HC Deb 26 June 1974 vol 875 cc1543-6
30. Mr. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in his EEC negotiations, he will discuss ways of securing adequate Scottish representation on Community institutions.

Mr. Hattersley

No, Sir. In filling posts open to citizens of the United Kingdom no distinction is drawn between candidates from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Appointments are made on their merits.

Mr. Robertson

Does my hon. Friend realise that the vital interests of Scotland are not always identical with those of England and that there is need in negotiations for the particular Scottish point of view to be heard in the institutions of Europe, when these matters are being discussed, and that the Scottish point of view should be clearly seen to be being expressed?

Mr. Hattersley

Of course, and I accept without reservation that in some particulars there is a proper Scottish point of view. But I hope that my hon. Friend will equally accept that those Scottish interests and that Scottish point of view are represented very robustly by the Foreign Secretary and the other Ministers who speak for Great Britain.

Mr. Brewis

Is it not the case that one British judge at the Court of Justice, Lord Mackenzie Stuart, is a Scotsman, of the two Commissioners one is a Scotsman—Mr. George Thomson—that the British delegation to the European Parliament has about double the number of Scotsmen on it that it should have, and that if the Labour Party sent a delegation Scotland would be even more fully represented?

Mr. Hattersley

It is certainly true that, numerically, Scotland occupies a larger proportion of the representation at all these institutions than would be the case were it done on a pro rata basis in comparison with the population. But in the history of this Government and the administration of this country, that has always been so, and no doubt it will continue in the EEC.

38. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in his negotiations with the EEC, he will discuss how Scotland might gain representation on an equal basis with other small nations making up the enlarged Community.

Mr. Hattersley

Her Majesty's Government will ensure that the interests of every part of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, are fully safeguarded within the EEC, and I do not think, therefore, that the question of separate representation for Scotland need arise.

Mr. Sillars

Is my hon. Friend aware that the surest way of safeguarding the Scottish position would be to secure a renegotiation package in complete accord with Labour Party policy? Is he further aware that if, by some mischance or bad luck, he misses the main target of the renegotiation—which is the transfer back minster—Scotland might find it necesof sovereignty from Brussels to West-sary to seek member State membership of the EEC?

Mr. Hattersley

I have no hesitation or qualification in agreeing with the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. Of course, the best interests of Scotland will be preserved—indeed, the best interests of all the United Kingdom will be preserved—by the continued pursuit of the renegotiation aim laid down in the Labour Party manifesto. That is what my right hon. Friend is doing and will continue to do. The second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question about separate Scottish membership of the EEC is a hypothesis which I hope will never come about in practice, because, as my right hon. Friend has made clear time and again, we are renegotiating for success and I do not propose to consider at this early stage of the negotiations what is to happen if the renegotiations turn out to be a failure.

Mr. Kilfedder

Shortly after the United Kingdom entered the EEC the British delegation triumphantly announced that a tremendous amount of development aid would be coming to Northern Ireland. Since it has never materialised, why has it not been granted? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that this supports the notion that Northern Ireland ought to have proper representation—and I mean proper representation—in the Common Market?

Mr. Hattersley

The hon. Gentleman, I understand, rejoices in the fact that external relations for Northern Ireland are conducted by the United Kingdom Government. If he believes that that is right and proper, he must accept that the rule should apply to our relations with the EEC. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, who has some knowledge of Northern Ireland, is looking after its proper interests very well indeed.

Mr. George Lawson

Will my hon. Friend remember always that the abiding slogan of the Labour and trade union movement, particularly of its left wing, was that the workers of the world should unite? Therefore, will he pay not too much attention to the very narrow-minded nationalism that emanates par ticularly from what is called the "left wing" of the Parliamentary Labour Party?