Oral Answers to Questions — European Economic Community

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st December 1970.

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Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick 12:00 am, 1st December 1970

asked the Prime Minister what plans he now has for further discussions with the Prime Ministers of the countries of the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Various arrangements are now in train, but no dates have yet been fixed.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick

When the Prime Minister takes part in such talks, will he take the opportunity of discussing with the Prime Ministers of the Six the curious anomaly which would arise under Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome if we were to enter the Common Market; namely, that workers from the Six would have freedom of movement into Great Britain, whereas workers in Great Britain would have to have a work permit to go and work in Northern Ireland? Will he further take—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—the opportunity of denying circumstantial Press reports that his Government intend to create a further anomaly by imposing restrictions on workers from the Republic of Ireland coming into this country?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary dealt with the last point in last week's debate on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned an anomaly of which I was not aware. I am perfectly prepared to look into it, but these are matters which should be dealt with by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the negotiations themselves, rather than at Prime Ministerial level during an official visit.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

In the Prime Minister's discussions, will he take note of the recent declaration of intent by the leaders of the Community to move towards full political unification with a federal union and a supra-national parliament? Does he not therefore think that the time has now arrived when he should state what would be the Government's position towards these long-term objectives of the Six?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Six have stated that they are now preparing for a series of discussions about political subjects in which they can co-ordinate their own affairs more closely. They have already had a meeting about that, and tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Six and the four applicants for membership to discuss international affairs and related matters. We believe that this is a helpful development. I have always said that I should like to see this carried further. As for future policies, if we became a member of the Community we should have a full voice in its development and exactly the same rights as any other member country.

Mr. Chichester-Clarke:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the word "anomaly", used by the hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman), was a wrong description of the position, and that in Northern Ireland we should be glad to see it go once full employment was established?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I appreciate the point made by my hon. Friend.