HC Deb 04 May 1972 vol 836 cc587-9
Q5. Mr. Tilney

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the interests of bringing the Commonwealth and Western Europe closer together, he will suggest to the Commonwealth Secretary General that he should accredit a deputy to the headquarters of the Common Market

The Prime Minister

Matters of this kind are for the Commonwealth Secretary General in consultation with Commonwealth Governments.

Mr. Tilney

As we all hope that our entry into Europe will quickly be of great benefit to the bulk of the Commonwealth countries and in the long run to all of them, would not the appointment of a deputy secretary general of the Commonwealth help Commonwealth interests in Brussels and make Western Europe more outward-looking?

The Prime Minister

Most of the Commonwealth countries already have their own representation to the Community in Brussels. Those for which special arrangements were made in the negotiations are now considering which of the three choices which were negotiated for them they wish to take up. As I have told the House previously, Commonwealth representatives have had two meetings with the Commonwealth Secretary General to discuss these matters among themselves, and Her Majesty's Government have assisted. When they have made their choice in all probability the rest of the Commonwealth countries will have direct representation with the Community. If the Commonwealth Secretary General wishes to have a deputy in Brussels we would have no objection of any kind.

Mr. Shore

Will the Prime Minister agree that the Commonwealth would be better served if he sent the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster back to Brussels to renegotiate the agreement as it affects New Zealand and the sugar-producing countries, and in particular if he had written into any revised treaty the Lancaster House agreement which is absent from the present agreement?

The Prime Minister

I do not accept that and as neither the Government of New Zealand nor the Governments of the Commonwealth countries concerned with the sugar trade have asked me for this I do not see that the right hon. Gentleman is justified in asking for it either.