HC Deb 20 March 1985 vol 75 cc864-5
78. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to improve communication with the United Kingdom members of the European Parliament.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I have recently written to all British Members of the European Parliament in an effort to improve the flow of ideas and information between them and the Government. We are also continuously seeking ways of improving existing briefing arrangements.

Mr. Bidwell

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the leader of Labour Euro MPs said that the Tories from this country in the EEC were split four ways? Is it any wonder, as the famous Mr. Curry has said, that the party at Westminster and Euro MPs are the same as "gravy train merchants, carpet baggers"—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must not quote. He should paraphrase.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I am afraid that the wisdom of the hon. Gentleman's observations rather trailed away at the end of his trail. I cannot make any sensible observations.

Mr. Yeo

In communicating with MEPs, has my right hon. and learned Friend had time to consider the abolition of passport and customs controls within the Community, because such a step would bring alive the advantages of membership far more clearly than any other institutional reform?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding the House of the importance of achieving considerable simplification of frontier controls of passports, goods and services. That is one of the subjects being studied by the Committee on People's Europe, whose recommendations we shall be considering shortly.