HC Deb 27 July 1978 vol 954 cc1795-6
Q4. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to meet Commissioner Jenkins.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to meet Mr. Jenkins.

Mr. Marten

Until the Prime Minister does so, will he take the opportunity to re-read his letter to Mr. Ron Hayward last September and perhaps have a discussion with Mr. Roy Jenkins about that? Does the Prime Minister recall that in that letter he said quite clearly that we should develop greater parliamentary control over Common Market legislation? But nothing has been done. Will he have all-party talks so that we can get all-party agreement before the General Election, whenever that might happen, so that we are quite clear where we stand on this?

The Prime Minister

I do not think it is fair to say that nothing has been done. The Government gave an undertaking, through the Lord President, about the reference of some of these proposals to the Scrutiny Committee and about the action which Ministers should take. That undertaking has been faithfully carried out, to a scintilla. The Scrutiny Committee, I believe, is reconsidering the matter, and the Government will consider what further steps, if any, should be taken in due course. It would be quite wrong to suggest that the Government have not kept to their undertaking.

Mr. Heffer

Will my right hon. Friend stress the fact that the Labour Party is very much in favour of a looser type of Common Market organisation and that we believe that the Common Market's agricultural policy must be fundamentally changed? Will he say that, if we cannot get such fundamental change, we shall tell the Common Market sooner or later that if it goes on in this way we shall have to consider coming out?

The Prime Minister

I would not agree with the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. The common agricultural policy is yielding to pressure, the pressure of inevitable results that flow from the fact that far too many resources are now being devoted to unproductive agriculture in Europe. That pressure will be sustained and will eventually transform the present agricultural policy into one which can be supported.