§ 8.2 p.m.
§ House again in Committee on Clause 2.
Page 2, line 28, leave out from ("are") to ("in") in line 29, and insert ("to be applied directly").—(Lord Beswick.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
From that remarkably explanatory moving speech which the noble Lord has just delivered I entirely understand exactly what he wants to do. I must however tell him that, despite his eloquence, I think it is better to leave the Bill as it is, and I will try to explain why. It really is a matter of drafting, and I think the Committee will probably agree that we ought to leave the Bill with the words it now has in it rather than accept the Amendment.
§ LORD BESWICK
Before the noble Viscount reads his own eloquent speech, may I ask whether before he delivers it he has consulted his noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, because the noble and learned Lord, at an earlier stage this afternoon, said that despite the words "without further enactment" in the Bill it will in fact be necessary to have further enactments with respect to certain regulations. He did in fact spell it out and say that in 99 cases out of 100—or it may have been 999 out of 1,000—no further enactment will be necessary, but in certain cases it will be. I am therefore suggesting that, instead of having these words, "without further enactment", which are misleading, we simply say "to be applied directly"; and whether by enactment or otherwise will be left to the circumstances of the time.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
That is a question I can answer with the greatest ease. I do not know if the noble Lord was here when I was answering the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, a little earlier. I took an illustration which does sometimes come up with regulations made under Article 189. A regulation is in fact made in a form which is directly applicable, and, therefore, under a scheme which is common throughout the Community, it is accepted as part of the law of that country—although we have had a certain amount of philosophy about this this afternoon—without any further enactment; in other words, it is directly applicable. But you do get sometimes a regulation which says, "The following is something that is going to be applied in all the member States", and is therefore directly applicable, and at the end is inserted, "and there shall be penalties for the enforcement of this particular regulation", which have to be implemented by the individual member States according to their own law. That bit and that bit alone of the regulation is not directly applicable, because it does not do anything to for any of the citizens of any of the individual States. It therefore requires subordinate legislation under Clause 2(2), or under some existing Statute, in order to provide for the necessary enforcement powers. To that extent you would have enactment, but it would be enactment of indirectly applicable law and not enactment of directly applicable law. Therefore, the directly applicable law, even in that situation, gets into the British courts without any form of enactment at all.
§ LORD BESWICK
We will study what the noble Viscount has said. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 8.7 p.m.
LORD HOY moved Amendment No. 23:
Page 2, line 30, after ("accordingly") insert ("in each part of the United Kingdom in so far as practicable in accordance with the law and practice of that part of the United Kingdom.")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name and the names of my noble friends. The argument I want to base my Amendment on has really been made to-day, 860 because this particular subsection of this Clause has been explained over and over again. Many interpretations have been placed on it, but so far as I am concerned I think it is quite clearly stated what the subsection means; indeed I think it is stated with an abrasive clarity. It means that the power will not rest in our own country but that decisions will be made overseas, either in Brussels or Luxembourg. I will not for argument's sake even quote what was said by honourable members of the Government in another place who were opposed to entry into the Common Market and who carried on a considerable debate on this particular subsection. I do rot think there is any doubt at all that this subsection makes it clear that Community law will be superior to our own, and by "our own" I mean England and Wales.
It may be all right for England and Wales to accept this argument, but what I want to ask is what right the Government have to decree that it also will take precedence over Scottish law. We do have two legal systems; I do not think anyone would care to deny that, and I am certain that the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, would not care to deny it. Indeed if that were so, it was stated quite clearly last Wednesday during a Question about the time of the House being employed by Bills that might well be joined together and become applicable to Scotland and England. At column 274 Lord Brooke of Cumnor said:
My Lords, as saving of Parliamentary time was mentioned in the Question, may I ask whether my noble friend is aware that anyone who has taken through Standing Committee in another place a Town and Country Planning Bill covering both English law and Scottish law, as I have done, would never willingly repeat so prolonged an experience?
So what he was in fact saying was that the great differences in law between the two countries were such that if in fact you want to save a lot of time this is the way to do it.
My noble friend Lord Beswick followed by saying:
… in view of the very formidable case that the noble Lord has made for Scottish legislation, may I ask him why it has been found possible to bring in just the one Bill in relation to the European Communities? Flow is it conceivable that we can foist on to Scotland the same body of law as we are foisting on to England?
So my noble friend was making the case that I am seeking to put to your Lordships to-night. Despite the remarks about the Government's not being able to accept Amendments, I can only hope and believe, seeing a few Scottish nobles sitting, opposite, that they are here for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to uphold Scottish law. After all, they were supposed to be the great defenders in the past of Scotland's right and of Scotland's heritage and all the chieftains selected from them. All we are asking in this very simple Amendment is that, while you may do what you will to the rest of the country, so far as Scotland is concerned, whatever else you may take from her—and the people South of the Border have always been unable to do it—please leave us with the law of Scotland as it is with the right of administration for ourselves.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
I apologise to my noble friend the Lord Chancellor and indeed to the noble Lord, Lord Hoy for not being in your Lordships' House when this Amendment was moved, but like others I have been trying to slake my thirst. It is possible, and may well be probable, that this Bill as it stands is in conflict with the legal rights secured to Scotland by the provisions of the Act and the Treaty of Union. The possibility of doubt or conflict should be removed, and the relevant Article is Article XVIII, which I hope I may be allowed to read to your Lordships. It is:That the Laws concerning Regulation of Trade, Cuftomf and fuch Excifcs to which Scotland is, by virtue of this Treaty, to be liable, be the fame in Scotland, from and after the Union, as in England; and that all other Laws in Use within the Kingdom of Scotland, do after the Union, and notwithstanding…"—then follows something that I cannot read in the photostat—remain in the fame Force as before, (except fuch as are found not to be inconfiftent with this Treaty) but alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain; with this Difference betwixt the Laws concerning publick Right, Policy and Civil Government, and thofe which concern private Right, that the Laws which concern publick Right, Policy and Civil Government, may be made the fame throughout the whole United Kingdom; but that no alteration be made in Laws which concern private Right, except for the Utility of the Subjects within Scotland.It may or may not be the case that there is a conflict here between the reservation of private right in Scotland and 862 the Scottish law and the impact upon the United Kingdom of regulations, directives and other laws emanating from the Communities, but at least it should be made clear, and there are many pitfalls to be encountered unless it is made clear. To that end I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Hoy, in his Amendment.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
If there is a separate point based on Article XVIII of the Act of Union my noble friend Lord Lauderdale has an Amendment down, Amendment No. 67, which covers it as a separate point. As regards the general question of this Amendment I can only confess a total failure to have persuaded noble Lords opposite of the minimum requirements of the Treaty. I have tried to persuade them, and the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, in particular raised a point in his speech earlier on to which I tried specifically to reply: that the directly applicable provisions of Community law are not part of the law of the land but a separate system which takes precedence over the law of the land.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, asked me what possible practical application that could have, and I made two answers to him: one was the law of construction which arose immediately to my mind, and the second was that he would find as we came to discuss a series of Amendments that there were various matters of practical force in which the distinction was important. Amendment No. 22 would have been one. This is another. The law of Scotland remains unimpaired by this Bill to the same extent, neither more nor less, as the law of England remains unimpaired by this Bill. I must remind your Lordships that there is another part of the United Kingdom for this purpose (Northern Ireland) which has a separate law again, probably resembling the English law more closely but still quite distinct, and that equally is affected by this Bill neither more nor less than the law of England or Wales or the law of Scotland.
If what the noble Lord means is that if you go into a Scottish court after the Act has come into force and after we have acceded, you will see no difference in the procedure, the judges will be the same, the procedure will be the same, then of course this Amendment is 863 unnecessary because I can give him the most exquisite assurance that that will be so, as it will be in England and as it will be in Northern Ireland. The language designed, and effectively designed, to keep out English lawyers will still be as difficult to understand as it ever has been, and no English lawyers will be present or allowed to be present while the Scottish court are administering their ordinary business.
The system of law in so far as Community law is directly applicable has to be as part of the conditions of membership; it has to be accepted as applicable in all the courts of the member States. It does not matter whether the court is being held in Belfast or in Edinburgh or in London; the Community law prevails over the local substantive law if there is a conflict and if it is directly applicable. It is just as much a law which the Scots must accept, if they wish membership, as the unfortunate English or the unfortunate Northern Irish or, for that matter, the Southern Irish or the Luxembourgeois or the Belgians, the French, the Germans, the Dutch, the Norwegians or the Danes. They all have to accept the directly applicable provisions of Community law. This Amendment is basically inconsistent with this provision because it fails, like the other Amendments we have discussed to-day, to appreciate that fact. Although I fully accept the general proposition that Scots, being immune from original sin, are entitled to special consideration in almost everything, in this one respect I must urge the Committee to say that they are only ordinary human beings who must accept the facts of life.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
May I just ask the noble and learned Lord one question? Is it possible that a directly applicable regulation, or whatever it is, could be directly applicable in England without the need to have an Order in Council, but might, because Scottish law is different in certain respects, require an Order in regard to Scotland? This is a rather important question from our point of view.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think the answer is, No, it is not possible in principle. What is possible is that where the provisions of Community Law are of 864 indirect application—we are discussing in this subsection where they are of direct application—the two Orders in Council required to give effect to the same indirect provision might be different Orders in Council, or different parts of the same Order in Council. I should not, in the main, think it was possible that where a provision of Community law applies without any direct legislative action on the part of the member-State it could require any direct legislative action on the part of the member-State in respect of different parts of itself.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
The noble and learned Lord said, "in the main". That does not mean universally. I wonder whether it might be helpful if we divide the Committee, and he can think it out a bit more.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I do not think I want to think it out any more at all, because I consider that I have given a perfectly correct answer. My noble friend sitting on my right points out that under Clause 2(2)(b), which is the clearing-up provision of consequential amendments to our own law as a result of direct application, you could, as I have said, have separate Orders in Council, or an Order in Council in one and not an Order in Council in another, because there might be no consequential provisions. In so far as the law is of direct application it is not possible in principle to have a separate action in respect of different parts of the same member-State.
§ LORD BESWICK
The noble and learned Lord is opening up an interesting field for speculation. What the noble and learned Lord has said, as I understand him, is that when we come to indirect legislation, or subordinate legislation or direction, it may be necessary to have a separate Order in Council for Scotland from the one for England. That is what the noble and learned Lord said. If so, what he is in effect saying to us is that on the less important legislation it will be possible to have two Orders in Council, or two regulations, or two pieces of legislation, whatever is appropriate, but on the important legislation it will not be so possible. I suggest to him that if there is this possibility because of language, or for other reasons, for it to be necessary, for clarity's sake, to have two 865 Orders for the subordinate legislation, then surely it is doubly necessary to have the opportunity to make two Orders in Council for the more important legislation.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am afraid the noble Lord is showing too much zeal or, if I may use Common Market language, trop de zèle. His point is a bad one. I do not for a moment concede necessarily that the indirect application of Community law by way of direction is necessarily less important than the direct application. The order of importance has nothing whatever to do with whether the application of a particular rule is direct or indirect. The question of whether it is directly applicable depends upon its completeness and its perfectness, as I have explained before. What I have said is that the Community law is a separate system applicable to member-States as a whole and taking precedence where, and if, it conflicts with the domestic law of a State.
The member State proposed in this Bill is the United Kingdom. The Community law, in so far as it is directly applicable is directly applicable to all the different parts of the United Kingdom, whether those parts, like Cornwall or Cardiff, have the same law as London, or whether, like Belfast or Edinburgh, they have a different law from London. Those provisions of Community law which are directly applicable are directly applicable to all equally, and take precedence over any local variations of the law, or local laws with which they may be inconsistent, without any intervening action whatever on the part of the member State. If I have not got that across, I have been wasting my breath the whole evening.
On the other hand, if and in so far as either the Community law concerned is indirectly applicable, or if, being directly applicable, it has consequences which require a revision of local laws—which is dealt with in subsection (2)(b)—then in so far as the local laws may be different, both the language in which the domestic legislation of a subordinate character is couched may be different in order to preserve the right of the Scots to keep
§ out English lawyers, which is well recognised, and also the substance may be different because in matters of some kinds of law—there are a very few—the substance of Scots law differs from English law. Therefore, in the subordinate provisions of indirect application, or the consequential revisions of local law, it may be necessary, and it will be possible under subsection (2), for the Orders in Council, or regulations, or instruments to be different. In relation to subsection (1) it will not be practicable, it will not be desirable, but above all it will not be possible to have a separate law for Scotland, or a separate law for England, because the member of the Community is the United Kingdom.
§ LORD HOY
I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for what he has said. I understood the first part perfectly well; but as the argument proceeded I began to understand it not quite so well. May I just reiterate what this Amendment says? It says:in each part of the United Kingdom in so far as practicable in accordance with the law and practice of that part of the United Kingdom.The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor went on to explain why two Orders in Council might be made, but this is what I thought I was, by my Amendment, attempting to do without. In fact, I thought that this particular Amendment was in fact helpful to the Government, although it may not appear to the noble and learned Lord to be so. This is why I put it down and persuaded my noble friends to join with me. I am glad to have such approbation from the other side of your Lordships' House. We are not going to convince each other by argument, but I am certain that noble Lords from Scotland would be very disappointed indeed if they did not have the chance to register their decision on the Amendment in the Division Lobby.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 23) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 27; Not-Contents, 95.867
|Balogh, L.||Blyton, L.||Davies of Leek, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||Brockway, L.||Gaitskell, Bs.|
|Beswick, L.||Champion, L.||Garnsworthy, L.|
|Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Shinwell, L.|
|Hale, L.||Phillips, Bs. [Teller.]||Slater, L.|
|Hoy, L.||Popplewell, L.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Lauderdale, E.||Segal, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Lindsay of Birker, L.||Serota, Bs.||Watkins, L.|
|Maelor, L.||Shackleton, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Onslow, E.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Falmouth, V.||Orr-Evving, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Ferrers, E.||Polwarth, L.|
|Alport, L.||Gage, V.||Poole, L.|
|Amory, V.||Gainford, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Arbuthnott, V.||Goschen, V.||Reay, L.|
|Astor of Hever, L.||Gowrie, E.||Redmayne, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Reigate, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Remnant, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Robbins, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Hanworth, V.||St. Just, L.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Hawke, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Hewlett, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Brecon, L.||Hives, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Brentford, V.||Hood, V.||Shaftesbury, E.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Inchyra, L.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Chelmer, L.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Strathclyde, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Kemsley, V.||Stratheden and Campbell. L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Latymer, L.||Swaythling, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Limerick, E.||Thomas, L.|
|Cowley, E.||Lothian, M.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Macleod of Borve, Bs.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Mancroft, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Twecdsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Davidson, V.||Milverton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Monk Bretton, L.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Waldegrave, E.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Ebbisham, L.||Netherthorpe, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Eccles, V.||Newall, L.||Yarborough, E.|
|Elles, Bs.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Young, Bs.|
|Elliot of Harwood, Bs.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ LORD HOY moved Amendment No. 26:
Page 2, line 33, at end insert—
("Provided that, unless there is in force on 31st December 1982 a revised common fisheries policy for the Community which has been approved by the United Kingdom, then on 1st January 1983 the fishery protection measures and the fishery limits of the United Kingdom in force on 31st December 1971 shall immediately revive.")
§ The noble Lord said: I rise to move this Amendment, which is really self-explanatory. In fact, the whole purpose of the Amendment is to safeguard Britain's fishing industry.Yur Lordships will know that, over the years, there has been some considerable trouble with fishing limits, and indeed with the conservation of our stocks. In this respect, Britain has always taken a lead in conservation and preservation; indeed, 868 when changes were made from the three-mile limit which was then in force, it was Britain who led the campaign to prevent limits becoming too wide. Let me put on record here that one of the countries from whom we received considerable support in this direction was Russia; and I think she was the last country to extend her three-mile limit against Great Britain, many years after it had become an accepted practice. But as a consequence of action taken elsewhere, and which is being repeated to-day—and, being forthright, I refer to Iceland—when Iceland decided to push her limit out to 12 miles the trouble which ensued as a result of that action spread all over the fishing grounds; and one watched, not with great pleasure, what happened in Iceland at that time. Eventually, an agreement was reached for a 12-mile limit, and there was what we thought was a satisfactory settlement—though to-day we are faced with a new position, and it has an effect on this particular Amendment.869
§ As a consequence of that action, Britain then decided to increase her fishing limits to 12 miles, but at the same time she also made provision for those nations who had over a long period fished in British waters to have certain fishing rights between the 6-mile and the 12-mile band; and eventually that would have been worked out, just as was happening through ourselves in other parts of the world. So we have had a fairly liberal policy and a fairly liberal record in this direction. Therefore let no one suggest that the Amendment which I am moving to-night is a selfish view on the part of Great Britain. We have to be realistic in this matter. We are now confronted with the situation with Iceland. More than half our total catch comes from these waters. Any closure or extension would have a considerable effect on our fishing grounds.
What is going to happen is this. I do not think the Government would deny (and I am sure the noble Baroness would not deny) that where the fishing grounds are contracted for our use, we shall either have to push our fishing fleets into available waters or attempt to find new fishing grounds. A consequence of this Act will be even greater pressure on our own fishing grounds. If that is the case, and over-fishing takes place, we in this country shall find ourselves in considerable difficulty. If we are going to be asked to provide our fishing grounds for the rest of Europe we shall be in trouble, unless we can reach an agreement that will be fair to ourselves and reasonably fair, as we have always been, to those with whom we are in association in Europe. All we are suggesting in this Amendment is that there should be added the words of the Amendment:
unless there is in force on 31st December, 1982. a revised common fisheries policy for the Community which has been approved by the United Kingdom, then on 1st January, 1983, the fishery protection measures and the fishery limits of the United Kingdom in force on 31st December, 1971, shall immediately revive.
§ Let me make it quite clear that even if we were driven to that length we should not be taking away from any country the rights they enjoy at this moment. We should be saying to them at that time, "Let us return to the status quo"—and that is what the status quo means: that they have rights within these waters. We 870 are being driven more and more by what is happening around the world to take this step. It is not one which would bring us into conflict with Europe but one which I am sure Europe would understand. It is one which the British fishing industry would gladly welcome, because it would give them some assurance, some stability, something to look forward to in the midst of their troubles at the present time. Above all, it would be the correct thing to do. I beg to move.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
I can well understand the ideas behind the Amendment put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Hoy. As we look at it, we see that it has two main parts. It attempts to provide in advance for a failure to reach a consensus before 1983, and it also assumes that the best outcome would be a return to the 1971 situation. I am afraid that I must recommend to the Committee that we should not accept either premise in this particular Amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Hoy, spoke about the whole problem of Iceland. I agree with him that certainly if Iceland succeeds in extending her limits to 50 miles some of the boats will go to Greenland but others will go back on to the Faroes and further towards our shores. But I do not feel it is quite appropriate on this Amendment to speak in detail of the Iceland position, because the problem is before the International Court at The Hague, where we have asked for an interim arrangement until the main question can be settled either by The Hague Court, in two years' time, or possibly by the Law of the Sea Conference.
I would remind the Committee that the Act of Accession, in Article 103, provides for a report to be made by the Commission to the Council before December 31, 1982. This report means that there will have to be a review of the economic and social development of the coastal areas of member States (which is of great importance to those who represented fishing ports in another place) and the state of their stocks. This review will apply to the whole of the coastline of member States and not just to special areas. As a result of this review, the Council will work out the future of the fishing limits to which this Amendment applies. This 871 will apply to the Community as a whole from 1983. I cannot help thinking that to speak of the 1980s at this moment, although it is a long way away, seems hopeful. The noble Lord is right to bring the subject before the Committee.
The Amendment also suggests that if by any chance the Community did not come to a decision before 1982—and I will quote the Amendment:then on 1st January 1983 the fishery protection measures and the fishery limits of the United Kingdom in force on 31st December 1971 shall immediately revive.I would only say to the noble Lord that there is nothing in the existing Common Fisheries Policy or in the Treaty of Accession which affects the responsibility for fishery protection measures. United Kingdom jurisdiction, which means the power to make and enforce proper conservation and protection regulations, remains as now and will continue to extend the existing 12 miles fishery limits during the ten-year period following accession and also in all probability thereafter.
I say "in all probability" because I think we must take into account that we may all need increased enforcement of fishery protection. Measures were announced on January 20 this year which will, in effect, increase by 50 per cent. the effort which we now give to fishery protection, and there is the agreement under Article No. 102 of the Accession Treaty which suggests that there should be common action to conserve the sea's biological resources. This in itself can only strengthen the existing protection for United Kingdom fisheries. Also I think one is bound to remark that we shall have the Law of the Sea Conference in 1973. A great many new ideas may come up by then, and it may be necessary for us all to have greater conservation measures. Therefore I suggest to the Committee that this part of the Amendment, which suggests that if the Community fail to reach agreement exactly the same position should carry on in 1982 as exists in 1971, is really not applicable to the case in question. Because of these two points I would recommend to the Committee that we should not accept this Amendment, although I understand the reasons behind it.
§ LORD HOY
May I say that I did not want to raise the question of Iceland as Iceland or of what we are faced with, or even the Court at The Hague. But in an industry of this kind to look ten years ahead is not to look too far. When one has a problem like this it cannot be ignored. It is there. Indeed, the noble Baroness looked at it and said that perhaps boats will have to go to the Faroes. Even that would not be a good argument. She knows that if any country is permitted to extend limits to this extent, its neighbours will do the same, or will attempt to do so. Whatever happens in one case there is bound to be reaction and repercussions from every other country in the area. In these circumstances we cannot ignore it and must take it into account. That is not to say they will not be exactly the same in 1982 and that we cannot put the 1971 case against it. I was seeking in my Amendment to prove to the Committee that we were not taking away—not even if we had to revert in 1982 to the present position—anything that we at present grant to the Germans, the French, the Belgians and the Dutch, and to others who fish in our waters. I wanted to make it clear that we took nothing from them and that we wanted to go back to the present position where we have already made these concessions.
It is all right to say that we are to have a Law of the Sea Conference in 1973. I do not think it is any secret that the British Government, any Government—I am not speaking about Party politics—do not look forward with any great confidence to that Conference as a means of settling problems for us. Indeed I regret to say that it looks as if the position will be aggravated by the 1973 Conference. This is why, whatever part one looks at, one gets more and more perturbed. I am sorry that the noble Baroness could not go further than she did. I know her interest, which is very personal, in this industry and I am grateful for what she said. I regret that she could not go any way along the road at all, and in these circumstances I cannot withdraw the Amendment because I think that this will be a very important question for the fishermen of this country.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ LORD DERWENT
Before the noble Lord, Lord Hoy, decides what he is going to do may I say that I, too, have an interest in this business, not as directly as the noble Lord, but I have taken an interest in it for a long time. When I first saw this Amendment I wondered if I should be able to vote against it. Iceland has nothing to do with this question. I do not believe that if we cannot settle with Iceland we shall have the same problem with other countries. Long before ten years are up there will be a much more difficult question about fisheries in general, and conservation has got to go much further long before ten years. For that reason I believe that to try to say that something shall be the same in ten years as now is not a practical proposition. Within three or four years we shall have to have an international agreement or no one will have any fish. That is the position to-day, and, speaking from a purely practical point of view, I hope that the noble Lord will not press this Amendment; I do not believe that it would be effective.
§ LORD SHINWELL
It may well be that the Icelandic position does not concern what is relevant to this Amendment but, as noble Lords are aware, there is a great deal of anxiety among the fishing interests about that position and the absence of definite assurances about the situation vis-à-vis the Economic Community. I am aware that negotiations took place, and the decision mentioned by the noble Baroness appears to have been accepted. But it may well be that something may crop up to lead to a violation of our fishing rights by one of the countries associated with the Six, and, as a result, an attempt may be made by the Commission, or those in authority at the time, to effect some kind of modification. I should therefore like to ask two questions.
If there were such violation would a decision be left to the Commission or would the matter be dealt with in the normal fashion by, say, the arrest of a trawler violating the fishing rights? It is rather important that we should know about that. My other question is in reference to the continuation of fishery protection measures. I should like to know whether these measures will still remain in operation, because some assur- 874 ance has to be given to those in the fishing industry in order to remove any possibility of apprehension.
It may be asked why I speak on these subjects. There was a time when I represented fishing interests, when I was the Member of Parliament for Seaham Harbour. But I have a further qualification; in fact, I have two. One is that I was appointed by the Labour Party when in Opposition, many years ago, to speak in the other place on the white fish industry. I think I made a very good speech on the subject; in fact, the only speech I have made which was regarded as good. My other qualification is that when I was the national organiser of the Amalgamated Society of Marine Workers I organised fishermen in Swansea, Hull and other fishing ports and achieved a great measure of success. So I know a great deal about fishing, and if I raise one or two questions on this Amendment it is not just for the purpose of making a speech—that is the last thing I want to do—but because I want information.
I know that there is a great deal of anxiety about the future of fishing; I come from a part of the world where this is very pertinent. The world-wide reputation of the Torrey Research Station near Aberdeen regarding conservation matters is recognised. and I have no doubt that once we are a member of this club and not just outside sniping at it, the other members will be enthusiastic to benefit from our experience and knowledge which will prove to be to the advantage of all. Therefore I think that this Amendment is quite unnecessary.
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
Perhaps I may be allowed to reply to the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, who asked two questions, and to thank my noble friends for their support, particularly the noble Viscount, Lord Stonehaven, who paid a tribute to the Torrey Research Station which I know very well. The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, asked whether a decision would be made by the Commission or whether we should still have the power to arrest trawlers. In my opening remarks I sought to explain that the power of enforcement of fishery protection will remain with the United Kingdom. On 875 the question of who makes the decision, it is made ultimately by the Council of Ministers on which we are represented. Where a matter is of vital national interest it is decided by unanimity.
Already it has been laid down that quite soon the Commission and the Council—the Commission as a body which carries out the instructions of the Council of Ministers—will have to consider what kind of policy would be suitable for all member States after 1982; and in that connection, and in answer to the noble Lord's second question, I said that the fishery protection measures are still our responsibility. Indeed we have recently increased our capacity to carry them out. Therefore I think that in a Community of which we shall be part and to which we can bring so much experience on this subject we shall, in the very difficult times ahead, and particularly as the Law of the Sea Conference might not take place until 1974, get a suitable policy for us all.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ LORD GREENWOOD OF ROSSENDALE moved Amendment No. 27:
Page 2, line 33, at end insert—
("Provided that, unless there is in force in the Community on 1st January 1978 a longterm arrangement for the import of New Zealand agricultural produce into the Community which has been approved by the United Kingdom, then the arrangements in force on 31st December 1977 shall continue in force unless and until a long-term Community arrangement which has been so approved is concluded.")
§ The noble Lord said: Perhaps I should say that at appropriate stages later in our discussions I propose to raise the question of the effect of this Bill on the less developed countries of the Commonwealth, and also on Canada and Australia, which I believe to be damaged nearly as much as New Zealand. My mind goes back to-night to an occasion in 1962, almost on the eve of the Labour Party Conference, when I attended a dinner of Commonwealth Socialist leaders at which I remember Mr. Walter Nash telling Mr. Gaitskell that the Common Market could be the end of New Zealand's butter industry. I believe that the frank exchange of views we had on that occasion was largely the reason for 876 the powerful speech which Mr. Gaitskell made at the Labour Party Conference shortly afterwards.
In the course of that speech, to which I referred on Second Reading, Mr. Gaitskell said:
I do not think, and I hope the British Government does not think, that it will be adequate to give New Zealand a seven years' dole and then cast them away …
On that occasion the Labour Party took a firm stand on the need, and indeed the duty, to defend the issues of our friends throughout the Commonwealth; and we have never deviated from that position. My right honourable friend Mr. Wilson on many occasions in the House of Commons, and again when he addressed the meeting of the Socialist International a few weeks ago, has stressed that before the Labour Government made the application to join the Community they insisted that:
A transitional period would not be enough unless it were for a generation, for example, arrangements that would need to be, if not permanent, at least equal in effect to a permanent change.
Mr. Wilson added:
On that basis the Cabinet decided.
And we have not for one moment deviated from that position.
In the event, however, the arrangements that have been made for New Zealand are far from adequate: indeed, I believe that they are totally unsatisfactory. On Second Reading I referred to Mr. Dowling, President of the British Trade Association of New Zealand. Mr. Dowling has said that the widespread belief that the "Brussels deal" as he calls it, constitutes an adequate safeguard for New Zealand's economic future is a dangerous misconception. I am sure that it is. It is of course a temporary arrangement, and I suppose it is just conceivable that when it comes to be renegotiated it could be improved. But, quite seriously, I wonder what the prospects of that happening really are. I cannot help feeling that when the Community starts to reconsider this ludicrous, fantastic, wasteful Common Agricultural Policy, which was President de Gaulle's price for remaining in the Community. France will play a large part in determining what concessions are going to be made to New Zealand: and I have a shrewd suspicion that the interests of New Zealand will
come second to those of the farmers of France. Indeed, when M. Messmer as Minister for Overseas Territories was visiting the Pacific in May, he learned of the opposition of the Federation of Labour to the French nuclear tests, and there was a suggestion that there should be a ban on trade with France. I ask your Lordships to note the way that M. Messmer (now, if my memory is correct—and these things change so rapidly—I think still the Prime Minister of France, but then Minister for Overseas Territories) reacted. He reacted by saying:
We must not forget that New Zealand is on the asking side. At the time of Britain's entry into the Common Market she"—
that is, New Zealand—
came on her knees to beseech us to allow her to go on exporting to Britain. We have condescended to grant New Zealand guaranteed exports to Britain for a period of five years. If New Zealand now refuses to export to France, this limit of five years could be reconsidered and reduced and we could look at the application with disfavour.
What an utterly intolerable situation we have got ourselves into when old and valued friends like New Zealand, without whom this country would not have survived, can be treated in this despicable way by a Minister in the French Government. That is the position into which we have allowed ourselves to drift.
It may be that the proposals for New Zealand lamb could be a good deal worse. But I believe that we really should have insisted on New Zealand having access to European markets for acceptable quantities of her produce at acceptable price levels. The Pacific is certainly not going to provide the alternative opening for New Zealand's exports that supporters of the Common Market often claim. The extraordinary thing about all this of course is that we are paying a fantastically high price for the privilege of stabbing New Zealand in the back. It is not just the ludicrous, fantastic, extortionate cost of the Common Agricultural Policy; it is also the loss of our exports to New Zealand. Britain's exports to New Zealand at present, including invisible exports, are somewhere around £700 million dollars a year: in fact, on a per capita basis New Zealand is still our second largest market. Yet we are imperilling this magnificent outlet for the workers and the manufacturers of Britain in order to comply with the agricultural conditions
of entry into the Common Market. New Zealand will be in a position in which she will virtually have no alternative but to scrap the Commonwealth Preferences, which have done so much for New Zealand and so much for this country. Those Preferences will be phased out. But I do not want to put this just on the basis of our own material trade interest, because I believe that the very honour of this country is at stake on this issue. We are inflicting untold damage on a country that we regard very much as a member of the family. I wonder what has happened to all the pledges that the Conservative leaders have given from the 1950s onwards about how they would never go into the Common Market if it damaged the interests of the Commonwealth. I do not want to resort to the kind of "quoting gimmickry" that the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack engaged in earlier this evening, but, you know, Hansard and the reports of Conservative Party Conferences are cluttered with pledges that members of the present Government have given to our friends in the Commonwealth. Now, in order to get into Europe (as it is euphemistically called) we are prepared to break those pledges and neglect those who I believe are our real friends. It is to me still almost unbelievable that even the present Government, with all their faults, should behave in this way towards New Zealand.
… the pity of it, Iago! O Iago, the pity of
§ I beg to move.
§ LORD HARVEY OF PRESTBURY
I think the noble Lord who has just spoken has taken an unnecessarily gloomy view. He referred to the Labour Party Conference in 1962. Well, let me tell him that the Conservative Party has feelings equal to those of the Labour Party about New Zealand, and at that time, in 1962, there were mountains of butter in Denmark, Holland and France. Those have disappeared in the intervening years. If one thinks of the increasing population and the higher standard of living throughout the world, I think that in five years' time every bit of food which New Zealand can produce will be required. Why is it that the Prime Minister of New Zealand said during the negotiations that he was quite satisfied with what was going on?—and he was the political 879 leader of the country. When I was in the House of Commons, the Labour Party were trying to make capital out of this point, and I think it is a very unfair thing to do to the Government. The number of the British people—56 million of them here, with all the Asiatics who are coming to live here in the future—means that we have to raise our own requirements to keep those already here. I have a great affection for the two million New Zealanders but I have noticed over the years that when they could have bought British aircraft they did not do so, and neither did the Australians. Let us face up to some of these problems. I do not take the gloomy view that the noble Lord does and I believe that in five years' time New Zealand will be well able to look after its own affairs.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I, on the contrary, should like very strongly to support my noble friend in this Amendment and in what he said, because I do not take such an optimistic view as the noble Lord who has just spoken. Those of us who have some connections with people in New Zealand, including those who are in public office, know that although it is quite true that the Prime Minister of New Zealand at the time expressed himself as being reasonably satisfied, there were many other people in New Zealand who were far from satisfied and had considerable apprehensions as to what might happen in the longer term. Because, in spite of the most strenuous efforts—and I grant that they were strenuous efforts—on the part of the Government negotiators, what they have obtained is an interim arrangement; and we are concerned with what may happen in the longer run. Let us remember that 1977 is not all that far away, when one is thinking in terms of agricultural production.
So far as the general trade of New Zealand is concerned, as we all know, the country has made strenuous efforts in the last few years, since it was clear that its main market (the United Kingdom) might be involved in the European Community, to diversify its trade. In fact it has met with a reasonable measure of success, but there are limits to what New Zealand is able to do. Australia is in a stronger position, but New Zealand is not so well placed. New Zealand is 880 in direct competition, for the greater part of its exports, with the temperate zone; in other words, with the European countries. Your Lordships will have seen in this morning's papers that in the Community they have just agreed that Europe has over-production of fruit and so they will be grubbing up orchards (at vast expense, I may say) because they are growing too many apples, among other things. This will be in direct competition with any production from New Zealand that we might wish to take. So far as dairy products are concerned, New Zealand can of course export to other parts of the world, but it is not so easy. I was frankly surprised some time ago, when I looked at this matter, to find that one of the fastest increases in production of dairy products in the world was in Japan, which is one of the natural outlets for New Zealand.
As for the United States, it is quite true that New Zealand and Australia purchase from that direction and try to export in that direction. The United States have a very strong farm lobby and it is not easy for New Zealand to export to that country beyond a certain point. I should have thought that within the Commonwealth, whatever one's views may be about certain countries of the Commonwealth (and they may differ) we would all agree that if there is any country which has felt and expressed the most particularly close connection with the United Kingdom it is New Zealand. You may say that this is sentiment. But does sentiment count for nothing? Are we nothing but a nation of tradesmen? Sentiment should still count for something. If sentiment is to count anywhere at all in the Commonwealth, I should have thought that New Zealand would be the country in mind.
New Zealand is in a particularly difficult position; it does not have the rich mineral resources that are found in parts of Australia, nor the manufacturing base which there may be in other parts of the Commonwealth. But, in any case, if it has the best grass in the world, and can produce some of the best food in the world more cheaply, why should we not enjoy it? Quite frankly, that is my attitude on this matter. Therefore we are absolutely right to ask your Lordships to consider carefully whether, taking all the circumstances of New Zealand into 881 account, its historic relationships and matters of trade with the United Kingdom, we should ensure that where they are concerned we have something better than the short, interim arrangement which is all we have so far been able to come to.
§ LORD TANLAW
Before the noble Baroness sits down, would she agree with me that in the past two years there has been an increase in beef prices, both from Australia and New Zealand, through exports to America and Japan? Would she also agree that this is due to the increased marketability of dairy and beef products from Australia and New Zealand?
§ BARONESS WHITE
Dairy products are more difficult. There has been a general scarcity of beef throughout the world, and a general increase in beef prices. New Zealand, no doubt, has benefited from that, as have other producers of beef.
§ LORD TANLAW
I quite agree. If the noble Baroness cares to look at the figures, the increase in the price of beef has been very considerable and has given new prosperity to areas producing beef and mutton products.
§ 9.18 p.m.
THE EARL OF BALFOUR
I do not feel that any special provision needs to be made for New Zealand in this Bill. May I draw your Lordships' attention to Part IV of the Treaty of Rome in which there are special provisions for the association of overseas countries and territories. France, Italy, Germany and Holland, like Britain, have extensive dominions and colonies spread over many parts of the world. They are provided for in the Treaty; there are special conditions for those areas. One of the important factors here is something which my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor said: you negotiate into a Treaty. This is the important point. We are negotiating into this Treaty, and our vote in the Community is going to be of far greater benefit to countries like Australia and New Zealand with us in the Common Market rather than out of it.
I do not think that this Amendment is something we should wish to bring into an English Bill; it is something we need to introduce in our negotiations when we 882 are in the Common Market. Many years ago I travelled fairly extensively in New Zealand and Australia. They look to the Pacific, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea for the main outlet of trade today. Any cargo which leaves Australia or New Zealand by sea has not only to cross the Indian Ocean or the Pacific, but it also has to cross the Atlantic Ocean as well. This brings costs up a good deal higher. I know that it also means that it is more difficult for us to export to them; but more and more both New Zealand and Australia have looked to Japan, Malaya and North America for their maintrade outlets. Equally, those countries now are doing much more trade with Australia and New Zealand than is the whole of Europe. But if we go into Europe, then, with a strong Britain in a strong Europe, we shall be in a much better position to compete and will be able to export to Australia and New Zealand in spite of the fact that we have to cross two oceans to do it. This is why we must leave the Bill as it stands. I do not think this Amendment would be right, nor do I think that New Zealand, as one country, should be specified in the Bill. There are provisions in the Treaty and I am sure these things can be negotiated.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ LORD SHINWELL
There was a time when the Conservative Party believed in the Commonwealth. Now they are ready to throw it overboard and to deal only with New Zealand. It is impossible to comprehend this situation accurately except in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy, which in effect is the French agricultural policy, and the situation in New Zealand. My noble friend Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, referred to an impudent, aggressive and offensive declaration made by a French politician, a Minister I believe, in connection with the resentment of the New Zealand and the Australian Governments about the nuclear tests in the Pacific. That is not the first time that there have been very forthright and, in my judgment, offensive declarations by French politicians about New Zealand and the Commonwealth. For example, an ex-agricultural Minister of France, M. Pisani, said some considerable time ago when the subject of British entry into the Common Market was prominent in people's minds 883 here and in the Commonwealth, that for Britain to enter the E.E.C. meant the end of the Commonwealth. That was his declaration; it is on record.
I do not understand the attitude of noble Lords opposite. Why can they not contrast the contribution made by France in the last war, in the effort in which we were fundamentally involved, alongside the contribution made by New Zealand? They should remember that France had a population of 50 million, had conscription, was adequately armed and was under agreement with us to resist aggression, and that New Zealand had but two million people. They should consider the contribution that was made by New Zealand in contrast to the contribution that was made by France. In the Second Reading debate I ventured to quote what Neville Chamberlain recorded in his diary before he died, about the attitude of France in the last war and about how France had acted in a treacherous fashion. Noble Lords should contrast the policies of the two countries—a Commonwealth country on the one hand and France on the other.
New Zealand is apprehensive about what is to happen in the future despite what the noble Earl opposite has said. He spoke in a very optimistic fashion—everything will come right. How does he know? What evidence has he to support that contention? I would have thought that the Conservative Party would have held strongly, firmly and fundamentally to its belief that there is something in the Commonwealth worth retaining. There is no question about it. Why are we not realistic about it? Once we are in the Common Market the Commonwealth connection will languish and ultimately fade. Some members of the Conservative Party have expressed a view on this matter. Mr. Enoch Powell, for example, has expressed the view that the Commonwealth problem does not matter any more. One might say the same about the United Nations. Indeed, if I had to choose between the Commonwealth and the United Nations— I refer to what remains of it; I care less about the emergent nations than I do about the old Commonwealth—I would prefer the Commonwealth because I believe it is a greater moral force in the world than the United Nations, largely 884 because of the composition of the United Nations. That is how I feel about it.
On several occasions I have spoken in the other place and have never at any time resiled from my belief that the Commonwealth is changing. I dislike intensely the idea that it should be treated in this deplorable fashion. I have experience of New Zealand; some members of my family live there. It is a lovely country with a lovely people. It is essentially English, apart from Dunedin which is essentially Scots. Now we are throwing them over, jettisoning them. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for acting in this fashion.
I can remember, too, a few years ago when this subject of the E.E.C. was in the public mind, and also the concern of the other place that a large section of the Conservative Party supported the view that has been expressed by my noble friends here about the New Zealand connection and the need for retaining that connection. That seems to have vanished. What a transformation! What an amazing phenomenon! This has come from the Conservative Party. If it had come from the Labour Party it might have been said, "Well, what do they care about the Commonwealth, anyhow! They are concerned about internal matters only, domestic matters, and so on." But this has happened in the Conservative Party. Does the noble Viscount wish to interrupt?
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
The noble Lord is not being quite fair to the view that has been expressed by one or two of my noble friends already in this debate on this side of the Committee. We are not willing or anxious to do damage to New Zealand at all. Our view is that by going into Europe we are going to be of more use to the Commonwealth. including New Zealand, than we should be if we remained outside. The noble Lord must not imply to us a willingness to throw the Commonwealth over in favour of Europe, because that is not our view. Our view is definitely that by going into Europe we are more likely to be of use to the Commonwealth and able to fulfil our responsibilities to it than if we remained outside Europe.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!885
§ LORD SHINWELL
I suppose that that applause is intended to indicate support for what the noble Viscount said.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ LORD SHINWELL
Precisely, I was right. Intelligent anticipation. I have the greatest respect for the noble Viscount opposite, as he knows. I had a great respect for him when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer—and that is saying something. But he reminds me of the old saying, "It's all very well to dissemble your love, but why did you kick me downstairs?" You will understand what I mean.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: No!
§ LORD SHINWELL
This is what you have done. Oh yes, you have a lot of affection for New Zealand; but look what you are doing to her! I would say to the noble Viscount opposite that all you can say in extenuation is that you hope for the best it cannot be said that New Zealand will lose. The noble Earl on the Back Bench made an outrageous speech; it was one of the worst I have heard in the course of these debates. He dismissed New Zealand. He just threw it aside, like scraps of paper. All that is being said is, "It will come all right" Just imagine what we get from the Liberal Benches—and when I say "the Liberal Benches" your Lordships see what I mean!
We are told that the price of New Zealand beef and mutton will go up in the United States of America, and therefore New Zealand will become more prosperous. Of course one can say nowadays that the price of beef has gone up everywhere. It has gone up in this country, but we are not any more prosperous, are we? I cannot understand these arguments—they are so fallacious. Anyway, they seem to be quite irrelevant, so I will merely make to noble Lords opposite one point in connection with something said by the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury; that the assurances given to the New Zealand Government are adequate; but what really happened? If ever there was a case of arm-twisting it was between Mr. Rippon and some of his colleagues and the Ministers who came over from New Zealand to take part in these difficult negotiations.
§ LORD HARVEY OF PRESTBURY
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but I did not say anything of the kind. What I said was that the Prime Minister of New Zealand was satisfied. While the noble Lord's arguments are quite convincing, and I do not disagree with many of them, about patriotism, I wish the noble Lord had applied the same thoughts to Rhodesia when we discussed that problem.
§ BARONESS ELLES
I wish to compliment the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, on his memory, perhaps of a few years ago, but he may not recall so clearly what happened only last year. At that time, the Government, with the full backing of the Party and in the person of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, practically broke off negotiations with the Communities because they were not giving New Zealand fair treatment; and it was only because the Government were fair in their plans for protecting New Zealand and demanding fair terms for New Zealand that negotiations were then resumed. This was also with the agreement of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Order!
§ BARONESS ELLES
I think the noble Lord will appreciate that New Zealand has never had such fair terms, either in the long term of being a guaranteed market and—
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Order!
I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend, but I think the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, was in fact still speaking, and that it would be right for her to put a question to the noble Lord.
§ LORD SHINWELL
I think the noble Baroness should be treated with the utmost courtesy. If she wanted to go on speaking I should be the last person to complain—not that what she said mattered very much. But I will come to that point in a moment. Of course there were negotiations, and I followed them very closely at the time. But there was a great deal of arm-twisting. As I said, New Zealand were told they had better be satisfied, and they did say that they were satisfied; but there were reservations. The noble Lord opposite 887 knows that there were such reservations; indeed, there are still reservations, and these have been referred to by my noble friends Lord Greenwood and Lady White. For the life of me I cannot understand why members of the Conservative Party should act in this fashion. At the least we ought to have more definite assurances than have yet been given in order to demonstrate to the people in New Zealand (if they get to know what we are talking about) that in your Lordships' House there are some noble Lords—if not a majority—who wish New Zealand well, who are apprehensive about the future of New Zealand and are anxious to impress upon the United Kingdom Government and all those associated with this subject that New Zealand should have a fair and square deal.
§ LORD GLADWYN
Perhaps I may say just one word. Since last Thursday I have been waiting to discover an Amendment for which I could legitimately vote in accordance with the principles of the Liberal Party which I outlined at that time; namely, that it must not be a wrecking Amendment; that it must not he a legal nitpicking but must be something which on the face of it added substantially to the Bill and could be considered to be a real improvement. I am quite certain that this particular Amendment is not an improvement. I think there is a considerable tendency on the part of a number of noble Lords to pile on the agony, as it were, with regard to the New Zealand settlement, which most of us, quite independently, came to the conclusion was a reasonable settlement at the time it was negotiated by Mr. Rippon. We know that it is an interim measure and that everything depends on what happens in a few years' time. It is clear that New Zealand must diversify and find other markets. It cannot go on being a British farm, and preferences will probably disappear whatever policy we adopt. whether or not we enter the Common Market.
What has been said about M. Messmer is not evidence. He was speaking in a moment of passion. Whether or not he remains the Prime Minister of France for long, he cannot speak for the Community as a whole. Whatever language he may use by way of threats is not 888 evidence of what will happen to New Zealand once we are in the Community. There is a considerable amount of misconception among noble Lords about what happens inside the Community and how the E.E.C. works. Let us assume the worst and that in 1977 or 1978 there is a bad mood among our colleagues, who will not renew the arrangements for New Zealand, even on moderately satisfactory terms. In that event there will be a row in the Community, feverish arguments behind the scenes with one set taking one view and another set taking a contrary attitude. There will be bargaining and eventually a satisfactory new solution will, I am sure, emerge for New Zealand after 1978.
That being the case, I could not possibly vote for an Amendment which, it passed, would give the impression to our friends in the Community that we were joining them simply with the intention of pushing our own view forward irrespective of theirs and regardless of whether there was a possibility of reaching a reasonable bargain. I therefore urge all noble Lords to resist the Amendment.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, put his finger on the whole question when he pointed out that we have fought hard to get good arrangements for New Zealand and that we must, by going into the Community, assume that our partners will work with us to try to overcome the many problems which will confront us all, and not only New Zealand. When the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, speaks he loves to make a lot of mischief. We know that and we take his remarks in that spirit. But when the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, speaks—I was careful to make a note of some of the words he used—it is a different matter, and I thought that he went much too far when he said that this Government were casting New Zealand away and stabbing that country in the back. Indeed, his comments made me wonder whether he had read properly and carefully the terms of the protocol on the arrangements for New Zealand. The sort of language the noble Lord used was unfortunate because the OFFICIAL REPORT of the debates in this House is read, in the same way as notice is taken of what is said in another place. It 889 would be bad if it went out that your Lordships had somehow agreed to some sort of arrangement which had not kept the interests of New Zealand at heart.
The noble Baroness, Lady White, said that we must have some sentiment for and anxiety about New Zealand. I assure her that we all have anxieties and that many of us have connections; for example, my father was born in New Zealand and I have four cousins on sheep stations there. Many noble Lords can claim connections of that kind. The fact remains that what we are asked to approve in this Amendment is that the arrangements that go on to 1977 should be continued; otherwise there is a sort of feeling of distrust—that somehow or other things will be much worse.
I did so very much agree, if I may say so, with my noble friend Lord Amory and with my noble friends Lord Balfour and Lord Harvey of Prestbury, who quite rightly said that this country has fought very hard in these negotiations to get fair terms, as indeed was said by my noble friend Lady Elles. If we look at Protocol 18—
§ BARONESS WHITE
May I interrupt the noble Baroness for one moment? Would she not agree that, after all, what we are saying in this Amendment is nothing derogatory to the arrangement reached up to December 31, 1977, nor is it laying down any specific terms or conditions for what should happen thereafter? All we are saying is that we recognise that we have a longer-term obligation to New Zealand which should be negotiated. If it has been negotiated by the end of 1977 well and good; the Amendment would be of no effect. But we recognise we have a longer-term obligation to New Zealand. That is what we meant.
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
I think we are all agreed about that. But the terms in which this was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, seemed to suggest that the actual arrangements we have secured up to 1977 were not satisfactory, and also implied, absolutely clearly, that it was highly doubtful that we would get as good arrangements after 1977. Protocol 18 to the Treaty of Accession provides in relation to butter, which is much the most important agricultural product 890 referred to in this Amendment, that the Council of the enlarged Communityshall, during 1975, review the situation…taking into account the changing conditions of the times. And, as has been said by several noble Lords, there will be changing conditions because NewZealand, like many other countries, has to diversify her economy. She does not wish to be dependent only on agricultural products.
On top of that, this Protocol also makes it clear that we have to take into account any progress which is made towards a world agreement on milk products, which is very important. The Council after that will decide measures which will…ensure the maintenance after 31 December, 1977, of exceptional arrangements in respect of imports of butter from New Zealand".These are points of great value for they do recognise the importance to New Zealand of continuing arrangements for butter after the five-year period for which detailed provision is already made in the Protocol. Of course, one can always quote authorities who are critical or not critical in any Government or any Opposition in any Parliament at any time, but I would only say that the Prime Minister in charge at the time, Sir Keith Holyoake, did say, and I quote:it was a major concession to New Zealand and a result which was highly satisfactory".He, of course, would have to be responsible to his electorate.
The noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, mentioned particularly sheep products, and of course there is at the moment no sheep meat regulation in the Community. We will have a chance, when we are a member, of being able to influence policy on this, which equally will be of importance. If sheep meat is well advertised in the Community I believe that New Zealand will have a great opportunity to sell a product which is, on the whole, little known outside this country, and not nearly so well known as beef. The Treaty quite clearly says that measures to keep the exceptional arrangements for New Zealand butter after 1977 shall be decided by the Council. That provision does afford, I suggest to the Committee, the best possible safeguard for New Zealand's interests. Furthermore, because the Government of the day will 891 be answerable to the House for any agreement they make, it does seem to me that this Protocol gives us the best safeguard which we could, in very hard bargaining, achieve for New Zealand. I do really suggest to the Committee that the Amendment before your Lordships implies a measure of doubt not only about what we can all achieve after 1977 but about the achievements we have won to-day. Therefore I would ask the Committee to reject it.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
The noble Baroness quoted from Article 5 of Protocol 18. Here again, as part of our education can she tell me what happens if the Council are not unanimous on a proposal from the Commission? Does the Commission's recommendation then override the lack of unanimity on the Council? Supposing, for one moment, Lord Gladwyn's gloomy expectations of M. Messmer's expectations of life in office are falsified, and there is a feeling that what the Commission has recommended in its objective way is not acceptable, what would happen then and what would then be the position of the British Government?
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
If one looks at Article 5, paragraph 2, of this particular Protocol 18, it will be seen—and I expect Lord Shackleton was referring to this—that it is the Council which has to act unanimously on a proposal from the Commission; in other words, it is not the Commission but the Council which has to act unanimously, and if the Council were not unanimous one member of the Council, including ourselves if necessary, would be able to vote down a particular proposal. But what one has to look at is the practice of the Council so far in the life of the Community; and
§ where there is a matter of great importance, such as this of New Zealand, it is perfectly clear that agreement is reached by consent—there is no voting procedure in the way there would be on a majority proposal. It is a decision which is reached by consent; and without it, of course, the Community could not operate.
§ LORD GREENWOOD OF ROSSENDALE
We have had from the noble Baroness and from noble Lords on the opposite side of the House a number of hopes and expectations and aspirations about what is going to happen in respect of the New Zealand economy over the next few years, but we have had no positive certainty whatsoever, and the whole position really is clouded in un-certainty. We have not achieved what Mr. Gaitskell called the "seven years' dole"; we are very far short of getting the generation's guarantees for New Zealand that Mr. Wilson has called for, and we hear from the noble Baroness that one single member of the Council could veto proposals for helping New Zealand when the agreement comes up for review. If M. Messmer's behaviour and words in the Pacific are anything to go by, we cannot expect very much generosity of approach towards our old friends in New Zealand. I believe that the people of New Zealand should know that they are not without friends in this House. I believe that they should know that the Conservative Party want to make New Zealand stronger by buying less of her products and bring her nearer by making her more remote. For that reason I shall ask the Committee to divide.
§ 9.48 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 27) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents 24; Not-Contents, 114.893
|Balogh, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Segal, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||Hirshfield. L.||Serota, Bs.|
|Beswick, L.||Hoy, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Lindsay of Birker, L.||Shinwell. L.|
|Brockway, L.||Maelor, L.||Strabolgi. L. [Teller]|
|Champion, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Watkins, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Phillips, Bs.||White, Bs.|
|Garnsworthy, L. [Teller]||Rusholme, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Eccles, V.||Northchurch, Bs.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Elles, Bs.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Amory, V.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Pender, L.|
|Arbuthnott, V.||Falmouth, V.||Perth, E.|
|Astor of Hever, L.||Ferrers, E.||Polwarth, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Fisher, L.||Poole, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Fortescue, E.||Rankeillor, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Gage, V.||Reay, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Gainford, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Gladwyn, L.||Redmayne, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Goschen, V.||Reigate, L.|
|Blake, L.||Gowrie, E.||Remnant, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Rhyl, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor)||Robbins, L.|
|Brecon, L.||Rothermere, V.|
|Brentford. V.||Hanworth, V.||St. Just, L.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Chelmer, L.||Hawke, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Hewlett, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Hives, L.||Shaftesbury, E.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Hood, V.||Sherfield, L.|
|Cowley, E.||Inchyra, L.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Craigavon, V.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal)||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Kemsley, V.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Latymer, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Limerick, E.||Thomas, L.|
|Croft, L.||Lothian, M.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Macleod of Borve, Bs.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Mancroft, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Twcedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|de Clifford, L.||Milverton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|De L'Isle, V.||Monk Bretton, L.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller]||Mountevans, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Derwent, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller]||Wynford, L.|
|Drogheda, E.||Yarborough, E.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Netherthorpe, L.||Young, Bs.|
|Ebbisham, L.||Newall, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ LORD BESWICK moved Amendment No. 28:
Page 2, line 33, at end insert—
("Provided that nothing in this Act shall be held to detract from the ultimate sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament or to prejudice the right of Parliament to repeal it or alter its provisions.")
§ The noble Lord said: I listened with great interest to the figures of the Division, and as the numbers of "Not-Contents "were announced I noted on the faces of a number of noble Lords present a slight smirk, a grin. I see a grin there now. I was reminded, when I heard those voting figures, of some words spoken by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor in a debate which we had on Thursday in which he dismissed entirely, and with contempt, the idea that we should submit this matter to a referendum of the British people.894
The noble and learned Lord, pointing out the superiority of our system as against what he described as the "alien practice of a referendum", said this:
But ours is a democracy through Parliamentary representation, based on an assembly popularly elected but presided over by a Government responsible to that Parliament and composed of members of that majority Party."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3/8/72, col. 602.]
§ LORD BESWICK
I am talking about Amendment No. 28, which has a reference to Parliamentary authority.
§ LORD BESWICK
The noble Lord may not like it, but I could not easily reconcile the reference of the noble and learned Lord to a popularly elected assembly with the picture I saw of noble Lords going by in their great numbers.
§ LORD BESWICK
The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, asks me "Why?". I wonder what his majority was when he was popularly elected". I failed to notice the great support that he had from the people whom he now represents. I really feel sometimes, when we are discussing this matter, that we might have from the large number of people who tramp through that Division Lobby, a little less of the assertiveness (shall I say?) that we saw a few minutes ago. Now I come to the Amendment.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ LORD BESWICK
The assertiveness which I saw a few minutes ago, and which I now see repeated again. I now come to the Amendment. I submit that the Amendment is straightforward, and I should have thought it is honourable. I think all will accept that. It would merely add:that nothing in this Act shall be held to detract from the ultimate sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament or to prejudice the right of Parliament to repeal it or alter its provisionsAlthough we shall all accept it as a straightforward and honourable Amendment, it may be said that it is not an essential Amendment. I want to suggest that it is essential. No one will pretend that there is not concern about this issue of sovereignty. There have already been many pronouncements. Most of them seek to give us assurance. But there are differences in the emphasis of these assurances, and I hope the Committee will agree that this is a matter about which there ought to be no doubt at all. I leave aside for the moment those authorities in Brussels who, on this issue of sovereignty, appear to believe in a doctrine of erosion. "Community law" they say,"is a living thing, a dynamic thing, and gradually it will assume complete superiority over municipal law"—a sort of legal Gresham's Law—bad law driving out good.
But leaving aside that doctrine of erosion, there is the question of what will be the position with regard to sovereignty if this Bill is passed. On most occasions most authorities say that sovereignty remains. The noble and learned Lord, speaking earlier to a previous Amendment, said that, no matter 896 what doubts we had about Parliamentary control, at any rate sovereignty would remain unaffected. But it was not put as clearly as that in what the same noble and learned Lord said on Second Reading. On Second Reading he appeared to be saying something which was in conflict with what his learned colleague had said in another place. In another place the Solicitor General (and I quote from Hansard of July 5, 1972, column 629) said, quoting with approval the words of Lord Diplock:'If The Queen in Parliament were to make laws which were in conflict with this country's obligations under the Treaty of Rome, those laws, and not the conflicting provisions of the Treaty, would be given effect to as the domestic law of the United Kingdom'.Now that was something quite certain. The Lord Chancellor, however, speaking on the Second Reading on July 25, 1972, said this at column 1230 of the OFFICIAL REPORT:This conflict"—the conflict between municipal law and the Community law—exists and has been discussed, in France…in Germany…and…also in Italy. If it arises here—and I think it is doubtful whether it will arise—it will arise not because of conflict with our Written Constitution, because we have not a Written Constitution, but in relation to the doctrine which we do possess…Later on he went on to refer to it as:the doctrine of the priority of later Acts over previous Acts: that rule of construction whereby when two Acts conflict the later is construed as amending or repealing the earlier one.He then said:It is to meet this difficulty that Clause 2(4) has been inserted as an express provision in the Bill in so far as it provides that obligations arising under Clause 2(1) (Community obligations) have precedence over subsequent enactments.The noble and learned Lord was saying, as I understand him, that if there is this possibility of later legislation upsetting earlier legislation, then subsection (4) would deal with it.
Now I am simply saying that if there is a risk at all, if there are any doubts at all—and I am not here purporting to say, and it would of course be absurd of me to say, whether the noble and learned Lord was right or not—and if there is this difference of emphasis, then we should not take risks on this issue. Alternatively, I am saying that even if 897 there were no doubt, if there were no risk as between one lawyer and another, then, to satisfy the ordinary people in this country, there is no reason why we should not have this position expressly stated in terms in the Bill. I feel that it is particularly important for this country that we should have this protection, since we do not have the kind of protection which a Written Constitution affords to some of the other members of the Community
I gather, as the noble and learned Lord himself said, that there are at the present time cases in certain other member States—in the Netherlands there is a case; in Germany there is a case, and it may be that the question of the importation of Algerian semolina is providing another case in France—where there is conflict as between the municipal court and the Community Court. In the cases of Germany, the Netherlands and France, it is possible to point to the Written Constitution which gives them some protection. Professor Wade, in the article to which I have already referred, made this comment:Being the only member with no formal Constitution, Britain alone will have no sacrosanct preserves of fundamental Community-proof law.Therefore I am saying that it would be advisable to put this matter beyond doubt by writing it into the Bill.
The noble and learned Lord said at the beginning of the afternoon's proceedings that he was anxious to be as constructive as possible; he wanted to get away from the general philosophical discussion which he thought was unconstructive; he wanted to be able to show his sympathy with Amendments which were, as he put it, meaningful and constructive. In this Amendment I am not asking him to throw any principles overboard; I am asking him to show sympathy, to accept a constructive effort to put into the Bill something which I believe the majority of people would like to see established beyond doubt. I beg to move.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ LORD BERNSTEIN
I support this Amendment absolutely. I speak with some degree of diffidence, since I am a comparatively new Member of your Lordships' House. I am heartened because of the speech of the noble Earl, 898 Lord Lauderdale, in the Second Reading debate. It made me feel that there was some reason for being a Back Bencher in this House. Why am I saddened? Why am I disillusioned? It is rather by what happened last Thursday than by to-day's proceedings. I do not think that any Member of this House realises the damage that is being done to this House by its behaviour and the way these Amendments are being treated. It may be that in the view of some it does not matter what the people outside think. I believe it does. What was said in '98 or '57 by the Labour Party and by the Conservative Party is completely unimportant. I noticed that when the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor answered the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, he talked about what the Labour Party said but made no comment on what the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, had said and of how he went up and down the country supporting the Conservative Party's Election Manifesto.
What the Government have to do is to do justice to this Bill on its merits. I have accepted that the Government of the day will carry this Bill through to its final conclusion and that we shall become members of the Community. I ask myself what a Back Bencher can do in this House. The noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, also said that he accepted that this House rests on its role as a revising Chamber. I thought so, too. We had a number of important Bills before the House, in two of which I was involved. In both cases a great number of Amendments were made. Some were produced by the Government, some by the Liberal Party, some by the Cross-Benches and some by the Members of these Benches. Both Bills were improved. They were not necessarily made ideal Bills, but they were better than they were when they came to your Lordships' House. I had hoped that your Lordships' House would have the same opportunity with this Bill, but evidently that is not so. I know about the promises and the words said on Thursday night, that we are not "bloody-minded", but facts will speak louder than promises or words.
Last week we had a debate on Clause 30 of the Criminal Justice Bill and we had the benefit of hearing the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, 899 and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock. Noble Lords of great legal standing and quality of mind offered their views on a humane problem. For me that was a most interesting debate which revealed your Lordships' House at its best. It was not a Party matter but an attempt to find a clause which would cover problems with which the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, had tried to deal. What interested me was that eminent legal Members of your Lordships' House all wanted a clause to cover a situation on which there was general agreement, but there was no question of agreement on the wording of the clause, as is usual among legal people. The matter was not resolved by a Division, but because the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Cuirass, promised to reconsider the proposal in the light of the debate. The fight between one lawyer and another continues in respect of this Bill but why must it be so?
I hope that your Lordships will forgive me if I am repetitive, but I have tried on the few occasions on which your Lordships have been kind enough to listen to me to be brief and to speak quickly because I do not want to waste anyone's time, including my own. I recommend those waiting in the Library for the Division bell to ring to read the Report of that debate. It illustrates the difference of views on some of these clauses which are a much more important matter. I am not suggesting that humane problems are not important, but this Bill will affect the nations for all time, and therefore the interpretation of each clause, each line, requires the most careful consideration.
There is not much to explain about the purpose of this Amendment; it is unusually clear. I am sure that most of your Lordships have enough worldly experience to realise its implication. It is that Parliament should remain sovereign. If we accept Parliament as the authority to carry out the wishes of the country—I would rather not become involved in Royal Prerogatives—there must be a limitation on the powers given outside the purview of Parliament. To me and to many others the Council of Ministers seems to supersede Parliament in many matters. The Government have 900 decided on the right to produce this Bill and the right to put it through Parliament. At least they should restrict themselves to what they originally said that they wanted to do, which was to produce legislation for our benefit with the agreement of other countries in the Community. As I understand it, once our Minister on the Council of Ministers agrees to something we are bound. What can Parliament do about it? I asked the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, about this last week. He answered that it could be that an Order in Council might be made by a Government which had a very narrow majority. Parliament might not like the Order in Council. He said that it was possible that the courts of the country could not be used, and the only person with an opportunity and a right to appear in this sort of case was somebody directly affected. Someone with only a hypothetical case was not given an audience by the court.
Who could take an action to get an Order in Council changed? I know we have been told that all will be well on the night. But as someone who has been involved in what is called "show business "I would not bank on that. They say, "Just trust us and you will not be hurt." I think that we may all well be hurt. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor spoke about the rules of the club. I am a member of a few clubs, and it is quite true that I joined accepting the rules of the day. If the rules are changed I have an opportunity to resign. If the rules are changed here, as I understand it, we cannot resign. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said:The only proof of the pudding is in the eating.But it may be too late. The pudding might be backdated; it might be poisonous; it might be too late for us to receive medical attention. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said:The Bill will not affect the sovereignty of Parliament.I really do not know what the noble Lord meant by that, and perhaps he will tell me. He added:Parliament could bring in legislation.What does that mean? Does it mean that Parliament can bring in legislation which would override what has been done by the Community of Ministers? Why cannot we be told quite clearly whether 901 the Parliaments of Holland and Germany have powers that will not be available to us? What privileges have they got that we have not? We can all assume that there is enough power behind the Government to ensure that this Bill will be part of the legislation of this country. The question for your Lordships, and particularly the Back-benchers on both sides, is: how can we improve this Bill, carrying out the purposes intended, and still exercising the democratic rights and responsibilities of Parliament? This is our chance. For these reasons, I support the Amendment and hope that your Lordships on both sides will vote for it.
§ 10.17 p.m.
§ BARONESS EMMET OF AMBERLEY
Surely we should be sensible. Sovereignty is a philosophical conception. It is none the less real, and it cannot be circumscribed or detailed and written into a Treaty. What "sovereignty "means is the consent of the people concerned to be governed in a certain way. It does not matter what Treaty has been signed by 902 any country; when the consent fails, that Treaty fails also. Sovereignty depends entirely on the consent and willingness of the people who are concerned in this Treaty. Therefore I see no point in writing this in in detail, because this is one of the facts of life. A look at history will bear out what I say. I think that as it stands the Bill is sufficient and there is no point in writing in sovereignty.
§ LORD BERNSTEIN
If I may answer the noble Baroness, she may well be right. All I know is that in this country, if you ask most people, they will assume that Parliament has sovereign rights in this country. That is what it is all about. It may be possible to find legal words to prove that I am wrong, but the fact is that that is what people think.
§ BARONESS EMMET OF AMBERLEY
So long as Parliament consents, Parliament retains sovereignty: when Parliament no longer consents, it retains sovereignty over whatever it is being asked to do.
§ 10.18 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
Without wishing to prolong this particular argument I must say to the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, that if we say that sovereignty rests on the consent of the people we are on difficult ground in this particular context. I will not press that further. We have had slightly different emphases from Members of Her Majesty's Government on this matter of sovereignty. Those of us who have read the proceedings in another place will know that the Solicitor General has spoken of the whole thing as "a continuing act of sovereignty". We know also that the Chancellor of the Duchy spoke of the sovereignty involvement of this Treaty being "broadly similar to that of other Treaties." But we have yet to find any Member of the Front Bench, legal or otherwise, who will identify the similarities.
Listening to these confusions of course has whetted the appetites of those who have curious rather than deep minds to learn what my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack will tell us. He told us on Second Reading that our sovereignty would be left unimpaired if by that was meant—and that is what he thought it meant—the right to do anything we liked, good or bad. Then to-day he told us a little more, which made me wonder whether I was a drunken man who said, "Am I or does it?" He told us that really the test of sovereignty lay in our right to denounce the Treaty and walk out. The Amendment has a certain beautiful simplicity. It embraces neatly and properly all that my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has been telling us. It embraces his assurances, which up till now are of course his opinions. It enshrines them in the golden letter of Statute and provides what I submit is a test of sincerity. Therefore I would support the Amendment.
§ LORD GLADWYN
I oppose this Amendment but for reasons opposite to those given by the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet, whose argument was that it was a fundamental truth and, as such, did not need any repetition in the Act or anywhere else. I can understand that argument but I do not share it. I myself am frankly a supra-nationalist. I have said 904 repeatedly for many years—and indeed I repeat now—that this thing cannot work unless you accept certain supra-nationalist principles. You cannot possibly imagine a monetary union working without some authority of some kind which would be supra-national. I believe that the Government agreed with the Italian Government that the powers of the European Parliament should be increased fairly soon after our entry. Perhaps they still believe that; but if you give the European Parliament real power it means that in the last resort that Parliament could pass something over the heads of the British members, from whichever Party they are recruited, in our Parliament. Therefore, if you are in favour of increasing the powers of the European Parliament you are necessarily in favour in the last resort of some kind of supra-national solution.
Of course you can play about with the word "sovereignty" and can make it mean almost anything you like for the purposes of the argument. But I would not be able to vote for an Amendment which says:nothing in this Act shall be held to detract from the ultimate sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament…I believe that the only hope in the long run of making this thing work is that the sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament shall be in some respects reduced, or limited at any rate, by general consent, including our own consent. Whether or not our own Parliament has the right to repeal the Act seems to me to be a quite different question. I would not myself dispute that the Parliament here has in the last resort the right to repeal the Act, to get out of the Community if it so desires and if that is the popular will. I have said before that I do not think it will arise in that way. Either the Community will work, in which case nobody will want to get out (and indeed they will not be able to) or it will break up, and in that case there will be no question of our repealing anything. It would not go on existing; it would have ceased to exist. Nevertheless, if it were really desired that we should put something into this Act, something to the effect thatnothing in the Act shall be held to prejudice the right of Parliament to repeal it or alter its provisions905 I personally would be prepared to vote for that. I should in no circumstances vote for the first part of the Amendment to the effect thatnothing…shall be held to detract from the ultimate sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament.I hope I have made my position clear.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ LORD STOW HILL
I should like to make just a short intervention. I am quite sure that many of your Lordships in all parts of the Committee would agree that my noble friend Lord Beswick has in his Amendment touched upon something which is of crucial importance. I should like, if I may, just once again to remind your Lordships of the exact purport of this Amendment. What he is seeking to do is to protect the "ultimate"—that is the word that appears in the Amendment—sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament. He wants to make certain that there is nothing which will prejudice the right of Parliament to repeal this Bill when it becomes an Act, or alter its provisions. I should have thought—and the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, just now stated this—that if Parliament wishes to repeal an Act which it has passed there is nothing in the wide world which can stop it. It has always an ultimate supremacy in that sense. We could repeal this Act, and we could, by so doing, breach the Treaty provisions. It may be that, as a result, we should find ourselves taken before the International Court at The Hague.
The reason for my intervention is that I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to what seems to me, if I may respectfully say so, to be a most powerful analysis of what the actual position is. This is in a judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls. Many of us remember with affection Mr. Raymond Blackburn in another place. Mr. Blackburn had brought an action asking for declarations against the Attorney General dealing specifically with this question of the supremacy of Parliament in an endeavour to prevent steps from being taken by the Government, which, in Mr. Blackburn's view, might prejudice that ultimate supremacy. The action was dismissed. It went to the Court of Appeal, and I should like to cite 906 relevant passages from the judgment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. I will quote selectively but, I hope, fairly. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, said:Much of what Mr. Blackburn says Is quite correct. It does appear that if this country should go into the Common Market and sign the Treaty of Rome it means that we will have taken a step which is irreversible. The sovereignty of these Islands will thenceforward be limited. It will not be ours alone but will be shared with others.Then I think I may pass over a good deal and go to a passage somewhat later on in the judgment, in which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, used this language:We have all been brought up to believe that, in legal theory, one Parliament cannot bind another, and that no Act is irreversible. But legal theory does not always march alongside political reality. Take the Statute of Westminster 1931, which takes away the power of Parliament to legislate for the Dominions. Can anyone imagine that Parliament could or would reverse that Statute? Take the Acts which have granted independence to the Dominions and territories overseas. Can anyone imagine that Parliament could or would reverse those laws and take away their independence? Most clearly not. Freedom, once given, cannot be taken away. Legal theory must give way to practical politics. It is as well to remember the remark of Viscount Sankey, L.C., in British Coal Corporation v. The King:'The Imperial Parliament could, as a matter of abstract law, repeal or disregard Section 4 of the Statute of Westminster. But that is theory and has no relation to reality.'".That is the end of that quotation, and I go back to the judgment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. He continued:What are the realities here? If Her Majesty's Ministers sign this Treaty and Parliament enacts provisions to implement it, I do not envisage that Parliament would afterwards go back on it and try to withdraw from it. But if Parliament should do so, then I say we will consider that event when it happens. We will then say whether Parliament can lawfully do it or not.I summarise that judgment, I hope correctly, as follows. Of course, in theory you can always repeal an Act of Parliament. There is nothing whatsoever to stop our Parliament next year repealing this Bill if it has become an Act. But, according to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, that does not correspond with reality. Test it by reference to the Statute of Westminster 1931 which pro- 907 vided that the legislation of a Dominion, as it was then called, should not be invalid merely by reason of the fact that it conflicted with a Statute of our own Parliament at Westminster. Lord Denning is saying that it would be utterly and absurdly unrealistic for us now at Westminster to pass a Statute which conflicts with Section 4 of the Statute of Westminster. It would be meaningless. We could do it, but it would not in any sense correspond with reality. Lord Denning is saying that this is exactly the position.
§ BARONESS EMMET OF AMBERLEY
Would the noble, Lord allow me? He is quoting a treaty which dealt with the renunciation of rule over other people. Of course on that you cannot go back because the other people would not let you. We are dealing with our personal sovereignty.
§ LORD STOW HILL
I hope the noble Baroness will argue that point with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. I am simply quoting the reasoning of Lord Denning which seems to me extremely convincing. What he is saying is that there is a parallel between the two situations. It would be just as unrealistic to try to repeal the Statute of Westminster, particularly Section 4 which had the effect that I have indicated, as it would be to try to repeal this Bill when it becomes an Act. I thought it would be of assistance to the Committee to cite from that judgment because it seems to me to make so clear the situation against the background of which my noble friend Lord Beswick is making the proposal which he does in his Amendment.
THE EARL OF BALFOUR
I should like to say one thing on what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill, said. He quoted Lord Denning, I think, as saying that freedom, once given, cannot be taken away. In this case surely it is confidence in Europe which, once given cannot be taken away—unless we have no confidence in the first place, and then we should not be entering into this at all. But I am confident that we have got this confidence; that we should give them confidence by showing that we have confidence.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
I apologise to the noble and learned Lord the 908 Lord Chancellor, but I cannot help the fact that he is a little irrascible about it. This is an issue of vital importance to many millions of people in Britain. Here is a typical example of making this place a Reichstag. I do not accept the analogy given by my noble friend. The point was made exactly by the noble Baroness. We were talking about people's freedom. Here we are talking about this esoteric thing—confidence. There is nothing esoteric about giving people freedom, but there is something esoteric about giving a confidence which has never been tested by the British public. All we are saying is that if it is agreed that Parliament is not losing its sovereignty—we have had many jesuitical speeches—why be afraid of putting the phraseology in the Bill? You cannot have it both ways. I am tired of legal gymnastics on the question of the justice of this operation. Ninety-nine per cent of the people marching through that Lobby know in their hearts that we are doing something wrong to Britain in the way we are moving here.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Order!
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
That is my contention and I may therefore be wrong. That is all. I accept that; of course I may be wrong.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Order!
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The noble Lord has every right to express his opinion, but he has no right whatever in this Committee to say that noble Lords who vote one way are acting against their conscience. That is what led my noble friends to say. "Order!" I hope the noble Lord will withdraw his contention.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
I did not say it that way at all, and I cannot help the noble and learned Lord getting white in the face about this. The very fact that he is doing it shows he is losing control. If the argument that has been put by the Lord Chancellor and others, that we 909 are not losing any of our sovereignty or supremacy, be true, then why not express it at the end of this clause? The logic is as simple as that. But the truth is different. There is a certain fear if we put this in. We are buying a pig in a poke, and we have gone in on a chance, and consequently we are thrust into this terrible position tonight. I do not feel happy about this. I feel very sad indeed. I apologise to noble Lords on both sides of the Committee if my attitude upsets them a little, but I believe I am right in standing up and putting my point of view. I may not have put it with the scintillating jocularity of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, but I put it with as much heartfelt feeling for the sovereignty of the British people as he has.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ BARONESS WHITE
I must admit that I have not had the advantage of listening to the entire debates on this Bill so far, and therefore I had not intended to intervene on an Amendment of this kind. But having listened to the speeches I felt I must say a word or two. I was much impressed by the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and it seemed to me that he put his finger on the spot. He was frank with us. He said, "I believe in a supra-national Government." There have always been Members of both Houses of Parliament who have been quite frank that that is what they were aiming at; that that is what they had intended from the start. Therefore they, of course, have no qualms about the situation because this is what they have always hoped for; this is what they have always worked for. But I do put it, if one can have some little rational consideration by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, that the Administration of which he is a member has never put to the people of this country that that is what they were aiming at. This was not put in the last Election. It was not included in their Manifesto. They never used the word "supra-national, did they? This is where I think some of us feel that the people of this country are being misled.
910 If the Government were prepared to accept this Amendment, well and good. Then we should be satisfied. But if they are not, then they are really misleading the people of this country. If they are not prepared to accept this Amendment then they are going all the way with the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and his friends, who, as I said, from the very outset have made no bones about it: they do not want this Parliament to be sovereign; it is not part of their philosophy. They believe that the time for sovereign Parliaments of individual States has come to an end.
§ LORD GLADWYN
If I might interrupt the noble Baroness for one second, I would say that our conception is that we ought to be prepared to lose a little sovereignty, and some of our sovereignty should be pooled.
§ BARONESS WHITE
A little sover-eignty maybe, at the beginning, but it is quite plain that if that is the basic philosophy you go step by step. My real objection is not so much the philosophical argument as the fact that I do not think it has ever been put to the people of Britain. It has never been argued on public platforms by leading members of the present Administration that this is what they are wishing to do. If I am mistaken in saying that this is what they are wishing to do, they have a very easy way of proving it: by accepting this Amendment. if they are prepared to accept this Amendment, then I take back everything I have said. If the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor is prepared to get up and say, I am prepared to accept this Amendment", very well then, my allegation of ill-faith—and it is an allegation of ill-faith; I make no bones about it—will most certainly be withdrawn. But if he is not prepared to do that then I think the Administration stand condemned. They are trying to put through Parliament something which the people of this country, I am quite certain have not considered in anything like these absolute terms; and I am equally certain they would reject it if they knew what we were doing.
§ 10.40 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I was quite surprised at the brief moment of silence. I only want to say to the noble 911 Baroness who has just spoken that I dealt with every syllable that she has uttered in the speech I made on the Amendment about the referendum the last time we discussed this Bill, and I can only—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I finish the sentence? I can only refer her to what I said then, because I have nothing to add to it and nothing to qualify it with. The second thing I wanted to say was—
§ BARONESS WHITE
I should be obliged if the noble and learned Lord would withdraw what he said about a referendum. I was not asking for a referendum. I do not hold with a referendum; I hold with a representative Government. But the issue was never put to the people at the last Election and there was no mandate for it.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
If the noble Baroness will only do me the courtesy of reading what I said—because I do not think she was there at the time—she will see that what I have just said is exactly true and that every argument she presented to the Committee a moment ago was fully dealt with in my speech on the referendum Amendment. I am perfectly well aware that her arguments were not directed to a referendum, but I dealt with the situation in full then and I have nothing to add or to qualify what I said then.
May I get back to the Amendment which we are actually discussing? It is abundantly obvious, not merely that this Bill does nothing to qualify the sovereignty of Parliament but that it could not do so. I explained exactly why this was so in my two speeches last year and in my speech on Second Reading, and I think about four times during this Committee stage. With respect to the noble Lord, Lord Bernstein, who claimed that I had never explained it, I can only refer him to those speeches, to which at the moment I have nothing to add. Also there was absolutely nothing inconsistent, either by way of content or by way of emphasis, between what I said on those occasions and what the Solicitor General said in the House of Commons. Indeed, 912 the Solicitor General said, in the same speech from which the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, quoted exactly what I have been trying to say, in words which I would not seek to improve and I will now quote. He said, on July 5th, which was the same occasion as that to which the noble Lord, Lord Beswick referred:If no Statute can establish the rule that the courts obey Acts of Parliament, similarly no Statute can alter or abolish that rule. The rule is above and beyond the reach of Statute …because it is itself the source of the authority of Statute. This puts it into a class by itself among rules of common law, and the apparent paradox that it is unalterable by Parliament turns out to be a truism…Legislation owes its authority to the rule; the rule does not owe its authority to legislation"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 5/8/72, col. 628.]I could not put it more authoritatively than that.
May I turn for a moment to the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill, who quoted at great length from a judgment of Lord Denning in a case in which he decided against Mr. Raymond Blackburn, whom I also remember, but without much affection, in the House of Commons. Lord Denning, in the passage to which the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, referred, said that in theory you can always repeal an Act of Parliament. Of course politically you may not want to do so; of course politically you may not want to face the consequences of doing so; of course politically outside the jurisdiction of this country other people may not recognise what you have done. But that only emphasises the fatuousness of this Amendment which seeks to achieve what Lord Denning, in that judgment, explained was politically impossible.
I am supposed to be answering the legal side of the Bill, but several noble Lords have described their boredom, for which I do not blame them, with the legal niceties of the case. I will, therefore reply to the legal realties of the Amendment in terms of a parable which shows the undesirability as well as the fatuousness of what is proposed. There were once two lovers standing at the altar in front of the priest and they were about to be married. The bridegroom was asked by the priest to utter the tremendous words of the marriage service. He said, "I John take thee Mary to my lawful wedded wife,…for better for 913 worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,… till death us to part" He then added, "Provided of course that nothing in what I have said alters or derogates in any way from the Matrimonial Causes Act and prevents me from presenting a petition to bring this marriage to an end if it is irretrievably broken down". At that the bride tore off her veil, hitched up her skirts and ran from the church. And how right she was!
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
Is the noble and learned Lord aware that the bride in that case was not paying £500 million a year to the bridegroom's father, who was a farmer?
§ LORD BESWICK
Which only goes to prove to my satisfaction that when the noble Earl the Leader of the House said that each Amendment would be treated on its merits, he was saying something which fell rather short of the truth. Like my noble friend Lady White, I too respect the view put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn. I respect the view of the federalist or supra-nationalist, and I said on Second Reading that one of the great criticisms of the present arrangement was that we were handing over control of our economic affairs without having made any attempt to set up a political authority to which the economic controllers would be answerable. This is a serious matter which has not even been touched on by noble Lords opposite in seeking to counter our arguments.
I accept what the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said about the advantages of a supra-national or federalist set-up; but the fact of the matter is that this arrangement purports to be something different, and if we were to have a federal set-up we should need to make provision for it and have a proper Constitution. But that is not what we are proposing to do. We are proposing instead to have something which retains sovereignty here, and despite the noble and learned Lord's funny story about a lady who hitched up her skirts, I can see absolutely no reason why we should not accept the form of words which I have submitted this evening. The Lord Chancellor said it was a fatuous Amendment—he repeated that phrase. I suggest that it is not fatuous. It simply provides:
…nothing in this Act shall be held to detract from the ultimate sovereignty or supremacy of Parliament…
If the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, cannot understand the concept of sovereignty, which I admit is at times a somewhat academic concept, I am referring to the sovereignty of Parliament. The Amendment goes on:
or to prejudice the right of Parliament to repeal it or alter its provisions.
I see nothing fatuous in that. It is reasonable. It is suggested that it may not be essential because there are other provisions, but they are not entirely clear. I hope there will be some noble Lords on the Benches opposite who will be prepared to vote for what they must see are the facts of the situation.
§ 10.49 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 28) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 22; Not-Contents, 103.915
|Balogh, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Segal, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Hirshfield, L.||Serota, Bs.|
|Bernstein, L.||Hoy, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Maelor, L.||Watkins, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Milner of Leeds, L. [Teller.]||White, Bs.|
|de Clifford, L.||Phillips, Bs.[Teller.]||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Amory, V.||Balerno, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Arbuthnott, V.||Balfour, E.|
|Albemarle, E.||Astor of Hever, L.||Belstead, L.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Fortescue, E.||Poole, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Gainford, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Blake. L.||Gladwyn, L.||Reay, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Gowrie, E.||Redesdale, L.|
|Boyle of Handsworth, L.||Greenway, L.||Redmayne, L.|
|Brecon. L.||Hailsham of Saint Maryle-||Rcigate, L.|
|Brentford, V.||bone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Remnant, L.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Rhyl, L.|
|Carrington. L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Robbins, L.|
|Chelmer, L.||Hawke, L.||Rothermere, V.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Hewlett, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Hives, L.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Hood, V.||Sandford; L.|
|Cowley, E.||Inchyra, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Tellicoe E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Sempill, Ly.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Kemsley, V.||Shaftesbury, E.|
|Croft, L.||I.atymer, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Limerick, E.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Daventry, V.||Lothian, M.||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Macleod of Borve, Bs.||Tanlaw. L.|
|De L'Isle, V.||Mancroft, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Thomas, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Mountcvans, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Drogheda, E.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Trefgarne, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Netherthorpe, L.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Eccles. V.||Newall. L.||Vivian, L.|
|Elles, Bs.||Northchurch. Bs.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Pender, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Perth, E.||Yarborough, E.|
|Fisher, L.||Polwarth, L.||Young, Bs.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 10.57 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETONmoved Amendment No. 29:
Page 2, line 33, at end insert—
("( ) Any proposal by one of the Community institutions which if agreed upon would give rise to a right power liability obligation or restriction, whether enforceable or not in the United Kingdom, shall be laid before Parliament and published by Her Majesty's Government before the Council of Ministers of the Communities, or the Commission, as the case may be, takes a decision thereupon.")
§ The noble Lord said: I rise to move an Amendment which, if any Amendment we have put down is acceptable to the Committee, ought to be accepted. I should like to say that I hope that noble Lords opposite, in describing those of us who seek genuinely to do the job of criticising legislation will not describe this Amendment as fatuous. That would not help our proceedings, and I think it would be unworthy of the way the House of Lords and Parliament ought to consider this Bill.
The purpose of this Amendment is to make it possible to give effect to what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, said on Second Reading. If any noble Lords here have not got the Amendment I will state briefly what it is:
Any proposal…which…would give rise to a right power…obligation or restriction …shall be laid before Parliament and published by Her Majesty's Government before the Council of Ministers of the Communities, or the Commission,…takes a decision thereupon.
§ It is very late in the evening to discuss a major proposal, albeit a very simple one, and I think there is little doubt that we shall wish to return to it at a later stage. But your Lordships may have noticed that of the four sponsors three are known pro-Marketeers. It can in no sense be said to be a wrecking Amendment; indeed, if I may say so, there has been scarcely an Amendment that could be called wrecking. This is one which I believe is essential to enable Parliament to do what it is going to have to do anyway. It does not directly raise the question of sovereignty; it raises the question of the proper participation of our Parliament, whether it be the House of Commons or the House of Lords, in regard to decisions which are taken either by the Council or by one of the other authorities or by the Commission.
I should like to draw attention to what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, said, He said:
'That is why I drew attention to the importance of the fact that the moment the Commission submits its proposal to the Council, the proposal is published in a form which all of us can see is available to us".
My Lords, this Amendment gives precise effect to that. It does not seek to establish in any way the type of institutional arrangements committees or anything else that a Parliament may wish to use, but it is a normal provision in any Act of Parliament that there shall be adequate reports to Parliament.
§ It is a striking fact that the Parliaments of some of the countries in the Community have been concerned about the lack of consultation, but there is one Parliament which has taken proper steps to this end—the German Parliament. I indicated earlier that they have written into their law, which gives effect to their adhesion to the European Community, a specific provision that the Government have to keep the Bundestag and the Bundesrat; and the Bundesrat, furthermore, has another special privilege in that they have a permanent observer at the Council currently informed about the developments in the Community. This is the key, in so far as through the decision of one of these Councils internal German laws become necessary or immediately applicable law as set out in the subsection (1) of this particular Clause or is created in the Federal Republic of Germany, this information should be provided before the Council decision.
§ There will be opportunities later, when we come to further Amendments to this effect at a more convenient time of day, to describe the details as to how this works in Germany. But if any noble Lord wishes to study this, it is set out very clearly in the authoritative study by Niblock, published by Chatham House, a copy is available in the Library, which describes how this procedure works. We assume that the Government are in sympathy with this proposal, that they did not dispute the desirability of achieving this end by one means or another. They may wish to argue that it is not necessary for this to be included in the legislation. It is our duty—and I say this very seriously to noble Lords opposite—to ensure that an obligation is laid upon the Government—and. I repeat, whatever Government it may be. For as a former member of a Government I know the pressures that all the time face Governments as they seek to carry on in a busy life. However democratic their inclination may be, and however willing in principle they are to inform Parliament and 918 the public, in practice it is much simpler not to do so. Therefore, I think we would be remiss if we were not to establish this principle in the Bill.
§ I shall speak very briefly to-night because we still have a lot of business to get through, but I hope noble Lords will consider this Amendment seriously. It is the sort of Amendment that ought to be made. It is the Amendment which I would believe that the Government would be prepared to make were it not for the constraints that they feel have been upon them in another place. If those constraints are removed, if we pass this Amendment and it passes into law—and I beg the Government to give this serious consideration—all that will be necessary is for another place to agree with the Lords in the said Amendment. Any possible extension of it is likely to be severely restricted under the rules of order of another place.
§ No one can suggest that by passing this Amendment we would be in any way weakening the decision or the resolve to enter the Community. It is a quite fundamental principle that Parliament should be informed of these proposals. To-day and yesterday we have discussed this complicated law, and I will not go back over it again. Clearly we ought to know. A time may come when the European Parliament is an effective body and it will no longer be necessary, as it is to-day, for the British Parliament to exercise this oversight, but from all the information we have the European Parliament is a long way yet from being an effective body.
§ I therefore urge the Government to consider this Amendment as a real contribution, and one that, furthermore, will go some way to reducing the anxieties which have been felt because of the Government's refusal to accept other Amendments, some of which I believe they could have accepted. This is one that they can accept, and I hope that they will accept. I am very reluctant to divide on something on which I believe there should be unanimity in this House. I shall await with great interest the reply of the noble Earl, if he is to answer this. I bee to move.
§ LORD GLADWYN
May I ask the noble Lord one question, on the reply to which may depend my vote on what appears. on the face of it, to be quite a 919 constructive and forward-looking Amendment. Was the German procedure whereby the Bundesrat and Bundestag are informed in advance of impending legislation, among other things, in Brussels, previously formulated as part of the German equivalent to a Statute, as the proposal is here, or was it rather a Governmental declaration art the time when the Treaty was adhered to by the German Government?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
The noble Lord has asked an important question. It was in fact Article 2 of the law which provided for the adhesion of West Germany to the European Parliament. This was the law that authorised the ratification of the Rome Treaty, passed by the Bundestag in 1957. There was then a clause inserted, Article 2, requiring the Federal Government to inform the two Houses of Parliament of projected Community decisions which, if passed, would necessitate changes being made in German law, or which would become directly applicable in Germany. Subsequently, by decision of Parliament, committees were set up to provide the necessary supervision. It is a fundamental part of the law which I have described, and if the noble Lord wishes I can give him the reference in Niblock. He will find it described in full on page 38.
§ 11.10 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
I should like very briefly to support my noble Leader in this Amendment. I am one of those whom he may have had in mind when he said that some of those responsive to this Amendment are convinced proMarketeers, so it is in no way an attempt to impede our entry. Indeed it is a very genuine attempt to ensure that our entry is carried out in a way which does the minimum amount of harm to those institutions, particularly our Parliamentary institutions, which we all cherish. There have been expressions of doubt raised on both sides of the Committee, and in another place, too, as to what the function of Parliament will eventually be when we are part of the Community.
There is no doubt in my mind that matters can be arranged so that the sovereignty of Parliament is not in any way impaired, but in order to do this we 920 must be assured that those Orders and those forms of legislation which we shall have to pass under the terms of the Treaty and under the terms of our accession are discussed in advance, before they become obligatory upon us, so that our representatives, our members of the Council of Ministers—and eventually, one hopes, our members of the European Parliament—will know how both Houses of Parliament feel, and how the people of the country feel, about any of the matters which are proposed.
This is an Amendment which makes that possible. It will make our entry into the Community more effective, and it will reassure very many people who, while to-day are pro-Europeans, have their doubts about the effectiveness of Parliament when we are members. I add my voice to those of others to urge the Governmet at this stage to accept this Amendment, in the profound belief that it will make our entry far more effective and something very much closer to the real consensus which we all wish to have before we embark on this great adventure.
§ LORD STOW HILL
I should like to support this Amendment, which I think is an important one. I do not want to traverse the arguments which have already been advanced, and I think I should like to add what perhaps can be regarded as a slightly new argument, although, indeed, it has been touched on previously. Of course, the proposals will be known to our representatives on the Commission and our representative in the Council. They will be fully aware of them. They, in a sense, in the public mind—and, indeed, in fact—are really part of the Executive, and at the moment there is nothing to ensure that the Executive, as a matter of routine and in every case, makes known to Parliament what is going on. That is the link which I should have thought was missing at the moment in the arrangements.
At the risk of being tautological, I should just like to say that this is designed to make the actual working of the Community function better. It is designed to prevent the man in the street, the man on the Clapham omnibus, thinking to himself, "There is a great deal going on in Europe which we do not know of" He would know, if 921 he interests himself in these matters—and a very large number of citizens will and do—that there is a specific Parliamentary provision which ensures as a matter of absolute regularity that Members of Parliament in both Houses do know what is going on, do know what proposals are being put forward, and do know of them in time to make their influence felt and their views known. I submit that that is of very great importance.
We were earlier considering proposals that Committees of either or both Houses should be set up to investigate Community legislation, and it was pointed out, I thought with some force, that it was hardly appropriate of a Statute to provide that Parliament should set up Committees, that being, as it were, a spontaneous function of each House, which would normally direct its mind to the circumstances in which it ought to examine things by Committees of its own Members, or by Joint Committees. Those considerations do not quite apply to this. Indeed, I would submit that they do not apply at all. This is a procedure which provides that as a matter of routine, without exception, there should be a mechanism for informing Members of both Houses in time of what is going on in Europe. Otherwise, not only Members of Parliament but perhaps even more so people outside Parliament may get the suspicion that they are not kept informed of what is going on, that there is a great mass of business that is transacted behind their backs. This Amendment, I submit, could stop all that and could insulate the danger of those periodical unfortunate happenings when something goes through, everybody is astonished to find that it has and nobody knew that it was going through.
Perhaps in due course when the European Assembly becomes much more an active Assembly there may be a lesser need for this safeguard. I submit that it will always be more or less necessary for the citizen to feel that there is a guarantee that his representatives know in time what is going on. Therefore I hope—and I say this with great earnestness—that Ministers will feel that they can, at any rate, assent to this in principle and undertake that they will introduce something in the Bill which will ulti- 922 mately become part of the Act of Parliament providing for this automatic bringing to the notice of Members of Parliament proposals which are being made.
§ LORD BALOGH
This Amendment merely brings into statutory form the sort of reassurance which the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, in his insulting exuberance, claimed was already in the Bill. He said that the sovereignty of Parliament will be unimpaired and that we should look for a way in which control can be established. Therefore, in advance he gave this particular Amendment his blessing and I hope the Government will accordingly accept it. At the same time I should like to say that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor ought to look again at the reply he made to my intervention; because he said that in all the countries of the Common Market an identical sort of legislation has been introduced in order to make directly applicable Bills automatically part of the law (or, rather, of the court exercise) in those countries. It is obvious that this is not the case. The Germans have this particular arrangement which, in my opinion, differs materially from the Bill which has been proposed in this country. Unless the Government are prepared to accept this Amendment, I feel that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor ought to apologise for saying what was not altogether in accordance with the facts.
§ LORD BOYLE OF HANDSWORTH
May I raise one other point which inclines me at first sight to have some sympathy with this Amendment? Surely the line of policy which the British Commissioners will take in the Community must be affected not only by the views of Parliament but by the views taken in the Government Departments. It seems to me important not only that the opinion of Parliament should be heard in time but also that Parliament itself should have some opportunity of knowing what is the attitude likely to be taken by Government Departments. I would say that, with respect, whichever Government were in power. I cannot help feeling that this Amendment or something like it might be a useful means of ensuring some interplay, some discussion, between Members of Parliament and Ministers before any 923 irrevocable Departmental line was taken in the Community institutions.
§ 11.20 p.m.
I do not believe that in our objectives there is much between the two sides of the Committee on this Amendment. I made clear on Second Reading, and again on the first day of our Committee stage, that it is my belief that the special circumstances of this Bill call urgently for the working out by us all of special measures of Parliamentary scrutiny of Community secondary legislation. This was the point which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, dealt with so effectively on Second Reading; and on this point I, as I believe do a great majority of your Lordships, find myself in entire agreement with the general tenor of the noble and learned Lord's remarks. The question which this Amendment poses is whether we should seek to write a special provision into the Bill providing in a special way for that scrutiny and control.
Although the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has moved this Amendment in very acceptable terms and those who have supported it also have spoken in very acceptable terms, although our objectives are on all fours and although I have considered this matter very carefully, I cannot recommend it to the Committee as acceptable and I should like to say why. I believe that the course proposed is unnecessary, that it would have undesirable consequences and, in any event, the Amendment proposed by noble Lords opposite is, in at least two important respects, inappropriate and defective. Although it is getting rather late, because this is an important Amendment on a serious matter and because it has been moved in very acceptable terms, I should like to dwell on it at some length. It is my submission that the procedure is unnecessary since the existing procedures of the Community in this area are open and consultative. They ensure that national interests receive full consideration, and there is no doubt in my mind that Members of Parliament will be well aware in advance of any significant proposed change in Community law from the moment we accede. Community decisions will not therefore come upon us—
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Earl but I 924 wish to put just one question. How will Members of Parliament know what is significant unless the Government bring material to Parliament to show us?
I will come to that point in a few minutes' time. The Community decisions in this area will not creep up upon us by stealth and with little or no prior warning. I shall seek to explain why and I can do so only by reference to the mode of operation of the Community in this area on these matters at the present time. What happens in practice is that Commission proposals on general policy, before being finally laid before the Council, are thoroughly discussed with representatives of interested groups in the Governments concerned. This is not kept in a sort of closed executive group of the Commission and Council, and I think the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill, was suggesting that it might be. In almost every case the Treaties require that the Assembly or the Economic and Social Committee, or both, must be consulted before Instruments may be made on a wide range of subjects which affect the greater part of the Community's activity. The text of these Instruments is published in draft in the Official Journal of the Communities.
As the Committee will know, the Assembly consists of delegates selected from national Parliaments by national procedures, so that Parliament is directly represented in cases where the Assembly must be consulted. The Economic and Social Committee, for its part, consists of representatives of a very wide range of interests and noble Lords may be sure that the United Kingdom representatives on that Committee will draw to the attention of Parliament any proposals under discussions which they think would be of interest. Other similar committees which must be consulted on matters relevant to them are the Monetary Committee, the short-term Economic Policy Committee and its Budgetary Committee, all of which have national representatives serving on them. There is therefore no danger that the United Kingdom interests will not be fully represented as draft legislation passes through its various stages, or that there will not be adequate publicity in this country about imminent Community decisions. That is the general reason why I believe that the proposal embodied in this Amendment is 925 unnecessary. I hold it to be undersirable, for the same reason as I argued, and as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor argued; namely, because it seeks to import procedural arrangements into this Bill.
By your vote in Committee last Thursday, your Lordships acknowledged that there was an important distinction between what is appropriate for legislation and what Parliament should regulate as a matter of its own procedure. It is my contention that this Amendment deals with matters which fall squarely into this second category. The regulation of Parliament's own procedures has, in general, always been left to Parliament to settle itself by its own internal decisions on Standing Orders and on Resolutions, and it would not, I suggest, be in the interests of Parliament itself to depart from these accepted arrangements. This was the general contention of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor last week, and it was massively endorsed by your Lordships.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
May I interrupt the noble Earl, who, if I may say so, is being quite unfair on this point? It was the question of the setting up of Select Committees that the Committee rejected. It was not on the point of informing Parliament. This is a had argument, and it is unfair, because what the Committee rejected was an Amendment for referring it to Select Committees; and indeed in a later Amendment I have already removed the Select Committee proposal. I hope that the noble Earl will not continue to say that this is a procedural argument, because it is not.
I believe that this whole thing is all one complex, because the point is to see how effective Parliamentary control can be made to bite on these instruments on their way up to the Council. It must be considered as one package. Moreover, it will be within your Lordships' recollection that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock—and I do not think this is an unfair point—in drawing attention to the extreme desirability of our working out watertight arrangements for Parliament's scrutiny of Community secondary legislation, made it clear that in his view no Amendment was required to this Bill in order to en- 926 sure that particular point. Having said that, I should like to make it clear beyond peradventure—and I am weighing my words carefully here—that the Government are very ready, in principle, to make appropriate arrangements to provide Members of both Houses as a matter of absolute regularity, and reinforcing the open procedures which I have already mentioned to your Lordships, with information about draft instruments before the Council, whether they are formally published by the Communities or not. I wish to make it clear that this is a clear declaration of our intent in this matter. But we do require to retain flexibility here. The best arrangements will need to be devised, in the light of the detailed information about the procedures in Brussels and of the wishes of Parliament. That is what we had in mind in proposing as my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster proposed on Second Reading in another place, the setting up of a special ad hoc committee to try to devise, with the co-operation of all the Parties, the best possible arrangement for ensuring the most effective scrutiny of Community secondary legislation.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
I am grateful to my noble friend for giving way. Can he say, in amplification of what he has just been saying, that he is quite confident in his own mind that it will be possible to table Questions in either House on these matters?—the experience in another place, whose interests we have to protect, has been that sometimes Questions are blocked on the ground that no Minister is responsible. Are we going to be told: "That Question cannot be asked in another place because no Minister is directly responsible"?
I will take note of what my noble friend has said about another place. Not having been in another place, I always refrain from off-the-cult replies. All I can say is that I can see no reason whatsoever why it would not he possible to table Questions, Starred or Unstarred as the case may be, on information made available by the Government to Parliament or made available in other ways I have described in your Lordships' House. I would submit that we should proceded by way of an ad hoc committee, or such other device as commends itself to the Parties, rather than by anything written into Statute which it is not appropriate 927 to import into Statute. I have learned with interest that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has accepted, so far as the Select Committee procedure is concerned, that that is the case. That being so, I hope very much that we can go ahead now with the establishment, with the agreement of the Parties, of an effective machinery; working it out together, including typing up the details of provision of information (and effective information) for Parliamentary scrutiny.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, referred to provisions in the German law ratifying the E.E.C. and Euratom Treaties. I do not want to dodge that particular point. The noble Lord claimed that if the Germans had made a provision of this sort there was presumably no reason why we should not be able to do the same. I would suggest that our circumstances now are different from the German circumstances when they ratified many years ago. In the first place, I would say that this provision was incorporated in the German Act of Ratification at the very start of the Community. when none knew how the Community would work in practice. In my introductory remarks I have made it clear that in practice the Community's treatment of secondary legislation of this sort is open and consultative. Secondly, I should like to refer your Lordships to the first sentence of Article 2 of the German Act concerned, which reads as follows:The Federal Government is obliged to keep the Bundestag and the Bundesrat constantly informed about developments within the framework of the Council of the E.E.C. and the Council of Euratom.I should like to point out that that is a broad declaration of intent, and one which would have been entirely alien to our Statute law. I have given very categorically a broad declaration of our desire and intent to keep Parliament informed of draft secondary legislation.
Finally, if noble Lords seek to base their case on precedents, I would with diffidence point out that the precedents are against them in the case of all the other five Members of the existing Community. No special arrangements exist in France for bringing to the National Assembly proposals made by the Commission to the Council of Ministers. No 928 such special arrangements exist in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in Luxembourg or in Italy, although—and this is significant—Article 127 of the Regulations of the Italian Chamber of Deputies provides for reference of Community proposals to the competent committee of the Chamber for examination as soon as they are published in the Official Journal. If we are to follow Continental precedent here—a precedent which accords with our own traditions—I would suggest that the Italian precedent, namely, leaving this matter to Parliament, is in fact the more appropriate one. I would also submit, in view of the very clear assurance I have given to your Lordships that it is categorically the Government's intention to make appropriate arrangements to provide Parliament with the information it requires about the draft instruments, that this is the way for us to proceed.
I have sought to argue that this Amendment is unnecessary and, indeed, undesirable. I should like to state briefly why I also feel it to be inappropriate and, indeed, defective. I feel this for two reasons. In the first place, the Amendment merely requires the text of the proposal to be published before it is adopted by the Community. Such publication could therefore be left to the last moment before a Community decision, when there was no practical opportunity for Parliament's views to be expressed and communicated to our representatives in the Council of Ministers. I am sure that this is what noble Lords opposite do not desire. Secondly, the duty imposed by the Amendment would extend the proposals before the Commission, as well as proposals before the Council of Ministers. But instruments made by the Commission are in general—whether we like it or not this is the way the community works—generated within the Commission itself, and in its management and consultative committees. There is no draft stage at which it would be practicable to lay a concrete proposal for a Commission instrument before Parliament. If noble Lords opposite study Article 2 of the German Statute carefully, they will find it definitely excludes Commission instruments.
If only for these two reasons, the Amendment is seriously defective as it stands. Certainly in the last respect which I have mentioned it goes far beyond the 929 provision in German law to which the noble Lords opposite have referred, and in a way contrary to both Commission theory and practice. But I do not wish, in suggesting that your Lordships should resist this Amendment, to base my arguments on matters of technical defectiveness which could possibly be remedied by re-drafting. I rest my case on the two main grounds to which I have already referred: that the Amendment is unnecessary, and that it is also undesirable. Therefore, in advising your Lordships, if noble Lords opposite decide to press this Amendment to a Division, to vote against it, I would say that while I believe this Amendment to be unacceptable, I have considerable sympathy for the objective; namely, of better Parliamentary scrutiny in this area, which lies behind the thought that has inspired it.
§ 11.38 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
Nothing but a sense of duty would lead me to address your Lordships at nearly twenty minutes to twelve on August 7. But if that is the way the Government choose to carry out their legislation we have no alternative. I have not spoken on the Committee proceedings of this Bill before; I have not voted in any Division to-night; I have not spoken on the issue of the European Community in this Session, or in this Parliament. I am not in any way opposed to the Bill. I found the whole question an extremely difficult one because of the many possibilities, the differences in economic estimates, and so forth. Rightly or wrongly, I thought it would be to our advantage, and that of Europe, too, if we entered the Community. I have always envied those who passionately feel with great conviction that we ought to go in on any terms; those who feel with equal conviction that we should not go in on any terms; those who think we should, if the terms are right and these terms are right; those who think we should, if the terms are right, but that these terms are wrong. Believing myself that if we had continued in Office we should not have got any better terms than these, and thinking, rightly or wrongly, that probably we should have accepted them and gone in, in October I voted for the Motion.
The Amendment which is now proposed is directed to a point made (and I 930 think it had been in the mind of many of us) by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, at an earlier stage of the Bill, when he pointed out, first of all, that there would have to be a good deal of delegated legislation by Statutory Instruments. He said that atthe stage when the Statutory Instrument is laid before Parliament, there is very little that Parliament can do about it in either House. There is no power to amend, and very little real power in the circumstances to reject: because unless the Instrument is replaced, rejection is likely to lead to a breach of our Treaty obligations.He pointed out therefore how important it was. He said:What is vitally important and what I would suggest to this House is that the committee's proposal is published when the draft of it is submitted to the Council for its consideration.I, too, believe that to be important. We are not here dealing at all with Parliamentary sovereignty. If I may repectfully say so, I thought that a certain amount of what was said on Parliamentary sovereignty was largely playing with words. This is not a question of Parliamentary sovereignty but a question of whether Parliament is to control or whether the Executive is to control. As the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said, it is quite a narrow point. The question is: do we put into the Bill a properly worded provision—this one may not be properly worded—to ensure that Parliament is given the information at a stage when they can retain control, or shall we do what the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, suggested; that is, leave it to the Executive? He said that they—the Government, the Ministers—will make provision possibly after having a joint Committee of both Houses. I have felt—
I hesitate to interrupt the noble and learned Lord, but I was giving that assurance as a reinforcement to all the existing procedures by which this information would become available and which I explained, the Economic and Social Committee and so on.
§ LORD GARDINER
The difference is this: should we put it in the Bill and thus ensure that Parliament has the requisite information, or shall we let the Bill become an Act without there being 931 any such control? I have once or twice before referred to this when we had issues before the House which affected Parliamentary control. I have watched this for twenty years, some outside Parliament, some in Government and some in Opposition, and all the time over the last twenty years Parliament has been losing power to the Executive. I do not believe that this is for the good of our country. In giving an example, I shall show that there is no Party issue about it. The Government of which I was a member refrained—I choose my words carefully—from appointing a Committee on the law of privacy until there was a Bill in the other place which might have got a Second Reading. It then did so only on terms that the Committee was not to be allowed to find out, much less make any recommendations about, the personal information about us which is on the computers and files of the Executive although, as the Committee itself pointed out, after taking a survey of public opinion they found public opinion was a good deal more concerned about the personal information on the files and computers of the Government Departments than they were about that in the hands of credit agencies and private offices.
This continual increase in the powers of the Executive over Parliament is not right. Here Parliament can let this Bill go as it is, in which case no provision has been made in what will then have become an Act to ensure that Parliament has the necessary information before the Government produce, for passing, its Statutory Instrument. The other alternative is the one which is suggested and which the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, calls, "leaving it to us to make the appropriate arrangements." It may or may not be after a Select Committee. It is quite true to say, as he did, that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, would have been satisfied with this. But that is because he trusts the Executive. I have had a longer experience. And this Government are a particularly dogmatic Government, believing more in confrontation than conciliation. When they have a non-political Bill such as the Criminal Justice Bill, apart from drafting Amendments they do not allow Amendments of any kind to be made at all.
932 The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said, "Well, every Government must get their legislation through." Of course that is quite right. I am not opposing this Bill. Nobody was opposing the Criminal Justice Bill. But there is this difference: when there is a Labour Government in power they have to attend very carefully to Amendments—and this is no bad thing—because they know that they cannot get anything through unless the Opposition agree. We have all had timetables and guillotines before, but never, I think, to the extent that has been seen in this Session and in particular in relation to this particular Bill. Therefore, if Parliament wants to retain its own control, this Bill ought not to be allowed to become an Act unless proper provision is made for the publication of the relevant materials, as the noble and learned Lord. Lord Diplock, said was essential.
It may very well he that this Amendment—I rather think so myself—is not properly drafted. Community legislation is very complicated. But I would hope very much that we shall return to this at Report stage of the Bill, by which time I hope that the Government will have given earnest consideration to this point and will seriously have applied themselves to the question. Is not Parliament entitled to insist that the fact that this information should be obtainable at the right time should be written into the Bill and that the Bill should not become an Act while there is no such provision in it?
§ LORD DERWENT
I am sure the noble and learned Lord would not want anything he said not to be exact, and I think he made a slip of the tongue. He said that there had been no Amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill. That is not accurate.
§ LORD GARDINER
Yes; an Amendment was accepted from the Government Back Benches; that is quite right. But so far as the Opposition are concerned I think there was only one small drafting Amendment.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I do not think we need to quarrel about how many Amendments were or were not 933 accepted. Having over many years in Opposition sought to carry Amendments, I know that a great deal depended on the standing of the Minister who was answering. Tonight we have the two leading Ministers in your Lordships' House present, and I am bound to say—and I shall be very brief now—that I am deeply disappointed not merely at the reception by the noble Earl but by the form of his argument. He rested his opposition on three main principles: first, that this Amendment was defective; secondly, that it was undesirable from a procedural point of view; and thirdly, that it was unnecessary. I freely grant that the Amendment probably is defective and I take the point that the noble Earl made about the article in the German law, although I shall have something to say about his remarks and his interpretation of that law. But I really must reject the argument that it is procedurally improper for Parliament to lay down in an Act of Parliament that certain information should be given to it. I have never heard this argument used in the past. It may have been used in a particular case, but every nationalisation Statute provided for it. The times I have heard Conservative Members of Parliament in another place, very properly, standing up against this natural instinct on the part of the Executive to say, "Leave it to us!".
I have already conceded a point and have altered a subsequent Amendment, and I accept the noble and learned Lord's powerful argument that it is inappropriate for us in legislation to set up Select Committees. But this Amendment is not concerned with this. It is concerned with giving information to Parliament, and therefore I believe that the procedural argument is not a worthy one to use in this particular context.
On the defectiveness of the Amendment, if the Government were prepared to accept in principle that some provision of this kind, however confined—whether it is confined to matters that come before the Council; proposals that go from the Commission to the Council—I would certainly withdraw my Amendment, but the fact is that the noble Earl frankly and honestly rested his case on the grounds that this was undesirable and, more especially, unnecessary. He referred in a 934 way that I can only regret to one part of the particular article from which he quoted. The noble Earl knows what respect I have for him, but I must say that I frankly regard this as a piece of sophistry—to have taken the first sentence of an article which is appropriate to a different legislature. The important point about the article—and as I have said I will give it to him in German or in English, but the meaning is perfectly clear—is that in regard to any decision of the Council or any immediately applicable law which is created affecting the Federal Republic of Germany, information on this is to be given before the Council take the decision.
Here I want to strengthen the case I made by stressing the point that many of these decisions, and many of the decisions which the Bundestagand the Bundersrathave had to consider, have frequently been taken in something of a hurry. I have examples here which I can quote from Niblock, and, if I may say so, the argument that it was different in 1957 has not stopped the German Parliament being more and more active in this field. No doubt it has been embarrassing to the German Executive, and perhaps they have been advised by German Ministers to resist this. But the fact is that draft regulations have been made where only three or four days have been available before Parliament has had to come to a view.
The important thing is that until such time as the European Parliament is working—and I know no one, either pro-Market or anti-Market who regards it as a satisfactory institution at the moment; one of the reasons in favour of our going in is that we may be able to contribute to this, but it is not so at the moment—we have to rely on our own Parliament, not to dictate to the Council or the Commission but to ensure that their own Executive knows what Parliament thinks. I am disappointed that this Amendment is being rejected on the grounds that have been given, and I would urge your Lordships that this is classically a matter for Parliament and one in which the House of Lords can seek to influence a decision, which in no way damages the progress of the Bill. Therefore, despite the lateness of the hour I shall take this to a Division.
§ 11.54 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 29) shall be agreed to?
§ 12.3 a.m.
It was our hope that we could perhaps get a little bit deeper into Part I, to Clause 37, but we have been working at this quite a long time today, and this seems to be a strategic hour. I would therefore suggest to noble Lords that we might draw stumps now and if that is agreeable I beg to move that the House now resume.
§ Moved, That the House do now resume.—(Earl Jellicoe.)936
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 22; Not-Contents, 82.935
|Balogh, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||Serota, Bs.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Gladwyn, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Strabolgi. L. [Teller.]|
|Boyle of Handsworth, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Milner of Leeds, L. [Teller.]||Walston, L.|
|de Clifford, L. Gardiner, L.||St. Just, L.||White, Bs.|
|Aberdare, L.||Dundee, E.||Pender, L.|
|Arbuthnott, V.||Eccles, V.||Perth, E.|
|Astor of Hever, L.||Elles, Bs.||Polwarth, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Poole, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Ferrers, E.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Fisher, L.||Reay, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Gainford, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Blake, L.||Gowrie, E.||Redmayne, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Greenway, L.||Reigate, L.|
|Brecon, L.||Hailsham of Saint Maryle- bone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Robbins, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Chelmer, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Hawke, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Hewlett, L.||Shaftesbury, E.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Hives, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Cowley, E.||Hood, V.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Inchyra, L.||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Thomas, L.|
|Croft, L.||Kemsley, V.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Latymer, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Limerick, E.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Davidson, V.||Lothian, M.||Vivian, L.|
|De L'Isle, V.||Macleod of Borve, Bs.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Denham, L.||Mountevans, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Derwent, L.||Mowbrav and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Wynford, L.|
|Drogheda, E.||Yarborough, E.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Northchurch, Bs.||Young, Bs.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ while we are full of energy on this side. I am rather enjoying myself. If the noble Earl feels that we should stop, then I think he is probably wise. I had better not say anything more because he might change his mind.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and House resumed accordingly.