Clause 92 — Assembly measures
Orders of the Day — Government of Wales Bill — [1st Allotted Day]
John Gummer (Suffolk Coastal, Conservative)
I am a great believer in the Parliament in Brussels. We often find ourselves very much on the side of the French, if we only recognised it. One of our problems is that we do not fight our corner properly in the European Union, because we are always semi-detached from it. Some of my colleagues make it more difficult for us to do that. I think that we ought to be right in there, part of the European Union, determined to make it work more and more effectively.
That is my view of the European Parliament. I also want the Welsh Assembly to work more effectively, but it will not work effectively if the proposals are so complex and the democratic deficit so obvious that the Minister is not prepared to put the proposals to a vote.
There is another problem with not having a referendum. I do not think that the Minister recognises the growing anger in the rest of the United Kingdom, particularly in England, about the fact that, increasingly, power is being removed from the House of Commons in relation to Wales and Scotland, but representatives of Wales and Scotland can make decisions on issues in parts of England where people have no right to say anything about Wales and Scotland. The referendum is crucial in that regard. At least my constituents must know that the people of Wales want this. That will give them a start. They may ask for a change in the way in which things work here, but I think it very bad in today's society to make changes in the constitution when there is uncertainty about whether they are wanted by those for whom they are being made. I believe that the deficit in trust that the Government have extended should concern us all, wherever we come from.