European Economic Community

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th June 1962.

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Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper 12:00 am, 7th June 1962

Certainly this has been one of the most impressive debates to which I have listened in this House. I have heard a great deal of it and have read everything I have not heard. The standard has shown that despite what is sometimes said we can have debates without necessarily basing them on a Motion or a Division.

The debate has been notable for some striking speeches, particularly the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. W. T. Rodgers). Speaking as chairman of a dif- ferent body, I seem to have had quite a number of chicks coming in during the last few months. Another is to come in very soon, and two more after him. Of all those we have had, I was particularly pleased to hear my hon. Friend make that powerful speech today. The debate has been remarkable also, unlike the one last July, for some much clearer and firmer speaking by the Ministers concerned. Whether or not that is because the Prime Minister has not been down to see us these past two days, I do not know, but there has been a notable absence of what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition called "smooth talk". There have been very clear explanations by the Ministers, for which we are grateful.

It also must have finished another fashionable canard. It has been fashionable to talk about the Labour Party sitting on the fence. If we ever had a fence it has been shaking during these two days with everyone climbing up alongside us on it. So far as I see, we are all there now. The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations told us today very firmly that he would not decide to go in until he could see what terms could be negotiated. The Leader of the Liberal Party made a very notable climb up on to the fence at one time. When one remembers what has been appearing in election addresses, especially the one in connection with Stockton-on-Tees, and the refusal of the Liberal Party Conference to pass an amendment saying that we ought not to go in until we find what the terms are, I regard making a little room on the fence for the right hon. Member as one of my more pleasurable jobs during this debate.