HL Deb 20 December 1967 vol 287 cc1437-8

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether in the light of the present political climate existing between member countries of the Six and this country, they are prepared to take any initiative which will facilitate the resumption of political consultations towards political union.]


My Lords, as I told the noble Lord on December 4, we see the widening of the Common Market as the means of bringing about closer political unity in Europe and we have made it clear to our prospective partners in the Communities that we should like to be associated with any discussion on political unity at the earliest possible moment.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for repeating the previous Answer. But may I ask him whether Her Majesty's Government would consider instigating exploratory talks with member countries of the Six—those willing to do so—tending towards European political unity, which might in effect help to lessen the present tension and increase the prospects of France taking a less intransigent attitude in the future?


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary will be making a Statement in another place later this afternoon on our relations with the Common Market, and I shall hope, with permission, to repeat that Statement in your Lordships' House. In these circumstances, perhaps the noble Lord will agree, if the House will, that I should put off answering supplementary questions on the Common Market until that Statement has been made.


My Lords, does my noble friend not think, that we have had long political discussions on the Common Market with political institutions, and that we are still being humiliated and rejected'? Is it not better to work to seek our trade in the rest of the world?


My Lords, I hope that my noble friend will wait until later this afternoon for the Statement of Her Majesty's Government's policy on the Common Market. I do not think it will come as any surprise to him.