive assurance on behalf of the Government that the delegation will not be appointed by the Executive in the way that the delegation to the Council of Europe is appointed?
§ Mr. Rippon
These matters can be determined by the House. The House might determine to appoint the delegation in the same way as it now appoints, or accepts the appointment, of the delegation to the Council of Europe. These are 687 matters, not for me, but for the House as a whole. All I am saying is that they are not matters which are properly dealt with by Statute.
§ Mr. Rippon
This is really going back over and over the same ground. We must bear in mind that the purpose of the Bill is to make the necessary changes in our domestic law in order to comply with our treaty obligations. No change in our domestic law is required in order to select representatives to the European Assembly by any means we wish to adopt. What is absurd, with respect, is to write into an Act of Parliament a procedure which would thereby be fixed and rigid, when even the right hon. Gentleman is now accepting the concept of an ad hoc committee or a Select Committee or a procedure committee to deal with these matters.
Why should we prejudge what views a Select Committee might come forward with after considering how the European Assembly works? Why should we prejudge in any way the recommendations of the Brooke Committee on delegated legislation? It would be an absurd way, if I may say so with respect, for Parliament to proceed. In those circumstances, I trust that the Committee will not accept the Clause.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
We do not accept that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has answered our arguments, still less that he has answered the Father of the House in the most powerful case he has put. None the less, we hope that the Committee will now be prepared to reach a decision because we wish, if possible, to have a debate on the subsequent and extremely important new Clause.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
I will not detain the House now—[Hon. Members: "Oh."] I am seeking to speak on a most important matter which has been raised and about which I want to put a number of important questions to my right hon. and learned Friend specifically with regard to the future. I go with my right hon. 688 and learned Friend 100 per cent. in believing that the Bill is not the appropriate vehicle for the purpose of this new Clause. It is perfectly plain that the Clause deals with domestic legislation and not with matter which ought to be encompassed by the Bill. I shall therefore vote against it.
It is quite plain, however, that there will have to be a parliamentary scrutiny committee, and I should like to know when and how it is proposed to deal with that matter, because time is now short. Will the Government be able to indicate their views as to the type of scrutiny committee that should be set up? Is the committee to be similar to the Public Accounts Committee or the Estimates Committee? How is it to be selected?
§ Mr. English On a point of order, Sir Alfred. I accept that the hon. Member for Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) desires to have these questions answered, but a view of the Patronage Secretary was read into the record of the House of Commons by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). The whole issue has been discussed at considerable length, and I suggest that the hon. Member should read Hansard in order to see some of the answers.
The Temporary Chairman
According to the Standing Orders, the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) has the right to speak.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
And, if I may say so, Sir Alfred, the hon. Member made a thoroughly irrelevant and incompetent intervention. It was irrelevant because it was out of order, and also because it misquoted the Patronage Secretary's letter which did not express a view but merely canvassed ideas. It did not express the Patronage Secretary's personal view at all. It merely suggested a number of considerations. The hon. Member's intervention, therefore, was totally irrelevant and wrong.
It was incompetent because it failed to recognise that what I am seeking to do, after he himself had made a lengthy speech, is to make relevant observations for the assistance of the House in future. I am not here to waste the time of the 689 House, but to try to assist those who have already spoken and who have certain misgivings.
I believe that this public scrutiny committee may well be, and ought to be, an elective committee from each side of the House, and that fairly soon we ought to know what is to be the composition of such a public scrutiny committee. For reasons given tonight, this should be made known soon, because if we are entering the European Economic Community early next year it is urgent to know that such a committee will be set up fairly soon and will be able to go to Europe and consider the whole volume of the relevant legislation.
I therefore ask the Government to come forward fairly soon with their policy suggestions on this matter and to indicate whether hon. Members will be entirely selected by the Government Chief Whip and the Opposition Chief Whip through the usual channels or whether some type of elective method will be adopted.
Turning to the other point about selection, the present method of selection is not a suitable one for the future because in the future we shall go on to have an elected Parliament. We should therefore, in the first stage, go to some form of election. Each of the two major parties has its methods. In our case, the Conservative Party has its Executive Committee, popularly called the '22 Committee. The Labour Party has similar methods. With the assistance of the usual channels and the Chief Whips, it is possible to get at least the feeling of the party on each side as to those who would be appropriate to serve on the Committee.
I share entirely the view of the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) when he says that it is quite wrong to suppose that Members of Parliament will have to be away for very long periods in order to conduct their duties. Some of us are quite willing to give up all other careers to serve in this regard for the necessary period, and
§ that will be found true in the future. [An Hon. Member: "Canvassing?"] If hon. Members want me to be brief, they should not make fatuous interventions. It may be 40 or 50 days at most. It is perfectly easy to arrange transport by airliner, and thence by helicopter to the House of Commons, to enable people to engage in debates in Brussels during the day and still be back here in the evening perfectly easily. Many Members of the House of Commons conduct their commercial business overseas during the day and are back here in the evening.
§ To summarise this, the new Clause represents a totally wrong view. It is obviously quite unnecessary to try to put our domestic affairs into a Bill dealing with the Treaties. It is quite beyond argument to say that my right hon. Friend was not right when he had already given the whole case clearly on 12th June. This raises the important matters upon which there may well be divergences within the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, as to whether these matters ought to be dealt with by some form of election. This should be carefully considered and we ought to have the Government's guidance and their views about it at the earliest possible date.
§ I am sorry to have taken these few minutes at this stage but as no one had expressed that view—it was not relevant to the Minister's observations, otherwise he would have dealt with it—I thought it right to place on the record for the Government's consideration the question whether the committee is ad hoc or a Select Committee.
§ Mr. Rippon
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that contribution. Now that the Opposition have indicated their willingness to talk, as it were, I hope that we shall make speedy progress. I am sure that my hon. Friend is right about the importance of this matter.
§ Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 265, Noes 274.695
|Division No. 268.]||AYES||[10.19 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Atkinson, Norman||Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Bidwell, Sydney|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Biffen, John|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Bishop, E. S.|
|Ashley, Jack||Baxter, William||Blenkinsop, Arthur|
|Ashton, Joe||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Boardman, H. (Leigh)|
|Body, Richard||Heffer, Eric S.||O'Malley, Brian|
|Booth, Albert||Hooson, Emlyn||Oram, Bert|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Horam, John||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bradley, Tom||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Orme, Stanley|
|Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Huckfield, Leslie||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Padley, Walter|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Paget, R. T.|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Paisley, Rev. Ian|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Cant, R. B.||Janner, Greville||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pentland, Norman|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||John, Brynmor||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Cohen, Stanley||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Prescott, John|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Probert, Arthur|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Rankin, John|
|Cronin, John||Judd, Frank||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Kaufman, Gerald||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Kelley, Richard||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Kerr, Russell||Richard, Ivor|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Kilfedder, James||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kinnock, Neil||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Lambie, David||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lamborn, Harry||Roper, John|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Lamond, James||Rose, Paul B.|
|Davies, I tor (Gower)||Latham, Arthur||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Leadbitter, Ted||Rowlands, Ted|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Sandelson, Neville|
|Deakins, Eric||Leonard, Dick||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lestor, Miss Joan||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Doig, Peter||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Silverman, Julius|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lipton, Marcus||Skinner, Dennis|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lomas, Kenneth||Small, William|
|Driberg, Tom||Loughlin, Charles||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Dunn, James A.||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stallard, A. W.|
|Edelman, Maurice||McBride, Neil||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McCartney, Hugh||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||McElhone, Frank||Strang, Gavin|
|Ellis, Tom||McGuire, Michael||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|English, Michael||Mackenzie, Gregor||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Evans, Fred||Mackie, John||Swain, Thomas|
|Ewing, Harry||Mackintosh, John P.||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Farr, John||McWillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McNaman, J. Kevin||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Fell, Anthony||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Torney, Tom|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Marquand, David||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marsden, F.||Urwin, T. W.|
|Foley, Maurice||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Varley, Eric G.|
|Foot, Michael||Marten, Neil||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Ford, Ben||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Forrester, John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wallace, George|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mayhew, Christopher||Watkins, David|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Weitzman, David|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mendelson, John||Wellbeloved, James|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Mikardo, Ian||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Millan, Bruce||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Golding, John||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Milne, Edward||Whitlock, William|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Moate, Roger||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Molyneaux, James||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hamling, William||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Hardy, Peter||Moyle, Roland||Woof, Robert|
|Harper, Joseph||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Murray, Ronald King||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Oakes, Gordon||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Hattersley, Roy||Ogden, Eric||Mr. Donald Coleman.|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Adley, Robert||Galbraith, Hn. T. G||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Gardner, Edward||Mawby, Ray|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Gibson-Watt, David||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Astor, John||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Goodhart, Philip||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Goodhew, Victor||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Gorst, John||Money, Ernle|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Gower, Raymond||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Monro, Hector|
|Batsford, Brian||Gray, Hamish||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Green, Alan||More, Jasper|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Grieve, Percy||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Benyon, W.||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Grylls, Michael||Morrison, Charles|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gummer, J. Selwyn||Mudd, David|
|Blaker, Peter||Gurden, Harold||Neave, Airey|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Boscawen, Robert||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Normanton, Tom|
|Bowden, Andrew||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Nott, John|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Bray, Ronald||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Osborn, John|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Haselhurst, Alan||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hastings, Stephen||Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Havers, Michael||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Hawkins, Paul||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Buck, Antony||Heseltine, Michael||Peel, John|
|Burden, F. A.||Higgins, Terence L.||Percival, Ian|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hiley, Joseph||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Carlisle, Mark||Holland, Philip||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Holt, Miss Mary||Pries, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hordern, Peter||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Channon, Paul||Hornby, Richard||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Raison, Timothy|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Howell, David (Guildford)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Churchill, W. S.||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hunt, John||Redmond, Robert|
|Clegg, Walter||Iremonger, T. L.||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Cockeram, Eric||James, David||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Cooke, Robert||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Coombs, Derek||Jossel, Toby||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Cooper, A. E.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Cordle, John||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick||Jopling, Michael||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Cormack, Patrick||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Costain, A. P.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Critchley, Julian||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Crouch, David||Kershaw, Anthony||Rost, Peter|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kimball, Marcus||Royle, Anthony|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kinsey, J. R.||Sharples, Sir Richard|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James||Kirk, Peter||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Dean, Paul||Kitson, Timothy||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Simeons, Charles|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lament, Norman||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Dixon, Piers||Lane, David||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Soref, Harold|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Le Merchant, Spencer||Speed, Keith|
|Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Spence, John|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Sproat, Iain|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Longden, Sir Gilbert||Stainton, Keith|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Loveridge, John||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Emery, Peter||Luce, R. N.||Steel, David|
|Eyre, Reginald||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||MacArthur, Ian||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Fidler, Michael||McCrindle, R. A.||Stokes, John|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||McLaren, Martin||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Tapsell, Peter|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Macmillan.Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maddan, Martin||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Foster, Sir John||Madel, David||Tebbit, Norman|
|Fowler, Norman||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Temple, John M.|
|Fox, Marcus||Mather, Carol||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Fry, Peter||Maude, Angus||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wall, Patrick||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Tilney, John||Walters, Dennis||Worsley, Marcus|
|Trafford, Dr. Anthony||Warren, Kenneth||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Trew, Peter||Weatherill, Bernard||Younger, Hn. George|
|Tugendhat, Christopher||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||White, Roger (Gravesend)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Vaughan, Dr. Gerard||Wiggin, Jerry||Mr. Oscar Murton and|
|Vickers, Dame Joan||Wilkinson, John||Mr. Kenneth Clarke.|
|Waddington, David||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Walder, David (Clitheroe)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
§ Question accordingly negatived.