§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Geoffrey Howe)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
The House has been considering the Bill and the legislative consequences of the Treaties of Accession for five full months. We are at the last important stage—as far as this House is concerned—of the programme which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister outlined just over 12 months ago on 17th June, 1971.
The House will remember that that programme was then warmly welcomed by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and, indeed, by hon. Members on both sides of the House. The programme which my right hon. Friend outlined was in six stages, and we have followed that programme precisely. The first stage wasto resolve the major issues outstanding in the negotiationswith the Communities, and that stage was concluded by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23rd June last year.
The next stage, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, was thatParliament should be invited to take a decision of principle on whether the arrangements so negotiated are satisfactory and whether we should proceed to join the Communities.That crucial stage was concluded on 28th October last year, after intense debate in the country and 10 full days of debate in the House upon the basis of the Government's White Paper, and concluded with an overwhelmingly favourable decision.
The third stage in the programme wasto resolve the remaining issues in the negotiations",and that was concluded in December of last year. The fourth stage wasa treaty of accession has to be prepared and signed",and that was concluded with the Six, together with the other applicant countries, 1863 Denmark, Norway and Ireland, on 22nd January of this year.
The fifth stage announced by my right hon. Friend was thatlegislation to give effect to that treaty has to be drafted, considered by Parliament and enacted.That stage began on 26th January, and as far as this House is concerned is now very near its end.
If, as I do not doubt, the House decides today to send the Bill forward, there will remain consideration of it in the other place, Royal Assent and then the sixth and final stage,to deposit instruments of ratification of the treaty".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th June, 1971; Vol. 819, c. 644.]which is a Prerogative act. We are, therefore, so far as this House is concerned, almost at the end of a process of quite historic importance.
By the end of this day the question of this country's accession to the European Communities will have been—duly considered at the outset; duly set in train by this Parliament, supporting successive Governments over 10 years; duly negotiated; duly provided for in this Bill; and duly examined and debated.
§ The Solicitor-General
The right hon. Gentleman may have an opportunity of intervening later.
Many hon. Members, on both sides of the House, along with many people in this country, along with many friends of Britain outside this country, will be hoping that the House will reach its decision today in a mood that is a deal less sullen, a deal less bitter and a deal less fearful than that which has been heard so often in our debates during the last six months.
Many people outside this House and, as we all know, a clear majority within the House will be hoping that we can today reaffirm, without doubt, that our country is taking this decisive step not in a mood of misery and mutual recrimination but in a mood of strength and confidence.
Of course the changes in prospect are momentous. Of course those changes, if 1864 they are sustained by success, will have a far-reaching effect on the quality and standard of life of our people. Of course—and I emphasise this—these changes have not been, and cannot possibly be described as having been, taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly. Of course there have been, still are in some respects—and one acknowledges it readily—reservations, and it is entirely right that these reservations and other views should have been expressed in our debates in the House. But most people have found it difficult to understand how it has been possible for some hon. Gentlemen opposite to express and maintain their anxiety and reservations with such sustained gloom and with such unrelieved lack of confidence in the people and institutions of this country.
It is time to put into perspective the dismal and positively apocalyptic fears which have been so often expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite in recent months. It is time to remind the British people that it was not always thus and it will not always be so. People would do well to remember that several of today's prophets of doom have until recently found it possible to support the arguments which have commended themselves to a majority of this House. People would do well to remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, for example, was in no doubt in 1967 of the great prize that was to be won for the people of this country when he made his opening statement in the debate on 8th May of that year. He made it clear—and this is the foundation of it—that the Government's purpose was to raise above all our recognition that Europe is now faced with an opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and we could indeed and must play our full part in it. He went on to say that for these reasons the Government intended to table their application for membership with all the vigour at their command. Whatever may have been said about the terms thereafter there is no gainsaying or getting away from the fundamental sense of purpose in that declaration at that time, and it sits unhappily alongside the subsequent attitude of some hon. and right hon. Members opposite.
Nor for many years was my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, 1865 South-West (Mr. Powell) in doubt about the wisdom of our accession to the Community. Those of us who have heard him throughout the last six months expounding the unacceptable consequences of such a course find it hard to understand how he could ever have found it possible to support such a proposal. For in terms in which he has analysed them the consequences—in terms of sovereignty for example—are in every essential the same today as they were in 1967 when he voted in support of the last Government's application.
My right hon. Friend identified them quite clearly as long ago as 1964 when he told his electorate in Wolver-hampton:The fault is not ours if the economic unity with Britain which most of Europe desired has not yet been achieved. But it will come.The imperatives of that kind have by no means disappeared today. On the contrary, that which was once so white cannot now in the view of any reasonable observer have become by any means so black. For this same reason many supporters of the European movement in this country and so many supporters of Socialism in Europe have viewed with so much sadness the performance during the last two years of the Labour Party. I do not in any sense challenge their right to scrutinise the terms negotiated. Vigilant scrutiny of the terms we were certainly entitled to expect. Vigilant scrutiny of the legislation still before the House we were entitled to expect. What we were not entitled to expect, I suggest, was the blank totality of the opposition that we have seen expressed in this House. We were not entitled to expect the almost total abandonment of the basic European zeal, the high European sense of purpose, which right hon. Members opposite once expressed in compelling terms.
§ Mr. Tom Driberg (Barking)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On Third Reading one is entitled to refer only, or practically only, to what is in the Bill but the Solicitor-General is re-hashing stale debating points which we have heard again and again. Will he now address himself to what is in the Bill? Should he not do so?
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not dissent from that proposition but I have not yet heard 1866 the hon. and learned Gentleman say anything which is out of order.
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South-West)
He has not said anything relevant to the Bill either.
§ The Solicitor-General
We are not entitled to expect hon. Members opposite to abandon so completely the sense of purpose and sense of direction which they once expressed incompelling terms which in substance are embodied in the Bill for which I have proposed the Third Reading.
The Labour Party—and this must be said sadly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—perhaps especially in its latest policy statement—has gone a long way towards submerging the cause of European unity on which the party set itself in a cloud of conditional clauses and subjunctives.
§ Mr. Will Griffiths (Manchester, Exchange)
Is it in order, Mr. Speaker, on the Third Reading of this Bill, for the Solicitor-General to give his views on Labour Party policy? Although that may be a matter of interest which could be debated another time, it is not referred to in the Bill.
§ Mr. Speaker
I think we must give the hon. and learned Gentleman a little latitude in putting forward the Third Reading of the Bill and proposing that it should be passed.
§ The Solicitor-General
I am sorry that hon. Members find this so distasteful but it is not surprising having regard to the history. The case I am putting forward sets out the reasons which compelled the last Government to accept the very case which we had been pursuing and which now they have largely submerged by a cloud of conditional clauses and subjunctives. Small wonder that some have been tempted to observe about hon. Members opposite:Men were deceivers ever;One foot in sea and one on shore,To one thing constant never.
§ Mr. Benn
Since the Solicitor-General has been kind enough to refer to the Labour Party programme which has recently been published, will he confirm that the characteristic which identifies that passage in the document is that the British people will be consulted by an election or a referendum before the final 1867 decision is made and that in this respect it breathes life into the idea of full-hearted consent which the Prime Minister promised and has never discharged?
§ The Solicitor-General
I am not saying that this is a consistent posture for the right hon. Gentleman to adopt and it certainly was not a characteristic of his attitude before the last General Election. In the last debate but one in which the right hon. Gentleman took part—when a referendum was discussed—I expounded quite plainly the way in which we felt ourselves authorised to present this legislation to the House. We did so on as firm a foundation as did the last Government when they were in office. I say in relation to the right hon. Gentleman's third intervention that he is more characteristic of a cockerel who believes that the sun gets up in the morning simply to hear him crow.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask what Clause in this Bill refers to what the Labour Party did or did not say?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member is asking me to rule out observations by an hon. or right hon. Member when they are out of order. That I will do, but I have a very long list of speakers and I hope that we can come back to the merits of the Bill.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I express the hope that you will continue to guide our proceedings, but may I point out that if it is thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman is going wide of the Bill we should welcome that because the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that Parliament can never debate issues of great importance.
§ The Solicitor-General
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition will see in a moment or two how totally untenable that position is. It is not just the cause underlying the Bill but the cause which the Bill seeks to serve and which successive Governments in this country have sought to serve which is being submerged in the subjunctive posture of hon. Members opposite. It is, to a significant extent, the faith of the British people in the consistency and credibility of our democratic system—in 1868 the consistency and credibility of those they elect to represent them.
But once the Bill is on the Statute Book, and once Britain has taken her place as a full partner in Europe, I am confident—and so, if the truth were told, are many hon. Members of the Opposition—that the mood of gloom and equivocation will pass away.
That is the setting against which we take stock today of our Committee proceedings on the Bill.
Two grounds for concern have tended to recur throughout our proceedings. One ground—the one to which the right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) has referred—essentially procedural, has been about the time and scope for debate. The other ground, substantive—I do not regard either ground as less important than the other—has been about the implications for parliamentary sovereignty and control. As the House has appreciated throughout the proceedings, they are two sides of the same coin because both have arisen from concern for the position of Parliament.
I deal first with the form of the Bill and with the form and scope of our debates. At the end of the day, I invite the House to agree that the Bill has been seen to do all that was necessary and possible—in the only proper and possible way. I invite the House to agree that the suggestion that the form of the Bill was chosen so as to restrain or exclude debate has, in fact, been wholly unsubstantiated.
As I explained during the censure debate on 6th March, the scope and form of the Bill has been determined by its constitutional purpose. It is for the Crown to make and ratify treaties. It is for Parliament, if it pleases, between these two exercises of the Crown Prerogative, to make the necessary consequential changes in United Kingdom law to enable the Crown to proceed to ratification. It is not open to States which have negotiated a treaty to attach random reservations between signature and ratification.
If the Bill did not at the end of the day reflect the domestic legal consequences of the treaty as they have emerged from the negotiations, the Bill would be in effect without any effective legal purpose. The central provisions of the Bill would be legally meaningless if they did not 1869 enable us to enter the Communities on the terms negotiated.
It would, therefore, have been constitutionally inappropriate and, indeed, misleading to present a long and detailed Bill which incorporated in itself all the provisions of the treaties. This is what must surely have been envisaged by those who from time to time have fancifully discussed a Bill of "a thousand Clauses". To present a Bill in that form would have been to imply that the situation was not, indeed, as it was.
But, although the function of the Bill was not to ratify the Treaty of Accession, the treaty has been before the House throughout, together with the fundamental Community treaties. As I said in the debate on the Treaty of Accession on 20th January:The next stage of consideration that will be appropriate is the study of the legislative provisions needed to give effect to the treaties alongside those treaties themselves. The treaties in isolation are not as suitable for scrutiny by the House as the Treaties in conjunction with the legislation; they are to be taken and studied alongside each other."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 796.]The process of probing and explaining the Bill has naturally involved constant reference to the Treaty of Accession as well as to the basic Community treaties; also, constant reference to all the major areas of Community activity.
Often our debates have gone beyond the treaties to look as well at the possible impact of Community membership on sectors of this country's affairs which might be only remotely affected in the near future. Debates have ranged from the cost on the balance of payments to the colouring matter of kippers; from the CAP to customs administration; from food prices to films; from capital movements to court proceedings; from steel to sugar; from defence to drivers' hours; from New Zealand to Northern Ireland; and from regional policy to the National Health Service. By any standards we can conclude that our debates have been comprehensive.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
How does thehon. and learned Gentleman try to sustain the proposition that we have been able to debate all those matters, when the only way in which we have been able to debate most of them is by referring to the conceivable parliamentary 1870 control that might be established over these matters? We have not been able to vote directly on almost the whole of the list that the hon. and learned Gentleman has just read.
§ The Solicitor-General
The hon. Member continues to miss the point. The proposition of voting selectively and directly on different aspects is not something that is open to any Legislature when it is considering the legal consequences of accession to a treaty. That is why—I shall explain in more detail shortly—the consequences of the treaties and the negotiations on the treaties have been the subject of so much consideration. Of course the House has been able to debate and analyse its attitude towards them and it has been able to consider the legislation alongside those treaties.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
The hon. and learned Gentleman has described what is constitutionally appropriate, and some of us will not have argued with that. But surely there would have been no constitutional impropriety in including within the provisions of the Bill certainly matters of substance, to provide for further parliamentary scrutiny in advance of some of the proposals which might be forthcoming in the future. These points are not necessarily consequences of our adhesion to the European Community, but it might be that this Parliament would wish to see these matters legislated upon. It has been the insensitivity of the Government to this point which has aroused a great deal of annoyance and hostility on the Opposition side of the House.
I appreciate that that allegation has been made, but the fact is that it is not an allegation that can be sustained. The Government have included the legislative provisions necessary to give effect to ratification of the treaty, and in the context of these proposals the House has debated almost every aspect of them at great length. There are other matters in the context of parliamentary control which my right hon. and learned Friend has sought to raise on more than one occasion during our debates and to which he will refer again if he catches Mr. Speaker's eye at the end of the debate.
1871 But the only reason for expecting a different size and kind of Bill must have been if it could be shown that this Bill failed to make the changes that were needed in our domestic law. That is what the Bill had to do. This was the approach precisely foreshadowed in paragraph 23 of the 1967 White Paper. As my right hon. and learned Friend said, in the debate on Second Reading, referring to this Bill:We have taken care to bring before the House the major matters which require amendment in an Act of Parliament."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1972; Vol. 831, c. 285.]On 18th May my right hon. and learned Friend gave to the House details of the legislative changes needed for entry or immediately afterwards which were not directly covered by the Bill and for which we envisaged the Clause 2(2) power of subordinate legislation being used. Against the many measures provided for in the Bill, the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) acknowledged that this list was relatively short.
I repeat what I said on Second Reading:Hon. Members opposite have had some time now in which to examine the volumes of Community legislation and to point out to us, as no doubt they can, changes in statute law which we have failed to make and which we ought to make. If they can come along with that kind of point we will look at it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1972; Vol. 831, c. 657.]Hon. Members have not, in fact, been able to draw our attention to a single point of that kind. Very few of the Amendments tabled have been directed to that end. But we have debated a great many Amendments; more than 200 altogether. As my right hon. and learned Friend told the House on 14th June:We have debated all the Amendments and dealt with them on their merits… So far I have had to advise that the Amendments were either unnecessary or bad."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th June, 1972; Vol. 838, c. 1598.]My right hon. Friend the Lord President said later on the same day—we had then reached Clause 3—that if we were convinced that an Amendment did not have to be rejected on the grounds that it was unnecessary or bad we would treat it in the normal way.
It is useful in that context to give the House some idea of the scale of our 1872 debates and proceedings in Committee up to this point. Proceedings in Committee debates have extended over 22 days, or just over 173 hours. Of the 487 Amendments and new Clauses tabled, 204 were selected for consideration. We have had altogether 63 separate debates. In addition, we have spent on the Bill three days on Second Reading, one on the financial Resolutions, three on censure and timetable Motions, and one today on Third Reading. A total of 30 days on the Floor of the House has been spent on the Bill.
§ The Solicitor-General
To that must be added—quite apart from the hours spent in questioning my right hon. and learned Friend as he reported during the negotiations—the 13 days spent since the beginning of 1971 in debating the principle of accession. I estimate that in the spread of 43 days between the beginning of 1971 and today's debate, well over two million words will have been uttered in the Chamber upon the subject-matter of this European legislation. If I may quote the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, we have subjected the Bill to unremitting examination, taking itClause by Clause, line by line, hour after hour, day after day and night after night."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd November, 1971; Vol. 825, c. 15.]Those important facts should be placed on the record. I want now to add one more. It is that we have had altogether on the Bill a total of 94 Divisions. Of those Divisions every single one has supported the Government position, and it is that which is the real measure of support for this issue and this Bill in the House, and that, too, should be on the record.
The final theme of our Committee proceedings was the future position of Parliament. The provision of the Bill which has been explored most fully is that of the direct applicability of Community law that bears on national and parliamentary sovereignty. It is natural that Parliament should pause when presented with the proposition of direct applicability. Hon. Members opposite have repeatedly said that parliamentary control has been the crucial issue in the Committee stage of the Bill. That is the 1873 same point and it needs to be kept in perspective alongside the proposition of directly applicable Community law.
The concept of a common system of Community law, uniformly expressed, operating and enforced throughout the Community, is integral to the community system. Successive British Governments, whatever may now be said, have recognised that we must come to terms with that concept within the framework of Community membership.
The 1967 White Paper put the matter clearly. I quote from paragraphs 20 and 22:If this country became a Member of the European Communities it would be accepting Community Law….The constitutional innovation would lie in the acceptance in advance as part of the law of the United Kingdom of provisions to be made in the future by instruments issued by Community institutions—a situation for which there is no precedent in this country.It is all the more surprising in that context to see that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition returned to the false point about this that he made on Second Reading. Once again he sought to condemn the Bill because, as he put it,…it blantantly provides that all European Community law and decisions already taken, or taken at any time in the future, automatically become the law of Britain, without due parliamentary process.The right hon. Gentleman was speaking on 28th June in Vienna. Yet that is precisely what his Government said should be done. The right hon. Gentleman's Administration deserve congratulating for putting the matter as plainly as they did as long ago as 1967 in their White Paper.
There is no purpose served by pretending that there is no constitutional innovation. But, above all, no purpose is served by suggesting that direct applicability does not mean what it says. It cannot mean, as some hon. Members have argued, that we can pick and choose between directly applicable Community instruments after they are due to take effect. We cannot accept Community obligations contingently. The United Kingdom Parliament will not be the only Parliament in the enlarged Community. If six or 10 separate institutions claim the right to channel and translate Community law through their several pro- 1874 cesses, the concept of direct applicability as a single system of Community law simply falls to the ground.
It is open to right hon. and hon. Members opposite to declare that they have changed their minds and that the concept of a uniform system of Community law is no longer acceptable to them. However, it is simply not open to them to suggest that this concept is an optional extra to the basic treaties which they once accepted.
But we must keep the significance of it in proportion. Some hon. Members have sought to emphasise what they see as a loss of parliamentary sovereignty rather than to identify a change in the nature of its use. That is a fundamental misunderstanding. Loss of sovereignty implies in the first place that Parliament has been forced to accept membership of the Communities without any choice in the matter. Although the ratification of the treaty is a matter for the Crown, such ratification is simply not possible until Parliament decides to make the necessary changes in domestic law.
That decision—we are engaged in it today—is itself an exercise of Parliament's sovereignty. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but I do not know what else we have been engaged in if not a prolonged and necessary exercise on genuine and fundamental matters of parliamentary sovereignty for the last six months.
A decision to share power to the common advantage is an enhancement rather than a loss of sovereignty; and for so long as we remain a member of the Communities, pooling decisions in the interests of Europe as a whole rather than looking to the narrow interests of a single State, that, too, will be a deliberate and continuing exercise of national sovereignty.
§ The Solicitor-General
The right hon. Gentleman mutters sotto voce that he does not believe it. It is a fundamental belief, shared by the Labour Government as well as the present Government, that the purpose of the application to join the Community is a fundamental and deliberate use of sovereignty to engage in sharing sovereignty to the greater advantage of us all. It is that proposition 1875 which was given an overwhelming majority in 1967 and a large majority on 28th October last year.
I do not under-rate the importance of direct applicability, but I hope the points that I have been making show that there is no question of a carte blanche having been given to the Communities to impose on the United Kingdom what laws they will. I forget the phrase used by the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) when we last debated this, but it was the same kind of phrase.
The acceptance of Community law within the restrictions of the treaties is a proposition which remains consistent with the ultimate sovereignty of Parliament and its ultimate power in principle to repeal the Bill.
We have now against that background to take our final decision on the Bill. It is a decision which could rightly be taken only after a full and detailed examination of all its implications. After the long debates we have had there can surely be no doubt that the House has fulfilled its rôle as the guardian of our law and the interests of the people. We have established that the Bill makes the change in domestic law which is needed to enable us to enter the Communities. We have ensured, in the course of our debates, that the reason for and meaning of each of the main provisions of the Bill are on record for all time.
When the Bill leaves our hands tonight the country will know finally and for sure that the House has exhaustively weighed the legislative consequences and found no reason to change its decisive conclusion of 28th October, 1971, that the future of this country now lies, as the House then found, in the enlarged European Communities "on the basis of the arrangements made". It is upon that basis that I commend the Bill to the House.
§ 4.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney)
The country will note that, apart from the fact that the hon. and learned Gentleman has delivered a rather ungenerous and at times petulant speech, no less than five months has elapsed between Second and Third Reading, and on no occasion during the course of the protracted Committee stage 1876 have the Government in any vote on any Amendment, Clause, or subsection managed to pull in anything like their full majority. That is the first thing that the country will note.
I do not know whether we shall see a repetition of what we had on the vote on Second Reading. After the Prime Minister had made the astonishing threat to resign and to carry all his Cabinet with him if he failed to get a majority, he was supported in the Lobbies by a majority of eight. Only a month ago, when we voted upon Clause 2, which most of us agree is the heart of the Bill, there again the Government's majority was a mere eight. What it will be tonight I do not know, but it is inconceivable that anyone who voted against the Bill on Second Reading or against Clause 2 will find it possible to vote differently tonight.
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
This is an interesting argument. There was a majority of 112 for the principle, and, as the right hon. Gentleman said, there was a majority of eight on various votes in Committee. To what does the right hon. Gentleman ascribe the difference between a majority of 112 and the majorities of eight? Is it a change of opinion among hon. Members or a change of the pressures which have been acting upon them?
§ Mr. Shore
That point has been answered before in our exchanges and my view on it, whenever I have been challenged, has been very simple. I think there is an enormous difference between the 30-odd page White Paper and the two volumes of treaties, the 43 volumes of Community law and the eight volumes of subordinate treaties with which the House was presented last February. That is the profound difference. The proposition that has been argued so often before us is not whether we have a good feeling towards Europe, and whether, if all things were equal, we would wish to become a member of the European Community, but whether we accept the treaties that have been negotiated and the Bill now before us. That has been the matter upon which hon. Members have voted. I do not interpret the votes of hon. Members on the Opposition side as ungenerously as I think the hon. Gentleman interprets them.
1877 I was intending to deal with matters relating to the treaty even though we have not been able to discuss directly the treaties themselves. More important than any particular chapter or protocol in the treaty, I think that the nation and the House has the sense that the broad effect of the treaty arrangements is damaging and that the enterprise is going wrong even before we have embarked upon it. That is the feeling in the country today. The evidence moves very heavily in that direction. The people note that with such a large European market looming, British industry is showing no signs of an imminent revival. It is not like a camel crossing the desert and sensing an approaching oasis. On the contrary, British industry in the period since the negotiations were substantially completed has become gloomier and gloomier in its view of future prospects.
We might well ask what has happened to the euphoria about economic growth that gripped business and Government only a year ago when the White Paper was presented. Far from backing its words with its cash, British industry has greeted the prospect of entry with the biggest collapse in investment for more than a decade. As the confidence of industry has sagged, so, too, the vast surplus in our balance of payments has melted away. Less than three weeks ago we were forced to float the £ and now no one has any doubt that the flotation was a prelude to its devaluation. Our payment to Europe, the subscription that we must make, has yet to begin. On 1st January our first annual payment of, according to the Government, about £120 million net becomes due. By 1977, on 1971 figures, no less than £750 million will have to be paid out, and at least double that amount in direct subscription to Europe in the five years thereafter.
On 1st January, as the people are all too well aware, involved as they are in the fight against a sustained inflation far worse than anything we have experienced in peace or war, a new factor which will force prices up will be injected into the economy of this country. We shall be forced to adjust the price of our food to bring our practices into line with those of the Continent, and to adopt the value added tax.
The nation has sensed another truth about joining. It is that whatever the 1878 Government are seeking to join in Europe, it is not what the people understand by the word "community". The truth is that the negotiations took place under the threat of a third French veto and we were allowed in only because the Prime Minister was brought to abandon every major British interest involved and to pledge himself at the Elysée Palace to support what is essentially a French design for Europe. Yet, as the Prime Minister must now see, it has won him little regard and still less consideration in Paris. It would be tedious and almost distressing to run over the innumerable incidents during the last six months in which the British Prime Minister has been subjected to what I can only consider to be humiliation at the hands of France. I shall not run through them but I shall mention two because they are immediately important to us at the present time.
The whole question whether there is to be a summit this autumn seems to depend simply on President Pompidou receiving sufficient guarantees in advance that he will get his own way with the prospective members of the Community. If he does not receive those guarantees, there will be no summit. We have had most recently from the President himself the clear threat of our exclusion in spite of the Treaty of Accession. The threat was that if we do not stop floating the £ by 1st January we shall not be allowed in. Following the meeting in Bonn with Chancellor Brandt he saidEuropean economic and monetary union is our fundamental aim".How many times I have tried in the last two years to interest the House in the meaning, reality and danger of economic and monetary union for this country. How many times have I been told that this is not something for tomorrow or even for the next decade, but for 20 or 30 years ahead. The President of France went on to say that a return to fixed parities—is an essential and indispensable basis for European economic and monetary union, and this basis must exist before it finally comes to the point of expanding the Community.If there is any further doubt about it, I refer to the words of M. Giscard d'Estaing when he spoke in the National Assembly, that body which does not meet all that frequently, on 29th June when 1879 he said that the return of the £ to a fixed parityis necessary accompaniment for Britain's entry into the Common Market next January".No wonder the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who I regret to see is not here today, was silent in the debate we had on 29th June. No wonder he did not answer the direct questions put to him by the Leader of the Opposition and my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). No wonder he did not even move his head when asked to assure the House that he had given no pledge to end the float before 1st January. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Duchy would like to take the opportunity when he winds up the debate, or, if he wishes, to intervene now to clarify the matter. Is it or is it not the case that France has threatened to keep us out unless we return to a fixed parity on 1st January, and what have the Government told the French in reply?
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)
The right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) raised this subject on the last day of the Committee stage and I replied at length on what the Chancellor had said about our policy of a return to a fixed parity. I quoted in extenso from his speech. There is no difficulty about this and the right hon. Gentleman is completely misinterpreting what the President of France said.
§ Mr. Wilfred Proudfoot (Brighouse and Spenborough) rose——
§ Mr. Shore
I do not think we have time to discuss these matters further.
In the face of all the evidence I should have thought it irrefutable that we are dealing with a Government in France, or perhaps I should say "a régime", that is not—I use a rather British understatement—all that friendly to this country, and that whatever the right description of our relationship with France is, we should be unwise to expect consideration, foolish to expect generosity, and 1880 ludicrous if we thought of it as having anything to do with community.
So, while we have debated the Bill, two of the major reasons for joining the Common Market—improved prospects for our prosperity and alleged additional strength from a community of friends—have steadily weakened. On this, as on other matters, the arguments of the protagonists on entry have ebbed. It is this increasing awareness of the realities of membership that explains the stubborn and continued hostility of British opinion to entry.
It is a remarkable thing. Opinion in this country has had no encouragement from the newspapers in the past few months. Our discussions here have barely been mentioned by the BBC. Yet on all the evidence a clear majority of our people do not wish to enter the European Community. I believe there is now less conviction, less certainty, among the pro-Marketeers than at any stage since this long debate began. There are many people who are not only convinced that the arrangement is not for us but who increasingly doubt whether the EEC itself can long survive.
To all this must be added the Bill. It has strengthened opposition by adding to our large objections to the contents of the treaties new and strong objections to the manner in which they are to be given legal effect and to the great and harmful consequences the arrangements will have on the future of our parliamentary democracy.
We heard the Solicitor-General's apologia for the presentation, form and handling of the Bill. I shall say little about it except that it is wrong for the Government to have presented in a single and compressed Bill what should have been at least two separate Measures. There should have been a constitutional Bill in its own right, a Bill of unprecedented importance, and at least one very substantial harmonisation Measure to bring our laws and the many policy areas involved into line with those of the Community. I believe that to be a serious and widely accepted criticism of the method involved.
The second error which the Government may well come to rue, as I think they may now rue what happened to an earlier Bill which was guillotined last 1881 year, was to subject the Bill to the guillotine, and certainly to do so at the very point when we were debating the meaning for our future, for our constitution, for our Parliament, of the transfer of legislative power under Clause 2(1). The Government's third error was to compound the other two by refusing to accept any Amendment. I do not accept what the Solicitor-General said about that, as I believe it to have been a basic political decision.
The Solicitor-General accepted today, as he did in the last debate in Committee, full responsibility for his part in the framing and shaping of the Bill, but I would not want him to become the scapegoat for what is essentially a Cabinet and above all a Prime Ministerial decision. To force through the House so crucial a Measure, to limit and curtail discussion, to insist that not a dot or comma must be changed, to do it with a wafer-thin parliamentary majority, in the teeth of the sentiment of our people, may be thought by some to show determination and even courage, but to others it will seem nothing more than an arrogant abuse of power.
But the real damage is not in the method of the Bill but in the matter itself. For what the Bill seeks to do is to change the whole course of our parliamentary history. The power to make the laws of England is being deliberately transferred by the Bill to authorities outside our own land, responsible to no one in it. We shall not even be worried—that is the answer I myself gave to why we shall not be bothered with an overuse of statutory instruments under Clause 2(2)—by the flow of new laws from Brussels. Our processes will not be clogged or our time consumed by discussion of Euro-law, because we, the House of Commons, are to have no part in it. Henceforth, this House, which at least is responsible to the people who elect it, will have only such control as indirectly we can exert upon a British Minister, one of 10 sitting with his European colleagues in the Council of Ministers in Brussels. No doubt we shall do our best to influence whoever it may be, and no doubt he in turn will do his best in Brussels. But this is an entirely new decision-making, law-making procedure, one which is far from the real controls 1882 and influences that we are accustomed to exerting in this House.
§ The Solicitor-General
I apologise for interrupting the right hon. Gentleman on this point yet again, but I invite him to address himself now, if he has never done so before, to explaining why the description of the transfer of legislative power, as he has now put it, to institutions in Brussels differs by one jot or tittle from the description given by the Leader of the Opposition on 8th May, 1967, when he said:Thus membership of the Communities involves a vesting of legislative and judicial powers, in certain fields in the Community institutions and acceptance of a corresponding limitation of the ordinary exercise of national powers in those fields."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May, 1967; Vol. 746, c. 1088.]In principle, there is no distinction between what the right hon. Gentleman has just been denouncing and what his right hon. Friend then described.
§ Mr. Shore
In a sense, that has been answered already. The first point is that an enormous enlargement of the area of the transfer of decision-making has taken place in the intervening period, including the right to tax the British people which was not even mentioned in the 1967 White Paper. These are very big matters. I am in no way convinced that the degree of transfer of authority, of law-making, in the Bill matches the requirements of establishing a customs union in Western Europe.
I return to my point that the transfer of control is large and growing. When we voted on Clause 2(1) we approved in those five short lines nine-tenths of the 42 volumes of Community law which Brussels has so far enacted. No one in Britain had seen those laws before February this year. Very few Members of Parliament, including Ministers, let alone the people who are expected to obey them, have had the opportunity to read and study them in the past few weeks during which they have been available. The area over which under the treaties European institutions will be able to make our future law is largely undefined, and is certain to grow. It already includes not only a general capacity to make laws but now a substantial capacity to raise taxes. Indeed, for the first time since 1883 the Stuarts we are to be taxed without the consent of Parliament. What is so deeply unacceptable is that we have no right to repeal, to change, to amend the laws to which we are about to become subject—no right, that is, unless we breach the treaty itself. That is the dilemma with which we are faced. So what it comes to is this: the Bill will create, from the moment it takes effect, a large "no-go" area for British democracy, an area in which Community jurisdiction will apply and Community laws will have to be obeyed. That is the truth of the matter.
Many arguments have been advanced to justify this. I must confess that the one that disturbs me most is that put forward by those who have convinced themselves that Parliamentary democracy here is just a charade; that Parliament does not control Government; that the people do not control Parliament; and, still more, that Britain no longer significantly controls its own fortunes in the world. For people who hold these views there is, of course, neither democracy nor sovereignty to abandon. This I have come to believe is the most powerful of the many influences that have operated in this whole debate. It has seldom been there in the front line of the argument but it has been the shaping thought, the inarticulate major premise in too many minds.
This view seems to have an almost equal attraction for those who somehow believe that if we can attach the British engine, as it were, to the European carriage we shall be able to pull it whichever way we wish, and for those who are never content until they have demonstrated not only that we have ceased to be a world power, even a second-rate power, but that we have ceased to be a power at all. This view appears to have a great fascination for many minds on both sides of the House. All I can say is that I do not share this view. I take a much more realistic view about our influence and our position.
I also believe that the great events and happenings in the world require collective and international action by nation States. Of course there is no single nation State, however powerful, that can command completely events outside its territories, or indeed insulate itself from what happens 1884 elsewhere. We know that, but that is the case for developing, as we have, international agencies and joint endeavours in which we all believe. It is not an excuse for snuffing out a substantial part of our democracy and independence, which this Bill and these treaties would do.
Are we to believe that the 50-odd million people in this country, with a very high standard of living and very great national wealth, with the very considerable power and the much greater influence that we possess, have nothing further to gain from the exercise of the right of self-government? If that is so, how odd it is that over 100 States all over the world, so much poorer, so much weaker, facing so many infinitely more serious problems in relation to their resources than we, insist on maintaining their self-government and their freedom of action—things which apparently some people at any rate in the House have come to believe are no longer of value to ourselves. Even if they were right, even if this view were the correct view, it has not been put to the British people; much less have the British people been persuaded by it.
This is, of course, the fundamental error that the Government have committed throughout the Bill, and in all that has happened since the end of the negotiations. All they want to do in this Bill and in the treaties, in spite of all that we have said against them, all those things they could do provided they had won first the consent, full-hearted, of Parliament and people. But they have not got that consent, and this is the heart of the matter.
I believe that when the Prime Minister used those now notorious words in, I think, May, 1970, he was not intending to deceive at all. I think he believed that the outcome of the negotiations would be such as to win the support of the Opposition Party, and I think, too, that he hoped and believed that the British people, in spite of their initial doubts, would be won over in a clear majority for the European enterprise. Those, I think, were his genuine expectations in May 1970.
But they have both been disappointed. The people are hostile. Their opposition is as strong today as it was a year ago, or 1885 indeed two years, ago. [HON. MEMBERS: "Stronger."] And the Opposition, in spite of the views of a minority within it, is resolutely opposed to the Treaties of Accession and to this Bill. In these circumstances, what the right hon. Gentleman should have done, the proper thing for him to have done, the constitutional and democratic course, was to hold a General Election.
We have not got a written constitution to instruct us, but there are conventions that should guide us. Governments do no make major changes in the workings of Parliament or the power of Parliament, if these are opposed by Her Majesty's Opposition, without the authority of a General Election. Again, Governments do not enter into major treaties with other countries unless here, too, they have the support of the Opposition. Both these unwritten rules have been broken, even though we were ready, quite exceptionally, to allow the matter to be decided not by a General Election, which we would have preferred, but by a referendum.
The consequences of this are bound to be very serious. The Prime Minister will go to the summit this autumn, if President Pompidou agrees, in a very unenviable position. He will go knowing that he does not represent the wishes of the British people in this enterprise; and, equally important, the other European leaders will know this, too. Therefore a great doubt and a great question mark will hang over all their discussions, over the future of the agreements that they have reached so fax, over the existence of an enlarged Community. And if the leaders of the Six have followed our debates they will know just how unsettled and open this issue is. They will have heard, as the Solicitor-General reminded us, from him and with his authority, that:…the position is that the ultimate supremacy of Parliament will not be affected.They will have heard him reaffirm Lord Diplock's words on 1st December last year that:If the Queen in Parliament were to make laws which were in conflict with this country's obligations under the Treaty of Rome, those laws, and not the conflicting provisions of the Treaty, would be given effect to as the domestic law of the United Kingdom."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th July, 1972; Vol. 840, c. 627–9.]1886 There can be no doubt that the next Parliament will have the right to take back what this Parliament has ceded.
Then they will know that Her Majesty's Opposition has stated on many occasions, and as recently as last week, that it does not consider itself to be bound by these treaties; that in the special circumstances that have surrounded their approval and enactment they do not feel the normal obligation that they would recognise, and would wish to recognise, in international treaties of a major kind. They will know, too, not only from our formal policy statements but from the strategy of Amendments to the Bill which we have pursued, that we reject and have voted against major parts of the whole treaty complex; that we rejected the Treaty of Luxembourg of April, 1970, which gives authority for the taxation and expenditures of the Community; that we voted against the economic and monetary union proposal; that we made clear our opposition to the common agricultural policy. These are among the matters which we say must be renegotiated.
That is not all. The Opposition have pledged themselves at the end of any further negotiations to consult the British people and to enable them to make the final decision on entry. The Six must take account, not just of the position stated by the Opposition but also of the views of the British people and how they are likely to develop over the months ahead.
Dr. Mansholt has told us that in his view the matter is closed and that the Six are not prepared to negotiate on any of the matters concerning us. The German Chancellor has said similar things.
§ Mr. Shore
They may be right.
But they, too, have to assess the reaction of the people of this country. They will have to decide whether the British people will be ready to swallow their objections and be content simply to growl behind the bars of the Treaty of Rome or whether they will insist on breaking them down. No one can be certain of the answer now, but my belief is that if major changes were not secured 1887 —and I emphasised the word "major"—the British people, lacking as they do a sense of a special relationship with the countries of Western Europe and conscious more than any other European nation of their connections with the world outside, would insist that another Parliament undoes what this has achieved and takes back into British hands the power to make law and to shape the policies of this land.
The Six should know all this before they ratify, in their turn, the Treaty of Accession. These things should be known by the countries of EFTA and the Commonwealth before they make any associated decisions.
How much better it would be if the Governments of Europe were to agree to postpone the date of entry until after these matters had been put to the British people, and best of all would be the rejection of this Bill tonight.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont (Kingston-upon-Thames)
I am grateful for this opportunity to address the House and to have the pleasure of making what Markworth Praed called a maiden speech which all men praise but none remembers.
There is a convention that one should begin a maiden speech by referring to one's predecessor and in my case this is not an empty convention since I know that Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter—as he then was—was a Member of this House much respected not just for the power of his eloquence but also for his deep knowledge of the ways of this House and that undoubtedly would have enabled him to have made an outstanding contribution to this debate.
Another convention governing a speech such as mine is that one should be as non-controversial as possible. I have to admit that for some years I have been strongly pro-European. I think it stems from being converted by a speech I heard in 1961 at Cambridge made by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). So persuasive was it that I have continued to believe in the idea ever since. As the policy of entry into the Common Market is officially the policy of both political parties I hope that everyone will agree that by making 1888 an uncompromisingly European speech I am being as non-controversial as it is possible to be.
Another reason why I am particularly pleased to be able to speak in this debate on this issue is that it was an issue which featured in my own by-election. I was opposed not just by a Labour candidate against the Common Market but also by a Conservative against the Common Market who made it into the main issue of the election so far as he was concerned. Since that was a by-election and since the result did not determine the future or the fate of the Government, I cannot help feeling that if the opposition to the idea of the Common Market were as widespread or as deep as the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) has suggested, the result of that by-election would have been very different.
The right hon. Member concentrated, as has happened in most of the debates on the Bill, on its effect on this House. It has always been envisaged that there would be a transfer of a degree of sovereignty from this country to the Common Market in the commercial and agricultural spheres. Under Clause 2 provision is made for some future instruments and some 1,200 existing instruments to have the directly applicable force of law in this country. Of those 1,200 instruments, about 1,000 refer to the detailed working of the agricultural system and the intervention system. Many of them are no doubt important but the question of how to treat subordinate legislation is not a new one arising before this House for the first time as a result of the Bill. The hundreds of orders and regulations that pass unexamined through this House every year show that this is the sort of problem that any Parliament in a modern age has to face, and it is a problem that has to be dealt with in or out of the Common Market, with or without the special ad hoccommittee, which my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has set up specifically to examine this point.
When we come to the implementing of the Community directives, where the means of implementation is left to individual national assemblies, it can be clearly seen that there is still plenty of scope for the House of Commons to 1889 fulfil its traditional functions of scrutinising and amending legislation.
We have already seen in the debates on VAT in the Finance Bill how this process can take place. I know that the Government maintain that the introduction of VAT has nothing to do with Article 99 of the Treaty of Rome and nothing to do with the consequent directives. Perhaps this is one of those rare occasions in life where one has to do what one wants to do, because there is no doubt that we would have to introduce such a tax once we were in the Community. If the point were not already made by the variety of value added taxes within the Community, in rates and incidence, then the debates we had on that subject, the concessions made by the Chancellor and the other concessions that have been considered, show that there is, in response to Community directives, ample room for this House to fulfil its traditional function of amending and scrutinising legislation.
It would no doubt be considered inappropriate of me to pronounce on the powers of Parliament if I had been a Member of this House for three years, let alone for less than three months. However, the power of Parliament to control the executive is a matter of general political interest to all members of the public. My election to this House interrupted my pleasurable reading of the book by the right hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) "Inside view" in which he described the House of Commons as being no longer a place of power but a place where things happen. In his book he describes how the control, not just of finance but of the legislative timetable, had passed to the Cabinet.
He confirmed what many people outside feel about this House, I suspect, and about its ability to control the executive. Even as a member of the public I had always heard how difficult it was for individual back-benchers to discuss agricultural policy in the period leading up to the Price Review, how difficult it was to discuss economic policy with the Treasury Ministers in their period of purdah before the Budget. There is the example of the introduction of SET, which burst upon an unwitting, indeed, an astonished House of Commons with no consultation, no Green Paper. At least in the Community there is nothing 1890 secret about the way in which the Commission's thinking is developing. There will be much greater opportunity within the Common Market for Members of this House to know the way in which the minds of Ministers are developing and to have a vital influence in the pre-legislation period.
But what I suppose has most concerned hon. Members is not just the implementation of existing regulations or responses to past directives but the future development of the Community and the power of the House of Commons to influence that future development, particularly the control that it will have over post-1972 Community treaties of the type defined in Clause 1. Again, development of the Community will not happen in secret, in isolation; it will not suddenly be revealed to an unsuspecting House of Commons, and again there is the safeguard contained in Clause 1(3). I know that hon. Members have speculated whether the discussion that might be allowed on an Order in Council under that Clause would not be on the merits of a particular Community treaty but simply on the narrow question whether a treaty was or was not a Community treaty.
Even if we assume a situation in which a new development of the Community is secretly revealed to a hostile and unsuspecting House of Commons; even if we assume that the Government of the day do not allow any time for debate on the way in which the Community's thinking has developed; even if we assume that the ad hoccommittee of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has come to nothing; even if we assume that only the narrowest discussion is permitted by the Chair; it will still be open to the House—not, I imagine, for the first time—to use a narrow and technical procedure to reject an attack on its position. If the House of Commons is not capable of doing that in those disgraceful circumstances, then it is even less powerful than the right hon. Member for Coventry, East has maintained.
One must come back to the nature of the control of Parliament over the executive. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West appeared before the Select Committee on Procedure in 1965 he said:My feeling is that there is much misconception on this subject and that the effective 1891 control of the House of Commons over the Executive does not much depend on the detailed examination or detailed knowledge of the Administration…He went onI think it is a mistake to suppose that detailed knowledge or examination of expenditure would necessarily strengthen the true control, which is of a political nature, that the House of Commons exerts over the Executive.Surely it is this true controlwhich is of a political nature"which Parliament will bring to bear upon our representatives in the Community's institutions, and it is this sort of influence that will guide our participation in the Community. Similarly, it is a true political influence that this country will be able to employ within the Community institutions. Here I refer not just to the understanding reached between the Prime Minister and President Pompidou, but also to the fact that in the past it has been shown that the Community cannot develop against the will and without the consent of one of its major members, as for example, during the period when France pursued the "empty chair" policy.
I do not believe that the whole future development of the Community is preempted by the Bill and that a Hamiltonian Federation will follow as inevitably as the Articles of Federation led to the Federal Constitution. All one can say is that the institutions of the Community will develop, and should develop, only as fast as the community of interest between the member States but that, at the same time, it would be wrong for the House of Commons to preempt any decisions that future generations may want to make about the type of Europe they want.
There could have been no greater privilege for me as a new Member of Parliament than to listen to the speeches that have been made by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), with his passionate attachment to the House. But when one hears him say in one and the same breath that he is opposed to the institutions of the Community because they are undemocratic, and that he would still be opposed to them if they became democratic because they would take influence away from the House, one is bound to ask whether the interests of the House as an institution and the interests 1892 of the British people are necessarily the same. The legitimacy of political institutions is based upon consent, but it is also based upon effectiveness, and increasingly, as the right hon. Member for Stepney said, people question the effectiveness of our institutions. Some also wonder whether it is necessary for problems to be tackled upon an international scale—industrial environmental and monetary issues. One wonders how much of last year's currency upheaval could have been avoided had there been a joint European strategy to invoke the scarce currency clauses of the Bretton Woods Agreement.
In developing new institutions to deal with these problems, naturally the ultimate sovereignty of Parliament and therefore the ultimate sovereignty of the British people must be maintained. But it is no service to the British people to block the development of new institutions geared to the problems of our time, or to see as an affront to the House what should be an exercise in the principles of representative democracy.
What the Bill does is to solemnise what in their time both parties have seen as a marriage of convenience of the type with which Lord Rosebery once compared the union of Scotland and England:It is mortifying to pride at first, irksome perhaps occasionally, in the long run harmonious because it is founded on interest.One might add—who knows into what affection it may develop? I believe that the Bill represents a great opportunity. We can go on muttering incantations to ourselves, but the world is moving forward and we must move forward, too.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Lever (Manchester, Cheetham)
The House has just listened to a maiden speech as thoughtful as it was charming in expression. I liked the note struck by the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont) in emphasising that there is no serious disagreement in principle between either side of the House on the issue before us. On that judgment certainly he kept well within the rule of non-controversial maiden speeches.
The hon. Gentleman has succeeded Lord Boyd-Carpenter, who was much respected in the House and whose services we greatly miss, but I am sure that he, too, in his turn, although it will be some 1893 time ahead, will grow grey in the service of the House. In the promising manner in which he made his debut this afternoon, the House can rest content that his constituency, for all that it is not yet persuaded to the views of my party, granted the confines of its political traditions, has sent a very worthy representative to succeed the very distinguished right hon. Gentleman.
All of us, whatever our views on entry into the Community, must be grateful to those of our colleagues who undertook the arduous duties of scrutiny in Committee. On the strength of that, although we did not get any Amendments carried, in the tradition of the House we are entitled to expect that the many valuable points which have been made on the question of parliamentary surveillance, points which are neutral to the belief in entry or not, will be respected and given effect to, not necessarily within the confines of the Bill but at some stage before our effective entry into the Community.
I will leave the House in no doubt that I fully support those criticisms which are genuinely directed to improving the surveillance that the House can exercise over our activities in the Community and in particular in supervising the assimilation of law, an assimilation of law which I welcome and about which I have no anxieties if the House performs its appropriate duty of surveillance.
I begin by expressing gratitude to those who have undertaken this task. I marvel at their fortitude and willingness to hear and approve each other's opinions throughout these long debates. We are sincerely grateful to them and no words of mine, now or on any other occasion, should be taken as underestimating my gratitude to those zealous Members.
This is a Bill on which opinion has been divided within parties and across parties. This division has expressed itself sometimes in votes, sometimes in words, and sometimes in abstentions. Each right hon. and hon. Gentleman must make up his mind on how he sees the difficult conflicts which have occurred throughout the Bill between party loyalties and their beliefs on this issue. I have particularly in mind the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who has been passionately keen to keep his Government in power and to do no injury to the Prime Minister or any of 1894 his Ministers. One can easily sense the tormented situation which he has faced. We respect his courage and the way in which he has resolved this difficulty.
Other right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House have had to take difficult decisions. They have, I accept, made their decisions honourably in a desire to do the best for their constituents, their party and the public. It is not always easy to bring all these matters into focus by one simple enthusiastic vote. We have done our best, and we have not all found the same solution.
I hope that the strong and even bitter feelings aroused by the Bill across the Floor and within parties will not alter the fact that we need in this House those who are prepared to defy the authority of their party Whips and those who are prepared to carry their conviction, when they think it right, into the Lobby at the risk of their Government or, in the case of hon. Members on this side, at the risk of keeping in power a Government whom they detest. This is a difficult and balanced question. The House must recognise that the dissidents on both sides have displayed great courage in discharging their difficult duties on this Bill.
I cannot hope to engage the House with any novel arguments at this Third Reading stage of the Bill. The areas involved in the Bill have been widely covered. Therefore, if I say a few words I hope that hon. Members will treat them with forbearance. They are intended to be my firm salute of welcome to the great venture on which we are about to engage by going into the community of Europe. It is a difficult venture and there are tremendous problems and anxieties ahead.
I fully understand those who do not go ahead with uncritical enthusiasm and those who hesitate and feel that there are dangers involved. Sometimes these anxieties and difficulties have been expressed in a form which I have found to be somewhat exaggerated.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)
My right hon. Friend speaks as though the argument is about to come to an end. I am sure he will agree that the argument is about to begin. It can never be over until the British 1895 people have been involved in the making of the decision.
§ Mr. Lever
If my hon. Friend will bear with me, he will appreciate from my speech that the great healing aspect of this debate is that the argument does not end, and cannot end, today. I will explain this in the course of my speech, as I had intended to do.
We have heard a great deal about the economic cost involved in our accession to the Community. Anybody is entitled to take a different view from mine, but I believe that it is quite absurd to parade before the British people the threat that to enter the Community we must find, across the exchanges, £700, £800 or £1,000 million each year. It is not feasible. It cannot happen and it would be to the disadvantage of Europeans. In the light of our present knowledge it would be an attempt to enforce a reparations treaty on a victorious, innocent and gallant country which could not possibly be sustained by that country or indeed be accepted by the recipients.
It is only the divorce of thinking from the realities of modern, international exchanges that could permit anybody genuinely to believe that the Europeans could or would exact such a payment, or that we could seek to meet such a payment year in year out across the exchanges. Nobody knows—I certainly do not—what will be the balance of payments consequences of entering Europe. I only know that, if we are to continue in the Community, the balance of payments cost cannot be such as would cripple our trade or to seek to disrupt the trade of our European partners, because this is what would happen if we had to find these astronomical sums by means of an export surplus.
I am appalled at the naïvety of some of our seminar economists who act under the supposition that all that is required for the Government to achieve an export surplus to make such a ludicrous payment is for them to alter the parity to a certain level. This is such an absurdity that I cannot dispose of it more than by mere assertion in a debate of this kind. Any anxieties about massive balance of payments disadvantages being exacted from us are inherently ridiculous in the 1896 modern context of international exchanges. It cannot and will not happen. So much for the so-called impossible economic burden which will be put upon us and which it has been said will reduce us to the status of Northern Ireland.
The other anxiety which I can well understand troubles a great many people is the question of the transfer of law-making power. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) appeared to suggest that those of us who are anxious to promote this European venture do so because we are indifferent to or do not sufficiently value self-government. Nothing could be further from the truth. So far as I am concerned, and certainly so far as the great majority of pro-Europeans are concerned, the heart and purpose of our support for the European venture is to protect and promote the possibility of our self-government—in other words of deciding our own lives here in this country in accordance with traditions, institutions and the wishes of our own people.
I regard this as one of the major motivations for going into Europe. I believe that by co-operating with the people of Europe we shall create economic and political conditions which, far from diminishing the powers of the people to decide their future destiny, will add to and reinforce their power to decide their own fate in future.
§ Mr. Heffer
My right hon. Friend could do worse. He has obviously been taking lessons from hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ Mr. Lever
My hon. Friend must not imagine that being pro-Europe means that one must be instructed by Conservatives. I do not need instructions from any hon. Gentlemen opposite. My hon. 1897 Friend should remember that the application and this whole venture was endorsed by the Labour Cabinet in principle, and in principle is still accepted as desirable in the interests of the people of this country.
§ Mr. Lever
I do not wish to stray into the shortcomings of any party. I am concentrating on my own motivation for welcoming our entry into the European Community. It is not one based on a kind of dilettante delight in the weakening of our power and influence over our own destiny. It derives from a passionate determination to preserve in the years ahead of us the maximum say in the decisions affecting the fate of our people and the nature of our democratic institutions.
I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney is an internationalist. He says that he believes in collective agreement for the solution of the world's economic and political problems. That does not commit him to the form of advancing agreements represented by the Community. But it is very odd that those who are in favour of solving world problems by collective agreement should resent so passionately the machinery for giving effect to that collective agreement once it is reached. The assimilation of law is merely an advance in an area, where progress was sorely needed, for enforcing what has been agreed by treaty. It is a great advance on GATT. It is a great advance on the IMF.
Let us take the case of the parity of the £. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney is horrified because President Pompidou says that we ought 1898 to go back to a fixed peg parity before we enter the Community. I remind my right hon. Friend that we are already pledged under the IMF rules to be on a non-floating parity. The difference is that when we are members of the Community these matters will be agreed collectively. Having been agreed, they will be enforced unless some Government quite blatantly decides, as it will be free to do, to repudiate the whole treaty and its obligations under it.
§ Mr. Lever
After we have entered we shall still be free to float, somersault or devalue our £ to the highest expectations of the most academic of our professors by the simple process of this House repudiating this legislation. Nothing can take that away. I was glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney quoted Lord Diplock in saying that this legislation can be rescinded. It seems very odd that the further we were from passing this legislation, the more that my right hon. Friend was convinced of its irrevocability. The nearer that we come to enacting the legislation, the more he is open to my argument from the outset that it can be repealed by another simple Bill.
§ Mr. Shore
There is no problem. My right hon. Friend knows that I have never disputed the proposition that we have the constitutional and legal power to do so, although we needed to get this clearly established, and we probably did so on the last day in Committee. But what really matters is that we can assert that constitutional and legal right only by breaking a major treaty. I cannot understand how any hon. Member can treat that as a light and frivolous matter.
§ Mr. Lever
I have not treated is as a light matter. These are all grave matters. My right hon. Friend must not judge, from the fact that sometimes I try to lighten the way in which I express my views and do not contort my features into continuous gloom that I am indifferent to the gravity of these matters.
At the outset I found an unwillingness among the opponents to entry to believe the simple statement that I made, now confirmed by my right hon. Friend, that we could if we chose in the future rescind 1899 this legislation by means of a simple Bill. The nearer that we get to entering, the smaller loom the possible legal objections to rescinding it, as do the de facto or practical difficulties which now take on a somewhat lighter character. I noticed that my right hon. Friend felt able to say that if we were elected to power certain consequences would follow.
This does not indicate a belief either in a de jure or de facto irreversibility of what has been agreed, and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) that the debate will go on. It is the nature of this partnership with Europe that the debate will go on not merely about the terms but about the problems of the years ahead. We shall still be debating and arguing between ourselves how things should be done.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I have no objection to my right hon. Friend dealing with these matters in his usual gay spirit. He solved the balance of payments difficulties a few minutes ago with a bon mot. Perhapshe will solve another difficulty. After 1st January, what is the situation about the parity of the £? President Pompidou says that we have to have fixed parities after 1st January, otherwise we shall not be able to proceed to enter the Community. What is my right hon. Friend's view of President Pompidou's Bonn declaration?
§ Mr. Lever
My hon. Friend is confused. When we talk of fixed parities, normally we mean fixed moveable parities. I prefer to talk about the adjustable peg which on the one hand is not floating and on the other is adjustable. That is the system in which I believe and which I advocate. President Pompidou demands that we shall go back to the adjustable peg, as we are obliged to under the existing IMF rules.
It is all very well talking about co-operation on economic and monetary matters. So far the world has considered overwhelmingly by a majority of informed opinion—and has thought so since 1945, if not a little before—that in order not to have the kind of rat-race disasters that we experienced before the war, we needed to agree our parities for periods of time, to be ready to adjust 1900 them but not to manipulate them from day to day in the floating rate situation.
It is clear that the world will not co-operate except on the basis that we have stable parities and operate the adjustable peg system. We cannot talk of cooperation on monetary and economic matters and repudiate the only terms on which everyone else is prepared to co-operate. It is no good our saying that we are right and that everyone else is out of step. I think that the world is right. It is impossible to organise world co-operation except on the basis of some stability of parities embodied in Bretton Woods and the adjustable peg.
It will be even more impossible to have the high degree of intimate economic and monetary co-operation that we hope to get in Europe unless we have that peg. It is required for our world obligations and for world co-operation. But, a fortiori, it is also required for the higher degree of intimate co-operation economically and monetarily that we seek in Europe. It is no good talking about strengthening collective action to solve the world's problems unless we are prepared to strengthen the implementation of those agreements, when they are reached.
I wish that the world had incorporated into its laws the agreements reached at the GATT which prevent unfair trading practices and discriminations of all kinds. At the moment each country is the judge in its own eyes.
§ Mr. Lever
Of course, The great thing about the Common Market rules is that Governments cannot be the convenient judges of what they do or whether it is right or wrong. What they have agreed to do stands. Whether they are doing what they ought to do under their agreement will be decided not by the Governments themselves, but by the courts of their lands. So it will be by the courts of our own land. That is not a matter to regret. That is a remarkable advance in the mechanism for giving effect to collective agreements.
I wish to conclude by drawing attention to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). He seemed to highlight in superb hyperbole the difference between those of 1901 us who go into this venture with high expectations, though not without deep anxieties about the difficulties and problems ahead, and those who see the whole thing as an anathema, something which will be devastatingly harmful to the people of this country.
My hon. Friend committed himself to saying that entry into Europe on these terms would be the equivalent for Britain of the Munich of pre-war.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I said that some people say it is the worst sell-out since Munich, but I thought we should go further back in history and that the more apposite comparison was the Treaty of Utrecht.
§ Mr. Lever
In attributing to my hon. Friend that this was as evil as Munich I was characteristically guilty of kindly understatement. I should tell him bluntly that, had he not been one of the most heroic and noble fighters all his life, particularly at that time, against the vile threats of Fascism and Nazism, I should have found it difficult to swallow that he equates our entry into Europe with what happened at Munich. I cannot see any striking similarity. Had it not been for my hon. Friend's record, I should have been inclined to ask him whether he was mocking the hundreds of thousands of Socialists, Communists, Liberals and Jews who were handed over in the Munich settlement to the torments and brutalities of the Nazis. Is he serious in wanting to compare what we are doing today and in the weeks and months ahead—[Interruption.] My hon. Friend's intervention, as I understood it—I checked it before continuing—was that Munich was not enough to express the horror of the surrender we are making, but we had to go further back to the Treaty of Utrecht. If I have done him an injustice I should be delighted to hear.
To those who think that what we are doing is in some way comparable with Munich, I should point out that Munich ought to remind us of what happens when we are foolish enough to believe that our fate can be kept isolated from the evils of the fate of other people. That is the lesson that ought to be learned.
I do not accuse my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale or my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney of any lack of international sentiment; but, in 1902 the course of the two million words that have been uttered in these debates, as we are told by the Solicitor-General, there are some which I find particularly shameful coming from some of my hon. Friends on this side of the House in that they indicate a spirit and attitude towards the peoples of Europe——
§ Mr. Lever
I do not intend to name them. I am not criticising everybody. I am saying that some—[Interruption.] If any hon. Member thinks I am inventing it, and would like to come outside after I have finished my speech, I will give him the chapter, verse and references sufficient to show that. As far as I am concerned, it is difficult to draw the analogy with Munich. It is not only what we did in Munich; it is what the other man was doing. It was diktat, the threat, the military desire to enslave and dominate.
I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale does not believe that that is why every democratic socialist party in Europe wants us to go in. They are not seeking to enslave or plunder us.
§ Mr. Raymond Fletcher (Ilkeston)
It so happens that I was the first to use the phrase, "the biggest sell-out since Munich". I was referring to the technical details of the Munich agreement which handed over a great deal of Czech military strength to the Germans. I was referring to it only in the context of the so-called Euratom Treaty whereby we shall hand over a good deal of difficultly-acquired nuclear knowledge to people who, in my opinion, are not fit to have it.
§ Mr. Lever
I do not know why my hon. Friend should think it has nothing to do with Munich. Our Front Bench spokesman thinks it has a lot to do with Munich. My hon. Friend was not wrong in thinking it has to do with Munich. It has to do with Munich because we cannot remain isolated from what is happening on the continent. It has to do with Munich, too, in the contrast it makes with the purposes of the people of Europe in wanting us to sign the treaty. They do not want us to sign the treaty in order to plunder or enslave us. They want us to sign this treaty because they believe——
§ Mr. Lever
—the people, the Parliament and Government of Britain have a unique contribution to make to the life of this new heroic venture that is to bind up the wounds and erase the horrors of the past, and lead Europe into a safer, more prosperous, stable and democratic future. That is why the peoples of Europe want us in.
§ Mr. Deakins
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. Friend has now been speaking for exactly 30 minutes. That is one-twelth of the time allotted to the whole House for Third Reading. Is there no means whereby you can use your authority to put to right hon. Members that they should not abuse their privilege as Privy Councillors?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I think it would help if the right hon. Gentleman were not interrupted so much.
§ Mr. Lever
I am sorry to have taken so long and that the sensitivity to the length of my speech should grow with the gap in opinion between myself and my hon. Friend. I have been giving way, because I thought it only fair in this debate.
The peoples of Europe as a whole value us not for any plunder they can get, not because they think they can enslave us, but because they think we have a unique contribution to make to the future of Europe precisely in its parliamentary 1904 institutions and democratic future. The social democratic parties in Europe—I address this specifically to my hon. Friends—without exception want us in this complex because they believe that Europe will witness a social transformation, an immense advance in social justice, in the years ahead. They believe that not only the people of Britain, but, more particularly, the socialists of Britain, have a unique contribution to make to that social transformation.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Sir Robin Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I cannot agree with everything that my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont) said about parliamentary sovereignty, but he made one of the most brilliant and wittiest maiden speeches that I have heard for a long time, and I am sure that he will make many other contributions with which we shall be in complete agreement. I liked my hon. Friend's comment about entering the Common Market being a marriage of convenience. We are indeed paying a large dowry to France.
I shall not detain the House for as long as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) did. I propose to put just two questions which seem pertinent.
The Bill, without amendment, has come to us for its Third Reading. What will be its cost? First, in terms of parliamentary sovereignty? A great flood of directly applicable legislation will have to go through without parliamentary approval. Secondly, directives in large numbers, many of which were passed a long time ago by the Commission or by the Council of Ministers but have not yet been implemented by the countries of the Six, will be brought into law in this country without parliamentary scrutiny. Just because we have a scrupulous regard for our treaty obligations, we shall bring into operations directives which are not law in the Six.
The Solicitor-General said that the House had fully weighed the legislative consequences. There has been a great deal of talk by lawyers on both sides of the House about the legislative consequences, and the matter has been aired, but where I feel there has been a failure is in not having fully weighed the parliamentary consequences.
1905 It is a matter of deep regret that at this late stage we find the House completely unprepared to devise methods and procedures for parliamentary scrutiny or for facing the whole problem of Britain in the Common Market or for dealing with subordinate legislation.
These are three quite different problems, and we have not begun to think of how we are going to tackle them. The only mistake made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames was that he said that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had set up an ad hoc committee. I wish he had. We had a promise of an ad hoc committee, but I gather that the idea has become blocked in the usual channels, so that after eight months' delay it remains unfulfilled and stagnant.
The right hon. Member for Cheetham is always amusing, and he treats these matters in a light-hearted way. He said that he was keen on parliamentary surveillance. I wish that on one of his infrequent visits to the House he would tell us exactly how he believes we should tackle these problems if we are to do our duty to our constituents. All the other countries have worked out how to deal with them, but we have had no help from the right hon. Gentleman.
The Government have given a placid assurance that all will be well by the exercise of the veto and through talks at the top table, but to me that is unadulterated, arrogant conceit, as is the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that he will re-negotiate the treaty in spite of the fact that Dr. Mansholt says it is impossible. I believe that those statements are either meaningless or will cause great division in the unity of Europe should we join.
Let me turn to the cost in £ sterling. The right hon. Member for Cheetham is able to prove anything—the fixed rate becomes a movable rate, the floating rate becomes pegged, it does not matter about the balance of payments. Let us consider this in detail. In the White Paper published by the present Government, the cost in 1977 of our Community contribution was put at £300 million. No estimate was given of the total cost. In the White Paper "Economic Consequences", published by the previous Government, the total cost was put at 1906 between £100 million and £1,100 million. Splitting the difference, one gets a figure of £500 million.
What is the cost today? On 8th June the Chief Secretary told us that these figures were at constant prices and took no account of inflation. In addition, the agriculture budget is rising by 6½ per cent. a year, and the effect of floating the £ has been to put an extra 8 per cent. on those figures.
What does all this add up to? The right hon. Member for Cheetham says that it does not matter; but he is expressing the views of international financiers and lawyers. I want to express the clear views of my constituents, the ordinary people of England. They want to know what it will cost. Will it, as many people say, amount to £1,000 million on our balance of payments, with an agriculture contribution of £450 million in 1977? I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will give us tonight a fairly firm estimate of what this amounts to.
There is another cost. To my mind, the whole process of entry has added to the inflationary problems of today. Many of the inflationary elements—decimalisation, metrication, VAT, the price of food—can be ascribed to the decision to join the Common Market. There is a general belief that if we go in life will be very much more expensive and that those living on fixed incomes will be the greatest sufferers. That is the view of the ordinary man.
Let me quote the view of an American economist. Professor Cooper, who has been studying the matter. He put it in rather more analytical language:For Britain, this would require a relative, though not necessarily an absolute, decline in real wages. If it were to occur, such a shift would be in addition to the decline in real wages resulting from adoption of the common agricultural policy. If labour were unwilling to accept the relative decline, the outcome might be a period of industrial unrest and high unemployment in Britain, as British firms were increasingly to serve the British market from outside Britain.After all the propaganda that we have had from the European Movement about "£7 a week more in your wage packet if we go into Europe", and so on, it is interesting to learn the view of a distinguished economist.
1907 Those who vote for the Bill tonight will never be forgiven by the British people who believe that they are to have placed on their shoulders a burden which they should not have to bear.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
In following the speech of the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) I should like to begin by saying something relatively felicitous about four Members of this House. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the Solicitor-General, to the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore), and to the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), because throughout these long and sometimes tedious debates—and sometimes inspired—they have maintained a standard of debate which has been worthy of this Parliament.
The Chancellor of the Duchy managed with a degree of patience which I did not expect from him, considering that he was so acrimonious in opposition, to answer with patience questions which he must have heard thousands of times. The Solicitor-General led us by the hand through a warren of legality with the hesitant half-smiling lucidity which is his hallmark. The hon. Member for Ebbw Valeonce more demonstrated the oratory of which he alone in this House is capable and the right hon. Member for Stepney pressed relentlessly but was never rude.
§ Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)
The hon. Member said that the Chancellor showed no sign of being ruffled when he had questions put to him which had been asked before. He welcomed those questions because he could use the same evasions in replying to them.
§ Mr. Johnston
That is as may be. I simply wished to introduce the few words I shall address to the House by referring to the attitudes of the main debaters. As one who has been present during most of the debates, although not all, I think that, apart from those whom I have mentioned who have contributed most particularly, I remember those against the Bill, oddly enough, better, I suppose because they were more often present and more vocal. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) 1908 was an exception and made some very constructive comments. But then one came back to the disarming decency of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), and the resonant sounds beat behind me of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and many others.
However, it is not my intention to deliver a vote of thanks. I want as a Liberal to say categorically, definitely and proudly that I am proud of my party and what it has done in the course of these debates. There have been six occasions during the passage of the Bill when the Liberal Party, by voting against the Government, could have defeated it, but we did not do so. I am proud of the fact that we did not do so because for us this Bill, which I believe we shall carry on Third Reading tonight, is the culmination of more than a quarter of a century of advocacy on our part in which we have seen our intent, if not our total concept, persuading the two great parties of this country. As recently as the 1959 General Election they poured scorn on the very case which the Chancellor of the Duchy and the Prime Minister made in this Parliament and the present Leader of the Opposition as Prime Minister and Lord George-Brown and others made in the last Parliament.
I could fill many columns of HANSARD with references, but I do not propose to embark upon doing so. I believe that we can say that as a party we have held unflinchingly to the belief that Britain's future lies in Europe, and had we been listened to earlier the economic and political strength of this country in Europe would be more soundly based. Even if one goes back to 1945, one finds that there were Liberal conference resolutions calling for entry to Europe.
I will make only one quotation. We had a debate in February, 1959, on the Command Paper dealing with EFTA. This is relevant to our attitude to this Bill. At that time we were considering negotiations to enter EFTA and Mr. Mark Bonham Carter, then Liberal Member for Torrington, said:It is, therefore, the view of the Liberal Party that the Government should state that they are willing to consider joining the Common Market and that, with that end in view, they are initiating conversations at once with the Commonwealth and the O.E.E.C. countries. That is the line that we should like 1909 the Government to take."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 1430–31.]That is the line we have consistently followed.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
What happened to that hon. Member? Was he defeated in the General Election or did he come back again?
§ Mr. Johnston
I do not think that even the hon. Member's tendency to stretch logic can succeed in connecting the two things.
I was about to say that it was with that record in mind that we were slightly amused rather than annoyed by the castigations of the Opposition Chief Whip after the Second Reading.
Four arguments stood out during debates on the Bill. There was the question of the degree to which the British people approve this step, the question of sovereignty, the price, and then the implications of the Bill. Many people have said in different words—I cannot give an exact quotation, but I am sure that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) would not object if I suggested that he in turn like others, suggested it—that in passing this Bill we are betraying the British people. Equally, at the same time we have the Labour Party Executive, which has now committed itself to an election or a referendum, or something of that sort, and certainly re-negotiation of terms if and when they are re-elected. I think it odd of the Labour Party, which, one remembers, was elected on a minority vote in 1945 which did not prevent it from embarking on a very large programme of public ownership, which has never demonstrated much interested in elecoral reform and whose Leader as recently as 1970 poured scorn on this the very idea of referendum. However, there it is. I simply say that I reject the argument.
The Prime Minister's words were perhaps ill-chosen. I do not propose to refer to his rhetoric—perhaps it was an unwise choice of words—but I think that in a way there is very little that any Government introduce into this House which is ever 1910 carried with the full-hearted consent of the people. The sort of process by which a Government operate is that they introduce legislation which succeeds provided that there is not full-hearted opposition to it. If the Prime Minister had said that we could not enter Europe in the face of full-hearted opposition of the people of this country, I think that would be true, but I do not think that full-hearted opposition has manifested itself with vigour and force either outside or inside this House.
Then there is the question of sovereignty which many hon. Members have remarked on. We have gone over the arguments many times, and I do not wish to repeat them, but I accept that the nature of sovereignty will change. I think that our attitude towards it will change as well and we shall look upon it in a different way. I wish that hon. and right hon. Members, mainly in the Opposition, who have dwelt on this question so often would not lay so much stress on the right to take a decision as on the nature of the decisions themselves.
On many of the fears which have been expressed about our potentialloss of sovereignty—and I go along with the Solicitor-General, who argued this afternoon that we are gaining rather than losing—if we fear that we shall lose, this obviously means that we are afraid of certain decisions which are liable to be taken which will adversely affect this country in future if we join the Community. I do not think that is the right way to enter this grouping. If we enter it in that spirit, I do not think we shall be successful. It would, perhaps, have been better for us to spend rather more of our time looking at methods of participation within this country and the Community to enable people at all levels to have some say in what happens. That is why Liberals have, all along, argued at one and the same time for a Community in Europe and for self-Government for Scotland, Wales and the regions of England and France. Indeed, one sees evidence of the success of this in Germany already.
Then there is the price. Again, I begin to think that this question of the price has become almost like a theological argument. Depending on the side on which one happens to be, one calls up the demons or appeals to the angels. It 1911 all depends upon which side one's particular economist happens to be. There is a balance of advantage and disadvantage, and there is a conclusion which is laid upon those balances before one.
The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton, supported by Professor Hooper, came down very firmly on one side. It would be tedious to go over a long list of economists in Europe who take a different view. As a layman and no economist, I find myself almost as intimidated by economists as I am by lawyers. Certainly the greatest number of the economists in the country seem at any one time to be in the pay of the current Government, which never seems to improve economic policy very much.
Bluntly, I do not accept the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition or that of the Labour Party, that the terms are a sell-out. They are, after all, the terms negotiated by Britain, negotiated by the same people who would have been doing the negotiations under either Government, and they are not immutable. Nothing is immutable. If in any sector, such as fishing or agriculture, they are found to be intolerable, then they will change if the Community is to live at all. Yet the other side of that coin is equally true that if any one member of the Community unreasonably insists on too much, the whole structure could collapse. We must learn not only to demand fairness from others but ourselves to be fair.
Finally there are the implications of the Bill in terms of the future structure of Europe. I am a federalist.
§ Mr. Johnston
The hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Deakins) has referred to this many times during our debates and has portrayed the Bill as a Bill which is acting as some sort of cloak under which the emergence of a federal Europe will be enabled, and he has made clear that such an emergence he would regard with considerable misgivings, to put it midly. The Government of course, have not committed themselves to any such course. But whatever form it takes—after all, federalism takes many forms—if one is prepared to give the Bill 1912 a Third Reading, that means that one accepts the concept of supranationalism. If one votes for the Bill tonight, one is voting for the concept of supranationalism, and one must not conceal that.
The problem that must be faced by the House and those of us—and I amone—who want a real Community, who want monetary union and economic union and the development of Community regional policy, is how this is to be effectively democratically controlled. As of now, it will be by the Council of Ministers and the Luxembourg Veto. But in the end this is not likely to be a sufficiency. The European Parliament must be strengthened. Devolution within Europe must be strengthened. It that is done, the future ahead is as exciting as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) was seeking to convey a short while ago.
The trouble with politicians expressing truths as they see them is that they always sound like platitudes. The greatest truths are probably always platitudes.
But I now say what I believe, and this is a simple affirmation in conclusion. Yesterday morning I was very lucky. My wife gave me a son. I really want not only that child of mine to grow up in a Europe where we have no more wars—and I do not believe that we shall have any more wars now in Europe—I shall not use the old argument that Europeans used in the early days, that the Community was a method of overcoming the divisions, because we are past that stage—but I should like to go further beyond that stage and look forward to a Europe where the barriers of language and traditions are broken down and the people in the Community work together to build a Europe which is fair and will go out and offer that fairness to the world.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
I am sure that the whole House will congratulate the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) on the addition to the Liberal Party about whom he has just told us.
I pay due tribute to the Liberal Party for one thing in the hon. Member's speech. That concerned the fact that the Liberals had been right about the Common Market for a long time, since 20 years ago. It is fair to pay that tribute 1913 to the Liberal Party for its steadfastness in trying to achieve this aim. It is not because of the views of the people that it has believed this. Indeed, the gravest charge that we who wish to join the Community have to answer is that there is an opposition from the people, a lack of full-hearted consent to the terms, which makes it wrong for the Government to drive on into Europe.
Looking back over the last 10 or 20 years, I can remember times when the public opinion polls have shown majorities in favour and majorities against. No one, particularly on the Opposition side of the House, now feels all that great a confidence in public opinion polls, anyway. The bland assumption that we do not have full-hearted consent has not been substantiated. I do not want to make the counter-allegation: that the Government have full-hearted consent. But I do not believe that any of us know, nor do I believe that any of us have an accurate means of determining this, especially when one realises that the views of people change from month to month and from year to year.
There are only two tests of true public opinon: a referendum or a General Election. The arguments for the referendum have been totally destroyed not only by our debate in Committee but by the French referendum, which—without wishing to impinge on French domestic politics—seemed to be more preoccupied with internal political issues in France than with the question put on the ballot paper as to whether the Common Market should be enlarged. We cannot really say that there has been much support for the idea of a referendum, which brings us back to the General Election again.
I rest my vote tonight for the Bill on the fact that I have been elected in my constituency having consistently, in the four elections I have fought there, made it clear that I believe that we should take this step not according to the "ifs" and "buts" of the terms but as a matter of principle. Hon. Members must satisfy their own consciences in their own constituencies and pay the price of making a wrong decision at the next General Election. This is our constitution. It is not the referendum or the public opinion poll. It is, indeed, the sovereignty of Parliament, and that is what so many 1914 of these debates have been about. As a Member of this sovereign Parliament, I am prepared to exercise my vote tonight in full confidence that I am doing the right thing.
It is more questionable whether it is healthy for a parliamentary democracy that a matter of principle should be passed by a majority of 112 and that, when it comes to the detailed voting on the Clauses and Amendments, the majority should shrink sometimes to eight or six. One wonders how it was that those 50 Members changed their view or that the majority dwindled to such an extent when the inevitable consequences of the vote of principle came to be translated into legislation and debated.
We all know that intense pressure was put upon hon. Gentlemen to toe the party line, both by the Whips and by their constituency parties. This did more damage to the concept of a free and independent Parliament than the proposals in the Bill.
§ Mr. Richard Body (Holland with Boston)
Is my hon. Friend speaking of one party or of both major parties?
§ Mr. Ridley
I am speaking of all parties and of all hon. Members. It is strange that these things happen. What I do not like—I say this because I believe it to be a menace—are the stories to be heard of hon. Members opposite whose constituency parties have been deliberately penetrated by their opponents, when all that those hon. Members were doing was trying to continue to exercise their right to stand on the policy on which they fought the last election.
The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) has suffered a threat of which we should all be aware. I hope that from having the courage of his convictions the hon. and learned Gentleman does not find that he has anything but honour and an honourable future.
The majority of 112 Members who were in favour of the principle behind the Bill—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—has been diminished by pressure to a majority of as low as eight. It is wrong to rest one's case that there is opposition to the Bill—indeed a strong faction against the Bill—on the wafer-thin majority argument which the right hon. Member for Stepney 1915 (Mr. Shore) advanced this afternoon. The majority was not wafer thin and would not be wafer thin if pressures which we all understand and know about had not been brought to bear on hon. Members who know in their heart of hearts that Britain should join the Community.
I pay great tribute to those hon. Members on the other side who would like Britain to join the Community but have been prevented from expressing their votes as they would wish by the perfectly natural internal pressures of the Labour Party. I have seen those hon. Members at conferences in Europe trying to persuade the Europeans that their party will eventually come through to supporting the great international ideals of which its members used to boast. I very much hope that Europe will listen to them instead of to the weasel words that we keep hearing about the Community.
I do not think that much will happen at once. The Community is very embryonic. I do not think that food prices will rocket on 1st January. I do not think that British industry will have a new dynamism on 1st January as the result of what we are doing now. I do not think that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) will find suddenly an improvement in his French. I do not think that there will be much change in the everyday life of Britain.
Before we leave the Bill it is worth our while to wonder whether we could not make a great deal more of the opportunity than we have so far thought about. Our parliamentary system is not quite as perfect as many of the opponents of the Bill have suggested. We do not control expenditure in detail, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont) has said. We must legislate if we wish to appoint one more member to the Northern Ireland Coal Consumers' Council, but we can devalue the pound without reference to the House. Many of the vast and important administrative actions of government are taken without reference to Parliament. Yet so much detail goes through the House and we can spend hours and nights mulling over nothing with sham opposition and filibuster.
Yet hon. Members opposite hold up the House as the model of parliamentary 1916 democracy and as the instrument by which the people control the Executive. We know that this is not true. Let us rid ourselves of this imaginary paradise and see, as the hon. Member for Inverness said, how best we can develop the new instruments of control.
The European Parliament has been described as too weak and as lacking in control of the Executive. The pressures in the European Parliament are not to control the Commission. They are to egg the Commission on to be bolder in creating Europe. The negative body is the Council of Ministers. The positive body is the European Parliament. Indeed, people in Europe are saying that the Council of Ministers is stopping progress, is ossifying the move towards a new Europe.
I want to give more powers to the European Parliament. The House should recognise that if the European Parliament had more powers the progress towards integration and unity would be greater and not less.
Another point to which we must pay more attention is how we shall from the House control the representative of the Government who goes to the Council of Ministers; not in the purely negative sense about which hon. Gentlemen have been talking—stopping him from agreeing to things which might be damaging to our interests—but much more in the positive sense of urging him to agree to things which, though they may have temporary and short-term disadvantages for us, may have long-term advantages for the future of Europe. I hope to see much more being done along those lines.
I urge the opponents of the Bill not to leave Europe in suspense. A parliamentary majority of the sovereign Parliament which my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite profess to love has voted this Measure in the principle by a majority of 112. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not the Bill."] The Bill merely enacts the principle. By the very system which the opponents of the Bill claim that they want to see preserved at all costs, they must, on the passage of the Bill through the House and another place, when it receives the Royal Assent, accept the majority of the Parliament which they claim to love and to serve, and they must not try to fight this battle over and over again.
1917 The way ahead now, by sovereign decision of the House, is to build up the institutions of Europe, the control of the Executive, the strengthening of democracy—the very things which lie at the heart of what the debate has been about.
I therefore hope that the Bill will receive a Third Reading which will reflect the fact—which we all know—that there is a majority of 112 for the principle underlying our entry into Europe.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Raymond Fletcher (Ilkeston)
I take it that I shall not be accused of disorderly conduct if I come back to the Bill and talk about the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill.
We are not discussing what happened on 28th October, when there was a great wave of euphoria in the House and various people voted for different propositions, such as that it would be a bad thing to have a revival of the war of 1870, that it is a good idea for Germans and Frenchmen to love each other instead of fighting each other, and that it is better for British workers to go to Baden-Baden for their holidays than Skegness. Such were the matters voted upon on 28th October in a great upsurge of emotion.
However, as the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who has recently been in my constituency, which has improved enormously the character of his mind, reminded us, we are not sent to this House to register sentiments and emotions. We are sent here to discuss specific legislative proposals.
What is most noticeable about the progress of the Bill through the House is that the closer we come to the nuts and bolts the cooler the enthusiasm of the pro-Marketeers has become. Everyone knows that the Third Reading will not be decided by anybody present in the Chamber. It will be decided by the non-votes of those who are now skulking in the woodwork. Everybody knows that. In a sense I am wasting the time of the House by making a speech, nevertheless, I intend to continue.
The Bill, as we were reminded by the Chairman of Ways and Means, provides the machinery necessary to propel us into the European Economic Community, and it becomes necessary there- 1918 fore to know something of the nature of the European Economic Community. I spend a good deal of my time in Europe. I am by blood, education and by all the other stigmata as good a European as any hon. Member. I do not have to run about with interpreters when I visit Europe.
The Europe that is presented to me by my pro-European friends is not the Europe I visit—the Europe in which I pay good money over counters in order to eat, the Europe that I travel in, not as a first-class passenger as the guest of the propaganda machine of the European Commission but at my own expense or at the expense of the newspapers or business organisations which I happen to represent.
What kind of Community are we discussing when a leading advocate of British entry into the European Economic Community, Mr. Alan Watson, the most eloquent advocate of federalism I have read recently—I keep closely in touch with current literature on the Market and I have read Mr. AlanWatson's book "Europe at risk", which has only just been added to the Library—practically denounces everything which we are doing in the Bill because it is a threat to the federal Europe in which he believes and for which he is so persuasive an advocate?
What is the real Europe? We are given to assume that in the wonderful Europe of the European Community all existing political laws as we have understood them over the years have been transcended, that all historical experience has been thrown into some gigantic waste paper basket, that human behaviour has been transformed, that national Parliaments and Governments no longer think in terms of national interest or narrow political terms but have all become idealists with the pure undiluted milk of idealism flowing from them all. That is not so. Normal political processes go on in Europe quite different from the processes presented to me by the starry-eyed visionaries who pay occasional visits to Brussels at the expense of the European propaganda machine.
Let us remind ourselves what happened in France when the deadline came nearer for the abolition of internal tariffs. Did the French dance in the streets as they do on 14th July? Did they sing "La Marseillaise" with added fervour? They 1919 did nothing of the kind. They behaved in precisely the way that one would expect any country to behave in a situation in which its production costs were rising 3 per cent. faster than those of its nearest competitor—they devalued. France went in for the rationalisation of her industries. That provoked so much industrial unrest that the workers and the students came out on the streets of Paris. They not only almost brought down President de Gaulle but almost wrecked Paris. It was one of those occasions when I was not visiting Paris—thank God for that, for I usually have a remarkable propensity for finding myself in the middle of trouble.
There was no wonderful enthusiasm or euphoria as the deadline for the great event approached, national States behave as national States always have behaved, and, I regret to say, as national States will always behave. We can perhaps control them to some extent; we have, indeed, controlled them already, or they have controlled themselves in Europe.
I am no enemy of the new Europe. We have controlled our aggressive impulses by joining together in NATO with former enemies. We can slow down many of these aggressive impluses which have tormented the world, but we cannot abolish them completely. Nor can we castrate away the impulse of national Governments to make profit, the impulse to take advantage of a neighbour's temporary difficulties, the impulse to put one's own nation first and above all others.
Another aspect of Europe about which so much has been made is that a unified economy is being created. If that were so, I should be the first to stand up and cheer. I should say "Glory hallelujah", because it is the first condition of international peace that there should be a unified economy in Europe and then the world. As I once put it when I was permitted to write for that excellent journal The Guardian, which has greatly deteriorated since I ceased to write for it, I want a world in which General Motors in Germany cannot conceive of waging war on General Motors in France. I speak in no spirit of savage hostility towards multi-national corporations, which will do more to end apartheid in South 1920 Africa than all the protests made from the House.
Is the creation of a unified European economy taking place under the aegis of the Common Market institutions? Nothing of the kind. The only effective mergers taking place are American mergers. M. Servan-Schreiber has written two books describing that process and, to some extent, protesting against it. Only recently an oil company in Germany was prevented from merging with an oil company in France.
s we have been reminded in Committee, there is no unified company law in Europe and no encouragement is given to mergers. Consequently there is no unified automobile industry in Europe. The aerospace industry in Europe is in no position, without constant propping by Governments, to compete, or even stand in the same show, with the American aerospace industry. None of these wonderful things is happening.
Clause 12 of the Bill deals with a tiny part of Euratom. However, since the Chairman of Ways and Means allowed wider aspects to be discussed, I trust that I can go into them now.
Euratom was designed as a marvellous institution to make the atom work for peace on a European scale, and I am all for that. I regularly vote against sin and for virtue. I have a well-known record of consistency in that. If Euratom really did turn into an institution which would make the atom work for peace on a European scale, if national boundaries and national rivalries really were being torn down, I would say "Glory hallelujah" again. But the first thing we have to recognise is that, in fact, Euratom has been the most dismal failure of all the three Communities in Europe. The EEC report on Euratom dealing with the decade 1960–70 said:The nuclear industry like most other advanced technology industries…had…so far reaped scarcely any benefit from the Common Market…The abolition of customs duties has not done away with sealed-off national markets because the development of advanced industries depends far more on the actions of the public authorities than on the normal working of the laws of supply and demand.That is not me talking—it is the Commission itself.
1921 Let us look at the results of Euratom, this supposed great adventure. Here, this speech tends to become dull and boring and those who want to go to sleep may do so. Between 1960 and 1970, Euratom maintained 15 constructors of nuclear power plant, 13 fuel element manufacturers,10 turbine makers and nine steel pressure vessel makers. It all sounds very impressive and as though a considerable nuclear capability exists under the ægis of Euratom. But when we look across the Atlantic at the United States we find that one contractor alone, Westinghouse, equalled the production of the whole 13 fuel element contractors in Europe, that the four smallest United States contractors for making nuclear power stations received orders equal to Europe's 15, and that two fairly small United States firms made a number of turbines equal to the whole production of Europe's 10. So Euratom has not an impressive record, whether one looks at it in technological terms as an experiment in joint collaboration to produce nuclear energy for European purposes or as an industrial venture per se. Yet, as I reminded the Committee, we intend to put a really advanced nuclear industry into this ramshackle structure. It is a terribly bad bargain.
Even worse is to come. Here I must concentrate because other hon. Members want to speak. As a consequence of the French more or less dominating the market structure, as a result of the three occasions on which the French have almost declared a general strike against the whole Community unless they got their way, we have reached a situation in Europe which I will describe as follows:We have had the experience that the Community has become more and more unreal for many people in the member countries. Interest has declined and people confronted with our curious Euro-Chinese, often the language of harmonisation, simply cannot understand what we are trying to get at.A very good quotation. It comes from Ralf Dahrendorf, undoubtedly the most brilliant of the European Commissioners. He gave that frank opinion in a BBC interview. I love the term "Euro-Chinese"; it is much better than the "Euro-Etruscan" which I used myself. He wrote a series of articles, the authorship of which he never openly acknowledged, but which is an open secret 1922 throughout Europe, in that excellent journal Die Zeit. He pointed out that the present Community is a dead end, and in his second article went on to say that the…'first Europe' of the Rome Treaty, in which there are no objective rules that would force the European nations to rescue a problematical agricultural policy by introducing monetary union, or to rescue a problematical economic union by co-ordinated general policies…must be superseded. He called for a second Europe.
But the whole point of this Bill, which we have not been permitted to amend in the slightest degree, is to ossify the first Europe which Dr. Dahrendorf attacked. We have not made, nor been permitted to make, the slightest attempt in the Bill to take any steps whatever to have the second Europe which I might be persuaded by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever)—whom I respect even more than he knows—to support, the second Europe which Dr. Dahrendorf envisages. But the Bill actually ossifies that first Europe by the way in which we are to enter the EEC, as first Europe so roundly condemned by the man who knows far more about it than anyone present—and I insult no one in making that remark.
I turn again to the charge made by Mr. Alan Watson, whose face is so familiar to everyone who watches current affairs programmes on television. He is an enthusiastic, highly literate and very polished advocate of European federalism, but realises that the first Europe is a definite and obnoxious obstacle to the Europe of his dreams and desires.
Mr. Watson points out that, first of all, that one really good thing that the first Europe actually did was to negotiate the Kennedy Round with the Americans, but that it could be done only because the whole apparatus of the Community was in suspended animation and M. Jean Rey was able to make decisions in the negotiations on his own. In other words, M. Rey functioned more as emperor of Europe than as a responsible Commissioner for Europe. [Interruption.] I gather that what I have just said is challenged. It will add a couple of minutes to what I intended to say. This is what Mr. Watson wrote about the Kennedy Round: 1923As the negotiations reached their critical stage in 1967, this became the crux of the matter. It was clearly impossible for Jean Rey to refer back to the council of Ministers at every stage. The negotiations in the small Palais above the Lake at Geneva extended into the small hours of the morning. With hypothesis pitched against hypothesis, by men exhausted but stubborn, Rey had to have the authority to match nuance with nuance, bid with bid, offer with offer, in a matter of minutes, not a matter of days.The climax came after several days of total deadlock. Mr. Wyndham Whyte, then Secretary-General of GATT, offered a compromise. The other main negotiators accepted. It was up to the Common Market, and it was impossible to wait for a meeting of the Council of Ministers. Jean Rey telephoned the French and the Germans from Geneva and then deliberately took the responsibility himself for a decision on behalf of Europe.It was a good decision. It was a decision which in retrospect I welcome.
But what was the consequence of that decision? Mr. Watson went on:Jean Rey knew what he was doing. In that moment when he acted on behalf of Europe, without formal authorisation, he took Europe a measurable distance along the federalist path.That in itself supports the contention that I have made in print and in speech that Europe will not be unified in accordance with the dreams on the Government benches, or the delusions on the Opposition benches, with a democratic Parliament. It can only be done in the way in which M. Jean Rey negotiated the Kennedy Round, just as Europe in the past could be united only by the methods of a Bismark or a Bonaparte.
If anybody has the delusion that a united Europe will be created by a bunch of squabbling, idealistic social democrats sitting in Strasbourg or Luxembourg or anywhere else, he should forget it. There is one way only in which Europe can be united without the dictatorial action of which I think M. Rey's behaviour was a good example, and that would be for the people of Europe themselves to generate an enthusiasm for Europe that transcended all national boundaries and, to some extent, burst apart existing national-based institutions. Do we see such a Europe? I would love to see such a Europe, but I do not.
I end with my final quotation from Mr. Watson:Indeed, by the end of the decade, Europe's disinterest in the Common Market had become 1924 so ingrained that millions of Europeans effectively agreed to taxation without representation. The rising cost of the Common Agricultural Policy meant increased national contributions which were never submitted…to national electorates.It is not a dynamic Community that we are entering; it is a bored Community. It is not a Europe which is struggling on its way towards unity; it is a Europe in which many of the old antagonisms have recently revived themselves.
§ Mr. Edward Gardner (South Fylde)
The hon. Member says that it is a bored Community. He has recently been to Luxembourg and has seen what is happening there. Will he agree from his own knowledge and from what he saw that the benefits that have been derived for the people of Luxembourg and other European countries far outweigh any of the disadvantages about which he has been speaking?
§ Mr. Fletcher
There is no question, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has pointed out, that the benefits to Luxembourg, which has the highest standard of living in Europe, derived from membership of the Common Market have been considerable and tremendous. There is no doubt that the Common Market on the whole in the years in which it has existed has been beneficial to Europe. But, equally, there is no doubt that among the giants of the EEC—and they do not include Luxembourg—the old antagonisms are beginning to reveal themselves, not, thank God, over frontiers, but on questions of currency and matters of a similar character.
We are not being asked to enter a harmonious elysium by passing the Bill. It is a squabbling collection of nations which is loosely held together. It has certain achievements to its credit, but to confer upon it the mantle of an earthly paradise is to do the most stupid thing any parliamentarian can do, and for that reason I shall resolutely vote against the Third Reading.
§ 7.4 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
At this last stage I shall allow myself a personal reference. But I do so not for personal reasons but because the reference brings me to the essence of the matter which still, as always in these debates, is before the House.
1925 The great talents and the outstanding oratory which have made the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) easily the first, facile princeps, among the parliamentarians of this day have been displayed for week after week and month after month in the opposition to the Bill. When the history of this episode comes to be written his part in it will be seen to have been at a level with those of the great figures of parliamentary history. Now, it has often been thought to be a paradox that he and I should have found ourselves not only on the same side but closely allied at every stage. Yet there is no paradox at all.
I suppose that the aspirations which the hon. Member has for the future society and the future economy of this country are remotely different from my own. There are probably few of the regular topics of politics which come before the House on which we would not be found to beranged not merely on opposite sides but in sharp antagonism of outlook. Yet there is one ground of agreement which is more important than all the disagreement, because it is the ground upon which this House and parliamentary government itself are based. That ground is the common determination that in so far as politics, policies and legislation determine and affect the future of the people of this country the decisions upon them shall be taken by this House, after debate in this House, and by the processes of this House; and not only that, but that they shall be so taken because only in that way will it be the people of this country, and only the people of this country, who determine their own future, so far as politics and legislation can influence it.
Whether that is to continue, whether it is to be preserved or breached, is the subject which has been at issue since the beginning of these debates, long before the Bill was presented: it has been the central issue of Britain and the European Community.
There are rarely questions so great or so decisive that they cannot be, and are not often, presented as marginal, as trifles, as matters too easily exaggerated. Questions of the cause and cure of inflation can be dismissed as a matter of £50 million. The over-turning of a party's economic policy can be treated at the point of decision as a matter of some 1926 small and venial exception. At earlier stages there was a strong disposition to treat the central issue here as something which was remote, theoretical and hypothetical—to say that all that this involved was a matter of relative detail, that the powers removed from Parliament would extend over only a small sector of politics, and that the developments of the future, if they came about at all, must be dated in terms not of years but of decades. It has been at least one product of the debates that, as time has gone on, this disposition to depreciate the nature of the decision being taken has disappeared. My hon. and learned Friend in his speech proposing the Third Reading showed nothing at all of any such disposition.
If I quarrel with my hon. and learned Friend's presentation, it is only that he seemed so surprised that as we were brought nearer and nearer, and in terms of legislation, to the great decision, we concentrated our minds more and more upon what was involved, and that many of us modified earlier enthusiasms of a general character when asked to say "yes" or "no" to a specific proposition. I do not think it is so surprising, whatever any of us may have on our consciences from past years or even past decades, that we have taken a different decision from that which might have been expected in the earlier stages of these debates, or in the earlier debates which have preceded even these.
One of the points which have emerged with increasing clarity is the reality of the cession of the basic characteristics of parliamentary government in this country, the reality of the transfer of the supreme power to legislate, the supreme power to tax, and the over-riding, ultimate power of the courts of this country in all matters and in all causes. Quibble, debate, denial have fallen silent as the debates have proceeded; and I notice there has been unanimity this afternoon that this indeed, literally and practically, is what is involved—my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General did not spare it; he stressed it—in what we are invited to do.
Something else, too, more important still, has become clear, something even more vital to the reality of parliamentary government. That is that the control which Parliament and the electorate. 1927 can exercise over a Government who form only part of an international organisation is more remote, more imperfect, than that which they can exercise over a Government who claim, who possess, and who cannot disclaim, the sole responsibility. Of course it is true that a great deal is always decided by the Executive, and—as my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) said—some of the most important matters, without the necessity of reference to this House, and even without debate in this House. But that observation and the fact that—as I myself once said in a passage quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont)—our control is more often exercised in political than in technical forms do not alter the profound difference which arises as soon as an Executive can say, of the decisions to which it is a party: "We are not solely responsible. These are joint decisions, arrived at jointly, because you, Parliament, you, the nation, have agreed that these decisions shall be arrived at jointly." The profundity of the change in parliamentary and electoral accountability which this involves has come out more and more clearly in the course of these debates and, I believe, is no longer disputed.
There is another process which has been running along in parallel. I noticed that my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, in presenting very skilfully, and, as a fine advocate, with the utmost advantage, the credentials of this Bill, did not include among those credentials—not by one word, not by one syllable—the claim that it enjoyed support amongst the public in this country. Atworst—and here I come to meet and to seek common ground with my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury—no one can assert, no one dare assert, that what this House is being invited to do tonight enjoys the full-hearted consent of the people of this country.
I remember how a year or 18 months ago we were told "Ah, yes, but wait. It does not count now; but you wait until the negotiations are concluded—you will see the difference then." Well the negotiations were concluded; but by all the tests which we well understand in this House, there was very little shift of public 1928 opinion, and what shift there was, was more temporary than permanent. But then people said "Well, you must wait until Parliament has given the lead. The public are waiting for a vote in the House of Commons." At the end of October there was a vote in the House, in the proportion of seven to five in favour. But there was no sign of that producing any alteration in public opinion, there was no surge of enthusiasm in the country, no trace of the public saying "There we are: at last it has been voted in the House of Commons, and now we will all put our shoulders to it. This is what we really want." So people said "Well, yes, but you must wait for the treaty to be signed, and then, whether they like it or not, the public will stop complaining. At least, they will accept it as a fait accompli." But there was no sign of that either. As the debates have proceeded—and we are not entirely unobserved or unheard out of doors, though we may often think so—the disenchantment—that is not the correct word, for there never was enchantment, only an absence of it—prevailed, increasingly, if anything, as time went by.
§ Mr. Ridley
By what yardstick does my right hon. Friend measure the reactions of the people? Is he still relying on public opinion polls?
§ Mr. Powell
I am quite prepared to attribute considerable weight not to any single test of opinion but to the concurrence of every sort and kind of test which can be devised month after month. Here again, I am most anxious to gain common ground with my hon. Friend. Let us at least agree upon the minimum, because it is the minimum which was regarded as essential by the present Administration at the time of the General Election, when we presented ourselves to the electorate. He himself did not venture to say, he himself does not believe, that this Measure, this decision, this step carries that full-hearted concurrence which we all believed was necessary when we last met our electors.
From this fact there stems the great hope. A House of Commons which, if it does so, votes tonight for the Third Reading of the Bill will not remain unchanged. Right hon. and hon. Members deceive themselves if they think that, if the Third Reading is passed, they will be able to shrug their shoulders and say 1929 "That's that behind us, and now we shall carry on exactly as before". A House of Commons which has passed this legislation, and only by grace of the Liberal Party, as the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) reminded the House, and he was welcome to his triumph—for that is how it is; the hon. Gentleman was right; his claim was correct—a House of Commons which has been found willing to part with its supreme power and to diminish its authority over the Executive will not remain unaltered. Nor will it any longer have it in its own power to retrace those steps and regain the respect and the self-respect which it has thereby endangered or forfeited.
§ Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes) rose——
§ Mr. Powell
I beg my hon. and gallant Friend's pardon, but we are all speaking with a great desire to be as brief as possible so as to let as many as possible of our colleagues into this debate. Therefore, I hope he will forgive me. I have nearly finished.
§ Sir T. Beamish
I just wanted to ask my right hon. Friend whether he thought the sovereignty of the House would be less or more altered than it would have been between 1961 and 1967 when he was such an enthusiast for joining the Community.
§ Mr. Powell
I will express my rejoinder to my hon. and gallant Friend at the lowest pitch I can. I will offer no argument or apology or explanation of anything said or not said in years past. I will simply say that it is in 1972 that for the first time the House of Commons has been asked to consider, as a House of Commons and in legislative form, what is implicit—whether it always was or not—in membership of the European Economic Community. Therefore, even if the contrast between my behaviour now and five or ten years ago were as great as my hon. and gallant Friend supposes, I would not offer a word of apology for that; I would regard it as justified. The decision which we all have to take is a decision upon what is now before us.
There comes a time, however, when the House of Commons has to meet its 1930 maker; individually and collectively, there comes to us all the time to meet our maker; there comes the time when this House of Commons must be unmade in order to be remade. Although we, this present House of Commons, if we take this step, will have lost the power to reassert our faith in the legislative supremacy of Parliament and the sovereignty of the electorate of this country, that power still resides with the people of this country. They have it still; they can use it still; and it is my belief that they will.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North)
Tonight I will go into the Lobby to vote against the Government and it may well be that I shall find myself in the same Lobby as the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). If I do, it will be a coincidence. I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman, any more than any other of us, can detach himself from the context of his past. We each will be there in our personal capacity, complete with our private beliefs.
I shall be there as one who believes in the principle of the Common Market. I shall be there as one who believes that sometimes it is necessary to divest oneself of a certain measure of sovereignty for transcendent reasons. I shall be there as an international socialist who believes in the equality of men. These reasons which will lead me into the Lobby tonight will certainly not be identical with those of many with whom I shall find myself present at that time.
My immediate quarrel is with the Goverenment, and tonight I shall vote against the Bill with even more conviction than I did on Second Reading because since that time we have had the experience of the manner in which the Government have dealt with the Amendments put before them. We have had the experience of the way in which they have ruthlessly used the guillotine to cut down argument. We have seen that their arrogant manner of national divisiveness is a poor portent for the future of the European unity about which they talk to such a great extent.
I must say that, looking back on those debates in Committee. I could have wished that those among us who are in 1931 a general sense pro-Marketeers had taken part to a greater extent and had reaffirmed what the Leader of the Opposition reaffirmed here—that we as a Party are committed to the principle of entry into Europe. Yet at the same time no one, not even the most ardent pro-Marketeer, can say that the Common Market and its institutions as they exist today are in any sense ideal. The instruments are in many ways unsatisfactory. The Commission is bureaucratic. The European Parliament is unrepresentative. The climate of monetary instability in which the EEC exists is unhealthy. The terms, especially those affecting Britain's contribution, are onerous. These shortcomings were strikingly re-stated by my right hon. Friend in Vienna.
I believe that in approaching the Common Market and its institutions it is useless to regard, as the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentleman opposite seem to do, the rules of the EEC as being, like the laws of the Medes and the Persians, immutable. We know what happened to the empire of the Medesand the Persians because of their inflexibility and resistance to change.
In making up our minds how we are to approach the Bill tonight, we have, I believe, two completely opposing attitudes—that of the Government, which treats all the conditions and regulations of the Common Market as being immutable, and that of those on our side, who regard the Community as being a continuously evolving and organic whole which can be changed both by its inner pressures and by advice and recommendations from outside.
On the principle of the Common Market—a principle to which, I repeat, this party is committed—I believe that we have two antithetic attitudes. On the one hand there are those who believe that entry is desirable because of the industrial advantages it will bring to this country, and I am certainly one who believes that; who believe that in the interest of employment and trade it is necessary to go into Europe and the large market which is available to us. On the other hand, there are those who consider that the disadvantages of the common agricultural policy mentioned in the Bill are so great that on balance we shall be the losers. But those who treat the 1932 agricultural policy as being part of a French conspiracy fail to realise what the common agricultural policy stands for. It is essentially the quid pro quo which the Six ask for in return for the enormous industrial advantage which it seems likely to bring to us.
Here I would like to dispel in passing one of the mythologies which is widely believed, certainly among many of my hon. Friends—namely, that the European farmer is somehow a great plutocrat driving about in a Mercedes. The truth of the matter is that the European farmer is no more than a peasant seeking to make a living from the soil. He is a peasant who is in no sense represented by the caricature which is so often presented of him.
Therefore, in weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the Common Market, we have to recognise that there is in the common agricultural policy a quid pro quo for the advantages which we shall get in industry, in our exports and in our trade. But that does not mean that we should bear the burden of European mismanagement. It does not mean that because French and to some extent German agriculture is inefficient we should pay a disproportionate contribution.
It is absolutely right, as my hon. Friends have so often emphasised, that the common agricultural policy should be the subject of a continuous renegotiation. In this connection the Government have tried to anticipate entry by a whole pattern of derogations which they have already applied. In recent weeks they have shown that when they have their back to the wall they are capable of a kind of levitation above their principles to get out of trouble.
That is what they did in connection with their new policy of industrial interventionism. It is what they did over their policy towards sterling. I cannot see any possible miracle happening between now and the time of our entry to the Common Market in January which will somehow make it possible for Britain to return to a fixed parity. We shall, I am sure, have to ask for certain derogations from the terms of the treaty, just as the Government have already gone in for a whole series of anticipatory derogations.
1933 The question, raised by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and answered, I believe wrongly and ineffectively, by Dr. Sicco Mansholt is whether it would be possible for a British Government in future to seek to renegotiate the terms of our entry. Obviously if there were to be any unilateral attempt at what might be called "real negotiation", that would be the equivalent of repudiation. I do not believe that there can be any such kind of one-sided renegotiation.
Nevertheless if we look at the history of the Common Market we can see how President de Gaulle, when he first came to power, proceeded almost forthwith to a whole series of renegotiations in which eventually he had his way. President de Gaulle was at least as hostile to the whole concept of the Common Market as is my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore). The most polite thing he said about the Commission was that it was a kind of Areopagus in Brussels where the Commissioners spoke a sort of gobbledegook. Yet through his persistence, his insistence on renegotiating certain aspects of the bargain, he was able to change the conditions, and although we may disapprove of it, although it may be unwelcome to us, although eventually a French pattern emerged superimposed on the Market, the fact is that he was able to engage in that kind of renegotiation.
In other words, although in his case it was a matter of force majeure which produced this peculiar French pattern, it is in principle possible to renegotiate by consent. It is a point which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition emphasised at the meeting of the Socialist International at Vienna. I feel that those who say that somehow or other, once we are in the Market it will be impossible to amend thetreaty—as is said by the Government and as was expressed by their inflexibility in dealing with Amendments tabled by my hon. and right hon. Friends—are not qualified to take us into Europe, and even those of us who believe in the general principle of the Comomn Market are perfectly right to vote against entry under their leadership and on the terms on which they have insisted.
Our partners in the Six are willing to listen to us. They range from Herr Brandt to M. Mitterand who, incidentally, 1934 has just concluded a political pact with the French Communists. It may well be that there were some, who because the Communists were opposed to the Common Market, thought that it would be impossible ever to have any kind of negotiation with those on the Left in France, who might have been sympathetic towards the idea of having Britain in Europe. Yet the Left in Europe wants to discuss its and our regional policies, its and our employment policies, the question of the Third World, and above all it wants to talk about political unity.
In the course of our discussions the point which has struck me above all has been the way in which the question of political unity in Europe reflected through the instrument of the Bill has been understated and under-played. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has very properly been concerned about the question of the surrender of sovereignty. I venture to say that I have been in the House of Commons as long as he has and am as attached to it as he is; I am as concerned with the rights and privileges of this House, as concerned with the sovereignty exercised through this House as he is. Yet there are times when sovereignty has to be qualified, when a divestment of sovereignty is an act of self-interest. We have only to look at our international treaties such as GATT, treaties which have set up international courts, to see this.
There is a conscious divestment of sovereignty for specific purposes. Our divestment of sovereignty in Europe, properly controlled and observed, may well be to our advantage. I was astonished to hear one of the Liberal spokesmen saying that the question of war was something which was banished from Europe and no longer valid as an argument. Looking around at the international picture of communities tearing each other to pieces, although the thought of nuclear war may now be remote if not impossible, it remains the fact that neighbours who historically have quarrelled either for material or more abstract reasons, who have quarrelled over coaland steel, for possession of a river or basin or whatever, are united through institutions which interlock, through interests which give the man incomparably greater opportunity of living at peace than nations 1935 which are in conflict and divided by those causes of war.
The motive behind the Bill, the general principle of European unity, is related not only to economic interests, but to transcendent interests of war and peace. The Coal and Steel Community has locked together the hitherto conflicting interests of France and Germany. I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Raymond Fletcher) who said that the possibility of clashes between neighbouring countries of that kind is no longer present.
I feel there is no inconsistency between defending our national interests and being international Socialists, which I feel most of my hon. Friends are. The only thing which has divided us in the past has been the way in which the institutions of the new Europe shall be developed and maintained and democratically elected. I deplore the Government's failure to move from the rigid position they have taken, which resulted in their refusal to accept any Amendments to the Bill. I deplore the combination of bombast at home and servility abroad which has characterised the Government's procedures. This attitude can bring only disadvantage to the European idea. When eventually Britain takes its rightful place in Europe, I believe that it will be on terms and conditions which will serve the British people and the ordinary people of Europe and will lead to a Europe not only united but truly democratic.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)
Among the welter of arguments in favour of entry into the Common Market, the one that has always been most attractive to me is that of the emerging reality of a united Europe. That is basing one's advocacy of entry not on economic arguments, but on international affairs and upon foreign policy.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Enoch Powell) is both eloquent and distinguished. I hope that he will excuse me for inquiring into his motives. I am a journalist, and all journalists—and indeed all politicians from time to time—inquire into the motives of my right hon. Friend. I believe him to be a nationalist, at times an old-fashioned nationalist, and I 1936 realise that he has an acute sense of history, but not even he would wish us to go to war to prevent the unity of Europe.
The question then is whether we shall pursue British interests more effectively within or without an emergent Europe. I assert that we are more likely to be able to do so within the context of an evolving European super-State; that is the political argument for entry. On the other hand, some of my hon. Friends who have for long advocated Britain's entry into Europe have failed to understand the limits that will be placed upon a united Europe when that organisation finally arrives. If I may make a robust assertion—and all speeches should have one robust assertion—it is that Europe can only aspire to the status of an economic super power. That being so, the alliance with the United States of America is fundamental to our security and therefore to our survival.
When the unity of Europe is a reality, Europe and therefore the United Kingdom will have three choices. First, we can come to terms with the Soviet Union, because the Soviet Union is stronger than we are. Secondly, we can aspire to independence. In doing that we must construct a nuclear system as wide, as efficient and as large as that of the Soviet Union or the United States. That is the second choice, nuclear European independence. The third choice is to stay as we are, relying broadly upon the good will and the self-interest of the United States.
Looking at those three choices. I am sure that few of us have advocated European unity in order to see Europe achieve the status of a super Finland. But, in examining the second choice open to Europe and therefore to ourselves, that of being fully independent in a nuclear sense, there are several reasons why this would be dangerous and undesirable.
First, we are unable to aspire to nuclear independence and to become a political super power because the Americans and the Russians have an advantage in the research and development of nuclear weapons so far in advance of ours that even if we wished to compete we could not overtake them. Secondly, we have to remember the immensely high cost of the construction of 1937 the Europe-wide nuclear deterrent at a time when all the peoples of Europe wish to reduce the amount of money spent upon defence. The third reason why I do not think the new Europe could aspire to fully independent status is the position of Germany. Germany is unable to take part in any European nuclear set-up and the smaller European powers within the Common Market are equally reluctant to embark upon a nuclear adventure.
We can only conclude that the object of the diplomacy of Europe must be to remind continually the United States of America of its own self-interest. We are thus obliged to keep our friendship with the United States in a state of good repair, When we examine the relationship between Europe and America as it is today we must beware of exaggeration. Mansfield is no more typical of American opinion than was de Gaulle typical of European opinion. On the other hand, some may assert that the logic of the Nixon doctrine of a return to the sturdy old-fashined American virtues of self-reliance when projected into international relations must lead to a new isolationism. But logic and politics rarely sleep together, and the alliance with Europe is self-evidently within the interests of the United States at a time when the interests of the Soviet Union and China and their spheres of influence have increased greatly.
If, then, European independence is out of the question, for we can never be a political super-Power, but an economic super-Power only, we must in the short term think of the value in the future of the existing English and French nuclear forces. These small nuclear forces are of some advantage and we must extract what advantage we can from them. First, they provide a necessary vanity through which European unity might emerge, and, secondly, they may also provide leverage upon American policy. We must avoid the position in which sometime in the future we in Europe provide the conventional forces of the alliance while the United States provides nuclear forces only. At the moment Europe provides 90 per cent. of the conventional forces of NATO, but we must keep an American military contribution to Europe, which is the US 7th Army, just as the Anglo-French nuclear forces are Europe's equivalent of the US 7th Army in Southern Germany.
1938 In conclusion, I believe fervently in the unity of Europe, but we must understand the limits that will be placed upon it. We shall become a "Japan", not a "China". We can aspire only to the status of an economic super-Power. A new Europe must seek allies. In fact, we have a choice between two kinds of military subservience, either to the United States of America or to the Soviet Union. That is what it all boils down to in the long run. If we are faced with that choice, there is little doubt about which of the two we would prefer.
§ 7.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)
I feel rather like a man who is giving a funeral oration at the funeral of the United Kingdom as a nation. At a funeral oration one generally takes stock, and I will briefly do so and view the national desolation which we shall cause if we go into the Common Market.
Prices will rise out of all proportion to the rise so far, and I need not dwell upon the effect that will have on the mass of the population. The abominable value added tax will increase prices still further. The VAT is unjust because it will be levied equally on mink coats and children's shoes and is not selective. The favourable balance of payments which we have achieved at such great sacrifice will be thrown off at a stroke. A payment of between £600 million and £1,000 million a year will be made to France to subsidise inefficient French farmers. We shall give away the power to tax and we shall envisage a monetary union in which we shall be unable to adjust our economy. The centre of gravity will be shifted from London to Europe and the United Kingdom will become a poor relation, a sort of depressed area.
We are throwing over the Commonwealth and we risk wrecking the economy of countries like New Zealand. We are repudiating the principles of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement without any regard to the effect it will have on the sugar-producing countries. We are ignoring the 120,000 people who are dependent on the fishing industry of the United Kingdom.
We are throwing overboard the EFTA Agreement which so far has worked so well. The Government are not having too favourable a run with the EFTA 1939 countries at the moment. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is having great difficulty in finalising agreements regarding EFTA and I believe that he will continue to have this difficulty.
Politically, we are jettisoning the sovereignty of Parliament; we are depriving ourselves of the conduct of our own affairs. The great United Kingdom will be reduced to the level of a county council. All our powers will be given away—not to an international Parliament, but to a foreign Commission consisting of 14 members from whom in future we shall take our laws. We have given away everything we could give away. We have certainly given away much more than we were required to do by the Treaty of Rome. We might well say to the Prime Minister:My Lord, they slander you,They say you sold your honour yesterday.It is not true—you gave the thing away.Not only are we giving everything away. We are doing so without the consent of those who will be affected—the British people. This is quite a record of achievement by the Government. We can only hope, as was forecast by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), that when the British people realise the enormity of the step we are about to take they will repudiate what we are proposing to do tonight. Posterity will never forgive the Prime Minister. He will go down in history as the man who reversed Waterloo.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
I very much hope that I shall outlive the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck) rather than that he should perform at my memorial service. Apart from that, I wish him well.
I wish to draw the attention of the Government Front Bench to the events which have taken place in Europe and in this country since the White Paper was published in July, 1971. It has been a momentous year for Europe and also for us. Many things have changed in Europe since the publication of that White Paper. We heard about the growth of the economy which would take place when we join the Community, and it was said that this would allow us to pay for all the burdens which we would have to assume.
1940 But what in the event do we see? Apart from France, it is an economy of "lame ducks". It is not even a canard enchainé, but an economy consisting of flapping, dreary companies which cannot even pay profits and which have a lower rate of investment than we have in this country. Therefore, apart from the French economy, the economy of Europe is not an economy of growth at all. This must be put against the claim by the Prime Minister that we shall see an immense upsurge in our exports which will more than offset the costs of entry.
The second point that is worth making is that politically we have seen wave after wave of growing conflict between Community members. This is to be seen in matters of finance and regional policy, and there has even been conflict between the Queen of the Netherlands and the President of France on foreign policy matters. We are joining not a great area of harmony but an area which now faces grave problems.
I believe it is vitally important that the Prime Minister should press for a summit with President Pompidou because there are certain things which must be decided before we go in. First, there is the question of common agricultural policy; secondly, there is the question of sterling. We are told by the Prime Minister that all these things can be settled by gentle conversations with President Pompidou over a cup of coffee or a glass of cognac. But we are seeing precisely what was predicted by some of my right hon. and hon. Friends.
One challenge which has been put to the Government repeatedly and has not been answered is the question: where will power lie? Will there, or will there not, be central, absolute rule from Europe? This question has always been ridden off. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has said that 10 or 20 years will see us slowly moving towards this sort of system. But the point is that since 26th June this year, when we floated the pound, the vital issue to be faced is whether we shall have control of our own money. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that the Government put full employment and the happiness of our people above the value of the rate of exchange. That has been challenged, and it is a challenge that is being made to the whole power and 1941 establishment of the House of Commons. This is the question my right hon. and learned Friend must answer when he winds up tonight.
The issue of federalism may be a long way away, and indeed may break down. There may be endless difficulties ahead. The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) said that if we believe in a Mark II Europe we should believe in a federal Europe. But this is not the issue that is being put to this country. We are told that this is to be a Europe of nations. However, that entity looks like breaking down smartly over the issue of control of money supply in each of the individual States.
We have heard a lot of technical talk about snakes in tunnels and movement in terms of fluctuation by 2 or 2½ per cent. or whatever the figure may be. But if we accept what the French are asking for, what we see at the end of the tunnel is a boa-constrictor which will completely destroy of freedom of action. That is the snake of which we should be frightened.
On the road to stronger central European powers there may be a defeat on the issue of federation. Following the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley), it may be necessary to have only one finger on the trigger, one defence force and so on. On this road, the half-way house about which we have heard this Europ de patrie involving nations getting together, will be shown to be an edifice built on rubble on heaps of sand. What will happen in the process? The great danger is that something will happen to this Parliament which will be to the great detriment of our people.
The history of Parliament over a thousand years has been the way in which the people of this country have been able to participate in the exercise of power. This has taken a thousand years to bring about. There has been slowly built up in this country a unique establishment and a Parliament of which not only this country but many other countries are proud. It may be that our machinery of Parliament is not as good as it should be. It may be that the aspirations of the people are not being expressed properly and that participation has broken down in some way. But I believe that it is certain that by going into Europe we shall see not just something which is alien but 1942 a true alienation of the British people from the Government and the control of their own interests. That worries me greatly.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) spoke about what he believed to be the true Conservative attitude. I am proud to be a Conservative. I believe that this has been a great national party. Its objective has been to serve and to develop what God and history have given the people of this island. I believe, too, that if the Conservative Party is to be anything at all it must be a pragmatic party, a constitutional party, a nationalist party and a populous party. We are now asked to join a system which is weakly international, undemocratic, élitist and not in the interests of our people. That is why I say that the only answer that we can give to the question of joining the European Community at this stage is the answer of General de Gaulle, which is "No.".
§ 8.2 p.m.
§ Mr. John P. Mackintosh (Berwick and East Lothian)
It is a pleasure to be called immediately after a speech of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), and perhaps his stance is more truly Conservative, in that it is nationalistic, anti-change and backward-looking than that of many members of his party. I accept that this is the normal position in which the right hon. Gentleman finds himself. I shall take up his detailed points a little more in a moment.
I should have liked to follow almost every speaker, because this has been an apt and challenging debate. I should have liked especially to be called after the contribution that we heard from the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). He made an extremely powerful debating speech. I was glad that, as a strong parliamentarian, he did not talk of a referendum. He talked primarily of parliamentary government and of the decision of this House.
I wish to take up the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, and almost every other hon. Member who has spoken on one point. It concerns the size of the majorities in this House. The majority for entry last October was 112. Many people have pointed a finger 1943 at the diminution in majorities during the Bill's Committee stage to four, eight and 12. There has been a considerable amount of huffing and puffing on this score. The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) suggested that pressure had been brought to bear on pro-Marketeers on this side of the House. I wish to put forward what I think is the correct interpretation. The reason why the vote of 28th October has not been reproduced again and again is not that the pro-Europeans have changed their minds. I know of no single pro-European who voted for entry on 28th October who is now opposed to the principles on which we are joining the Community. This is evident, and everyone whom I know on the anti-side agrees with me, as can be seen from the way they point the finger at all the people whom they still label "pro-Europeans".
The reason for the decline in the majorities is the one which was given to me from a different point of view by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), and I am sure that he will not mind if I quote him. He said: "If there is a repetition of that vote with 69 Labour Members voting the other way, we shall survive if it happens once. If it happens two, three, four or five times it will smash our party to pieces".
The point is that those of us who are in favour of entry have also to consider what we wish the Labour Party to be like in the next decade and whether we wish it to exist in the form that we have known in the past. It would have been easy to smash the party. It is fragile enough now. We do not wish to do that. It is because we think that we must have a viable Opposition to replace the Government at the next General Election that many of my right hon. and hon. Friends intend to vote against this Third Reading, even though they do not believe in that for which they are voting. They still want the Bill to be passed. It may be said that this is a sorry situation. But it must be remembered that we wish to enter Europe. I believe that the Bill will be passed. However, we wish also to enter Europe with a parliamentary Government, with a viable two party system and with an alternative Government.
1944 There is nothing disreputable in attempting to preserve the unity of a political party during an extremely difficult period. I hope that we shall have no more of the suggestion that right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House who are among the pro-Europeans have changed their minds. Were this to be a simple vote on whether we believed that we should go in, without the consequence of party disruption, the majority would still be more than 100. I believe that many people in Europe understand that, and I am glad that they do.
There is one other point about the party's problems. In the party manifesto there is a reference to "renegotiation". It is a very muddled passage. In one passage it apparently means that we shall remain a member while using our bargaining power to move the Common Market as far as posible in a direction which will be in this country's interests. My comment on this is that I hope that we shall always pursue our interests legitimately inside the Community. After all our purpose is to enhance the interests of this country. Secondly, if we pursue this policy, many aspects of the treaty will not come up for discussion because they are subsumed in the present arrangements under which the Community operates. Thirdly, we shall never reach an end point where we are in a position to say that we have concluded a renegotiation and that it is then possible to have a referendum or a General Election. There will be no point at which we shall be able to say that the common agricultural policy is not what it was in the 1950s or 1960s and that we have concluded the process of renegotiation. There will be constant adaptation as the social and agricultural structure of Europe changes. In other words, if "renegotiation" means staying in and fighting for this country's interests, we shall stay in and nothing further will happen to alter the situation.
If "renegotiation" means something more decisive, which is that we pull out for all practical purposes almost as de Gaulle did with the "policy of the empty chair" in 1965, saying that we shall not come back and participate until we have a new round of negotiations, involving a new set of negotiations, a new treaty and a new Bill—that is what is implied by some of my right hon. and hon. Friends 1945 on the Front Bench—then Mr. Mansholt is correct: any of the nine other members can veto our demand, and they will do so because they do not feel that the terms are unfair. They will permit the normal process of bargaining and negotiation but we cannot demand a unilaterally total renegotiation. So in that sense renegotiation is out of the question.
I suggest that the word should not be probed too carefully. It exists to paper over acute divisions in the Opposition. It can mean more or less anything to anyone taking it up, and the most tactful and decent course of action will be to leave it there. One of our leaders has said "I hope that people do not talk about renegotiation too much, otherwise I shall have to invent another word".
Moreover after 18 months or two years in the Common Market, if there is a General Election and a change of Government, the argument for coming out will be more serious and difficult even than the one we have had for going in. I cannot believe that any serious Government would regard it as being in our interests, having cut off our connections to some extent with the Commonwealth and having cut off our connections with our former EFTA partners, then to break up with our partners in the Common Market saying that we shall have no part of it. I cannot seriously contemplate that as a policy for this country. I should like to put this point on record as well as the more ominous predictions we heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore).
I turn now to the major theme of sovereignty which has so occupied the debates in this House. The great difference in the argument is between people who are mostly interested in what we have the right to do and those who are interested in what we have the power to do. This Parliament has the right to do more or less anything. People are correct in saying that if we join the Market some of the right will go to a European organisation. My concern, as one who values the power of this House, is what we can in fact do and what our actual influence is. It makes little difference to me as a Parliamentarian to be told that we cannot alter commercial policy because whereas at the present it is decided within GATT, the Kennedy Round, or with some other international 1946 organisation, it is now to be settled within the framework of the Common Market. In both cases, international pressures on this country are things which the House can talk about, debate, and press the Government on, but we cannot pretend that they will arise for the first time when we join the EEC.
In addition, we have failed to notice that this Parliament has lost power inside this country to the Executive and to pressure groups. I listened to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West produce the traditional text-book account of our powers: the right to tax, the right to legislate and the right to settle all major issues. They exist as rights, but not as powers. We do not in this sense legislate. Now we talk about laws which are brought to us by the Executive. Shall we be able in the same way to talk about laws and regulations brought to us when we are members of the Common Market? That is a serious issue, to which I shall return, but it is quite misleading to suggest that we are losing a fundamental power to legislate in this House. The same applies to taxation.
In view of my constant concern for the powers of this House, having worked to try to enhance them for 6½ years as a member of the Select Committee on Procedure, I have been alarmed that, when the Select Committee on Procedure has said "Let us investigate and draw up plans for changes in the Standing Orders and procedures of this House so that we shall have the maximum possibility of scrutiny and discussion of any regulations coming from the Common Market", we have been turned down. We have been turned down again and again by the two Front Benches, who have said that it is not apposite or suitable, the usual channels are clogged, and we cannot look at it. This is a disaster.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
My hon. Friend is not correct. We said that if the Government had proposals for dealing with the matter under an ad hoc committee they should put them in the Bill. The only reason they did not put them in the Bill was that it would have meant making an Amendment to it. I am sure my hon. Friend regards that as disgraceful.
§ Mr. Mackintosh
My point is that it is not a suitable matter for legislation. It involves alteration of the Standing Orders of this House.
1947 If we are to have an adequate scrutiny system it means setting up Select Committees to look at those items and draft regulations being considered by the Commission, to draw them to the attention of this House, and to enable us, if necessary, to have a Supply Day debate, a vote of confidence in the Government, or an Adjournment debate if a matter affects a particular constituency. That is the kind of thing we need.
Our difficulty is that the two Front Benches have not in the past liked that kind of development in the House. Though they bewail the transfer of sovereignty from this country to an international organisation, they are not prepared, as Ministers or would-be Ministers, to strengthen the power of this House against an Executive, whether it is purely British or is partly amalgamated with the European Executive.
When members of the Select Committee on Procedure who have struggled to strengthen the procedures of this House have said "Let us look at this; let us devise a procedure which will not merely give adequate scrutiny of things going on in Europe but enable us to do a better job on matters which are solely the province of this country and its Government", they have tended to get a rather dubious answer.
I fear that when the Bill is passed the two Front Benches will revert to their normal approach: that the more that is left in the hands of the Executive the better, and the less scrutiny made available to hon. Members the better. If that is not so, I shall be delighted to be corrected.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I repudiate entirely that there has been any collusion whatsoever between the two Front Benches on this matter, and my hon. Friend should not persist in saying so.
§ Mr. Mackintosh
I am not suggesting any collusion. This is done by a process of mutual interests preserved over many years. It needs no collusion for the two Front Benches to come to this conclusion. We have experienced this on the back benches over the years. If this is not so, I hope the go-ahead will be given to the Select Committee to produce these proposals within the next three 1948 months so that they are ready for 1st January, 1973.
I turn now to another issue concerned not merely with the power of this House against the Executive but the allied though somewhat different point of the power of the Executive in this country. It is a somewhat different question whether we, as a country, can do what we like. We must be frank. Looking back a mere decade to the late 1950s, or early 1960s, under the premiership of Mr. Harold Macmillan, there is no doubt that at that time Britain was still, though possibly fading, a world power. A summit conference between East and West without Britain was unthinkable. We had an Empire covering the African continent. It took Mr. Macmillan six weeks to cross it. At that time we maintained major forces in the Gulf, the Indian Ocean and East of Suez. We were in many senses a world Power with considerable effect in world events. A mere decade later we have almost completely lost this position. We first need an East-West meeting in Moscow which never contemplate bringing in this country. We have lost an Empire, and the Commonwealth has a sentimental value. It is a kind of "teach-in" on race relations, but it does not add to the strength of this country. We have now withdrawn our forces from many parts of the world—a move with which I entirely concur.
No longer having the power to be a world force, we must consider where our interests lie and where we can have, not a world influence, but a more localised influence to protect and look after the interests of this country. The answer lies in our position as a European nation. We cannot, in Europe exercise a proper influence outside the Market because, whenever the need to bargain arises and we are operating outside the EEC, we do not have the means to exercise political influence which we would have as a full operating member of the Community.
Looking at our foreign policy, what immediately needs to be tackled? We must work with the other European Powers jointly in an East-West security conference. Nothing would be more disastrous than for the Soviet Union and its satellites, which will operate as one, to play us off one against the other. We 1949 need to co-operate on this matter at once.
As a Euro-group we need to be in a position to talk to the next American Administration over the reduction of American forces in Europe, which is almost certain to happen. We need to be interested jointly on Mediterranean stability and in all the areas around Europe where it is right that we should co-operate with the European Powers. We need to work together on industrial, agricultural and economic matters. If we are left outside the Community, we are neither a world Power nor an effective European Power of the second level.
I turn now to domestic affairs and industrial policy. I think that even my own Front Bench would agree that a tariff-free area, a free trade area, in Western Europe is a great advantage. But we need more than this. We need to get rid of non-tariff barriers. We need to set up genuinely European companies. We need to be in a position to ensure that satellite companies of the United States or other international corporations cannot play off one European Government against another or, for that matter, go to one country and close down works and set up in another to defeat a trade union. We must ensure that this capacity to play off the countries of Europe against each other is not possible in the industrial sphere.
We need a common pollution policy, because we live in the same area of sea and air. Dr. Mansholt's proposals in this sphere are admirable.
We need a common fisheries policy—of no small interest in this House—because we can completely destroy the whole of our fishing stocks unless the matter is properly and adequately tackled.
We need an effective regional policy, Europe is becoming a single industrial unit which needs a common regional policy. We already have had one benefit, out of prospective membership because the Government have had to raise regional incentives to 20 per cent. for this country. Why? Because this is the minimum allowed for built-up areas in Europe, and we cannot, as a prospective member, offer less. This Government was offering far less but has had to change as we cannot offer less than the European Powers offer in their built-up areas.
1950 Foreign policy objectives, economic objectives, pollution objectives and environmental control objectives are all things which we can achieve as members of a European Community working together in a dynamic way. We cannot achieve these things by retreating into isolation which leaves us neither a world Power nor an effective agent within Europe.
§ Several Hon. Members rose——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. There are still a number of hon. Members who wish to address the House. Only very short speeches will enable even a few of those who wish to speak to be called.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)
I am pleased to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) because of his concluding sentences in which he gave the reasons why he thinks we cannot afford to be left out of Europe. It is for the reasons which he has just given that I shall support the Bill tonight.
I want to speak about more domestic matters of which I have intimate knowledge, because I am gravely concerned about the activities of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In recent months he has made proud assertions about his efforts on behalf of this and that sector of the economy, but he has done absolutely nothing for the horticulture industry, about which I know something. No doubt my right hon. and learned Friend will reply that he has achieved a slightly longer transitional period, but that will be gone in the twinkling of an eye, and the residue of British horticulture stands to suffer greatly.
The grading regulations for apples are such that the British Bramley apple will be graded as a dessert apple. Because of its grading, it will be graded as a Grade 3 dessert apple and more than 50 per cent. of the British Bramley crop will be banned from coming on to the market. That, as I understand it, is the position.
The first thing that my right hon. and learned Friend will have to do is either to bend the rules or to evade them. If he evades them, that will immediately be a weakening of British morality, and 1951 I should deplore that. He must, therefore, either renegotiate the rules on the grading of apples, or else a large sector of the apple growing industry will be bankrupted.
This very afternoon there must have been about 20,000 people picking fruit in the country. If a great section of our fruit-growing industry is bankrupted it is not only the master men, the fruit growers, who will go to the wall. In the past, 60 acres for apple growing has meant a good living, but 60 acres producing beef or corn is a joke, and these people will have to sell up and all those who work for them, full time and part time, will be thrown out of work.
Let us look for a moment at those who work part time on fruit growing holdings in my county of Kent. The unemployment figures are above the national average. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly those from regions further a field, perhaps find it difficult to believe that in the so-called prosperous South-East the unemployment figures are above the national average, yet our people are surviving and are not in the perilous conditions in which their fellow subjects in other regions find themselves for the simple reason that there is a massive amount of part-time employment in the fruit fields of our county. If that is lost, our people will be worse off in employment and also in health and happiness.
My right hon. and learned Friend has been addressing his mind to great matters, and most of the speeches today have ranged around similar issues. I want to bring my right hon. and learned Friend down to earth with one small parochial point, namely, that unless something is done urgently, great damage will be done to many thousands of our fellow citizens.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)
When the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) said that he was gravely concerned about some of the activities of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster he struck a chord in my heart. I, too, am gravely concerned about some of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's activities, but my concern is not so strictly limited as was the hon. Gentleman's to 1952 the worthy and important subject which he raised.
I think that on Third Reading we ought to be concerned with some of the broader issues involved in this legislation, and my concern is increased when I reviewed the activities of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. However, before I deal with that, I should perhaps refer to one matter which has been raised by a number of hon. Members and also by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever).
I listened with great interest to my right hon. Friend's speech. There has been a renaissance in this debate of what I thought was by now a shoddy argument. The argument goes that those who are opposed to this legislation do not have a proper concern for peace on the Continent in the future. I say with all frankness to my right hon. Friend that it was unfortunate that he dwelt for so long on, and should have so greatly exaggerated the meaning of, the phrase used by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), about this move being comparable with the disaster of Munich.
I could have understood it if my right hon. Friend had made a passing reference to that comment and then dismissed it in his humorous way which I much admire, but he dwelt on it for minutes on end and I thought that it was unworthy of him in a Third Reading speech.
I was present in the House when the remark was originally made. I have attended most of these debates, which gives me a slight advantage over my right hon. Friend. I clearly recall the occasion. What was said then has nothing to do with the tremendous building which my right hon. Friend tried to erect on the phrase. It was a graphic illustration of what many people regard as a sell out. It was not meant to be taken literally as a comparison with what happened at Munich. It would be absurd for anybody who was present on that occasion to construe it in that way.
My right hon. Friend used that slight base for the tremendous peroration which he delivered today about people not knowing what happened at Munich and the suffering of those who were caught up in the holocaust that followed. The surrender at Munich is beside the point 1953 and I think that my right hon. Friend should here and now withdraw what he said.
§ Mr. Harold Lever
If it meant anything resembling what has been attributed to it by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), I should be glad of the opportunity of totally withdrawing it, but I thought I made it plain that I was proud to acknowledge the impecable and gallant record of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) in internationalism and the fight against Nazism. The reason why I devoted so much time to it was not that my hon. Friend had made that comment. What I was seeking to show was that this was not a sell out. This is not a case of Europe threatening to oppress us but of a Europe which is going to welcome us with open arms for constructive purposes.
§ Mr. Mendelson
If that is the limited but totally different sense in which my right hon. Friend was speaking, I shall say no more about it and I will move on to the guts of the debate.
What we have to consider at this late stage—not of the argument, which is only just beginning, as everyone has been saying, but at the end of the Third Reading debate—is the precise legislation which the Goverenment have put before us. This is where I find fault with what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh). He discussed a number of large issues totally unrelated to the legislation we are debating, spoke about the future Europe he would like to see, and then left the Chamber. That is not a very real or concrete contribution to the debate on Third Reading. We have to consider the actual position we are facing and where we must assume responsibilities if we pass the Bill.
In this respect I am very glad to be the second hon. Member on this side of the House who is prepared to put forward the policy of the Labour Party on this matter. It seems a long time since my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) took the floor at the beginning of the debate, and we have had all manner of contributions since, but I am only the second hon. Member to put forward the party's policy. I do not think it irrevelant in this debate as the Opposi- 1954 tion has called on its members to vote against this legislation on Third Reading.
We are objecting, first, to the constitutional form of the legislation. No sweet talk by the Solicitor-General, who was more genial today than ever he was in Committee and the other proceedings and showed less arrogance without being trite, can evade the issue that it was an original plan of this Government, announced to leading political correspondents, to have two major Bills. The Government have not been able to deny it and I challenge the Chancellor of the Duchy to deny it tonight. For more than nine months the whole British Press published the opinion that there were to be two Bills, one dealing with the constitutional principle of accession and another dealing with the details so that this House could discuss the issues properly.
In Committee we had to invent reasons for debating some of the issues. That is what the historian will say. We had to bring them in through a back door so that we could move at least a number of limited Amendments. The Government deserve the severest condemnation for the constitutional chicanery in which they have engaged in this matter. That is one of the decisive reasons why parliamentarians and those who feel a responsibility to Parliament should vote against this Bill tonight.
§ Mr. Rippon
The hon. Member is quite wrong in his interpretation of the question of one or two Bills. We could have had a one-clause Bill taken on the Floor of the House dealing with the constitutional issue and the Clauses of another Bill discussed upstairs in Standing Committee, but I thought it right to have the whole Bill discussed on the Floor of the House.
§ Mr. Mendelson
That will not do. That is not the proposal which the Government communicated to the Press. We shall return to this point again and again because the argument is only beginning. In discussion in the country and at the General Election this chicanery against the interests of proper discussion in Parliament will be put fairly and squarely before the electorate.
I turn to the second main objection which I and others have to this legislation. It concerns not the form but the 1955 substance. It is quite untrue to say that there could have been no other terms negotiated even if the Government were determined to ask Parliament to approve entry to the EEC. The true political reason why those terms have been accepted by the Government is that the Prime Minister staked his entire political future on our entry in 1973. It is passing strange that we do not see more of the Prime Minister, the author of this legislation, as these debates take place. He is showing his contempt of Parliament when we are discussing his personal legislation.
§ Mr. Rippon indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Mendelson
It is no use the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying "No". He has addressed us on a number of occasions at great length laying down the law, but tonight he must listen. This legislation is very much the Prime Minister's personal legislation. It is the result of a political directive to which his Ministers must somehow agree. The Chancellor of the Duchy will one day have to write his memoirs. I may not carry some of my hon. Friends with me, but the time will come when he will get a reasonable offer and he will do it. When that time comes he ought to tell us about the kind of instructions and directives he has received. His fairly firm and even slightly bombastic talk about the sugar producers never explained the complete collapse of the policy in 24 hours. He has never explained that. I do not blame him for it. I blame him for many things, but not for that. That was a directive countermanding his attitude from his governor, the Prime Minister, and he had to toe the line. It is quite untrue that there could have been no different outcome to these negotiations.
Thirdly, there have been no negotiations on the substance of the issues. All that the negotiations were concerned with were transitional arrangements. The electorate have never been told of this. There was no question of telling them when the last General Election was fought and when the Prime Minister invented deliberately the careful phrase, "We are committed to negotiate, and nothing else", which was no mandate for taking this country into the Common 1956 Market without a further series of consultations with the electorate.
§ Mr. Marten
For the record, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister did not say "and nothing else", but "no more and no less". What I have never discovered is why he said those words.
§ Mr. Mendelson
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman. That is the correct quotation. I have no hope that the right hon. Gentleman will answer that question even tonight. We are all asking that question. What matters here, now that the phrase has been corrected, is that this was clearly used although it was not added to with another sentence, "But we shall negotiate only about transitional arrangements." There the Prime Minister was reluctant to take the electorate into his confidence. That was never said. It was a deliberately dubious phrase introduced by the Prime Minister into the manifesto because he knew full well that if he had put into that manifesto a firm commitment to go into the Common Market, the Conservatives would not have been returned with more than 150 seats. Conservatives in all constituencies will bear that out.
Fourthly, I come to the present political situation. That is changing all the time. We have recently seen a serious shift of Government in France. We know now that M. Messmer is there to produce a government of Gaullist orthodoxy, and the tone in which the French Government are speaking about our commitments is beginning to become more extreme again.
It is no good my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham talking about monetry matters. It is a fact of life that most of the serious argument in our debates has to take place between hon. Members on the Opposition benches because we cannot get either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer to come to the House to make a serious contribution. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham speaks there is something to debate. But the member of the Government who is constitutionally responsible for the underlying financial arrangements is never here.
It has been a grotesque debate when we have come to important monetary matters in that the man responsible does 1957 not reveal his mind. But when my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham talks about these matters, it is not good enough to say that he cannot possibly conceive that any such large figure across the exchanges will ever be possible. I do not know whether everyone understands what he means by that. I take it to mean that it may well happen in real life but that it would be so destructive of our interests that Britain could never pay such large sums and that, if that is properly explained to our partners, they will see that this is so and therefore it will never happen.
I hope that I have correctly interpreted my right hon. Friend's mind. But that is the worst possible reason for doing what the Government are proposing we should do tonight. If that is to be the catastrophe implied in this legislation and these arrangements, if those are the terms under which we are invited to enter, surely the time to say "No" is tonight so that we can preserve ourselves from all these dangerous developments. In that respect my right hon. Friend's logic is not of its usual clarity and excellence. I can only assume that the case is not a good one, because my right hon. Friend's mind is as good today as it has been throughout the many years that I have known him.
Finally, there have been a number of important contributions on the position of the electorate. I nail my colours to the mast. I am no friend of referenda, even if they are being referred to in Labour Party discussion programmes, because that is what the document is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg), who is a member of that august body, the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, and probably of the drafting committee itself, reminded us.
However, I firmly believe that the debate will not conclude before a General Election has taken place and the electorate has had its say. If right hon. and hon. Gentlemen believe that after tonight the whole matter will go by default and everybody will return them again saying, "It is all over now", they are very wrong. The debate will continue. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said at the conclusion of a Labour Party Conference debate last year, whenever the General Election comes our condemnation of these 1958 terms will be put to the electorate. I have no doubt of the outcome of such a challenge. Then we shall return to this place and ensure that the interests of the British people are properly protected.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Selwyn Gummer (Lewisham, West)
During all these debates we have been very concerned with the question of to what extent British sovereignty is affected by the passage of the Bill. I do not attach much weight to the argument just advanced by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), whose plot theory of politics comes so naturally from his personality. The hon. Gentleman asserts that there was a plot between the Government and the Press about a mythical Bill which was to have been brought forward but which was not brought forward. There is no truth in that. It has never been suggested by anybody who knew. Yet the innuendo is made again and again.
The real question is to what extent our sovereignty will be affected by the passage of the Bill. The argument has changed slightly. The argument was that we should lose our sovereignty if we passed the Bill because we could not reverse the Bill. Now the argument is that hon. Members opposite will fight again and again, that this is only the beginning of the argument. So the beginning of the argument evidently takes place on the Third Reading of the Bill.
It is difficult to see that both arguments can hold. Our sovereignty is either affected because this is the final Bill after which no alteration can be made, or it is affected by the fact that the Bill brings into British life attitudes and systems so different from anything that we have had before that we cannot accept it.
No one in the House now believes that the Bill is irreversible. There are few people in the House who do not accept that we have carefully discussed the Bill Clause after Clause. Many rightly believe that the changes which we are making are major changes to the way in which the nation will be run. Those changes enhance our sovereignty, increase our power and contribute to the strength of the people of Britain rather than decrease it. If we vote against the Third Reading, we are saying to the people 1959 of Britain that we will opt out of all those chances which we would have had once again to play a proper part in the world in which we live.
The arguments which we have heard tonight have continued to be the same arguments of conservatism, that we must not make this change because the change is too big to make. That argument comes sadly from people who are to be heard arguing for change, demanding improvements and forcing through alterations in the way in which we run our society. Yet we have heard from those people a continued demand to rest as we are.
Tonight we decide whether it is time for Britain to say "We have no chance to compete against our neighbours in Europe within the Common Market because our sovereignty will so easily be taken away from us". Do we believe, as we have heard tonight, that the French will be so powerful that they will over-run us at every point? It is curious that we should say that. During the discussions on France's entry into the European Economic Community precisely the same sort of arguments were used by the French. M. Debré said that it was to dig France's grave to join the Common Market. One of the distinguished French Secretaries of State said:The Treaty strips France of her personality, deprives her of her rightful place and means the end of a way of life which, as the country will see when it returns to its senses, is being sacrificed for a mirage.That is what Frenchmen said at the time of France's entry. However, France has learned during her participation that the EEC is a community of sovereign States, and, far from losing her sovereignty, she has gained much more by sharing it with her neighbours. Tonight we are voting to say that we, too, will share our sovereignty, and in that sharing we will contribute to the society which we wish to build.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Acton)
The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) started his speech in an unfortunate way in referring to my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) and a plot. The Prime Minister said that the commitment was to negotiate, no more no less, yet it has transpired that the only negotiations 1960 which we have had are negotiations on the transitional period. Anybody reading the Conservative election manifesto would not have dreamed that that would be so. If there is a plot, it is a plot or an agreement that the Prime Minister knew all the time precisely what the negotiations were going to be about.
If that is not so, I hope the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will tell us why there was negotiation only on the transitional period and no more. The Government cannot have it both ways. Either the Prime Minister thought when he wrote the manifesto that there was going to be a wide range of negotiation, or he knew all the time that he was going to negotiate only on the transition. I hope it will be made clear which way it was.
§ Mr. Rippon
It is clear that when we accepted the Labour Government's application we all accepted the three basic treaties and all that flowed from them. Therefore, that was the starting point of the negotiations.
§ Mr. Spearing
It is a great pity, if that is so, that the Conservative manifesto did not spell it out. Quite clearly, it has been a case of negotiating less rather than more, and right from the start. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman has at least given us some information. As perhaps one of the last back benchers to speak on this momentous Bill, I tell the Government that one of the things which have given many of us concern is the lack of information we have had from them. Indeed, we have been concerned about the whole way in which the Bill has been mounted.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) pleaded that one of the reasons why we should think in European terms was that our friends in Europe want us in—as, indeed, I know they do—so that we can contribute that heritage of democratic government for which this country has been famous. But I fear that the example which the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Solicitor-General have given in presenting this Bill has not been a text book of the way democracy should work. First, as you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, know so well, we have not been free to discuss the treaties in detail. This House of the British people 1961 —which is what the House of Commons is—has been prevented by a procedural device from discussing the very treaties into which we are going and which will bind us in practice, if not in law, and that is a negation of democracy itself.
The replies we have had from the Government have often been evasive. We had an example of that tonight when the right hon. and learned Gentleman intervened in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore).When challenged about financial aspects, the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not say "Yes" or "No", but referred my right hon. Friend to a previous remark which he had made some days ago. If we look that remark up in HANSARD, we shall no doubt find that it amounts to very little. This is typical of the reaction that we have had from the Government throughout these months.
The nature of the Bill ties up material in such a way that it is difficult to get it out. When discussing Clause 1 we went on a voyage of discovery, as it has been described. We found that the Explanatory Memorandum which was supposed to tell us what the Clause was about was wholly inadequate. We had a disagreement between my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay)and the Solicitor-General about the powers of the Commission and the Council of Ministers which was never satisfactorily resolved. That was on 26th April. On the same day the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not even reply to an Amendment dealing with the phrase "enforceable Community right". That will echo into the future. That phrase is in the heart of the Bill—Clause 2(1)—and has never been defined. The Amendment sought to amplify and define it but the Government did not even reply. The right hon. and learned Gentleman merely asked the Committee to reject the Amendment without saying why.
That is the sort of democracy we have had during the Committee proceedings. I refer again to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham about democracy and the power of the House to contribute to the Community. The power of the House has been abandoned by the Government in the way they have presented this legis- 1962 lation, and as a result we may well be prevented, whatever institutions develop in Europe, from bringing into the Community the essential freedom and the essential quality of the democratic life that we have in this country.
The essence of our parliamentary democracy has been the accountability of the Executive to the people. When we have talked of the powers and privileges of this House in making legislation and demanding accountability from the Executive, we have been talking not about the House or about ourselves as Members but about the rights of the British people, because the whole history of our democracy has been the development of the right of the people to demand an account from the Executive, whether it be King, Privy Council or modern Government. That is the heart of the matter.
If there were a chain of accountability inside the Community on something that we could accept or something that we could help and to which we could contribute, the whole argument might have been very different. But it has never been there. Therefore, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham is on a loser when he says we should go in and contribute, because even that which we have has been worried away by Executive powers in the past.
My hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) had a practical point. Consultation before legislation, representation and taxation, giving voice to grievances before adjournment, and accountability of the Executive, while they may be text book phrases describing the way our democracy has developed, are powers which can be exercised by back benchers upon the Executive, if they will. I fear that the rule of law in this country, which is greatly respected, will be muddied. We have seen it already in legislation on other matters.
Young people in this country now appear to be demanding things from Government very different to those demanded by even the previous generation. My experience of the feeling and atmosphere of the House leads me to believe that they are about 20 years behind the feelings and expectations of the young people outside. I feel this more and more strongly every time I come here. 1963 I do not say that what we have here is not good and of high quality. Of course it is. But in the future young people will no longer be prepared to take "No" for an answer. More and more will people demand not participation in the sense of the "with-it" phrase but participation through their M.P. We have already reached the stage where Ministers have to hope that the Commission or the Council of Ministers will reach a particular decision. The Minister for Transport Industries said it not long ago in the House.
At the moment when young people or others are discontented and complain, we can say to them "You have a vote. Turn out the Government or change your MP." But if Parliament passes the Bill tonight and if any Government are powerless to change what they have done or make a policy, the supporters of the Bill, like the rest of us, will be unable to offer that remedy to the dissidents. Whichever way those dissidents vote and whichever Government are elected, that power will have gone. If that safety valve disappears I fear that many people will take action which at the moment they can, with reason, be persuaded not to do My greatest fear is that as a result of the Bill the rising social and economic tensions in this country will nullify whatever economic advantage there may be in the Common Market, and I doubt whether such an advantage exists.
The House has been guillotined. Its head has been put to one side by the guillotine on the Bill. Its muscles have been affected. I do not believe it will be able to hold up its head in the same way again. But its vocal chords are not cut. They are not cut tonight, and they will not be cut in the future. I hope that the Executive of this country will always be accountable to this House. Whether the Executive is in Whitehall or in Brussels, the House of Commons will remain representative of the people. I hope that it will for ever bring accountability here, because that is where it belongs.
§ 8.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
When we opened the Committee stage of the Bill several months ago the debates began with argument with the Chairman of Ways and Means. The Opposition, 1964 believing that a wrong decision had been made by him, took the only proper parliamentary course open to them, which was to put down a substantive Motion of criticism. I still think that that criticism was justified on the rights and wrongs of the issue, but we had to abide by the decision which was made.
As we moved that Motion of censure on the Chair at the beginning of our debates, it would be churlish of me and those of my hon. Friends who have been especially closely connected with the Bill if we did not acknowledge that we on the Opposition benches have been treated with the utmost courtesy, fairness and consideration both by you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and by all the officers of the House who have worked for you. I do not believe that any Opposition that has had to deal with a major Bill could have received more consideration than you have given to us The assistance we have had from the Chair has been exceptional, and I should not like it to pass unnoticed, particularly in view of the Motion we moved at the beginning of our proceedings.
Having said that, I should like to emphasise that I still think that the view which we took of the Chairman's decision was right. But the House as a whole, not merely the Opposition, has had to accept the view taken by the Chairman of Ways and Means. It is my growing belief, fortified by what has happened in the debate today, that the House as a whole, particularly those hon. Members who have not been able to be present at our debates all the time—I know the problems, and why it is not possible for people to be in attendance all the time—has never fully appreciated the implications of the Chair's Ruling. Indeed, I do not think they were fully appreciated by the Solicitor-General when he spoke today. He gave the impression that what we had been able to do throughout the Committee stage was to discuss in detail the terms of the Treaty of Accession along with the provisions of the Bill itself.
I shall not bother to quote the statement the hon. and learned Gentleman made at the beginning of our proceedings in January, when he said quite clearly that in Committee we should be able to discuss side by side the Treaty of Accession and the Clauses of the Bill. That 1965 has not been the case. The Chair's Ruling made the position quite different.
shall quote from what the Chairman of Ways and Means said at the beginning of our proceedings. These matters are of the utmost importance, since it is because of that ruling and the nature of the Bill together—and the ruling of the Chair proceeded from the nature of the Bill—that the House has never been able to discuss the individual aspects of the Treaty of Accession. Lest there should be any misunderstanding—and I fear that the Solicitor-General's remarks earlier today may very well have led to misunderstanding—I should like to quote what the Chairman of Ways and Means said on 29th February:It is not a Bill to approve the Treaty of Accession or any of the other treaties which are basic to membership of the Communities…If it were such a Bill, then, of course, every article of these treaties would be open to discussion, and the majority of Amendments to Clause 1—which we had put down then—would be in order".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th February, 1972; Vol. 832, c. 269.]But they were ruled out of order by the Chair. That situation prevailed throughout the Committee stage. We sought by every means we could to devise arrangements not only to discuss the details of the Bill to which we objected but to discuss and vote upon individual matters which had figured most prominently in the drawing-up of the Treaty of Accession.
Just to prove to the House what was the position, I should like to quote from the letter we received from the Chairman of Ways and Means right at the end of the Committee stage, on 26th June. We on this side of the House had sought to put down Amendments to discuss matters which we thought of primary concern and which we thought should be debated and voted upon. On two of those matters—one in regard to fishery production on 1st January, 1983, discussed in the Treaty of Accession, and one in regard to imports of New Zealand agricultural produce—we put down Amendments which we thought should be debated, and we used all our experience, which we had gathered during the process of debate, to put down those Amendments. But the reply I received from the Deputy Chairman of Ways and 1966 Means, who was officiating for the Chairman, said:The Amendment is thus concerned—that is, our two Amendments—with the arrangements which are to be negotiated when the temporary arrangements negotiated at the time of the United Kingdom's accession expire. Neither of these questions is relevant to the question of what legislative provision ought to be made now in order to enable the United Kingdom to join the Communities, which is the subject matter of the Bill. As you know, Standing Order No. 42 requires that Amendments should be relevant to the subject matter of the Bill, and in my view neither of these questions is relevant to the subject matter as I have defined it.I have also considered whether these topics could perhaps be raised on new Clauses but I am bound to say that I can conceive of the drafting of no device which could bring them into order. It is their substance, not any technical defect, which puts them outside the scope of the Bill.I say that it was misleading when the Solicitor-General, at the beginning of our proceedings today gave the impression to the House—and those who had not been present all the time might have been deluded by it—that we had been able to discuss the Treaty of Accession. The Treaty of Accession which the Prime Minister signed will never have been submitted to this House properly, as we understand it, because of the nature of the Bill and the ruling of the Chairman of Ways and Means.
I know that we have had the argument of the hon. Members on the other side of the House and the hon. and learned Gentleman and right hon. and learned Gentleman who have been in charge of the Bill. It has been a most curious division of Labour between the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Solicitor-General. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has sought to make the provisions of the Bill plain, and has failed, whereas the Solicitor-General has sought to keep them obscure, and has succeeded. That has been the difference between the two. It seems to me that it has been a parliamentary combination modelled on the story of Jack Spratt who could eat no fat and his wife who could eat no lean, and between them they have almost licked clean the platter of our parliamentary beliefs. But we shall come to that later.
In any case, what I sought to establish at the beginning—and I hope the Prime 1967 Minister understands this—was that few have understood the nature of the Bill. The Bill has meant that we have not been able to discuss the terms of the treaty itself. That is our first ground of grievance. We say that the Bill should never have been introduced in a form which denied to the House of Commons the right to discuss the Treaty of Accession. My hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) has just made the same point.
The second of our grievances about this Bill—and, as the Solicitor-General acknowledged, it is a Bill of historic importance and therefore should have been treated with the utmost care which Parliament was capable of giving to it—is the way in which this Bill of such historic importance has been squeezed through the Committee stage of the House of Commons.
The Solicitor-General quoted some of the figures. I think he said that we have had 96 Divisions. As I understand it, out of those 96 Divisions, the Government's overall majority is about 40—[Interruption.]—all right, make it a bit less, give or take a few food-taxing, guillotine-operating Liberals. Out of the 96 Divisions we have had in Committee I understand there have been about 56 Divisions in which the Government's majority was 20 or less. There have been 17 Divisions in which the Government's majority was 10 or less and six Divisions in which the majority has been six or less. By any reckoning that is not "full-hearted consent" for this Bill.
It is the combination of these two factors, the thin nature of the Government's majority and the significance of the Chairman's ruling of which the House should take note, particularly my hon. Friends who have spoken in favour of this, such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever), who stated his case most powerfully again today. What is most significant from their point of view and what should be most significant from the point of view of the House of Commons, is that because of the Chairman's ruling excluding any questions of principle about entry to the Market, which was said to be a matter with which we could not deal, all the Amendments selected by 1968 the Chair for Committee could have been accepted by the Government and we would still not have been prevented from entering the Community.
All the Amendments selected by the Chair, by the definition which the Chair gave, were the "nuts and bolts" required to make it possible for Parliament to adapt its procedures and arrangements to deal with the Bill. The principle of the treaties which we were called upon to sign we were not allowed to debate. This casts a serious reflection on the way in which the Government have dealt with this question. No one who has listened to our debates can have failed to learn a great deal. Certainly I did not appreciate, and I am sure the Government did not appreciate, the power or potency of Clause 1 before we discussed it. No one realised, before we had a detailed debate upon it, that it would be perfectly possible for the Government to sign a treaty dealing with, say, monetary union or something of that sort, and have it translated into legislation in this land solely by a single vote. No one understood that.
Indeed, when the Government were challenged on it the Chancellor's excuse was, "Oh well, you need not worry too much because we could do it by enactment if we wanted." I say that these facts are proved by the Committee stage. All the Amendments which we tabled could have been accepted by the Government and they could still have taken us into the Community. That was the only area of debate which we were allowed upon the Bill. It makes all the more wanton the way in which the House has been invited by the Government to throw away its parliamentary liberties in this matter.
We have thrown away these parliamentary liberties without the necessity for doing so. The Governments of the Six have said things to us which some of us may find rather impertinent, but none of them has asked that we should act in this way. The Government have chosen to do it by methods which inflict such injury upon our parliamentary procedure.
As I have been listening to our debates, there has drummed in my mind a sentence of Edmund Burke:England has not forsaken her virtue pursue her interest, she has abandoned her interest in order to prostitute her virtue.1969 That is the way in which we have dealt with our parliamentary liberties during these debates. We have thrown them away for no purpose.
Had even some of our Amendments been accepted, we should have secured a measure of protection, but all protections have been denied to us by the way in which the Government have drawn up the Bill, by the way in which they have forced it through under the guillotine and, most offensive of all, by the way in which they apparently made up their minds when they were part way through that they would permit no Amendment which would enforce a Report stage. By this combination of methods the Government have denied to the House of Commons the possibility of discussing the most historic Measures which this country has taken in peacetime for many generations.
I should have thought that the Government would be eager to ensure that they should make proper reports to Parliament and that they should obtain parliamentary approval for many of the Measures. That is what most of our Amendments have been designed to secure. A Government determined to observe and pursue British interest in future discussions with the six would have been eager to be fortified in this respect.
But the Government have not done that either. They have said, "No; it is absolutely inflexible; we are committed to the proposition; we cannot vary it in any way; the bond is complete; no renegotiation or negotiation is possible." That was the theme of the Merchant of Venice; that is what Shylock said. I dare say that President Pompidou, under the treaty which the Prime Minister was foolish enough to sign, has a right to his pound of flesh, but he has no right to our parliamentary blood. So the bond is not absolute, we are not committed. I look forward to the occasion when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, who has made many appearances on these matters, will reappear in the rô1e of Portia and make it clear that there is a flaw in the bond and that we are not prepared to accept it.
There are many hon. Gentleman who argue, if that is the position why worry? My right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham put for- 1970 ward a similar argument today. He brushes aside the declaration of bond by President Pompidou; he said that it is of no great significance. That is a peculiar statement to make, and I do not know whether the Government support it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy tried to deal with the matter in a breezy manner when he intervened today, as he did earlier in Committee, but it is a more important question than that.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech—whether it was wise to say it is another matter, neither here nor there to the argument—went out of his way to say that the Government would not be bound by being forbidden growth of the economy because of allegiance to a fixed parity rate. He made a declaration which was supposed to be of considerable importance. But at the same moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer was entering into a bargain with President Pompidou. When the Government floated the £ a few weeks ago it was presented to the country as though it were the greatest rescue act since Jonah was saved from the whale. But now we are back on the ship again, heading for the shipwreck.
The Government know what the French Government are saying about this—they say it in public, so no doubt they say it in private, too. My right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham is an expert on these matters and knows more about them than members of the Government, but he does not necessarily know as much about the subject as President Pompidou. This is what President Pompidou said on July 4th in the Declaration of Bonn:" Our basic aim remained a European Economic and Currency Union and the doctrine for this was established in the agreement of March 21st. That naturally meant that fixed exchange rates must be maintained and those countries which have departed from fixed exchange rates must return to them. This was the indispensable basis for the establishment of the Economic and Currency Union and this basis must be created before the enlargement of the Community could finally take place.That is not only the view of President Pompidou. It is also the view of Dr. Mansholt. Dr. Mansholt and his Socialist colleague, President Pompidou are together on this matter. They both specify the date of 1st January next year as one of the conditions of entry.
1971 Do the Government want to stand up for British interests? Only a week or two ago they were saying that it was one of the most brilliant coups by the Government in that they did not have to have a fixed parity rate. Therefore, they cannot now say that they are determined to return to a normal situation by 1st January. They certainly cannot say both these things at precisely the same moment. We are faced with a situation that either the Government will have to sign on President Pompidou's dotted line or they will have some difficulty in getting into the Common Market on 1st January.
It surely would have strengthened the Government's hand if they had been able to say, "On all these questions we shall not merely have to return to the House of Commons and get general sanction for what we are doing, but we shall have to return to deal with the matter in detail". But they have said nothing of the sort. The Government have thrown away a bargaining counter in this matter, just as they did when the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was conducting negotiations on the Treaty of Accession.
I come to the abandomment of the normal rights which we have had in this country for generations. I do not say that the situation is perfect, and I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) that I believe that many improvements can be made. But what we are doing in the Bill is transferring powers away from this House either to the British executive or to other even more irresponsible executives. We are doing this on a scale which has never been contemplated before.
Furthermore, we are blurring all the responsibilities for governing people on so many matters, and nobody will be able to define exactly who is responsible for taxation. It has been said that we have not many powers of taxation or rights of legislation as it is. But we can at least deal with Ministers in this House; we can bring them here and cross-examine them. But once the Bill is passed, if it is passed, once we are in the Common Market—if President Pompidou allows us in on his terms—then all the responsibilities will be blurred. Every Minister will be able to escape from those responsibilities by saying, "Part of these powers has been 1972 transferred, and those who wish to protest should have done so on the Second Reading or Third Reading of the Bill".
I understand the feelings of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham and those of many others of my right hon. and hon. Friends and of many right hon. and hon. Members opposite. They are motivated in their desire to enter the European Community by a deep and passionate allegiance to international ideas. I respect and understand their feelings. I share a similar internationalism even though I do not wish to see it expressed in the same way.
I did not say that this was the worst sell-out since Munich. I compared it with the Treaty of Utrecht. However, there is this one likeness with Munich. What happened at Munich was that the Powers of Western Europe, Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain—thought that they could settle the affairs of Europe. But they were only part of Europe. One of the deficiencies of Munich was the attempt to say, "We shall settle for the whole of Europe", when they were less than half of Europe. That is the error which to a great extent we are repeating today.
What is even more dangerous is to set the cause of internationalism against the claims of freedom and democracy. That is a very dangerous course. What is necessary is that the two claims should be combined, and it is perfectly possible. It is so dangerous to set the cause of Europe against the cause of Parliament, but that is what the Bill does in every contemptible Clause and every pusillanimous subsection.
The Bill says that we have to choose between the ideal of entry into Europe on the terms which have been settled by the Government and sustaining our parliamentary freedoms and democratic rights. That is a very dangerous choice. But in any event, if that choice or any other connected with this matter is to be presented to the people, it should and must be presented to them. It will not end here. The people will not agree to a matter of this consequence being settled by majorities of six, eight, 10 or even 112. The people have a right to say that they should settle these issues.
The Prime Minister once said that he would ask the people for their consent. 1973 He has never done that. It is that prolonged and calculated deceit which will lie for ever on his conscience. It is that deceit which will destroy him and any of those who attempt to sustain it.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)
I can join with the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) in one regard; namely, in expressing the thanks of every right hon. and hon. Member to the Chairman of Ways and Means and his colleagues for the patience and understanding with which they presided over our Committee proceedings.
Before dealing with the speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, I must congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Norman Lamont). It is a great pleasure for me to welcome his maiden speech, not only because of my past associations with his well-favoured constituency, which I value very much, but, above all, because of the quality of his contribution to our debate. I am sure that throughout the many years during which I trust he will be a Member of this House he will look back with pride at having spoken so eloquently on this historic day. Certainly his speech was not controversial in the sense that we all recognise that the differences in this House on this issue cut right across customary parliamentary boundaries.
In a parliamentary democracy, which the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale seeks so passionately to defend, each Member of Parliament must resolve, as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) said, his own particular differences and difficulties according to his conscience.
We heard from the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale the same speech that we have heard so frequently since February. It is an eloquent speech, but in extravagant terms, and is fundamentally depressing. I find that it has an element of futility. Even the references to Munich show how the hon. Gentleman really lives in the past. He thinks that everything must go on in the same old rut, fixed and settled.
I have thought much in the course of these long days and nights about what has linked together my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South- 1974 West (Mr. Powell) and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. My right hon. Friend said it was no paradox, because they were both agreed on the importance of parliamentary supremacy. I accept that my right hon. Friend forgot parliamentary supremacy in 1967.
I do not believe that the defence of parliamentary democracy is compatible, for example, with arguments about a referendum. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) accepted that. It is not compatible with forcing Members to vote against their consciences. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]
We all know—it was obvious from the speeches by the right hon. Member for Cheetham and others—that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and his right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) do not speak with the full-hearted consent of the Opposition. I believe that great harm is done to parliamentary democracy if that is not recognised and understood, because, as Kenneth Clark in his book "Civilisation" wrote:We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion just as effectively as by bombs.What the opponents of the Bill have principally in common is fear. They are dealers in fear: fear of foreigners, fear of change, fear of the unknown. That is what binds them together.
So what we have had from the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and his right hon. Friends the Members for Stepney and Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and others over the 40 days and nights which we have spent in our wilderness of the Committee is an abject, squalid, shameless, stream of defeatism. I ask some of these fearful people to recall President Roosevelt's inaugural address in 1933. [Interruption.] It is still relevant. As the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) said, truisms in politics are often relevant, but may be trite. President Roosevelt said:So let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.That is what we hear from the opponents of the Bill who have played upon the fears and anxieties of the electorate from start to finish.
1975 For five months we have examined in detail in the Bill the legislative consequences of our accession to the European Communities. Once again, as he has done throughout the proceedings, the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale has misunderstood the whole purpose of the Bill. He refuses to recognise that the treaties themselves cannot be amended. They can be accepted or rejected by Parliament, but they cannot be amended. That has always been the constitutional position.
We have perhaps had harsh things to say about each other from time to time, but I believe that the hon. Member for Inverness was right, and I am grateful for some of the things that he said about the two Front Benches. In our debates we have had an honest expression of views, and there has been no stifling of discussion of any kind.
Protracted as these proceedings on the Bill have been, they have to a large extent been merely a continuation of what has been discussed in this House for many years past. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General said that two million words have been spoken on the Bill, but I should judge that nearer 20 million words have been spoken on this issue in succeeding Parliaments, and when we ended the Committee stage I could not help recollecting that it was just 16 years ago, almost to the day, on 5th July, 1956, that I was the first Member, on either side of the House, to raise a debate upon the desirability of our negotiating to enter the European Economic Community which was then being formed.
A week later I drew the attention of the then Prime Minister to a Motion standing in my name and in the names of some of my right hon. and hon. Friends, as well as the Liberal Party, on the desirability of accepting in principle the establishment of a Common Market. Needless to say, like many backbenchers on other occasions, I was told "Not before the recess". But we had the first debate on 26th November, 1956, and on looking at the speeches that were made then I see that we canvassed almost all the major issues that we have been discussing on this Bill—the question of sovereignty, the protection of Commonwealth interests, agriculture, the relationship between standard and cost-of-living, the need to get higher wages through 1976 higher production, better production costs through access to a larger market, and we even debated the advantages of variable exchange rates.
Nobody can say that we have not debated this issue at great length in Parliament. If I may be forgiven on this occasion for quoting an earlier speech, this is what I said then:In considering whether or not Britain participates, it is fruitless trying to draw up a balance sheet of gains and losses from an economic or a political point of view. From the facts now before us I think that the hon. Member for Stechford is quite right when he says that the balance of economic advantage is in favour of going in. As far as the political issue is concerned, I am sure he is right when he says it is all one way, and that from the political point of view it is essential that we should participate. We should make up our minds on the basic principle…Some years ago, President Auriol of France said: 'Europe must unite herself if she wishes to recover and live, and if she does not want American assistance to be a gesture without future or a humiliating charity'. I think that recent events have given emphasis to his words.The nations of Europe today are learning the lesson that they must stand together in defence of their common interest. In the last resort, nobody else will be prepared to do it for them. I believe that Europe must be strong and prosperous in its own right if we are not to go to the wall. Without Britain a six-Power common market might well have an economic unity which would be gravely detrimental not only to our interests but also to those of the Commonwealth. But it would not be strong enough to be a real power in the world. I believe that only Britain can provide the necessary weight, power and strength."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1956; Vol. 561, cc. 141–2.]I believe that that is still true today. We know perfectly well that there are people Who do not accept, and never have accepted, the need to make that declaration in principle.
After all the debates and vicissitudes of fortune we reached the point in May, 1967, when the Leader of the Opposition as Prime Minister got what he subsequently boasted to be the largest parliamentary majority in modern history, to apply for entry to the Community. There were then hon. and right hon. Members who dissented from the principle. They still do, and their position is quite honourable, but all those who supported the application accepted the basic principle of the treaties subject only to the negotiation of satisfactory terms.
1977 Last October, by a majority of 112, the House declared its acceptance of the principles of entry on the terms negotiated. We have now to take our final decision on the Bill, a Bill which, I have emphasised time and again in the course of the Committee stage, is to make the necessary changes in our domestic law required to enable us to give effect to our obligations under the Treaty of Accession and so to proceed to ratification. The Bill to which the House is now asked to give the Third Reading makes these provisions, I assert, in an entirely constitutional and parliamentary way. I really cannot understand why people complain about the length of the Bill. I have never thought it necessary for a Bill to be judged by its length. It has always seemed to me absurd to believe that parliamentary democracy is protected by badly drafted or artificially enlarged Bills that have a mass of unnecessary or bad Amendments.
On 14th June and again at the end of our Committee proceedings, I emphasised that we considered all the Amendments put forward to the Bill on their merits. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale said that surely some Amendments could have been accepted, but, in fact, a great many of the Amendments were to leave out Clauses and subsections and were directed at the whole principle of our entry and were challenging the terms and items in the treaty which because of their nature could not be amended. Alternatively, they were Amendments designed to make procedural changes for which the Bill, as the Committee accepted, is not the proper vehicle.
This afternoon most attention has been directed to the issue of sovereignty and the position of Parliament. That was so in Committee, and it is right that we should conclude our deliberations this evening having regard to that matter. I know that many hon. Members on both sides of the House are genuinely worried about the possible loss of sovereignty. I believe that arises out of a total misunderstanding of the nature of the European Community which we are seeking to join. It is a Community built upon respect for the individuality of the States which comprise it, and the record of the Community, as the Leader of the Opposition used to say time and again, proves that decisions are never taken against the vital interests of its members.
1978 By that I do not mean that it would not make sense for a larger Community to develop stronger institutions at the centre. The point is that as they develop we will be participating at every stage in the development in our own interests in certain defined fields, exercising sovereignty in a larger dimension. I believe that by pooling our sovereignty we shall, in fact, strengthen it. As an influential member of an influential Community we shall have more, not less, influence in the world over matters of international policy which vitally affect us.
To put it differently, I believe that in certain circumstances we may be ceding the shadow of sovereignty in order to keep its substance. The hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) developed this theme. We are joining an evolving Community. It may be that in giving effect to the provisions of the treaty it is necessary to have a Bill, which brings our domestic law into harmony, which appears to be rigid, but developments in the future will be in no sense rigid and we shall make our own contribution.
My hon. Friend the Member for Maid-stone (Mr. John Wells) asked what we shall do about grading apples. On matters of this kind, and wider issues, in a sense we are renegotiating the arrangements all the time. I had a feeling, listening to my hon. Friend, that one might say that man is a spiritual being with great ideals; he continues to grade his apples. There is a Question tabled for my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture about this. But it was an illustration, albeit in a particular sphere, of the point being made by the hon. Member for Coventry, North about the evolving Community in which we shall exercise our influence.
§ Mr. Shore
Relating apples to sovereignty, would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that whatever the argument might be on balance about whether by joining the EEC the sovereignty and power of the Government is increased or diminished, there should be no question—this has been the argument deployed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot)—but that the power of Parliament will be diminished, and that it is Parliament that 1979 represents the people and it is the people who have not been consulted?
§ Mr. Rippon
I am dealing with the broad issue of sovereignty, where the position is largely as it is under other treaties we have signed in the past. But the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) is quite right to say that we have moved on from the general question of sovereignty to the question of parliamentary control. No one was more active in raising this matter than my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mal-ton (Sir Robin Turton). He raised it again today. This is a matter which very much concerns us. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General dealt with it this afternoon.
I would only say once again that it has to be accepted that the Government—both the previous Government and the present Government—accepted from the start the 1967 White Paper's analysis that we were accepting in advance future Community law, and we drew the conclusion from that that Parliament must therefore get in earlier and be able to influence the Community instruments while they are yet proposals.
But there has been a real difference between our approach and that of the opponents of the Bill. They have searched in Committee for something which is inconsistent with the principle of direct applicability. We thought, for our part, that Parliament would wish and would need to adapt to new circumstances. I accepted on Second Reading on behalf of the Government that special arrangements would be needed for Parliament. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton that it is a pity that we have not made more progress in the working out of proposals. The suggestion of an ad hoc committee was one idea which called for a response from the Opposition, but we have had none through the usual channels.
§ Mr. Rippon
It is a matter fox Parliament. It is a matter for consideration as parliamentary procedure, over which the House is its own master. For that reason, and because it is not appropriate to be put into the Bill—and the Com- 1980 mittee accepted that—I hope that the Opposition will now co-operate with the proposed inquiry. Certainly this is a matter in which Parliament could set an example to the rest of the country by showing its willingness to embark upon a practical examination of the issues involved.
Some right hon. and hon. Members have raised again their dissatisfaction with the terms. I cannot dwell upon them tonight. It is right that I should say categorically on this occasion that we stand by the terms as the best available on the basis of the hand dealt us by the previous Government—a hand which we supported, a hand which was based on the acceptance of all three treaties and all that flowed from them, subject to satisfactory transitional arrangements, except for those matters on which we put down markers and about which we have spoken often in the House and said that something more than transitional arrangements would be required. We stand by the terms as decisively supported by the House on 28th October.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton, and other right hon. and hon. Members, raised the question of the effect of floating on our balance of payments costs. At present, there is no need to depart from the estimates in the July White Paper.
§ Mr. Rippon
Cmnd. 4715 gave estimates of our contribution to the Community budget—net payments rising from £100 million in 1973 to £200 million in 1977 were envisaged—and of the additional cost to our balance of payments on account of foodimports—£50 million per annum at the end of the transitional period.
We did not attempt in the White Paper to make an overall quantitative assessment either of the welfare effects of entry or of the overall balance of payments effect of entry, except to say that the Government believed that the impact on our balance of trade would be positive and substantial. That remains our view.
What has been said from the outset, by the last Government and by this one, is that there can be no exact balance sheet. The size and the shape of the budget will change over the years; there is no doubt 1981 about that. What we negotiated was a proper percentage of our contribution to the budget, whatever it might be, leading up—as the Labour Government always said we had to do—to paying our full costs in due course.
The right hon. Member for Stepney and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale talked a great deal about President Pompidou's alleged statement in Bonn. It was not a declaration of Bonn. It was, I understand, something President Pompidou said going down the steps afterwards. Therefore, nobody is quite clear exactly what he said. "Declaration of Bonn" is putting it a little high. What President Pompidou said, according to the hon. Member's account—I think it is basically correct—was that our basic aim remains.
As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made clear repeatedly—I have dealt with it also in Committee—the decision to allow sterling to float temporarily did not imply any going back on our resolve to participate in and contribute to the development of an economic monetary union in the enlarged Community. The previous Government supported that principle. We support it. We believe in what the right hon. Member for Cheetham aptly described as fixed but movable parity.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
Is the Chancellor of the Duchy telling the House that this statement of President Pompidou which was made known in Bonn was not communicated to the British Government? Is this a measure of the level of discourtesy that the French Government showed to Her Majesty's Government? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman say that he has had no communication with the French Government on this matter of paramount importance? Can we have an answer now before we vote?
§ Mr. Rippon
What I made quite clear to the right hon. Member for Stepney was that President Pompidou's remarks have been completely misrepresented. There remains no difference between us. We have said perfectly clearly that we shall return to the internationally agreed margins of fluctuation around parity as soon as conditions permit. As the right hon. Member for Cheetham pointed out, 1982 that applies to the IMF rules as well as to the EEC currency arrangements.
Finally, the right hon. Member for Stepney, with his gloomy countenance, portrayed a dangerous economic situation, a woeful balance of payments, and all the rest of it. The House should recognise that the Bill paves the way for very great opportunities for our industry. No only shall we have permanent unrestricted access to a market of over 300 million people, but those benefits will not be restricted to the current tariff cuts, important as they will be for industries producing all the products which are now subject to rates of tariff varying between 15 per cent. and well over 20 per cent.
In a larger market our companies will be able to plan ahead with much greater certainly. The high technological industries particularly will be able to take advantages of economies of scale and to participate in this bigger and faster growing market. It is perfectly clear for many of our great industries that projects of the scale which are required in the modern world are beyond the capacity of single countries because the proportion of national resources needed to support them is too great. The need is for collaboration not just project by project but in permanent international companies full integrated to use resources with maximum efficiency.
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire) rose——
§ Mr. Rippon
I firmly believe that by a united effort the people of this country can secure for Britain and Europe not only greater prosperity, security, faster economic growth, and a higher level of productive investment, but greater real wages, a higher standard of living and a more civilised environment.
§ Mr. Baxter
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is having great difficulty in getting sufficient material to finish his speech within the time limit. Will he now deal with a very important aspect of the whole question of whether or not this Parliament has a right and responsibility to violate the Treaty of Union and make this other treaty with Europe? This requires an answer.
§ Mr. Rippon rose——1983
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) has only about another 15 seconds.
§ Mr. Rippon
My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate dealt with that matter in Committee. It is a typical antediluvian intervention from an opponent of the Bill.
The building of a united Europe has been an objective of British foreign policy pursued by successive Governments for generations, and it stems, as the House should recognise, from a recognition that even at the height of our power and influence in the 19th century we could not afford to follow a self-isolating policy. It is usually Mr. Gladstone whom I wish to quote but on this
occasion Lord Salisbury might be more appropriate. He said:
We belong to a great community of nations and we have no right to shrink from the duties which the interests of the Community impose upon us…We are part of the community of Europe and we must do our duty as such.
Lord Salisbury said that at Caernarvon on 11th April, 1888, and Mr. Gladstone said the same.
§ I believe that we shall walk tall into Europe on 1st January 1973. We shall take our rightful place in the counsels of Europe. We shall compete and we shall contribute.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Francis Pym) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read the Third Time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 284.1987
|Division No. 292.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Channon, Paul||Fidler, Michael|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Chapman, Sydney||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Chichester-Clark, R.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Churchill, W. S.||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Astor, John||Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Fortescue, Tim|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Foster, Sir John|
|Awdry, Daniel||Cockeram, Eric||Fowler, Norman|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Cooke, Robert||Fox, Marcus|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Coombs, Derek||Fry, Peter|
|Balniel, Lord||Cooper, A. E.||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Cordle, John||Gardner, Edward|
|Batsford, Brian||Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Cormack, Patrick||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Costain, A. P.||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Critchley, Julian||Glyn, Dr. Alan|
|Benyon, W.||Crouch, David||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Crowder, F. P.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Biggs-Davidson, John||Curran, Charles||Goodhew, Victor|
|Blaker, Peter||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gorst, John|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Gower, Raymond|
|Boscawen, Robert||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen. James|
|Bowden, Andrew||Dean, Paul||Gray, Hamish|
|Braine, Bernard||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Green, Alan|
|Bray, Ronald||Digby, Simon Winglield||Grieve, Percy|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Dixon, Piers||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Grylle, Michael.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Drayson, G. B.||Gummer, Selwyn|
|Bryan, Paul||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Gurden, Harold|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Dykes, Hugh||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)|
|Buck, Antony||Eden, Sir John||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Burden, F. A.||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Hannam, John (Exeter)|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Emery, Peter||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Eyre, Reginald||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Farr, John||Hastings, Stephen|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Havers, Michael|
|Hawkins, Paul||Mawby, Ray||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Hay, John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Sharples, Sir Richard|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Heseltine, Michael||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Hicks, Robert||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Simeons, Charles|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Miscampbell, Norman||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Hiley, Joseph||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Money, Ernle||Soref, Harold|
|Holland, Philip||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Speed, Keith|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Monro, Hector||Spence, John|
|Hordern, Peter||Montgomery, Fergus||Sproat, Iain|
|Hornby, Richard||More, Jasper||Stainton, Keith|
|Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey Reigate)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Steel, David|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Morrison, Charles||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Mudd, David||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Hunt, John||Murton, Oscar||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Neave, Airey||Stokes, John|
|James, David||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tapsell, Peter|
|Jessel, Toby||Normanton, Tom||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Nott, John||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Onslow, Cranley||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Tebbit, Norman|
|Jopling, Michael||Osborn, John||Temple, John M.|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Pardoe, John||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Parkinson, Cecil||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Peel, John||Tilney, John|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Percival, Ian||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Kinsey, J. R.|
|Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Trew, Peter|
|Kirk, Peter||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Kitson, Timothy||Pink, R. Bonner||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Knox, David||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Lambton, Lord||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Waddington, David|
|Lamont, Norman||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Lane, David||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Raison, Timothy||Walters, Dennis|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Le Merchant, Spencer||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Warren, Kenneth|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Redmond, Robert||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfleld)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||While, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Longden, Sir Gilbert||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Loveridge, John||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Wilkinson, John|
|Luce, R. N.||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Winterton, Nicholas|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|MacArthur, Ian||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Wood, Rt Hn. Richard|
|McCrindle, R. A.||Ridsdale, Julian||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|McLaren, Martin||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Worsley, Marcus|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Maddan, Martin||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Madel, David||Rost, Peter|
|Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Royle, Anthony||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mather, Caral||St. John-Stevas, Norman.||Mr. Bernard Weatherill and|
|Maude, Angus||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D||Mr. Walter Clegg.|
|Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Scott, Nicholas|
|Abse, Leo||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Coleman, Donald|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Concannon, J. D.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Bradley, Tom||Conlan, Bernard|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Ashley, Jack||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Cronin, John|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Atkinson, Norman||Buchan, Norman||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dalyell, Tam|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Darling, Rt. Hn. George|
|Baxter, William||Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Davidson, Arthur|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cant, R. B.||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Carmichacl, Neil||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
|Biffen, John||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Deakins, Eric|
|Body, Richard||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey|
|Booth, Albert||Cohen, Stanley||Delargy, H. J.|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Judd, Frank||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Dempsey, James||Kaufman, Gerald||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Devlin, Miss Bernadette||Kelley, Richard||Pentland, Norman|
|Doig, Peter||Kerr, Russell||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Dormand, J. D.||Kilfedder, James||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Kinnock, Neil||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lamble, David||Prescott, John|
|Driberg, Tom||Lamborn, Harry||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lamond, James||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Latham, Arthur||Probert, Arthur|
|Eadie, Alex||Leadbitter, Ted||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Leonard, Dick||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lestor, Miss Joan||Richard, Ivor|
|Ellis, Tom||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|English, Michael||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Roberts, Rt.Hn Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Evans, Fred||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Ewing, Henry||Lipton, Marcus||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lomas, Kenneth||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Fell, Anthony||Loughlin, Charles||Roper, John|
|Fisher,Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rowlands, Ted|
|McBride, Neil||Sandelson, Neville|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||McCartney, Hugh||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McElhone, Frank||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Foley, Maurice||McGuire, Michael||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Foot, Michael||Mackenzie, Gregor||Short, Mrs. Renee (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Ford, Ben||Mackie, John||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Forrester, John||Mackintosh, John P.||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Maclennan, Robert||Sillars, James|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||McManus, Frank||Silverman, Julius|
|Freeson, Reginald||McMaster, Stanley||Skinner, Dennis|
|Garrett, W. E.||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Small, William|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||McNamara, J. Kevin||Spearing, Nigel|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Maginnis, John E.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Goldlng, John.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Marks, Kenneth||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Gram, George (Morpeth)||Marquand, David||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Marsden, F.||Strang, Gavin|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Marshall, Dr. Edmund|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Marten, Neil||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Swain, Thomas|
|Hamling, William||Meacher, Michael||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff.W.)|
|Hardy, Peter||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Harper, Joseph||Mendelson, John||Tinn, James|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mikardo, Ian||Tomney, Frank|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Millan, Bruce||Torney, Tom|
|Hattersley, Roy||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Tuck, Raphael|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis.||Mline, Edward||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Heffer, Eric S||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Hilton, W. S.||Moate, Roger||Varley, Eric G.|
|Horam, John||Molloy, William||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Molyneaux, James||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Wallace, George|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Watkins, David|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Moyle, Roland||Weitzman, David|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Wellbeloved, James|
|Hunter, Adam||Murray, Ronald King||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Oakes, Gordon||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Ogden, Eric||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Janner, Greville||O'Halloran, Michael||Whitlock, William|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Oram, Bert||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Orbach, Maurice||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Orme, Stanley||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|John, Brynmor||Oswald, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Padley, Walter||Woof, Robert|
|Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Palmer, Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jone,.Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Mr. James Hamilton.|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time and passed.