§ Question again proposed.
§ Mr. Critchley
It might have been wiser had the present Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. Wilson), in 1972 faced the problem there and then rather than postpone it, because I think the effect upon the Labour Party of the referendum campaign itself may well be disastrous, and the only people, quite naturally, who can gain from that are my hon. Friends.
The renegotiation exercise itself has done this country and Europe an injury. We have subjected our friends to an exercise in persuasion against their will, 410 extracting from them marginal concessions at a high price of their good will. The whole process of renegotiation has been a distraction which has consumed our time and theirs at a time of immense crises, both externally and within this country.
How ironic it is, faced with a failing sense of security, the risk of international economic co-operation failing, the effect of OPEC and the energy crisis upon Europe and upon European-American relations, a threatened and actual failure of leadership among the nations of the Western world, the threat to the southern flank of NATO and an increasingly active Soviet diplomacy, that Europe and ourselves have wasted our time and energy on an obvious manoeuvre designed to hide the rift within the Labour Party itself. That is the division between the neutralists and the National Socialists, on the one hand, and the Social Democrats upon the other.
If renegotiation is an injury, the referendum itself is an insult. It is an insult to this House, to every Member of the House, to the history of the House and to all that it stands for. As an institution, the House is under attack. This is a sad day indeed. I shall most certainly vote against a referendum.
§ 10.3 p.m.
§ Mr. John P. Mackintosh (Berwick and East Lothian)
I shall take up some of the points made by the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) shortly. I should like to begin by looking at the reasons the Government gave in the White Paper and in the speech of the Lord President for introducing this proposal which is totally unprecedented in the history of this country. There is one throw-away line in the preface of the White Paper which says that this is a unique issue and that it is the unique nature of the issue which necessitates the referendum. I think that this matter has been dealt with, but let us be clear.
In the last 400 years of its history this House has not only exercised sovereignty but has given away sovereignty— not just on the Common Market issue, which is arguable, but when it conceded independence to the Republic of Ireland. This House acquired sovereignty over an Empire of 600 million people, and then gave away that sovereignty country by country. I think that the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) would agree with me that it was an historic act when Parliament gave away sovereignty over the 400 million people of the Indian Empire. These things were done— war, peace, and the creation and ending of an Empire— by debate and decision in this House of Commons. This, therefore, is the history of the matter. So one cannot argue that membership of the European Community is in any sense a unique occasion which merits unique treatment.
I turn to the other reasons given by the Lord President. He said that the previous Conservative Government had no mandate for entry. We often toss across the Floor of the House the question who has and who has not got a mandate. But it has never been part of the constitutional procedure of this country to suggest that a Government cannot meet the exigencies of the day without a precise commitment in their previous election manifesto. Indeed, most of the important things that Governments do are not the implementation of specific pledges which they have put to the public and on which they have obtained a specific endorsement but are reactions to new situations. But let us 412 be clear, there was no mandate on the part of the Macmillan Government to apply for entry in the early 1960s. There was no mandate for the Labour Government to apply to enter in 1967. But surely it is clear that when one Government of one party and then the next Government of another party both apply unsuccessfully to join the European Community, it cannot come as a total shock to the British electorate if, at a subsequent election, another Government, the third in succession, repeats what has been a consistent activity and attempt to enter the European Community. I cannot see that the argument that there was no mandate for entry can apply in this case.
§ Mr. English rose—
§ Mr. Mackintosh
Then there was the suggestion by the Lord President and others that the EEC Bill was steamrollered through the House. During its passage there was some steamrollering on the Government side, but do not let anyone imagine that there was no steamrollering on the Opposition side. We started with a majority of 112. That was composed, as my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) has said, of 69 of my hon. Friends voting in favour and 20 abstentions. The steamroller was then introduced on the Labour side.
No one can imagine that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Office did not want to vote in favour of British membership throughout the entire Bill. Do not let anyone imagine that those of us who voted for the principle would not, had we not been pressurised, have voted regularly for the Bill. I admit that to my shame many of us followed the Whip against our convictions. To my knowledge, there was no one in the majority of 112 who changed his mind by the end of the debate although the Bill finally had a majority of only 8. If there was any oddity about the passage of the Bill it was not that there was steamrollering on one side but that there was steamrollering on both sides. Had there not been that pressure on the Opposition side on pro-European Members, there might have been more relaxation on the Government side.
413 So let us not pretend that there was anything very peculiar about the passage of the Bill. The only thing I can detect that is particular or new about the situation is that it is the first time that this country has solemnly proposed to tear up a treaty agreed to and entered into by the Government and endorsed by the House. The shock that this has administered to Britain's friends in other parts of the world is phenomenal and disastrous. We have deluded ourselves by talking about this matter as a "renegotiation "; we must remind ourselves that in reality it is a tearing up of an agreement that was reached by the Government of this country.
§ Mr. Winifred Ewing rose—
§ Mr. Mackintosh
The only serious special reason that has been put forward for bringing in a referendum on this question does not lie in the nature of the issue or in the nature of the problem but in the difficulties faced by the Labour Party in handling the issue within itself. I agree that there is some importance in keeping parties united. We all know the benefit of the two party system. The House does not work adequately without a party system with which to inspire it and to keep it going. That position is perfectly clear. But to inflict this particular issue on Parliament as a remedy for a party division is entirely monstrous. When the idea was first proposed by the Prime Minister, I said that it was a sad day for the history of the House when a Prime Minister should declare that the House was fundamentally incompetent to take a major decision involving the future of Britain. My right hon. Friend rose and said that he had said no such thing, but in fact that is precisely what is being said.
I wish that the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) were present. The right hon. Gentleman asked whether there was to be a vote on principle on the Floor of the House before the referendum. We have been told that there will be a vote on principle. That cannot be stopped. It will be an unwhipped vote on the Floor of the House on whether the House recommends that the British people should remain in the Community. By any calculation the majority will be larger than 414 112— namely, the number of Members who voted in favour in October 1971.
The real nature of the disaster we are encountering is that, having observed that with a Conservative Government in power, there was a majority of 112 for entry, and then when a Labour Government was in power, we shall probably have a larger majority, despite these majorities by which the House of Commons recommended entry, the Government then say to the British people, "We consider that all this is not sufficient. It is not an adequate indication of the interests of this country."
The fundamental assumption behind the referendum is that this House does not adequately represent the feelings of this country. That is the proposition being put forward. I appreciate that many people have said, and it is an obvious point— it does not matter which way the result of the referendum goes— that if we drive home the point that a consistent majority of this House, one Government with another, does not represent the feelings of the people in this country, we are inviting referenda on other subjects. Much worse, however, every time either major party passes a contentious Bill, some newspaper will Commission a Gallup poll and will say that there is no majority support. And of course the House of Commons has admitted that a big majority in the House does not mean that a measure has the consent of the people. It may happen on a labour relations Bill, a nationalisation proposal by the Labour Party, or on a devolution proposal. One very important and tendentious issue which we pass there will be a Gallup poll among the public and it will be said that we do not represent the feelings of the country, that the House had admitted it and that the newspaper has a poll to prove it. And if there is no majority on a head count, there is an assumption that people need not obey such dubious laws.
Another terrible thing is that the referendum will perpetuate a confusion between Government by debate, thought, reflection and decision in this House with a head count. That is where I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English), and I apologise for having earlier interrupted him from a seated position. He said that 415 for him democracy meant majorities. 'This country has never believed that. There has not been a majority on a head count basis for many of the greatest reforms that this House has been proud to pass. The best case for these reforms lay in the considered judgment of those elected to serve the constituencies of this country. I say to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing)— and I appreciate her arguments— that even her case would stand a better chance of being seriously considered under the majority opinion of the Members of this House rather than by submission to a head count with all the difficulties of whom to poll and how to phrase the question.
§ Mrs. Winifred Ewing
Does the hon. Member not admit that this is an unlikely possibility? We would have to expect the English Members not only to be reasonable, as they are, but to be ultrareasonable if they are seriously to support the case for self-government for Scotland. We hope that they will, but there are only 71 Scottish Members out of 635, and that is a problem when one is in a common market.
§ Mr. Mackintosh
This House has conceded independence not only to the Republic of Ireland but to 34 other nations on the view of this House as to what is just and fair. That is a better result than could have been achieved on a head count, even if one could have solved the question of which heads were to be counted and on what question.
I wish finally to deal with a point which was raised by various hon. Members, and it concerns the practice in other countries. I wish to support the argument advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) that there is no other country that operates a representative system of democracy through an elected House like ours that has found this method adequate or appropriate for reaching decisions. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) referred to New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand has put only matters such as the licensing hours, betting laws, conscription and special issues of that kind to such a test. The New Zealand people have never 416 been invited to overturn a decision of their Parliament. Decisions on certain limited issues have been handed out to the people as they have been here on a veto poll, but the people have never been invited to reverse parliamentary decisions on major matters of national policy.
Perhaps I may point to the disaster which occurred in Norway— [Interruption.] Hon. Members may laugh about that, but I am not referring to the outcome of the vote but to the effect it had on the constitutional life of the country when the governing party was split and destroyed and when it became impossible to carry on the government. We are faced here with an identical proposal. We are told that if the government are defeated in their recommendation to the public they will still carry on governing. Does that mean that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary would pursue a policy in serious dealings with other countries which they had earlier said was inadvisable? That would be utterly irresponsible in the technical sense of the word because they would be carrying on a policy for which not they but the referendum device was responsible. In the next election if the public said "What a ghastly mess" the Government would say "It is not our fault. We carried out a policy in which we did not believe." Is that the way to conduct the government of the country?
My time is running out but there are many other arguments I could put forward on this disastrous proposal. I argue not from a pro- or anti-Common Market angle. This proposal for a referendum is as likely to do damage to proposals for Left-wing reform or any other policy that may be brought before the House. On a head count, a majority would not have been obtained for many of the great reforms with which the Labour Party has been associated. I am not opposed to referenda because of the special issue of the Market. I am confident that the pro-Marketeers will win, but I should vote against the referendum even if I knew that they would win. The referendum is a bad thing. I have heard pro-Marketeers say, "Do not fight it, because we shall win." The hon. Memfor Newport (Mr. Hughes) said that this was a victory for the anti-Marketeers. I do not care for whom it is a victory. 417 It is a defeat for the parliamentary system of government and that is why I cannot vote for it.
§ 10.16 p.m.
§ Miss Janet Fookes (Plymouth, Drake)
It is an agreeable surprise to learn how many members of the Labour Party are opposed to a referendum, as I am. I should not regard it as unconstitutional in the sense that I presume that Parliament has the right to make these arrangements and carry them through if it so wishes, but I believe that it is wholly wrong and misguided.
There might have been an argument for a referendum before we entered the Common Market, but we have now entered it, we have signed the treaty, and we should not tear up the treaty that we signed so recently. I heard from behind me on this subject a muttered remark to the effect that we have torn up treaties before, but its having been done before does not make it right to do it again. I recall that it was because one power treated as a scrap of paper the neutrality of Belgium guaranteed by a treaty that we had war in Europe.
I turn to the question of parliamentary sovereignty. Perhaps I may put it in more personal terms. I do not know the various reasons why hon. Members seek to come to the House, although there always seems to be an almighty scramble to get here. It is not for the money we are paid or for our splendid working conditions. It is because we hope to have a share in the destiny of our country by exercising our judgment, and I guard that privilege very jealously. I hope that the people trust us to make those judgments on their behalf, as they always have the right to throw us out in a general election— as a know to my cost.
There are many people in my constituency who are bewildered by the issues and would prefer the guidance of Parliament. That has not been sufficiently stressed in the debate. During the last election a woman came up to me and said "I do not understand what all this is about. Why cannot Parliament decide?" I am sure there are many people who share that view.
It is true that the people have to make up their minds about the issues in a General Election, but I suspect that by the 418 time they have been bombarded by all the various arguments they are confused about that also. Indeed, on the doorsteps many people said to me "First we listen to one side and it seems convincing, then we listen to the other and that seems equally convincing. In the end we are more confused than we were when we began." I suspect that the same will occur on this issue, which is much more complex than are many of the issues that have to be decided in a General Election. Worse still, we are faced with a raging inflation with all manner of problems. Yet here we are spending time, money and effort on this referendum when I believe the real issues are elsewhere. We should be getting on with those issues.
I turn to the White Paper and the details of the referendum there set out. On the assumption that the Bill will receive a Second Reading, I suggest some possible improvements in the measure. The wording on the ballot paper has already been discussed at length, but I share the view of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton)— and it came as a surprise and a shock to me that I hold a view in common with the hon. Gentleman. I believe that it would be right for additional wording to appear on the ballot paper so that if people so wish they can leave it to Parliament to decide. I see no reason why this should not be done technically if the will is there for it to be done.
§ Mr. John Ovenden (Gravesend)
Taking up that suggestion, how would the hon. Lady interpret a vote by the British people in which 40 per cent. of the votes were cast against continued membership, 35 per cent. for continued British membership, and the remainder said that the matter should be left to British Members of Parliament? How would she interpret such a result?
§ Miss Fookes
Obviously we should have to have a totally different way of evaluating the situation. It could not be done on a simple majority, as has been suggested. I feel that the matter is so complicated that people should have an alternative if they so wish.
This brings me to a point with which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House did not deal adequately. It 419 arises from paragraph 8 of the White Paper.The Government are concerned that the size of the poll should be adequate, and they are confident that it will be so.I do not know on what they base that confidence. Perhaps we could be told in the Government's reply.
§ Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)
I should like to make a comment on the size of the poll. I am in favour of the referendum, but is the hon. Lady aware that it is proposed that the poll should be held in the annual holidays of certain constituencies, and that my constituency is included in them? How will that lead to a high poll?
§ Miss Fookes
That is a matter for the Government to answer since it is their idea. The paragraph continues:They also consider it to be of great importance that the verdict of the poll should be clear and conclusive.But they do not suggest how this can be brought about, nor do they suggest what should be done if the answer is not clear and conclusive. We have the right to ask the Government what they would do in those circumstances. I foresee all sorts of difficulties following a low poll and an inconclusive result. I suspect that the matter would have to come back to the House for a decision and the whole exercise would be a complete waste of time.
I turn to the point about a central count. I cannot say that I am deeply moved one way or the other on the question but, on balance, there may be an advantage in carrying out the count at constituency level. I believe that there are administrative difficulties in trying to arrange the count centrally. We have a well-proven legal system that we know works pretty well. I cannot imagine what the position would be if a recount were required. I have experienced six recounts in one small constituency. I shudder to think what a recount would be like over 635 constituencies.
We must not overlook the difficulties in transporting the ballot boxes. I shall not attempt to emulate the description given by the hon. Lady the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) and her highly-coloured account of what might happen to the ballot boxes on the way to Earls Court. But I was sufficiently 420 intimidated by the prospect of her in her fur hat mounting guard over the ballot boxes to feel that it would be as well if we kept to the old method.
More seriously, if people will try to find out the results on a constituency, regional or national basis, as they have threatened, there is merit in having the figures available. Otherwise, there will be endless speculation, and all kinds of possibly inaccurate figures will be given. For that reason alone it would be as well to arrange the referendum on the old basis.
The real snag is that the referendum has not been undertaken for the right reasons. The hon. Member for Fife, Central vividly stated the position when he said that it was to cover up the difficulties in which the Government find themselves because they are deeply split on the matter. I do not believe that good comes out of actions undertaken for completely wrong reasons. The Government, and probably we, may well live to rue the day when the referendum was agreed upon.
§ 10.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Max Madden (Sowerby)
The hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux), in a most perceptive speech, said that we were all here today because of the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he? "] It is a great pity that he has not shaken the Spanish sand from his shoes to be with us. If he had been here, he would have joined those who opposed the referendum.
It would do us all good to dwell on the speech made by the hon. Member for Antrim, South. He rightly said that we are discussing a referendum because the handling of the issue by the Conservative Government resulted in a fester which has remained in the hearts and minds of the majority of the British people. All fair-minded and reasonable people, all people with an affection for parliamentary democracy, will agree with me that the way in which we were herded into the Common Market was a parliamentary travesty. It was done by a series of derisory votes on legislation which was an abomination, considering that it was on a momentous issue, legislation which reached the House in 12 421 clauses and which was run through the House under the guillotine. It was in ail respects a parliamentary travesty.
For that reason, Parliament lost its reputation and the regard which many people had for it. It was the victim of manipulation by the Conservative Government, led by people who were and still are Euro-fanatics. They wanted this country in the Common Market at almost any price. We must face that issue today, and in doing so we must overcome the objections which many of us have to a referendum.
The White Paper presents a first historic step in the honouring of the commitment which the Labour Government gave to the people at the last election that they would allow the people to decide this great issue.
If this referendum is to settle the matter finally and satisfactorily, as the parliamentary decision should have done before but did not because of the way in which it was handled, as the White Paper says it must be manifestly fair, it must be efficient and the outcome must be clear and conclusive. I am sure that those are the objectives of all of us who support the referendum.
Many of my hon. Friends have aired some of the shortcomings of the White Paper. Unfortunately, as it stands, the objectives are not likely to be achieved. I confine my criticisms to three matters— the question, the issue of Government information, and the arrangement for both sides to put their respective cases.
The White Paper says that the form of the question should be as free from bias as possible. The Government make it clear in the White Paper that they are not yet committed to any form of words. We have been told many times that the referendum should resemble a General Election as far as possible. If that is the design, why, then, is a preamble necessary? There is no similar preamble on a ballot form at a General Election. The Government do not say why they the holding an election and for what purpose. Therefore, I cannot see any genuine need for this preamble to appear on the ballot form in the referendum.
I come next to the wording of the question. If we are to fulfil the objective of fairness, we should avoid any suspicion that the question is trying to lead people 422 to certain conclusions. We are told by various experts in the ballot firms that in any campaign the form of the question is irrelevant. But I question that view, and I question the desirability of doing anything likely significantly to affect the outcome of the referendum. As the hon. Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes) said, we must remember that anything which significantly can influence the outcome must be avoided at all costs. Even the most marginal influence could have an effect on the outcome. Therefore, there is an excellent case for the Government reconsidering the question and deciding to do away with the preamble.
The point has been made that again, in trying to get fairness and a conclusive outcome, we must all support the inclusion of the words "Common Market" in the question. That is the name that the people know. Many have learned to hate it—
§ Mr. Madden
Let us use terms which people recognise. I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton), that this time we must make sure that the matter is concluded satisfactorily. We must do nothing which afterwards can be held up to question or suspicion. My hon. Friend has an interest this time in ensuring that that is done. If, for a second time, this House goes along a road which is paved with suspicion, Parliament will do itself great damage. We must all have regard to that.
I come to my second criticism, which concerns the issue of Government information. We are told in the White Paper that a massive Government information campaign would be inappropriate. But we see in the White Paper that the Government propose to issue a popular version of the renegotiated terms on a door-to-door basis. That is an unprecedented activity by a Government. It conflicts with criticisms made from the Labour benches when the last Conservative Government proposed to make publications available in Post Offices. We must look carefully at this proposal.
At a time when there is to be freedom from collective responsibility and when the majority and the minority are to be 423 allowed freely to express their views, it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that if the majority view is distributed on a door-to-door basis, the document should also carry the minority view. If the document is to be a balanced one which will help people come to a conclusion, that is the only course which can be supported.
Then I want to comment on the questions. Many of us are extremely concerned about the idea of a certain number of questions being put and answered by the respective umbrella groups. Who is to decide the questions? Who is to frame the questions? This again can lead to consequences and views which would be highly dangerous.
There is great concern about the setting up of special information units to provide, to use the phrase in the White Paper,interpretation of the renegotiated terms and the like ".I believe that this would be an extremely dangerous and ill-advised course of action for the Government to take. They have a number of highly skilled and proficient information officers serving in the different information offices who have specialist knowledge of the activities of their departments. They know how the renegotiated terms will affect their Departments and their policies, and it would be wrong to superimpose upon these Departments special information units which many of us suspect will be manned by people without this special knowledge of the individual Department.
I warn the House that if we have one special unit in London the media will request regional information units because, they will say, it is impossible to get through on the telephone to the one here. We shall face the prospect of a whole series of special information units giving their interpretation of the renegotiated terms and the like to the media all over the country.
It is necessary to limit advertising both in the newspapers and on the hoardings, because, as we have heard, the money in this game is loaded in favour of a particular view. We should always beware of that. It is wrong to disregard this aspect of the matter. It would be easy to impose limits in this field.
424 I think that the White Paper is very sanguine about the media in this referendum campaign and in the debate that will lead up to it, which is an important period. We have seen that a disproportionate opportunity is provided by the media to those who favour our staying in the Common Market. How shall we deal with the situation that will arise when the "For" and "Against" cases are to be given on the media? The Government themselves will be asking for time to substantiate their recommendation. Will the Leader of the main Opposition party ask for equal time to reply? Will the Leader of the Liberal Party then also ask for equal time to reply? In those circumstances, the whole argument will be loaded in favour of the pro-Market movement.
This is a momentous issue. It cuts across all the major political parties. It will be irreversible, for if we stay in much longer it will be impossible for the United Kingdom to disentangle itself. This issue must be decided by the people. On this issue, and this issue alone. I favour a referendum because it will fulfil our election promise. This is the only way in which to resolve this long and unhappy episode in our history.
§ 10.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Dykes (Harrow, East)
I hope that the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) will not misunderstand if I say that his speech is living evidence that those who are fanatically anti-Europe are misanthropic and negative, whereas those in favour of staying in the Community remain optimistic, humanitarian, loving and deeply compassionate.
I should be tempted, if it merited it, to dwell for longer on the hon. Gentleman's speech, but I prefer to home in with some degree of admiration on the speeches of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) and his hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh). It is a pity that other Members have not the courage that has been manifested by those two hon. Members in this great debate on this momentous issue to speak out as they did on what this is all about.
It would be wrong and a gross understatement to describe the speech of the Leader of the House when he outlined the Government's plans for this charade, 425 this pantomime, and this farce as other than a grotesque parody of what the House of Commons stands for and what his duties are to the whole House of Commons and not just to his own side and his own benches.
The arguments have been dealt with more than adequately. Nevertheless, there are one or two points which need to be repeated for the consumption of Labour Members and one or two of my hon. Friends. The people of this country see a Government who are dragging the country down in economic and social terms. They see a country which a couple of years ago signed a solemn treaty, backed by an overwhelming majority in this House—
§ Mr. Dykes
— now seeking to overturn it. Never before have treaties been torn up so quickly after their promulgation. None the less, the Government persist in this curious charade, on this problematical exercise which will fatally weaken this House, our constitutional procedures and our basic principles.
Even more important, it will serve to undermine the morale of the people yet further. The hon. Member for Sowerby spoke of how crucial and special it was for the people to have a choice on this occasion. We must bear in mind the historical precedents for the skilful, devious and almost criminal use of referenda by people in non-democratic systems for their own purposes. We must remember that classical definition of the highly effective dictator with the toothbrush moustache who ruled over a nation not far from here. He defined the inner worth of a referendum as that of being able to secure the population bending to his single will.
If that were so, and I am not drawing any analogies about the personalities involved on the Government side, it would be an argument in favour— putting it at its most cynical— of having a resounding, almost scientifically measured "Yes" in favour of our remaining within the Community.
The most irresponsible act of all of this Government— and that is saying something— is that they know not what turn out will result. There is likely to be 426 some kind of problematical result with a low turnout and perhaps a marginal difference between the "Yes" and "No" vote. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said, three weeks ago, that even if there were a resounding "Yes" the argument would remain unresolved. The whole thing will go on. The referendum is not, per se. a clinching, definitive and final way of getting the issue out of the way. That is why I indict the Government for irresponsibility, for doing that for which the people will not forgive them. They are putting the Labour Party's fragile and ridiculous unity before the basic interests of the nation.
This is being done at a time when our partners in Europe are not merely beginning to pity us for what we are under this regime but are beginning to ask themselves when Britain will have the chance to pull out of this madness. The House should totally reject this chicanery and deviousness on the part of the Leader of the House and his colleagues, above all of the Prime Minister who has so grievously misled not only those at the Summit in Dublin which has just concluded but all his colleagues and the whole British people.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. John Roper (Farnworth)
I do not wish to continue the constitutional arguments in what will have to be a brief intervention. Instead I will deal with one point concerning the green edges to this White Paper. I am a reluctant supporter of the referendum, a reluctant convert. I find it a most undesirable political innovation. I have come to accept it not because it will preserve party unity. I believe it is an innovation which will put considerable strain on the Government and on the party. I have come to accept it for reasons which are not dissimilar from those of the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies).
The present nature of our membership of the European Community is totally unsatisfactory. The continued member. ship of a grumbling Britain is a serious brake on the development of the European Community. We must clarify the position of our membership one way or another, so that the Community is not continually held back by a member who is still uncertain whether he will continue in membership. The decision should 427 be made quickly, and I therefore reluctantly accept that the decision should be made by a referendum.
I am, however, concerned by the structure which is being forced on those who will be campaigning, by the strait jacket which I suggest the White Paper is beginning to impose. My right hon. Friend the Lord President, in his opening speech, talked about two umbrella organisations. He also used the words "the two sides" as if there were two sides in a General Election campaign. This is not the case. My reasons for wishing to see continued British membership are quite different from those of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths), who seems to be one of the most eccentric spokesmen whom the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition could have appointed to speak on this subject.
Similarly my hon. Friends who take a different view from mine do so because they are honestly convinced that we shall more easily achieve the objects of a more prosperous Britain and a more socially just Britain outside the Community than inside. I do not doubt their motives. They clearly have quite different motives from those of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), or of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), or of the Scottish National Party or the National Front.
I respect my hon. Friends' opinions. I know they have honest motives. But I am depressed at the way in which, by the White Paper, they are to be forced to agree with this very motley crew, with 2,000 words on why they think we should come out, and then apparently have to find agreed answers to a number of questions. They will at least have the consolation of knowing that those who think as I do will have to find an agreed text with the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds if this strait jacket is maintained. We should all be able to campaign freely and to state our opinions, and I hope there will be arrangements, for example for a free post. But I hope we shall not be forced into a strait jacket of two sides.
I hope that the proposal in paragraph 30, the so-called Australian solution, will 428 be dropped. It is called the Australian solution because it is the method used in Australian referenda. I hope it will be dropped because the situation in this country is quite different from that in Australia where referenda take place on matters in which there is a clear difference across the Floor of the Australian Parliament between the parties. The two sets of arguments are drawn up by a majority of the supporters on one side and a majority of the supporters on the other side of the House. The division is clear along party lines in the Australian context. It is not clear in the context of the United Kingdom.
I believe that the imposition of the Australian system on the United Kingdom in paragraph 30 of my right hon. Friend's White Paper will put quite unnecessary strains on our political system in the months which lie ahead. On that particular green edge I hope that my right hon. Friends will think again and will see whether we can find a more satisfactory method before we reach the referendum in June.
§ 10.50 p.m.
§ Mr. David Walder (Clitheroe)
Every speech I have heard in the debate so far has convinced me of the difficulties inherent in trying to combine our accepted system of parliamentary democracy and the running of a referendum. In a sense I am rather sorry for the Government. I am certainly sorry for some Ministers.
It is interesting to think of the origin of this referendum. There were a number of people who were opposed to the Common Market some time back and who thought that, if there were a referendum, the people of Britain would vote against the Common Market. The idea grew. It became a popular cry in the ranks of the Labour Party when Labour was in opposition. It sounded good— "We should take the opinion of the people."
Since those days, when the leaders of the three main political parties were all in favour of entry into the Common Market, many people— I do not wish to mention any names— have come a long way. The Government are now in the position that I am in on a Saturday morning with my dog. I feed my dog regularly, but on Saturday it gets a bone. I know— I do not know whether my dog 429 knows— that its normal meals are of more value than the bone, but having given it a rather valueless bone it is very difficult to get it away from it. That is the position of Ministers now. They are stuck with the idea of having a referendum.
We all know now the results of the negotiations which have taken place at Dublin. They convince me of how wise I was when I said a long time ago, before our entry into the Common Market— it was printed in the Sunday Times by way of criticism— "Let us get into the organisation first and negotiate afterwards." That is precisely what the Prime Minister has been doing, although I am sure that what he has been doing will be represented to us all as a great triumph.
Anyhow, the referendum if it takes place will mean that we abdicate our responsibility in the House. There is a more important point than that. I will not go as far as my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) and accept the total decline of Members of Parliament which he particularised in a rather embarrassing way. I will merely say that it is an attempt by the Government to abdicate their responsibility.
No longer can we have that situation which we all know about at election meetings when people say to candidates "Your party did such-and-such. Your Government did such-and-such and we hold you to account." Now if that is said to a member of the Labour Party who is in office he can say Of course not. We did not make the decision. You did. We threw the issue out to the people." This is a reversal of the burden of government. It is dangerous. It is also an attempt to abdicate responsibility.
I am not very concerned about the details of the referendum because, as the House will have gathered, I regard the whole referendum as something of a sham. It is a bogus exercise. I am not very concerned about how it is carried out.
I am not in favour of a constituency count, for the very obvious reason that, even though Members of the House were to vote according to constituency results, there could be a majority of the country voting in the opposite direction.
Those who argue in favour of the referendum as the improved system by which one takes the voice of the people 430 and then say that it should be brought down to constituency level seem to me to be embarking on a course of extreme illogicality.
I fear that the House will allow the referendum to go forward. I hope that it will not. I shall certainly vote against it. If the House does allow it, very well; let the bandwagon go on; let us have the national count at Earls Court or perhaps at the Albert Hall and then the great result will be announced, whether by the Prime Minister or by some borrowed star of stage, screen or contemporary television I know not.
My hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes) was worried about the interpretation of the vote and the result of the referendum. I can reassure her. She has no need to worry, because we all know what the present Prime Minister wants to do and what he intends to do, and I am sure that we can leave the interpretation of the result of the referendum to him, too.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Bryan Gould (Southampton, Test)
As one who believes that there is a respectible— indeed, a powerful— case for the referendum on this issue, I congratulate the Government on their White Paper. I believe that many people in this country will see it as a means of fulfilling not only this Government's election pledge, but the dishonoured pledge of the former Conservative Government.
In the few minutes available to me, I should like to try to deal with the argument that there is some special constitutional difficulty in the way of holding a referendum in this country. No one disputes that our entry into the Common Market means a fundamental change in the way that we govern ourselves and a fundamental redefinition of our legislature.
Countries with written constitutions are able to bring about a change of that kind by following the prescribed procedures. Those procedures often involve a two-thirds majority or a referendum.
We have an unwritten constitution, so it is not possible to follow prescribed procedures. Nevertheless we have a constitution. We have rules which define this Parliament, which govern our functions as Members and so on. Those rules, 431 logically, take priority over the institution of this Parliament and Government. They rest, therefore not on the will of this Parliament but on the political realities which underlie it. It follows that this Parliament alone cannot be sure that it has the competence to change those rules, because it is a creature of them.
We can be sure of changing the rules only if we can see that the political realities have changed. In a democracy, how better to discover that than to ask the people. That is the powerful and, indeed, positive case for a referendum on this issue.
In the two or three minutes remaining I should like to try to deal with one or two of the major points of detail that arise on the White Paper. I am worried about the pieces of paper which will come to people through the free post. I have no quarrel with the document which will set out the case for either side, but I am concerned about the abridged version of the White Paper. That seems to be open to objection on a number of grounds. First, it reinforces a regrettable precedent, established by the previous Government, of using taxpayers' money to promote a particular political and partisan cause, notwithstanding that it happens not to coincide with the divisions of party politics.
Secondly, it ensures that the voters in the referendum will be guaranteed to receive an imbalance of material, whichever way the White Paper comes down, which will support one side rather than the other. It is one thing for the voters to seek out such information for themselves, but quite another for there to be certainty that they will be biased and unfairly informed in that way.
Thirdly, there seems to be revealed a misunderstanding or at least a confusion, about the rôle of the Government in this matter. The Government in this context could simply mean the executive agency which is responsible for organising the vote. But it also means a partisan majority of the Cabinet on this issue. I do not believe that the Government have thought through this ambiguity. I suggest that they should look at it again.
On the wording of the question, the argument is that the words "stay in " 432 must remain because they reflect the fact that this country is already a member of the Common Market. But that is a non sequitur best illustrated if we imagine that we had a vote before joining the Common Market. Is it seriously argued that the question then would have been, "Should we stay out of the Common Market? "because that reflected the status quo? Of course not. The question would have been, "Should we join the Common Market? ". The change would have been proposed in that question. The pro-Marketeers cannot have it both ways. I favour a question which specifically offers the two choices— stay in or come out.
I trust the good faith of the Government in this matter, but I believe that they should pay particular attention to the points that I have made.
I do not believe that anyone wants a cry of "Foul" once the decision of the people has been given on this matter. Therefore, I believe that the Government are to be congratulated on their White Paper and on fulfilling yet another election pledge.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I am always very sorry for anyone who finds himself obliged to squeeze what would have been an excellent speech into a few minutes, and I must tell the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) that he was rash in the repository he chose for his trust.
I am sorry that today we have not heard more of those people who make a habit of detracting from the worth of Parliament, because we have had a remarkable debate. I hope that even Ministers who are very busy might find the time to read speeches which have been made from their own side of the House.
It was impossible not to feel a great deal of sympathy with the Leader of the House when he opened the debate. He had, after all, to present us with a fairly stodgy diet and he did his utmost to oblige the House and to give as much information as possible.
He referred to the fact that the White Paper had been described by the Prime Minister as having very green edges, but he did not do much to relieve our 433 anxieties about the colour of the middle and did not exactly carry us away when he made one or two interesting points about the argument they had plainly had about how the question should be formulated— the choice between "going in ", "being in ", or "staying in ". So far as the choice matters, the Government were probably marginally right to choose "staying in ".
We probably all applauded the right hon. Gentleman's determination to avoid over-burdening the ballot paper, but one point I would like to make is about the question of voting by people who work overseas, particularly in Europe. The right hon. Gentleman got into one of those slight confusions to which we are all subject, when he said that, of course, if they applied for postal votes they could have them. For people who are overseas, the proxy vote is the appropriate one. I hope that he will look hard at this serious point.
It is worthy of mention that, showing rather more than his master's candour he used the words: "We do not wish it "— that is the referendum— "to be used for their own purposes by those who wish to divide the United Kingdom." He went on to say," We are not concerned with what Northern Ireland thinks," in words hardly felicitous for the occasion.
He told us that the Government had done a feasibility study. I hope that before long we shall be let into a knowledge of some of the conclusions reached in that study because this operation means more and more in its lack of realism, rather than the reverse.
He went on to refer to the extent to which bodies on each side can coalesce into what he unhappily called umbrella groupings. What part umbrella groupings can usefully play in this contest I do not know, but the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that they will write their own case. It seems an academic exercise, and how umbrella organisations can be drilled rapidly into that kind of disciplinary exercise I do not know.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, in a very welcome first contribution in that rôle, received a well-earned tribute from the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English), who said that her speech was very different 434 from that which had been made by the Leader of the House. That was a comment with which all of us of the Opposition were prepared warmly to agree. My right hon. Friend was quite clear about two particular points, and I should like to repeat them now. The first was that before we had ever advanced on such a device as a referendum there should have been far more mature consideration as to where it would lead and how it should be done. As the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) said, the conclusion we are now left with is that the Government are incapable of making a decision on this very important issue. As my right hon. Friend said, what it amounts to is that we are passing the buck to the people. That is a very shameful thing for the House of Commons to do.
In a most interesting intervention, the Minister of State, Privy Council Office, agreed with some vigour that he would be very ready to pick and choose fixed subjects for future referenda. This let the cat effectively out of the bag.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party— I am sorry that he is not in the Chamber at present— asked a most wounding question of the Government. Why, he asked, had they changed their view. He made things much worse by borrowing from the right hon. Lady who looks after prices her explanation, which was that the party simply could not have stood up to the pressures which would have resulted from inaction or the failure to find a device such as this. The right hon. Gentleman asked what was the test of uniqueness. We shall look forward very much to receiving from the Minister when he winds up an answer to that question.
It is fantastic that the Government should say, first, that this is a very important issue but then subsequently that it is not an issue on which they ought to be called upon to resign. If ever any Government yielded to the temptation and to the greed that they could both have their cake and eat it, the present Government have done it on this occasion.
The hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes)— who is also not in the Chamber at present— is always one to lend himself to one or two flights of fancy. He 435 accused everyone of all kinds of arm twisting. He went so far as to suggest that industrial companies do not owe a duty to explain to their employees where, in their view, the interests of the company and, therefore, the prospects of employment lie. I hope that we shall not hear too much of that kind of argument. I mention it only in order to show what a dangerous and menacing thing it is to freedom of expression.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) asked the serious question: is this European issue unique and how can we possibly limit the use of this device to this particular issue? I warmly agreed with him when he said, first, that there is no evidence that our constituents are falling over themselves to take part in this exercise. I hope very much that he will receive some answer from the Government how they view the effect of the actions which we are now taking both upon other people outside this country and upon our own children and the future of us all.
The hon. Member for Blackley, to whom I have already referred, said in a bold and courageous speech that from his point of view it was better that we should put up with this device rather than turn our backs on Europe. At the end of his speech he called for a decision by the Cabinet saying that the referendum is destroying the principle of Cabinet responsibility. I hope that the Government will absorb that. I hope that they will realise that these attacks are not coming from my right hon. and hon. Friends but again and again from their own supporters.
The hon. Member for Nottingham, West objected to paragraphs 31 and 33 of the White Paper— in other words, the rather strange provisions that are being made for the provision of an information centre and the loose and hopeful arrangements— they are very sloppy— for television and radio.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) raised an interesting question. He referred to the Prime Minister's statement of 23rd January in the White Paper, when he said that the Government willdecide upon their own recommendationand announce it to the House. The Prime Minister said that that would provide 436 the opportunity for a debate of substance. My right hon. Friend asked whether the Government would ask the House to endorse their decision before setting in motion the referendum procedure. He pointed out rightly that if the Government did not do so they would be going over the head of Parliament.
My right hon. Friend was not present at the time, but he received a clear answer from the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh). He told my right hon. Friend— I hope that he had the authority of the Government and I hope that the Minister will be in a position to confirm this— that there would be a debate before the referendum machinery was set in motion and that there would be a free vote in the House. That would be a very interesting matter to put to the nation.
Then we had a brave speech from the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Duffy). He first made clear the extent to which those who had quarrelled with their party had been roughed up in the process. He described how they had had to win their way back to grace. He said that those who took us into Europe had explained their position and had taken a stand, and that the onus was now on those who wanted to take us out. He said:I cannot see how the Government can avoid resigning if the country goes against its recommendations or how any of its supporters can avoid seeing that its recommendations are supported. They will have to go out into the country and campaign for it. I suspect that many of us are only just facing up to the implications of the referendum and that the Cabinet realised them only a few weeks ago ".I salute the hon. Gentleman for having had the courage to say those things. They deserve to be written large into the record of this debate.
I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) will excuse me if I say that I do not entirely agree with everything that he said. I am afraid that I missed his speech. I was especially interested in what he said about the need for some kind of commission to hear complaints during the conduct of this unprecedented operation.
Next, I turn to the remarks of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton). I am sorry that it seems necessary before saluting Labour hon. Members for their courage and other 437 qualities to give them due notice so as to attract them into the Chamber. The hon. Gentleman said that the House will never be the same again after the referendum. He suggested that it is being held for the sake of preserving unity. He said that it was a device to keep the party together. He regretted that the debate was taking place. He claimed that the referendum is a hotch-potch that has been flung at us by the Government. I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Brown) is present. In a similar speech he said that the referendum would be of no great service to the people. He added that the way to consult the people would be to have a General Election. The hon. Member said that the Government could hear the voice of the people in this way on other matters, that the people would soon be asking that we proceed with referenda on questions which they would propose, and that there would be no end to the process. He said that if we wanted to know what the people wanted we should find out in the time-honoured way and hold a General Election.
My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon), in a very clear and able speech, said that it was crucial that in its own interests this country should remain a member of the Community. I warmly endorse his comment that it is a farce for Ministers to go campaigning in different directions. He advocated, and I support him, that we should have a recess to enable M.P.s to take part in the campaign. What a hollow mockery, what a farce it would be, if, in addition to having a stupid device that none of us really trusts, we were then to be locked up here looking after sonic of the Government's dreary legislation, unable to take part in the campaign and inhibited from participating in what the Government agree is a historic process.
The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) made a most interesting speech. He did not think much of this place. He wanted the breakers into the United Kingdom, and he was campaigning for a "No" vote. I dare say that he might be quite successful. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) gave a most qualified welcome— the chilliest welcome that anyone could 438 give—to this nasty device. He said that if it offered a quick solution to the problem, let us have it and get it over as quickly as possible and get away from the humiliating rôle this country has been forced to play over the last year or so. No doubt much to the comfort of those who were listening to him on the Front Bench, the hon. Member for Bebington and Ellesmere Port (Mr. Bates) actually supported the party line. I think that no further comment is needed.
My hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) rightly pointed out, as did other hon. Members, that this device will diminish the stature of the House of Commons. The hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian had no comfort whatever for his Ministers. Most of the important things that Governments do, he said, are not specifically authorised, and he referred to the pressures to which Labour Members were subjected when this issue had come before the House on a previous occasion. He asked the question that Ministers will eventually have to answer: how can Ministers carry out policies in which they do not believe? A Liberal hon. Member quoted the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 18th April as saying that it was alien to our parliamentary system to adopt this course. We were told that the 1967 White Paper had said that it would be for Parliament to decide. There was one question in the Election Forum of 28th May 1970 to which the right hon. Gentleman gave, unusually, a very clear answer.
The questioner asked:Is it correct to assume that if Mr. Wilson sees the polls are going against him, he will say at the last minute that he will allow a referendum on the Common Market?The Prime Minister said:The answer to that is no, I have given my answer many times. I do not change it because polls go either up or down. Heavens, when the polls have been 28 points against me it has not made any difference with going on with policies I knew to be unpopular.That shows how little worth is to be attached to the solemn word of the Prime Minister given at a time when he was deliberately consulting the people in a General Election.
There are one or two points I should like to make myself about the referendum. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear ".] If that is the best that hon. Gentlemen can manage with all their skill and tactics, I 439 recognise just how deep an embarrassment they are in. One question to which I invite the Minister of State's attention is when and how the Government will make known their recommendation to the country. Will that statement accompany the statement of opposing views which is promised in paragraph 30 of the White Paper?
What of the poll? I refer back to the view of several hon. and right hon. Members that apparently in the Government's view neither the size of the poll nor the size of the majority is to matter. Should not the Government, even now, have further thoughts on that subject before it is too late?
Then there is the question of the electorate. Again I ask the Minister of State to answer clearly who will be entitled to proxy votes. Will those who are currently working in Europe, for instance, be disfranchised, or will they enjoy a right to participate? The Secretary of State for Trade seems to think that that is unimportant, and that the views of those people should be disregarded. If he thinks that, I hope that he will stand up and say so. I shall be delighted to give way.
The first time I can recall having seen in print a mention of the practice of issuing election addresses is in the White Paper. It is said that something analogous to an election address will be produced during the campaign. Who will write that address? Who will circulate it? To whom will it be addressed and who will write the addresses on the envelopes?
There is then the question of expenditure. We are told that there will be no limit. That is a sign of thoroughly sloppy thinking.
§ Mr. Gerry Fowler
The right hon. Gentleman's latest remarks are a sign of thoroughly sloppy reading. The White Paper makes clear, as did my right hon. Friend, that the Post Office is willing to co-operate and that there will be delivery to houses.
§ Mr. Peyton
It is news to me that the Post Office will be kindly writing the addresses on every envelope.
§ Mr. Fowler rose—440
§ Mr. Peyton
The hon. Gentleman will have time to answer when he makes his speech.
Two documents are promised. One is the statement which will be written by the umbrella organisations, accompanied or not by the Government's statement. The other is the document which is analogous to the election address. If the Minister will read his White Paper he will find references to those documents, and I hope that he will explain them. There is also the question of public funds. One wonders to whom these are to be made available and what safeguards there are to be.
To sum up, we regard the referendum as a dodge adopted by the Prime Minister against his own previously-expressed view. The House will recall his view that he thought it right for Parliament to take the decision. It was a dodge taken without too much regard either for the interests of Parliament or for the interests of our country. It was taken simply to get the Labour Party out of some wretched jam into which his own folly had plunged him.
§ Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)
The right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) failed to mention the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing). Will he care to state the Conservative Party's policy on whether there should be a separate count for Scotland and Wales?
§ Mr. Peyton
Indeed, I mildly congratulate myself on having cut down my remarks by not referring at length to what the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) said. The course upon which the Government are now embarked is one to which they have given very little thought. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, what we have here is a new method of validating law.
The Government in their White Paper make no mention whatever of the fact that this country is a signatory to a solemn treaty obligation. Are we to learn 441 from that fact— indeed are others overseas to learn from it?— that the Government do not regard the treaty obligations as a serious matter? Are they now saying to the world, "This country will always be guided by its own short-term material interests "? If they are saying that, I recommend them to take the advice of the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch— namely that the way to consult the people is to have a General Election and to get the verdict which they richly deserve.
§ 11.29 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Privy Council Office (Mr. Gerald Fowler)
The right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) has shown his usual determination never to let the blazing sun of his argument be clouded by wit or subtlety. He regaled us this evening with a catalogue of the other speeches made in this fascinating debate— except for the speech made by the hon. Lady the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) to which I shall allude later.
The right hon. Gentleman may not have noticed that if the Post Office delivers one document to each household, or two documents together, thus reducing the cost of delivery, there is no need for envelopes, and therefore it is unnecessary to address any envelopes.
The right hon. Gentleman also asked me whether there would be proxy votes for those in Europe. The Government will seriously consider whether postal votes for those on holiday, and proxy votes for those abroad, can be arranged. But it would be a complex operation, and we should incur high cost in doing it.
§ Mr. Peyton
The Leader of the House said that if those abroad applied for postal votes they would have them.
§ Mr. Fowler
I did not hear my right hon. Friend say that. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that there are no postal votes for those abroad. Therefore, as I correctly said, we are considering whether proxy votes might be made available for those in Europe and elsewhere.
I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman is so concerned with those in Europe specifically. What about those in other parts of the world, such as Hong Kong? Nor do I see why the right hon. Gentleman 442 is specifically concerned, as he appeared to be, with those who were abroad last 10th October and who are still abroad. He did not mention those who were abroad on that date and who have therefore not registered in this country, but have since returned. They are not entitled to a proxy vote, on present arrangements.
§ Mr. Grieve
Would it not be possible to arrange for Britons living abroad to vote at their nearest consulate, embassy or high commission?
§ Mr. Cyril Smithrose—
§ Mr. Fowler
I cannot spend all my time giving way, but, as this will clearly be a weighty intervention, I do so this once.
§ Mr. Smith
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, because I shall be going into the Lobby to support the Government on this issue. I have been consistently in favour of a referendum on Europe since 1970. But I would point out that if the referendum is held in the week beginning 21st June certain constituencies, of which mine is one, will be on their annual wake's week holiday. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is in the same position. I urge the Government to reconsider the date of the referendum or to give our constituents the right to express an opinion on the matter through the postal vote.
§ Mr. Fowler
I have given an assurance on the matter. The hon. Gentleman is right. One or two Lancashire towns will be having their wake's week in the week beginning 21st June.
§ Mr. Fowler
I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on her maiden speech in that capacity. I think that I am the first Minister to have a chance to do so. I am sure that I speak for the whole House when I say that she graced the Dispatch Box in her new role. However, she showed signs of excessive legalism. Constitutional law is not susceptible to the laws governing natural science. It is not immutable. I thought that on occasions the right hon. Lady 443 erred in the direction of saying that we must never change anything, and that what was good enough for our fathers must be good enough for us.
The right hon. Lady also argued that the Government had no mandate for a referendum, on the ground that the Labour Party received 38 per cent. of the vote in the last election. But the Conservative Party, in the 1970 General Election, received 46 per cent. of the vote — still short of 50 per cent. What is the distinction between 38 per cent. and 46 per cent.— [Interruption.] Then apparently we have a new doctrine from the Opposition, namely, that somewhere between 46 per cent. and 38 per cent. there lies a line on one side of which the party has a mandate and on the other side of which it has not. That is nonsense. But what is clear is that in the past two General Elections, the Labour Party fought on the basis of putting this issue to the people, whereas in 1970 the Conservative Party fought the General Election on the basis of negotiating for entry to the Common Market— no more and no less.
The issue of the mandate is clear. We have a mandate. The Conservative Party did not have.
The Leader of the Opposition said that she did not like the phrase "full-hearted consent ". It was not the Labour Party which invented it. What is more, if it be argued that by that phrase the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) meant only Parliament, I should love the right hon. Lady to explain why it was that he saidthe full-hearted consent of the British Parliament and people.The right hon. Lady argued that representative parliamentary government was incompatible with referenda. But surely she cannot have meant to suggest that Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway and a host of other Western countries did not have representative parliamentary democracies. Perhaps the closest example to our own system is that of New Zealand. What is most interesting about that is that each referendum is preceded by an enabling Act, just as this referendum will be.
My hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) 444 said that referenda in New Zealand were used for trivial issues like conscription. Many of us would not regard that as a trivial issue. But we have to come to terms with the fact that each country makes its own destiny. If referenda are used in one representative parliamentary democracy for one set of purposes, that does not mean that they cannot be used in another for another set of purposes.
The right hon. Member for Finchley argued that the Government should resign if the result of the referendum did not accord with their recommendation. She and others quoted the Norwegian example. However, the situation that we are in is nothing like that which obtained in the referendum in Norway. We have said that we will be bound by the will of the people expressed in the referendum. That is why it is unnecessary, if the people do not accept our recommendation, for the Government to resign.
§ Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)
The hon. Gentleman made it clear that there might follow other occasions on which referenda would be used. Is he suggesting that on any occasion when the Labour Party is likely to be driven apart, that will be used as an opportunity to have a referendum, in order to try to solve the problem?
§ Mr. Fowler
No, Sir. That is exactly what I am not suggesting. The argument has been adduced by the right hon. Member for Finchley and others that the purpose of this referendum is primarily to conceal splits in the Labour Party. That view was not shared by all who spoke today from the Opposition benches. The right hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) gave rather a different explanation. He said that the fault, if fault it be, lay with the Conservative Party, first, for taking us into the EEC without the authority of the people and, secondly, for setting the precedent by having a border poll in Northern Ireland. We have heard no refutation of that by the Conservative Party.
The best answer was given by my hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. MacFarquhar). As he said, the way in which this constitutional question differs from all others is that in practice, after we have been in the EEC for a number 445 of years, the process has become irreversible. We cannot as a Parliament concede powers, least of all those which are irreversible, without specific consultation with the people. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) argued that we have given away sovereignty to large parts of the world, and that is right, but we have not given away sovereignty over ourselves irreversibly without the specific consultation of the people which we are proposing, except in the 1972 European Communities Act.
§ Mr. Fowler
I cannot spend the entire time allowed for my speech in giving way. I have been asked a number of questions.
§ Mr. Fowler
The right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) argued that this is nor. a unique constitutional issue and that the "secession of Scotland or of Wales would also be of great constitutional significance". I think the whole House agrees with that. I am not aware which party, except some hon. Gentleman behind the right hon. Gentleman, is proposing the secession of Scotland and Wales. If the right hon. Gentleman means devolution, that is not of the same significance as the issue of membership of the Common Market.
§ Mr. Thorpe
The hon. Gentleman did not listen carefully to what I said. No one suggests that anyone but the Nationalists are in favour of secession. I was saying that secession is just as important a constitutional issue as Europe. Are we to take it that the Labour Party is in favour of a referendum on Europe but not in favour of a referendum on secession? If that be the case, it shows how cynical they are.
§ Mr. Fowler
I was unaware that we had to date seriously considered the secession of Scotland and Wales. For once I am sure that I speak for both major parties when I say that we have no intention of doing so.
446 Perhaps I can turn to some of the other questions that I was asked. I deal first with a minor one. I was asked by the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), whose speech, irrespective of one's own position on the basic issue, was excellent, whether there would be a referendum in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. The answer is that there is nothing to prevent them from holding their own referenda if they wish. There is no proposal that their votes should be aggregated with those of the United Kingdom, for constitutional reasons of which the hon. Gentleman will be aware.
§ Mr. Peter Rost (Derbyshire, South)rose—
§ Mr. Fowler
I cannot give way, because I have a number of questions to answer.
I was asked about the count and perhaps I ought to deal with that first, though it means taking things in reverse order. During my right hon. Friend's speech the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley) shouted from a seated position "We bloody well should be concerned with what Wales, and so on, think ". Of course we are concerned with what Wales thinks, but why do we need to record the Welsh vote separately on what is essentially a United Kingdom issue? Our minds are not closed on how the count shall be conducted, whether nationally, on a constituency basis, on a district or county basis, or however it may be done, but I must make it clear that I share the view of many right hon. and hon. Members that this referendum should not be used for a covert purpose beyond that which is said to be its purpose.
§ Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarvon)
The hon. Gentleman has mentioned me and I am obliged to him. The reason why we believe that Wales and Scotland need this result at this time is that, by the Government's programme, we will have assemblies in Scotland and Wales within the next two to three years which may well have a direct relationship with the EEC in a manner similar to the relationship which Bavaria and other constituent parts of Europe have with the EEC. In that event the opinion of the people of Scotland and Wales will be of vital importance to those in Brussels and 447 Strasbourg. That is why we believe the referendum should take place in this way.
§ Mr. Fowler
I do not know where the hon. Gentleman gets the idea that people in Scotland and Wales will have direct relationships with Brussels in the way in which other assemblies do. I do not know to which other assemblies he is referring.
The Scottish National Party suggested that the whole argument was in favour of a constituency count. Here, at last, I refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn. This is a national decision, to be taken by a national constituency. We do not want a back-door decision on other issues to be taken through the referendum as a result of a count in Scotland or Wales or on a constituency or county basis. Our minds are not closed on this issue and we are prepared to consider the points put to us.
I hope I have made clear that there are sound reasons why we should count nationally. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington and Ellesmere Port (Mr. Bates) pointed out, quite rightly, we stay in or come out on a national basis.
§ Mrs. Winifred Ewing rose—
§ Mr. Henderson
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As Chief Whip of the Scottish National Party I resent that remark.
§ Mr. Fowler
Before leaving the subject of Scotland may I refer to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie). He said that opinion polls showed that Scotland would clearly vote "No ". Hon. Members will be interested in yesterday's Glasgow Herald which revealed that the gap between the voting intentions of the people in Scotland had narrowed in one month from 16 per cent. to 9 per cent. If I were my hon. Friend I would not be so confident that I would necessarily be on the winning side.
I turn to the Government's recommendation and the White Paper. The White Paper will be published as soon as possible. The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion asked me whether the 448 House would be given an opportunity to express a view on the White Paper before the referendum was held. The answer is "Yes ". I must reject the right hon. Member's view that the Government would be appealing over the head of Parliament were that not to be so. It is not for me to say whether there will be a free vote following that debate.
§ Mr. Fowler
I can give no indication of the procedure that will be adopted. The House has a way of making its views known, whatever the procedure. Tonight's vote will be on the motion for the Adjournment.
I turn now to the Government information centre. I listened carefully to the objections to this and I give an undertaking that we shall carefully consider them before making up our minds. I must point out that there has to be some means of answering purely factual questions, not least about the referendum.
As for the idea of a popular White Paper, I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) opposes the notion of a popular White Paper. It is only a popular version of a White Paper, and White Papers are very familiar animals in politics. Sometimes they are published whole in the newspapers. There seems, therefore, no great precedent against the notion of a popular White Paper, and certainly there is no objection to civil servants working on such a White Paper. They work on every White Paper, and if the hon. Gentleman does not believe that, he is guilty of considerable naivety.
I was asked about television and radio during the referendum campaign. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) suggested that paragraphs 33 and 34 of the White Paper were obscure. I do not share that view. They should be set in the context of the first sentence of paragraph 32, which reads:The Government have considered whether any special arrangements are needed either to limit or to assist activities by outside bodies and individuals designed to inform the public of their views on the issues involved in the referendum.449 Paragraphs 33 and 34 in essence say that we are satisfied that the normal control operated during a General Election will suffice here, too.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
Can my hon. Friend state whether the Government are considering the contemptible intervention by international civil servants such as Messrs. Thomson and Soames in a British affair, and will he ensure that when the referendum takes place the normal high standards of senior British civil servants are adhered to by the civil servants of Brussels?
§ Mr. Fowler
It would be exceedingly difficult to prevent any British citizen not himself in the direct employ of Her Majesty's Government from exercising the right of free speech in this country.
May I now turn to the wording of the questions. I noted carefully everything that has been said in the debate today, and we shall again go over carefully all the suggestions which have been made. I should like to comment briefly on the question of "be "or" stay" in the European Community. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West, on another piece of wording, said that we ought to get the technicalities right. So we should. My view is that it would be nonsense to ask whether we should be in the European Community when we are in the European Community. The word, therefore, should be "stay ".
As for a third question on the ballot paper, whether the decision should be left to Members of Parliament, I must resist that. Frankly, such a question would be a nullity. The final decision will be for this House in any event after the referendum. There is no point in asking an additional question to get the assent of the electorate to our doing what we shall have to do in any event.
As for the question about the words "European Community "and whether" European Economic Community "or" European Communities "might not be preferable, what my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West said was basically right. The point, however, is that the words "European Community" are now used widely in communiqués from Brussels. They are used by Heads of Government. The question whether it is strictly legal for three communities which have common organs is scarcely 450 the point because we cannot belong to one community withtout belonging to all three. The only reason, therefore, for preferring the singular is that the plural might well mislead.
§ Mr. Buchan rose—
§ Mr. Fowler
I will not give way with only five minutes of the debate left.
We shall, however, consider all these suggestions, including the suggestion that "Common Market" might be added in brackets on the ballot paper.
The hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas) suggested that control of expenditure should be the same as in a general election. The great difficulty about the control of expenditure in a referendum is precisely that it is not the same as a General Election, in that there are no candidates. They are the organs through which expenditure in a general election is controlled. There are no parallel organs in a referendum.
It was suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport that we should ban Press advertising. We are certainly prepared to ban, as in a General Election, paid canvassers and the use of hire cars to drive electors to the polls. It would be unwise to go further than that. We certainly do not want to act in such a way as to encourage a low poll. In any event, paid advertising is not all that a newspaper contains and it would prove well-nigh impossible to control what appears in news columns or letters columns or editorials of newspapers.
The suggestion that we should ensure equality of paid advertising, with the Government in some way making up the deficit to any organisation that could not afford to take up its full share, would mean the Government incurring an open-ended cost. We could not agree to that.
One hon. Member asked whether the House might recess for the period of the referendum. My right hon. Friend will certainly give consideration to that, but I can give no undertaking whatsoever.
The House will appreciate that the timetable for the referendum operation is very tight indeed. Some aspects require preparatory work well in advance. Planning is going ahead on the basis of the proposals in the White Paper in certain respects. To be specific, where they are unavoidable at this stage, commitments in respect of poll cards, paper 451 for the Central Office of Information, and the preliminary reservation of Earls Court, are being entered into to enable us to keep to the timetable. If we were not to do that now, it would be impossible to keep to the timetable.
I was asked another set of questions about the two umbrella organisations. The principal point I want to make clear is that the parasol introduced into the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) is not one of those umbrellas, and I deplore any reference to the National Front in the debates we shall be having over the coming months. I hope that this will be a campaign conducted fairly and cleanly and that at the end of the day we shall get a clear verdict from the British people.
The difference between the Labour Party and the Tory Party is, in essence, this: at the 1970 election the Tories
§ promised Britain that they would not enter the EEC without the full-hearted consent of the British Parliament and the British people. They reneged on that promise. Today the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition suggested that in any event the British people should not be consulted, that we here know best.
§ We in the Labour Party believe that on such a profound constitutional issue we do not necessarily know best, that after all the years of debate the people know best, that the people shall have their say, and that we shall respect the will of the people. I think that the Tory Party has shown itself in the debate today to be profoundly undemocratic. We shall honour the pledges we gave at two general elections. We will not renege on those pledges.
§ Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 262, Noes 312.455
|Division No. 141.]||AYES||[12 midnight|
|Adley, Robert||Critchley, Julian||Hall, Sir John|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Crouch, David||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Alison, Michael||Crowder, F. P.||Hamilton Michael (Salisbury)|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Arnold, Tom||Dean, Paul (N Somerset)||Hannam, John|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss|
|Baker, Kenneth||du Conn, Rt Hon Edward||Hastings, Stephen|
|Banks, Robert||Durant, Tony||Havers, Sir Michael|
|Beith, A. J.||Dykes, Hugh||Hawkins, Paul|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Heseltine, Michael|
|Benyon, W.||Elliott, Sir William||Hicks, Robert|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Emery, Peter||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Biffen, John||Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)||Holland, Philip|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Eyre Reginald||Hordern, Peter|
|Blaker, Peter||Fairbairn, Nicholas||Howe, Rt Hn Sir Geoffrey|
|Boscawen, Hon. Robert||Fairgrieve, Russell||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)||Fell, Anthony||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Boyson, Dr. Rhodes (Brent)||Finsberg, Geoffrey||Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Hunt, John|
|Brittan, Leon||Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)||Hurd, Douglas|
|Brotherton, Michael||Fookes, Miss Janet||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Fowler, Norman (Sutton C 'f' d)||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Fox, Marcus||James, David|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)||Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)|
|Buck, Antony||Freud, Clement||Jessel, Toby|
|Budgen, Nick||Galbraith Hon. T. G. D.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Jones, Arthur (Daventry)|
|Burden, F. A.||Gardiner, Edward (S Fylde)||Jopling, Michael|
|Carlisle, Mark||Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith|
|Carr, Rt Hon Robert||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Channon, Paul||Gilmour. Sir John (East Fife)||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Churchill, W. S.||Glyn, Dr Alan||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Goodhew, Victor||Kilfedder, James|
|Clark, William (Croydon S)||Goodlad, Alastair||Kimball, Marcus|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Gorst, John||King, Evelyn (South Dorset)|
|Clegg, Walter||Gow, lan (Eastbourne)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Cockcrott, John||Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)||Knight, Mrs Jill|
|Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)||Gray, Hamish||Knox, David|
|Cope, John||Grieve, Percy||Lamont, Norman|
|Cordle, John H.||Griffiths, Eldon||Lane, David|
|Cormack, Patrick||Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Corrie, John||Grist, Ian||Latham, Michael (Melton)|
|Costain, A. P.||Grylls. Michael||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Lawson, Nigel||Osborn, John||Sproat, lain|
|Le Marchant, Spencer||Page, John (Harrow West)||Stainton, Keith|
|Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Pattie, Geoffrey||Stanley, John|
|Loveridge, John||Percival, Ian||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Luce, Richard||Peyton, Rt Hon John||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Pink, R. Bonner||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|McCrindle, Robert||Prior, Rt Hon James||Stokes, John|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|MacGregor, John||Raison, Timothy||Tapsell, Peter|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Rathbone, Tim||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Tebbit, Norman|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)||Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Madel, David||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Mates, Michael||Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)||Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)|
|Mather, Carol||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)|
|Maude, Angus||Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Townsend, Cyril D.|
|Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald||Ridsdale, Julian||Trotter, Neville|
|Mawby, Ray||Rifkind, Malcolm||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Mayhew. Patrick||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Viggers, Peter|
|Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)|
|Mills, Peter||Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)||Wakeham, John|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Royle, Sir Anthony||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Sainsbury, Tim||Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)|
|Monro, Hector||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Wall, Patrick|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Scott, Nicholas||Walters, Dennis|
|Moore, John (Croydon C)||Scott-Hopkins, James||Warren, Kenneth|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Morgan, Geraint||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)||Wells, John|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral||Shelton, William (Streatham)||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Morris, Michael (Northampton S)||Shepherd, Colin||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Shersby, Michael||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)||Silvester, Fred||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Neave, Airey||Sims, Roger||Wood, Rt Hon Richard|
|Nelson, Anthony||Sinclair, Sir George||Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)|
|Neubert, Michael||Skeet, T. H. H.||Younger, Hon George|
|Newton, Tony||Smith, Dudley (Warwick)|
|Normanton, Tom||Speed, Keith||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Nott, John||Spence, John||Mr. Adam Butler and|
|Onslow, Cranley||Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)||Mr. Cecil Parkinson|
|Oppenheim, Mrs Sally||Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)|
|Abse, Leo||Cant, R. B.||Douglas-Mann, Bruce|
|Allaun, Frank||Carmichael, Neil||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Anderson, Donald||Carter, Ray||Dunlop, John|
|Archer, Peter||Carter-Jones, Lewis||Dunn, James A.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cartwright, John||Dunnett, Jack|
|Ashley, Jack||Castle, Rt Hon Barbara||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Ashton, Joe||Clemitson, Ivor||Eadie, Alex|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)||Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Edelman, Maurice|
|Atkinson, Norman||Cohen, Stanley||Edge, Geoff|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Coleman, Donald||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen||Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)|
|Barrett, Guy (Greenwich)||Conlan, Bernard||English, Michael|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Ennals, David|
|Bates, Alf||Corbett, Robin||Evans, loan (Aberdare)|
|Bean, R. E.||Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Evans, John (Newton)|
|Bell, Ronald||Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)||Ewing, Harry (Stirling)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Crawford, Douglas||Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Crawshaw, Richard||Farr, John|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Cronin, John||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E|
|Bishop, E. S.||Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony||Fitch, Alan (Wlgan)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Cryer, Bob||Flannery, Martin|
|Boardman, H.||Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Body, Richard||Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Fletcher Ted (Darlington)|
|Booth, Albert||Dalyell, Tam||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Davidson, Arthur||Ford, Ben|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Forrester, John|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)|
|Bradley, Tom||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Freeson, Reginald|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Deakins, Eric||Garrett, John (Norwich S)|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)|
|Buchan, Norman||de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||George, Bruce|
|Buchanan, Richard||Delargy, Hugh||Gilbert, Dr John|
|Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)||Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Ginsburg, David|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Dempsey, James||Golding, John|
|Campbell, Ian||Doig, Peter||Goodhart, Philip|
|Canavan, Dennis||Dormand, J. D.||Gould, Bryan|
|Gourlay, Harry||Madden, Max||Shaw, Arnold (llford South)|
|Graham, Ted||Magee, Bryan||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mahon, Simon||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Grant, John (Islington C)||Marks, Kenneth||Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)|
|Grocott, Bruce||Marquand, David||Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Hardy, Peter||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C (Dulwich)|
|Harper, Joseph||Marten, Neil||Sillars, James|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mason,Rt Hon Roy||Silverman, Julius|
|Hart, Rt Hon Judith||Meacher, Michael||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Small, William|
|Hatton, Frank||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Hayman, Mrs Helene||Miller, Mrs Millie (llford N)||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Mitchell. R. C. (Soton, ltchen)||Snape, Peter|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Moate, Roger||Spearing, Nigel|
|Henderson, Douglas||Molloy, William||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hooley, Frank||Molyneaux, James||Stallard, A. W.|
|Horam, John||Moonman, Eric||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)|
|Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Stott, Roger|
|Huckfield, Les||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Strang, Gavin|
|Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Newens, Stanley||Swain, Thomas|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Noble, Mike||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)|
|Hunter, Adam||Oakes, Gordon||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)||Ogden, Eric||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)|
|Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)||O'Halloran, Michael||Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)|
|Janner, Greville||O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian||Thompson, George|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Orbach, Maurice||Thorne, Stan (Preston South)|
|Jeger, Mrs Lena||Ovenden, John||Tierney, Sydney|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Padley, Walter||Tinn, James|
|Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)||Palmer, Arthur||Tomlinson, John|
|Johnson, James (Hull West)||Park, George||Tomney, Frank|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby S)||Parker, John||Torney, Tom|
|Jones, Arthur (Daventry)||Parry, Robert||Urwin, T. W.|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Pavitt, Laurie||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pearl, Rt Hon Fred||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|Judd, Frank||Pendry, Tom||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Penhaligon, David||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Kelley, Richard||Perry, Ernest||Ward, Michael|
|Kerr, Russell||Phipps, Dr Colin||Watkins, David|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch||Watkinson, John|
|Kinnock, Neil||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Watt, Hamish|
|Lambie, David||Prescott, John||Weetch, Ken|
|Lamborn, Harry||Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Weitzman, David|
|Lamond, James||Price, William (Rugby)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Radice, Giles||Welsh, Andrew|
|Lee, John||Rees Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)||White, Frank R. (Bury)|
|Lever, Rt Hon Harold||Reid, George||White, James (Pollok)|
|Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)||Richardson, Miss Jo||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Whitlock, William|
|Lipton, Marcus||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Litterick, Tom||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Roderick, Caerwyn||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Loyden, Eddie||Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)|
|Luard, Evan||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Lyon, Alexander (York)||Rooker, J. W.||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)||Roper, John||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Mabon, Dr J. Dickson||Rose, Paul B.||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|McCartney, Hugh||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|MacCormick, Iain||Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)||Woodall, Alec|
|McElhone, Frank||Ross, William (Londonderry)||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|MacFarquhar, Roderick||Rowlands, Ted||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Ryman, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Sandelson, Neville|
|Maclennan, Robert||Sedgemore, Brian||Miss Margaret Jackson and|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)||Selby, Harry||Mr. David Stoddart.|
|Question accordingly negatived.|