Orders of the Day — European Economic Community (Treaty of Accession)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1972.

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Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral 12:00 am, 20th January 1972

Before I call the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) to move the Motion, I have to inform the House that I have selected the Amendment which stands in the name of the Prime Minister and other right hon. Members.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

On a point of order. It may be within your recollection, Mr. Speaker, that immediately before Christmas, hon. Gentlemen opposite were extremely insistent about the need for them to stage a Supply Day debate before the signing of the Treaty of Accession on the subject of the inshore fisheries agreement. Many of us were looking forward to the explanation—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. Again, the hon. Gentleman cannot possibly be raising a point of order. The choice of business, whether it be Government or Opposition business, is not a matter for the Chair; and therefore the hon. Gentleman cannot be raising a point of order for me.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Further to my point of order. The point I wish to raise with you, Mr. Speaker, concerns the Motion which the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Peter Shore) is about to move. Will it be in order for hon. Members on either side to take this opportunity to compliment my right hon. Friends on the agreement they have reached to safeguard the interests of our inshore fishing industry?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. That sounds more like a point of order—[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]—and I will deal with individual speeches as they are made. My view is that this should be a wide debate.

4.1 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I beg to move, That, recognising the unique character of Treaty, this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government not to sign the Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community until the full text has been published and its contents laid before this House for its consideration. I take up straight away the point made by the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) about the fisheries agreement—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. I do so in view of the bundle of documents which the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) and other hon. Members are bringing into the Chamber. If hon. Members choose to bring their libraries with them for the purpose of the debate, they must keep them on the correct side of the line on the Floor of the House and not place them in a Gangway.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Peter Shore) for giving way to me. May I, on a point of order, respectfully point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is the rule and custom of the House that hon. Members may bring into the Chamber any papers or documents that they consider to be necessary for the purpose of debate? The bundles of documents which stand before me are the rules and regulations relating to the E.E.C. which we have been trying to get for the last 12 months. I am—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. Will the hon. Member come to his point of order?

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I am explaining it. These are the rules and regulations which hon. Members need for the purpose of this debate. I am giving this explanation by way of intervention in the speech of my right hon. Friend, who has been kind enough to give way to me.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. The hon. Gentleman must make up his mind. He is making either an intervention or a point of order.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I was speaking by permission of my right hon. Friend. It was you, if I may say this with respect, Mr. Speaker, who mentioned the documents which stand before me in such large bundles. I was explaining that I need these papers for the purpose of this debate. I was going on to explain that these documents became available only on Monday, prior to the Saturday signing of the Treaty.

I apologise to my right hon. Friend for interrupting him so early in his speech. I am sure that he is aware that these rules, regulations and orders, the details of which I have been seeking for over 12 months, were published only on Monday. There are 2,500 of them, they weigh almost ½cwt. and we have to agree to them in toto.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. The hon. Member has gone as far as he is entitled to go—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—on the general issue, even in an intervention. I assure him that hon. Members may bring into the Chamber for the purpose of the debate any documents they consider they need. Indeed, they can, if they wish, bring in all the volumes of HANSARD, though there would not remain much room in the House for hon. Members. Whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing, it is not for me to say. However, such documents must not be placed in the Gangway.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I am sorry to have to disagree with you. Mr. Speaker. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney has been kind enough to give way to me. It was by way of an intervention that I was explaining to him and the House that we shall have to agree to these rules and regulations in toto. There is no question of amending them.

Will my right hon. Friend explain that it is a negation of democracy to expect us to agree to these documents in their entirety, without having had a real chance to see them and without having had any chance of seeing the Treaty of Accession, which is the purpose of the debate? I am very much obliged to my right hon. Friend for enabling me to ask him this question and make this explanation.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

The House will be grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) for making in his demonstration so telling and relevant a point. He has come here equipped with 42 volumes of Community regulations, the fruit of the activity of the Community during the past decade. We have been watching as they have been turning out all these laws.

As my hon. Friend pointed out, all these regulations, which have only just been translated, are to become part of the law of this land. I understand that we shall have no power to alter them in any way. My hon. Friend made this point strongly, but he also made another point—that if the Government can translate ½ cwt. of French prose formulated up to 10th November last, why the devil have they been unable to translate the Treaty of Accession and lay it before the House of Commons this afternoon?

This brings us to the very substance of this debate, and there is plenty of substance in it—

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

—as the hon. Member for South Angus will soon find out. I assure the hon. Gentleman, and I vouch for this through my post, that for the fishermen of this country and a great many others, including many hon. Members, the fisheries agreement is a bone in the throat which we shall not swallow. Indeed, we can no more swallow this agreement than we can swallow many of the others which the Government have brought back.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I will not give way. I certainly hope that in this debate—

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne rose—[HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down."]

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must not persist.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I hope that we shall not in this debate become enmeshed in purely procedural arguments or in arguments derived from precedent or the law of treaties. I appreciate that there will be a great temptation on the part of the occupants of the Government Front Bench, and perhaps particularly on the part of the Solicitor-General, who somewhat improbably is to reply to the debate, to put before us a number of matters dredged from the constitutional text books.

Even if it were true that in modern times major international treaties had been signed by this country, outside of times of war and emergency, without their contents having been first placed before the House of Commons—and that has not been the case—that would not for a moment justify such action in this case.

Incidentally, the Prime Minister was wrong in an intervention the other day about the procedure which followed the publication of the North Atlantic Treaty. No less than 16 days elapsed before the full text of that Treaty was published and the actual signatory was made by the then Foreign Secretary. On one thing I think we are all united—Marketeers, anti-Marketeers and semi-Marketeers—

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Mr. Peter Blaker (Blackpool, South) rose

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I shall give way once I have begun to develop my speech. This is not a trivial occasion. It is one of great importance, and I think that the arguments have to be heard and debated.

I said that there was one thing on which we were all united. This Treaty of Accession, which we have not seen, and the Treaty of Rome, of which we have perhaps seen too much, are unique in the history of this land. This is a treaty which carries the most formidable and far-reaching obligations. It is a treaty—the first in our history—which would deprive the British Parliament and people of democratic rights which they have exercised for many centuries. I can think of no treaty, to cite only one characteristic of the Rome Treaty, in which the British Parliament agree that the power to tax the British people should be handed over to another group, or countries, or people outside this country, and that they should have the right in perpetuity to levy taxes upon us and decide how the revenues of those taxes should be spent.

I say to the Government that on this of all treaties that is why they should show some sensitivity to the feelings of the House and of the country. That sensitivity would have been shown if they had decided, as they should have done, to publish the Treaty and to make its contents fully available to us so that we had ample time for reflection and discussion upon it.

The Amendment is one which I do not see can find very much favour with the House. The essential differential between the Motion and the Amendment is that in the Motion we are simply saying, publish first and then, if it is the wish of the House, go right ahead and sign, whereas the Government are saying, let us sign first and then let us put the matter to the House. I do not think that the common sense of the people of this country can possibly accept such a proposition, whatever the learned authorities may be able to say.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on 17th March, 1948, under a Labour Government, the Foreign Secretary concluded the Brussels Treaty which committed us to war automatically in certain circumstances, and which the then Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, thought was of sufficient importance to interrupt the proceedings of the House at six o'clock in the evening to announce, and is it not a fact that that treaty was not published before its signature?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I have in a sense already answered that point. I have said that the Treaty of Accession is unique, and I should have thought that that was one matter on which even the most passionate Marketeer and anti-Marketeer could agree. Therefore it is not relevant to tell me what happened in the case of a treaty of entirely different significance and meaning 25 years ago.

Before I produce my arguments—and there are some strong arguments that I wish to deploy this afternoon—I should like first to put to the Government my understanding of the reasons why they have decided to do this and to sign the treaty before Parliament and the country have been allowed to see it. I think that it is part of the Government's campaign to persuade the British people that, like it or not—and obviously they do not like it at all—they are to have no choice in this matter, that they are to be made to swallow the Treaty of Rome and the Treaty of Accession, even if it involves the most brutal forced feeding.

To give one example of the Government's technique, they gave notice of withdrawal from the E.F.T.A. treaty last month, about a year in advance of what was strictly necessary, because they know that there is no requirement, under a schedule which they have agreed, of aligning all British tariffs with those of the C.E.T. until at least one year after the earliest date which they have set for entry. It is part of the effort to give the impression to people that things are on the move, that they are driving forward irresistibly to their chosen goal.

I have no doubt they hope that the people of this country, who are essential law-abiding, and have a great respect for contracts and agreements of all kinds, will somehow feel more bound, in a way which they do not feel now, if their Government, by a solemn ceremony, sign a major treaty on their behalf. And, as the Government no doubt calculate, the fact that three other applicant nations are to sign with them at the same ceremony will add even greater conviction to the act.

My first duty is to make it clear that this act has very little meaning at all, and certainly we shall regard it as such. In terms of committing this country to membership, it has no meaning at all. It will not begin to have any effect until the legislation to implement it has passed in all its stages through Parliament, and until the operative date has been reached.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

There are plenty of reasons for it. Partly for the reasons that I have given, but mainly for the reasons to which I shall now refer. The House will know that not one of the other applicant countries—and I say this with great emphasis—will enter the Common Market if, as I believe will happen in the end, this Parliament and the people of Britain refuse to join. The Government have been very coy about this matter, but it is of some interest to learn that the Danes, who are perhaps the keenest of the applicant countries, for obvious reasons of their economy, made British entry a pre-condition of their own entry, and their leading negotiator, Mr. Norgaard told the Folketing only on 15th December: The Danish accession will not be ratified until the United Kingdom…has taken this step. The House will also recall that the Governments of all three applicant countries have to surmount very serious hurdles in the requirements in their constitutions of specially high parliamentary majorities—five-sixths in the case of Denmark, and three-quarters in the case of Norway—and then follow that up in all cases by a referendum of their people. So let there be no pretence that we or the other applicant countries are committed, and there is no point in continuing to resist this thing, by the ceremony that is to take place in Brussels this weekend.

I now turn to my second reason why the Government wish to sign now. It is my belief that Parliament and the people of this country are in for a profound shock when they are at last privileged to see the full text of the Treaty of Accession, for there they will find, in the precise language of a carefully drafted treaty, the reality of what was agreed during the negotiations and the commitments and obligations which this country will have to assume.

We shall find, not the glowing and imprecise formulae which the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, stimulated no doubt by coffee and cognac, and occasionally champagne, has delivered in the House in the past, but the flat and stale prose of the morning after, and a very sober document it will be. I have no doubt that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has thought it wise not to put this document to the House before the signing ceremony because if he did so there might not be a signing ceremony at all.

All we know about the Treaty of Accession, apart from the fact that it contains a few general clauses, is that it has no less than 150 clauses in a vast general annexe setting out in detail the conditions of entry. In addition, there is an annexe to the annexe, and on top of that there are several protocols, more, I might say, negotiated by the other applicant countries to make some effort to protect their own interests than have been negotiated by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We are in for some very serious reading when at last we are allowed to see what the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the Government have agreed to.

Whatever the Government's reasons for signing may be—we shall not be clear about that until we see the Treaty—I want now to state why I believe that there are good reasons why the Government should not sign the Treaty until Parliament has seen its full text.

The first and most important reason is that developments of great significance have taken place since we last debated this matter on 28th October. The whole context in which the Common Market argument was then taking place has changed. I invite anyone who doubts this to look at the speech made by the Prime Minister himself in winding up the debate on 28th October. In that speech the Prime Minister painted the international scene in the very gloomiest of hues; he gave us a picture of the world trade and payments system heading for total collapse; he saw rival trading blocs based on the continental regions of America and Europe competing with each other; and he saw the United States withdrawing into a kind of isolationism and withdrawing its presence from Western Europe. That was the background against which the Prime Minister then presented the case.

Events have not been very kind to the Prime Minister. In the last few weeks it has been agreed that the American import surcharge should go; new parities for all the world's major currencies have been agreed, and the United States has formally re-committed itself to a presence in Western Europe. Indeed, the way is clear now, as we enter the last stage of the Kennedy Round tariff cuts, which began on 1st January of this year, for a new negotiation further to reduce trade barriers. So much for the fantasies and hobgoblins that worried the Prime Minister at that time.

The very events that I have described and the changes in the world scene have blown away a considerable part of the Common Market system as well. The common agricultural policy, which the Six has pursued with such energy, and we believe with such folly, in the last decade, and the economic and monetary union with which it now threatens the 1970s, have both been shown to be, if not unworkable, certainly adverse to the interests of the great majority of trading nations.

In the light of recent currency changes, and in particular the revaluation of the mark, can anyone still believe that it would be in their interests, let alone ours, if the parities of the E.E.C. countries had been irrevocably frozen?

So, will the Government in the Treaty of Accession still re-affirm their intention to work for an economic and monetary union?

More immediately and more precisely, do the Government accept the proposal made by the Commission only last week that member countries should start narrowing their parities in relation to each other? Or is the policy of the Government as stated by the Chief Secretary as recently as 20th December, when he said this: Britain will make use of the wider margins of 2¼ per cent."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th December, 1971; Vol. 828, c. 1117.] which that settlement had given us.

What about the changes that these events have wrought in the common agricultural policy? Dr. Mansholt has tabled major price increases for many European food products for next year and the year after. There is no argument about it that they are the biggest price increases which have appeared in any proposals since the Common Market began. What does this mean for the balance of payments and the contribution that Britain will have to make? Surely the Government are now prepared to up-date the now largely irrelevant calculations which they made in their White Paper of last July.

While the Government are responding —as I hope—to this request, they might have a word with the Irish Government. The Government of Ireland have also completed their negotiations and have produced for the Irish people no fewer than 200 pages of information and commentary on their negotiations and on what membership would mean for that country. Amongst other things, the Government of Ireland have included an estimate, not just of their contribution to the budget in the first five years of the transition period, but what they think they would have to pay in years six and seven and in the first year of the permanent régime. It is remarkable that the computers and the econometricians in Dublin can do what the right hon. and Learned Gentleman and his friends always claim cannot be done in London.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

It is because they have a better Government in Dublin.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

We have to consider, not only the changes which have taken place in the Common Market itself and on the world scene since 28th October last, but also the concluding stages of the negotiations. I put aside such matters—simply for reasons of time, although they are certainly important—as the future of our whisky exports, the regulations affecting animal health, and the definition of British nationality for the purposes of Community. I find it extraordinary that we have not had a serious Ministerial statement on all these matters.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I made statements on the negotiations on animal health and on the question of nationality.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks that he made a sufficient statement, there is nothing more that I can say. I content myself with saying that we certainly needed much more information than he was able to provide.

I turn to the sad story of the fisheries agreement. The House will recall the statements made on this matter in the past by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and, indeed, by some of his colleagues. I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman did his best. If he had told the House at the end of it all, "I tried my utmost to get a clear and permanent derogation in favour of the British fishing industry", the House would have been disappointed and we should certainly have criticised him, but in the end his reputation would have been slightly enhanced; because there is a great point at times in being frank about these things. What the right hon. and learned Gentleman has done and has been forced to do is not only to eat his words but to pretend that he got what he set out to achieve and which in the end he failed to obtain.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman secured a 10-year transitional period. There are a number of worrying exceptions, as I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has heard from the very many fishery interests around our coasts which are not included in the 12-mile agreement. At the end of that period, there will have to be a review. It will be a review, not by Britain, but by the Commission.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

Perhaps the Chancellor of the Duchy should wait for a few moments, because he may wish to comment more extensively on what I shall say. If there is to be a new policy and not just a reimposition of the E.E.C.'s existing regulation at the end of that period, that is a policy which will have to be agreed unanimously by all concerned.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

The right hon. Gentleman has put that so fundamentally inaccurately that I must comment. We never asked for a permanent arrangement. We always said that nothing could be permanent. We made it clear that we wanted something more than a transitional arrangement. That is what we have got. The review to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred will take place, not at the end of the period, but considerably before the end of the period.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

It will be within the recollection of the House that the essence of the matter was that the right hon. and learned Gentleman wished to secure a "continuing arrangement subject to review"—in other words, if the review was not to our liking, the arrangement would continue. That was the essence of it. It was that formula that he was forced in the end to abandon. It is precisely because of this that we have had this very unhappy dispute with the Norwegians. The Norwegians were not prepared to give in as easily as the right hon. Gentleman. It was necessary, therefore, for the Prime Minister to write to the Prime Minister of Norway. Is it not an extraordinary thing that the Prime Minister is not here for this debate about the future of our country? The Prime Minister wrote to the Prime Minister of Norway —as I understand it, it has not been denied—telling him that it is very important for us that we present this question that is, the question of the agreement— in a manner that will appear satisfactory to our fishing interests". He used the words "that will appear", therefore asking the Norwegian Government not to stick out, not to fight for harder terms, because that would then make it appear that the right hon. Gentleman had not got as good an agreement as he had claimed. He did not get as good an agreement as he claimed, and the Norwegians took no notice of the Prime Minister and went ahead to sign a protocol on their own, not in a strong bargaining position, and a protocol which even then has not given them the full assurance they would wish. It is a protocol that goes a little further than the form of words that the right hon. Gentleman negotiated but one which nevertheless, if The Times was correct this morning, will lead to the resignation of the Minister of Fisheries in Norway.

If the Norwegian agreement is an advance upon the British one, and if in the view of the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries it is insufficient to protect Norway, how can the right hon. Gentleman argue that he has secured a permanent and satisfactory arrangement for Britain?

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Surely what the right hon. Gentleman needs to explain to the House is how it comes about that he knows better, from the strongpoint of the inshore fisheries fleet of Stepney, the right way to safeguard the interests of the inshore fishing industries than the major spokesmen for the majority of that industry, who have accepted my right hon. Friend's arrangements as safeguarding their interests.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I will not dispute too much with the hon. Gentleman on that, but I can assure him that I have had representations from many fishery organisations and societies, some indeed complaining very bitterly that their own Members of Parliament have not explained to their satisfaction the nature of the agreement that the right hon. Gentleman has brought back.

There is a further reason of great importance why I think we should see this treaty. So many matters were left obscure at the time of our debate last October. I am not now referring to things that have happened since October but to the very important things that were left very obscure then. The reason why the Treaty of Accession is so relevant to this is that in the treaty we shall find the answer to virtually all the major questions that have been raised during the whole of this 18 months of debate. Why this is so is obvious. The technique that the Government employed in the negotiations was to seek agreement on transitional arrangements on those matters where vital British and Commonwealth interests were in conflict with those of the Community, and then to produce in slightly different form a verbal formula designed to give the impression that when the transitional arrangements lapsed we should be able to insist on satisfactory permanent arrangements to replace them. This is true of the New Zealand agreement and the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. It is also true of the fisheries industry.

When we pressed the Government on those matters and asked them what happened if at the end of the respective transitional periods satisfactory arrangements were not agreed—after all, that was our principal worry—they replied, as the House will recall from a number of instances, that the Government would assert that these matters were of vital or essential national interest, and that we should, if need be, then be able to use the so-called veto that we are supposed to have under the Luxembourg agreement. If anyone wants the exact words of particular statements, they can have them.

This matter is very important, not only in general but in a number of particulars. I have had representations from New Zealand only today, very worried representations, drawing attention to one of the developments that occurred apparently on almost the last day of the negotiations in Brussels. I refer to a report in The Guardian of 19th January, about the agreement for New Zealand. A formula couched in such general terms"— as the House will remember, it was couched in very general terms on New Zealand— was not acceptable for inclusion in the treaty of accession and its protocols. So last night"— that would be 18th January— Britain accepted the Six's proposal that any agreement to continue special arrangements for New Zealand should be 'unanimous'—a decision that British officials admit was 'not ideal'. I now refer the House to a speech of Mr. Marshall, the New Zealand Minister of Overseas Trade. When he was recommending the New Zealand agreement to his Parliament on 20th July, 1971, he said that the British Government had secured a veto for future changes that could be detrimental to New Zealand. He continued: It would be a breach of faith for the concept of unanimity to be reintroduced. What is the answer to this very important question?

The same device, the calling-in of the veto, has been used not only to justify particular transitional arrangements but whenever the Government have got into difficulty in terms of the argument. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pressed hard, as he has been, on regional matters and being asked about central areas by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), said that if there were to be a disagreement between the Commission and this country, and if we could not get satisfaction in the Council of Ministers, we could not be overridden on a matter of basic national interest. That was his defence of this matter too. I have found this reference to the veto puzzling and unconvincing.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

If the right of veto was as strong and widely available as the Government claim, I do not know why it has taken them so long to negotiate these agreements, nor do I understand why they should have stayed up all night with the Ministers of the Six on so many occasions in order to change half a dozen words. Nor do I believe that President Pompidou agreed to lift his veto on British entry after 10 years in order to allow Britain herself to veto all those arrangements with which France has defended her interests in the past 10 years. It does not make sense. If it was so, as the Government allege, it would be a unique treaty, a treaty whose provisions none of its members need obey. I am fortified in this view by one exception, she one area of negotiations in which the right of veto has not been claimed and the only one on which it has not been claimed. Significantly, that is on the most crucial and damaging aspect of the negotiations of all, the vast contribution this country will have to pay to the Six in perpetuity from the time we enter, rising until we reach the full weight of the own-resources impositions upon us.

The only mention of safeguard—I hardly dare use the word—was that "if unacceptable situations should arise the very survival of the Community would demand that the institutions find an equitable solution". That is our veto, that is our guarantee, that is our firm support in our hour of trial and difficulty —the simple statement that there would be a grave crisis. The trouble with that formula is that the crisis and difficulty in the circumstances envisaged would be felt far more deeply here, and at a far earlier date, than elsewhere in the Community. For the Government to rest upon that as some form of guarantee is extraordinary.

All this could and should be made plain in the Treaty of Accession. It presumably will be, but that is a reason why we should and must see it before it is signed.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

I am eager to put this question to a right hon. Member on whose side I have at times been in these matters. I do not disagree with many of the arguments he has put, but I should like to clear my mind, because I may not be in the same Lobby as him tonight. Whilst the right hon. Gentleman has two pro-Common Market signatures on the Motion and, I presume, the support of 69 Members who voted differently on 28th October, can he guarantee that those 69 signatories who support the words of the Motion would wholeheartedly support the argument he is using in support of the Motion?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I am certain that my right hon. and hon. Friends who have in the past found themselves taking somewhat different views to my own on the matter have never been afraid of facing facts. I have a feeling that they would be only too willing to look candidly and honestly at all the facts and all the material the Government can lay before us. That is the real difference. I am sure that they would agree with me that the Government have a duty to clear up these matters before they go ahead.

If the Government are right, if the matters of the veto and the other guarantees are as they have claimed, the treaty will not be one of accession to the Rome Treaty, which does not allow of any veto on grounds of special or essential national interest. There is nothing in the Rome Treaty about that. It will be a treaty of accession to the Rome Treaty as if it had been amended by the Luxembourg Agreement of 1966. Perhaps we can be told whether this matter, crucial to the whole of the negotiations, has been dealt with in terms in the Treaty of Accession.

My belief is that the Government have misled the House, and that the truth is significantly different from what it has been claimed to be during the long processes of debate. The truth is that in all these matters the Government have negotiated time-limited derogations from the Community's rules, that when those time limits expire, whether they be three or four years, or even up to 10 years in the case of fish, they will be renewed only to the extent that the Community as a whole finds it in its interests to do so, and that should the British Government find the Community's solution unsatisfactory there will be no veto to be used.

Where the veto applies—and this is where there may have been a genuine source of confusion in the minds of many right hon. and hon. Members—is in a different area; the forward policy, the new policy, of the Community, not the policy that has already been agreed and gone over in negotiations. It would be a farce if it were otherwise. Even here, the Government will find themselves restricted by the commitments the Community exacted from them on Day 1 of the negotiations, the commitment to accept not only the Community's existing regulations and laws, of which we have seen the physical evidence this afternoon, but the directions of forward policy and the choices made by the Community before our entry.

The most extraordinary omission I found in the whole of this long debate was in the first White Paper the Government produced giving the statement by the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, now the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer. They published as a White Paper the text of his speech on 30th June, 1970, at Luxembourg on behalf of the British Government. They failed to publish the speech by M. Harmel on behalf of the Community made before the right hon. Gentleman made his speech. If M. Harmel's speech had been made available to the House, many of the mysteries that have apparently befogged so many minds would have been cleared up. Therefore, I must read what M. Harmel said, because it relates not only to what has been agreed in the negotiations but to the forward commitment of the Rome Treaty. It was stipulated at the outset of the negotiations that they were to be opened on the basis that the applicant countries accepted the Treaties of Rome and Paris and their political objectives, all the decisions taken by the Community since the Treaties came into force—including decisions taken during the period of negotiations—and the choices made by the Community in the field of development. M. Harmel added: The rule which must necessarily govern the negotiations is that the solution of any problems of adjustment which may arise must be sought in the establishment of transitional measures and not in changes in the existing rules". That is the truth of the matter, and it is a great pity that it was not published in a White Paper 18 months ago.

I hope that the House will agree that the issue of the veto is of great and perhaps decisive importance, for its use not only relates to the major matters negotiated during the past 18 months and provides the only real protection for British and Commonwealth interests when the transitional period expires but is also central to the major constitutional questions that the negotiations have raised.

In the vast field of affairs that the Rome Treaty covers, the area of policy in which the veto can operate is in fact the area of independence that would remain to us if we were to join. It is the area of authority in which future British-Parliaments will be able to operate, the area in which the British people in the years ahead will in the last resort continue to be self-governing. Therefore, we have a right to know what that area is before any treaty is signed, and that we can only judge when we see the text of the Treaty of Accession.

Tonight we are asserting a right basic to our democracy, that Parliament and the nation should be fully informed, that the House has the right to judge a matter of such profound importance before and not after the Government sign in our name. I cannot believe that there is a single hon. Member who in his heart would not prefer the Government to say to President Pompidou, "Postpone it. Wait until the British people and the House of Commons have seen what it is that we are about to sign." Therefore, we shall ask the House tonight to assert itself, to support our Motion and reject the Amendment in which the Government seek only to fudge the issues involved.

4.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I beg to move to leave out from "recognising" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: that under international law the Treaty of Accession to the European Communities would not become operative until ratified, this House approves the intention of Her Majesty's Government to lay before the House the full and agreed English text of the Treaty when signed and the Government's proposals for the legislation required for its implementation". I am happy to have the opportunity to reply to the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) on what I might call his first major appearance as Opposition spokesman on European affairs. Although we had a fairly long debate on fisheries just before Christmas, it was at an hour of the night when not very many hon. Members were present. All hon. Members will join me in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on his appointment, even if we may have differing views on both sides about the merits, and certainly about the constitutional propriety, of the propositions he has been advancing.

If we examine the Opposition Motion carefully, and speculate on why it has been drawn in this way, we find it pretty clear that the debate cannot be regarded, on the terms of the Motion, as being primarily about the merits or otherwise of joining the European Communities. It is a debate, no doubt important, about constitutional procedures.

The right hon. Gentleman devoted the predominant part of his speech to can- vassing the merits of matters we debated at great length on two occasions, in July and October—the size and shape of the budget, the validity of the common agricultural policy and so on. He made one new point, that in some ways events had changed since the historic vote on 28th October, when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was pointing out some of the dangers in the international situation. Now the right hon. Gentleman says the situation has changed. To some extent I think he is right. I think there has been an improvement in the international situation as a result of that vote. The success of our negotiations and the knowledge of the decision in principle taken by the House has had a beneficial effect.

More than that, we benefited considerably when the monetary crisis came to be considered after President Nixon's measures of 15th August, in so far as we were brought into all the discussions of the Six from the outset. All those are matters that I should have thought the right hon. Gentleman would welcome.

What the right hon. Gentleman has had to avoid are the merits of the actual case the Opposition are putting forward in the Motion. In the absence of a written constitution in this country, it is often not easy to make any clear or definite pronouncement about constitutional matters. But on the question of treaty-making and the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of Government, there is a remarkable measure of agreement to be found among all the authorities, legal and parliamentary. Over the years we have evolved an effective system for dealing with such matters, which provides the proper opportunity between signature and ratification for the House to study all such documents as it desires and as are necessary for the purpose.

The first principle is that in the United Kingdom the treaty-making power resides in the Crown, that is in Her Majesty the Queen, acting on the advice of her Ministers. As the leading work of authority, Lord McNair's "Law of Treaties", published in 1961, puts it: Internationally the Crown is omni-competent in the matter of treaties, and we are aware of no constitutional or other limitation upon the power of the Crown to conclude on behalf of the United Kingdom an internationally valid treaty. That, then, is the basic rule. The conclusion of treaties is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative in the conduct of foreign affairs. That basic principle has been qualified to some extent by the evolution of a second principle, under which a clear distinction has to be drawn between concluding treaties, meaning their negotiation and signature, and putting them into effect within the United Kingdom.

This leads on to the third principle, which concerns the rôle of Parliament in relation to treaties. Very occasionally, a treaty expressly provides that it should be submitted for approval to national Parliaments. But subject to an exceptional case of that kind—there are very few—Parliament's rôle arises in the period between signature and ratification.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

There is another principle which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has left out, the principle of having read the treaty before it is signed. Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman read the treaty that the Prime Minister is about to sign?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

The hon. Gentleman is missing the whole point of what I am saying about the publication of treaties before signature. After signature, it will take several days of debate in the House to cover all the ground that Parliament might want to cover.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

When a treaty can be brought into effect only by an alteration in the domestic law of the United Kingdom, or when it involves the grant of new powers to the Crown, or the undertaking of financial commitments of the kind described by the right hon. Member for Stepney, parliamentary consent has to be sought by the executive to the necessary legislation.

The period between signature and ratification exists in international practice precisely for the purpose of enabling the potential contracting parties to take whatever internal action is necessary before ratification, that is, before the obligations under the treaty in question come into operation and have to be put into effect—such as the great bundle of documents which is before the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Baxter).

Photo of Mr Edward Mallalieu Mr Edward Mallalieu , Brigg

Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman does not intend to give way.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

On a point of order. I am doubtful whether there can be a ruling by anyone, with all due respect to you. Mr. Deputy Speaker, on this point. A member of the Cabinet, speaking from the Front Bench, quotes a treaty and particular documents which I have before me but which he has not produced for the consideration of Members of Parliament. When he is referring to these documents, I ask him to produce the first document, which deals with wines. I have not had time to go through them all, but I had an opportunity to glance through the first one. If the Minister quotes from these documents he should lay them upon the Table so that hon. Members can see them. He has not done that. I am prepared to lay the document relating to wines upon the Table and I should like to ask him a question on it—

Photo of Mr Edward Mallalieu Mr Edward Mallalieu , Brigg

Order. The hon. Gentleman rose upon a point of order. There may be something in that point of order, but he may not now go on to put a question to the Minister.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

I beg your pardon, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I have gone in the wrong direction. I assume that the Minister is interested in the contents of the documents which he has not placed upon the Table but from which he has quoted. I am asking leave to draw his attention to the first document in the bundle.

Photo of Mr Edward Mallalieu Mr Edward Mallalieu , Brigg

When referring to documents it is usual to lay them on the Table of the House, but, on the other hand, short references are permitted without the documents being laid.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Further to that point of order. You said, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that it is customary to lay documents on the Table. We have heard from the Minister, and we know for a fact that no member of the Government has ever seen the treaty, let alone laid it on the Table. Is it in order for us to debate a non-existent document which no one has seen? I tried to get it from the Library but they had not got a copy although they had all the orders which derive from the E.E.C. Here we are being asked to agree to the signing of a non-existent treaty.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

It is non-existent as far as the House is concerned. We have not got it and we cannot get it. I ask you to see that it is laid upon the Table. I will carry on while the Clerk gives you the official ruling and to give you an opportunity to look at this point, which is vital. The document which we are debating is not available and no hon. Member has a copy of it. Yesterday I asked one of the leading members of the Cabinet, who said that he had not yet seen it.

Photo of Mr Edward Mallalieu Mr Edward Mallalieu , Brigg

I must rule that references without quotation are in order, whatever may be the customary or courteous procedure.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I have given way. I have not quoted from the treaty. I could not quote from the treaty because technically the treaty is a draft. That is the whole point—until signature there is no treaty. If that rules this whole debate out of order, there might be an element of sense in it.

As I was explaining, this is a common sense approach in relation both to the conduct of international affairs and to the exercise of Parliament's responsibility after an agreed text has been established by signature.

To complete the picture, I should perhaps make a brief reference to the so-called Ponsonby Rule. This is a practice which has been followed more or less consistently in this House since 1924. Under it the Government do not usually proceed with ratification until a period of 21 days has elapsed from the date on which the text of such a treaty was laid before Parliament by Her Majesty's command. But even that procedure can be subject to modification where necessary, when urgent or other important considerations arise. In this case no one in the House will be surprised if we should take more than 21 days from signature to complete the necessary legislative programme which is required before ratification.

All these arrangements have been applied over the years and have worked well. I suggest to the House that a proper balance has been established between a Government's responsibility to conduct our foreign affairs in an effective way, and in due course to lay the text of the treaty before Parliament where that is appropriate; and Parliament's right to be kept informed— and the House has been kept informed to a greater degree than ever before on the conduct of the negotiations in relation to this Treaty—and to exercise its power to make necessary changes in our law to give effect to treaties.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

My right hon. Friend disposed of this aspect of the matter in a few sentences at the beginning of his speech. Indeed, the right hon. and learned Gentleman has confirmed it but does not appear to understand what he said. The fact that the Ponsonby Rule cannot apply in this instance, the fact that it is absurd to have a ratification of this kind of treaty within 21 days, the fact that none of the precedents pertaining to previous treaties touches this treaty underlines the reason for our Motion. Because of the unique character of this treaty the whole matter should have been laid before us before the signing ceremony. That is what we are debating, not the precedents that apply to treaties of a quite different character.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

The provision of not less than 21 days is a general safeguard. Where there is a treaty of this kind which requires legislation, then there is a longer period for consideration of the legislation and the points which arise. That seems to me to be the common sense of the matter.

The House must also bear in mind that a treaty is, by definition, an agreement between two or more sovereign states. This present treaty is a process in which 10 nations are concerned, and the signature of the treaty is the act which establishes the text as authoritative and definitive. Before then there is technically no more than a draft under discussion between the parties. That is why these procedures have developed over the years. That is why it is not usual for treaties which are subject to ratification to be laid before Parliament before signature.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker) gave the example of the Brussels Treaty which established Western European Union. That was not laid before Parliament before ratification. The list is enormous. The usual rule is that treaties are not laid before Parliament before signature except in circumstances which I will go on to explain and which do not cover what we are discussing today—

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

Will my right hon. and learned Friend deal with this simple point? Is it his contention that the Government were obliged to sign the treaty before it was published, or that they chose to sign the treaty before it was published?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I am trying to explain that where there is a multilateral treaty it is not a choice for one Government alone. There is perhaps from time to time a basis of agreement between parties to the treaty that it shall be published before signature, but it is very unusual.

I will explain to my right hon. Friend the sort of exceptions which have arisen to this general rule that treaties are not normally laid before Parliament before signature.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

Perhaps my right hon. and learned Friend, on precisely that point, would say, in view of his reply to me, whether there has in this case been agreement that the treaty should not be published in any of the contracting countries before it is signed?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

There is only a draft treaty at the moment. That is why I say these rules are a matter of common sense and international precedents. Certainly no agreement of that kind has been entered into. It would not have occurred to anyone to enter into any such agreement From time to time, for one reason or another, the usual arrangements have not been followed and texts have been published before signature. We have looked carefully into these cases. They largely fall into the category of texts which have been adopted at large multilateral conferences.

The way that the conferences adopt the text of the treaties they draft, is by vote or decision at the end of conference, so that the complete text is before the delegates and on the last day of the conference they take away with them a text which is authentic and definitive by reason of a conference vote or decision. Signature in such a case is not necessary to establish the text and Governments may, and sometimes do, publish it before signature and lay it before their respective Parliaments. There is a list of agreements such as the final Bretton Woods agreement, the report on the General Tariff negotiations in 1947 and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty where that procedure has been followed.

The reasons for publication before signature vary according to the particular considerations of the time. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister explained on 18th January, that was so in the case of the N.A.T.O. treaty where the reason for publication was that no information was given beforehand because it was on a military matter. Apart from that, the North Atlantic Treaty was concluded in a negotiation rather than a conference. On that occasion, for the reason the Prime Minister gave the other day, there was a joint decision by the parties to publish the text in advance of the signing.

Even where there is publication before signature there may be no debate before signature. This is what happened in the case of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That was described in this House on 10th March, 1949, by the late Mr. Sydney Silverman as: …something quite new in the history of international law, indeed in the history of the world. Then the Leader of the House had this to say: The Government must make up its mind whether it, as a government, assents to the Treaty. If it does, it must take the responsibility of signing, subject to Parliamentary ratification…We shall, of course, provide facilities for a debate on the issue of ratification. That is the right procedure; the Government must take its responsibility, but Parliament has its full responsibility and the right to disagree with the Government if it so wishes."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, March, 1949; Vol. 462, c. 1400–1.] In this particular case, in signing the Treaty of Accession to the European Communities, we are scrupulously adhering to the procedure set out in the Prime Minister's statement to the House on 17th June last. The House will recall that on that occasion he said: It may be helpful if I begin by setting out the stages which must be completed before we can become a member of the Communities. We have first to resolve the major issues outstanding in the negotiations. Second, Parliament should be invited to take a decision of principle on whether the arrangements so negotiated are satisfactory and whether we should proceed to join the Communities. If that be agreed, we have, third, to resolve the remaining issues in the negotiations. Fourth, a Treaty of Accession has to be prepared and signed. Fifth, legislation to give effect to that treaty has to be drafted, considered by Parliament and enacted. Finally, we and the other parties to the treaty have to deposit instruments of ratification to the treaty. In reply the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said: …is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what he has just said about the proposed arrangements will be welcomed, certainly by many of my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House, and I believe, by many right hon. and hon. Gentleman on the other side?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th June, 1971; Vol. 819, c. 644–5.] There was no question then or later of publishing the treaty before it was signed. Nor did the Leader of the Opposition raise the matter then or later —not even when it was thought that the treaty might be signed before Christmas or before the House returned from the Christmas Recess. The reason was that he was taking a constitutional and common-sense point of view; we know the difficulties which have arisen since.

The substance of the treaty will not come as a surprise to anybody. They will find that the treaty is essentially the definition in legal language of the terms arrived at during the negotiations. Hon. Members have already had numerous opportunities for considering these terms. I myself have made no fewer than 12 statements to the House on the conduct of the negotiations stage by stage. Other statements have been made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was Chancellor of the Duchy. In July the White Paper was published setting out in detail what was then known of the terms. I was glad that the right hon. Gentleman welcomed information being given to the Irish. But he raised hell at the thought of information being given to the British people at the public expense.

After publication the House took note of the White Paper in a four-day debate. Later, in October, after hon. Members had further time to consider the matter in detail, there were six days of debate, concluding with a decisive majority in favour of the principle of entry on the terms which had been negotiated. There remained a few matters still to be negotiated one of which—fisheries—was of great importance to this country and to all the candidate countries. Since then, on 13th December, I have made a statement on the agreement which we reached on fisheries, and the matter was then discussed at length in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill on 15th December. The House had been led to expect that we were to have a further debate on the subject of fisheries. We would have welcomed it, but that is not to be since the Motion does not raise these matters.

All in all, I do not think Parliament in negotiations on a treaty has ever been brought so closely into the process of treaty-making as on the present occasion. So we all accept the unique character of the Treaty of Accession; I do not think anybody on either side of the House would dispute that. It is for this reason that the procedure adopted by the Government for informing and consulting Parliament and obtaining the approval of Parliament for the principle at stake has indeed been unique.

The nub of the question before the House today is whether in the particular case of this treaty the Government should have adopted the unusual procedure of publishing the text in advance of signature. But I must emphasise that, although the Treaty of Accession will be multilateral in form, it does not fall into the category of treaties which I mentioned earlier and which are adopted by a vote or decision at the end of a conference.

Instead, what has happened is that it has been pieced together in a complex process over a period of months to reflect in a single instrument the terms of accession for each applicant state. Now, happily, all four candidate countries have completed their negotiations.

The final text of the treaty document has been drawn up in a final agreed form in the eight official languages of the enlarged Community. I must remind the House that technically we are still dealing only with the draft and, theoretically, drafting points might arise between now and the moment of signature.

Moreover, the draft is the product of negotiations between 10 sovereign States, all of whom have as big an interest in the matter as we have; it belongs as much to them as to us. Parliaments of all the countries concerned will wish to play their respective constitutional rôles in relation to a treaty which is final and certain and the same in each country. There is only one way we can arrive at this situation, and this is for the representatives of each Government to sign the text on behalf of their country.

I think that for these reasons the right hon. Gentleman is wrong in regarding the North Atlantic Treaty as in any way constituting a precedent for the Motion before the House today. In retrospect, I am bound to say I do not know what purpose was thought to be served by publishing the draft before it was to be signed, particularly as the Leader of the House at that time, no doubt for good reason, refused a debate before signature. But he did take the opportunity on behalf of the then Labour Government to say on 17th March, 1949, that he …must uphold what I think is proper, traditional British Parliamentary practice, that is, that the Government take their responsibility in entering into a treaty and the House of Commons has its perfectly free responsibility to approve or not to approve of what the Government have done."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th March, 1949; Vol. 462, c. 2292.] Therefore nobody is prejudiced in that regard.

In the present case I submit that the position, supported by logic and precedent, is clear: the ten governments intend to sign the Treaty of Accession on 22nd January and to proceed to ratification in their own appropriate constitutional way. Every member of this House, whatever his views on the rights or wrongs of British entry, should be aware that the Motion before them has the effect, whether deliberate or not, of calling into question constitutional arrangements which are at the core of the way in which we order the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature, and also between this country and others. That is the central issue of our debate today, and I am sure that the House will resolve it correctly and so uphold our customary Parliamentary practices.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Before my right hon. and learned Friend sits down, may I remind him that the Government Amendment is in two parts? The second part says that …this House approves…the Government's proposals for the legislation required for its implementation. Apart from the fact that we are to have some legislation, my right hon. and learned Friend did not mention the proposals for legislation in his speech. Can he elaborate upon the form which the proposed legislation will take and in what way it will be considered by the House?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I explained that legislation would be required. The Amendment does not ask the House to approve the legislation. It asks the House to approve …the intention of Her Majesty's Government to lay before the House the full and agreed English text of the Treaty when signed and the Government's proposals for the legislation required for its implementation. It is our intention to lay the proposals which should be approved. I am sure that my hon. Friend does not want the Government not to lay any proposals.

5.21 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has made out a convincing case for saying that the Government have proposed a course of action in regard to the signing of this Treaty of Accession which is in accordance with the constitutional custom with regard to the signing of normal treaties. As this debate is taking place upon a Motion and an Amendment which are concerned primarily with that, undoubtedly that is a major point. Nevertheless, there are some other points which I wish to make to the right hon. and learned Gentleman in connection with the Treaty of Accession and its signing.

First of all, I am not moved by being told by some right hon. and hon. Members opposite and other so-called experts that we must sign this Treaty of Accession in a great hurry. I can remember the days when I was drawn aside constantly by the same people to be told that not only was there no hurry about going into Europe but that, on the contrary, in their view it would be unwise for Britain ever to go in. Therefore I am not moved by the argument about haste from these sources.

What is more, I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that this is a treaty of a rather unusual sort. It is the last treaty of this kind that this country will ever be entitled to sign. Unquestionably, we shall lose certain of our sovereignty, and the conduct of our foreign affairs will be entirely different.

I do not dispute that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has made out a watertight case on the precedents and by making quotations from the speeches of right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench for the propriety of the course that he is following. But in this matter, which is of a rather unusual character, the right hon. and learned Gentleman must be extremely careful both about the sensitivity of this House over the situation in which it is placed, in which certainly it will be asked to give up a great many powers that it has exercised for time out of mind, and about the deeper concern among certain sections of the population for their position under this treaty. In answer to an intervention earlier, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he thought that he had made clear what was to happen to our immigration laws, for example. However, if he asks immigrants or would-be immigrants, he will not find that they are clear. He will not find that the situation of East African Asians who may want to come to this country is clear to them. I hope that he will bear that in mind.

From now on, our foreign affairs will be of a quite different nature. No longer will the agenda of foreign affairs be of a traditional nature concerning negotiations between sovereign States, concerning the balance of power, concerning our influence in various parts of the world, and so on. The most important aspect of our foreign policy will be our influence and effect within the Community of which we are members and to which we have surrender some of our sovereignty.

I have always believed that it was worth going into Europe only if we could put Europe on the move again. I have pressed the Government repeatedly to let us know as soon as possible what proposals they have for better decision-making in Europe and the submission of proposals to the Six for more democratic scrutiny of their procedures. We want badly to know what is to be the next stage of social advance in Europe and how regional policy will develop. I had a radio discussion last week with the Commissioner in charge of regional policy. I was very impressed by his understanding of the need for devolution and for properly thought-out regional policies. However, he also admitted that very little was being done about these matters in Europe. For that reason, it is up to us to press them.

Then there are our financial, industrial and economic proposals. If we are to play an effective part in Europe, the Government have to go in with ideas thought out in advance, and they have to ensure that our foreign policy is conducted in a way which is rather different from what it has been in the recent past.

I am sure that I shall be forgiven if I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman a number of questions about a specific aspect of our economic policy. I refer, of course, to fisheries. I do not intend to go over all the points that I have made to him in letters, and speeches and questions in the House. I re-emphasise only two points which are of the greatest importance.

The first is that there are some islands in the Shetlands, especially Skerries, Whalsay and Burra, which depend almost entirely on fishing. If in the foreseeable future there should be a serious decline in fishing, there is no alternative employment available. That fact puts them in a quite different position from that of other communities which may have to change their employment or their ways of conducting their employment, owing to accession to Europe. For these islands there is no alternative, and if there is any decline in fishing they will become de-populated.

Fishing is an industry which has been proved capable of keeping the population and of major development in small communities in the north of Scotland. That has been due to an increase in fish processing as well as to an increase in the fishing fleet. In the Shetlands, between 1,200 and 1,500 people are employed in fish processing, and we export direct to America. This development has come about since the introduction of the 12-mile limit, and it is between the six and 12-mile limits that most of the fish going to the processing factories are caught.

I want once and for all to dispose of the view which is sometimes expressed even by people who are sympathetic towards fishermen that it is a backward industry which will gradually fade out. Nothing could be less true. The industry has made considerable technical strides in the last 10 years. It uses very sophisticated equipment. It conserves its raw material —its fish—and does not exploit its environment in ways which give rise to suspicions about other industries. It makes a more effective contribution to the economy than space travel or Concorde, and it brings in money and food.

I admit that the industry will have to change. At the moment, we have more processing capacity than catching capacity. In the next 10 years it may change drastically. Bigger vessels need to be built. Fish fanning may increase. Further measures of conservation will have to be undertaken. The whole economy of the country may change. I accept all that. Nevertheless, if it is to change, first, we have to make sure that we are planning to absorb these changes and, secondly, we have to make sure that we do not destroy the industry before the change takes place.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in answer to me some time ago, used some very significant words about the time we could keep the 12-mile limit. He said that a sentence of death was not acceptable even if it was postponed for ten years. In saying that, he displayed two things: first, that he appreciates the importance of the industry and, secondly, that he fully understands that this is a long-term matter, and not one which is confined to the next ten years.

I have never failed to compliment the right hon. and learned Gentleman on his grasp of the importance of this type of industry and the work that he has done in Brussels. But if further negotiations are to be left for ten years, he probably will not be there. We need to know whether we can have confidence in the negotiations when they next take place. This afternoon the right hon. and learned Gentleman quite rightly said that this is not a matter for ten years. The negotiations will start again in what—four, five, six or seven years? Therefore, we have not got so long.

While I have confidence in the Chancellor, I do not have that same confidence in the Foreign Office. No one can say that Britain's foreign policy has been a conspicuous success since the war—least of all over the Common Market. One has only to think of our withdrawal from east of Suez, and so on to realise that again and again we have had to do things which the Government said were impossible and do them in worse circumstances or under duress.

I pay tribute to our embassies abroad. Our embassies seem to be extremely well-informed about other countries. I am always puzzled to know what happens to the information from abroad when it gets home. It does not seem always to be used. And I am afraid that the Foreign Office does not seem to know enough about Britain; it knows far more about foreign countries.

One of the Chancellor's colleagues only a few months ago was under the impression that Shetland was in the Minch. It would be no bad thing, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman has finished with Europe, if he made his way round to the Cabinet. It is not only the Treaty which is in danger of being misunderstood.

I believe that the Foreign Office is mesmerised by the French. I deeply admire the French. If they were in charge of the negotiations I would vote for the Government without a qualm. The French fight very hard in their corner, and they are entitled to do so. But they have thwarted everything we have tried to do over the last 15 years. What do we do? We are going to fall down on our knees and send the Queen to Paris for the second time. An intelligent Frenchman said to me, "You could not do anything more stupid." I can see why. Therefore, I ask the Chancellor to put a little backbone into our negotiations for the future as I give him full credit for doing in the past.

If we are to make up our minds about the terms we must have some answers to some questions today or at some time in the near future. When will the new negotiations start? I should like more information on that.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I should not like the right hon. Gentleman to misunderstand. I said that the negotiations would not take place right at the end, because that would imply something like sudden death unless we had a quick sudden negotiation. We shall have a series of negotiations. We shall have the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, we shall have consultation with the enlarged Community on conservation of the biological resources of the sea, and in good time—after all, the derogation ends in 1982—we shall have a genuine open review, in the circumstances of the time, to decide what we need thereafter.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. This is an important matter. To design, order and build a fishing boat takes time. It is an expensive piece of equipment. One needs warning of any changes in fishing law and one needs to be sure that the boat will be able to operate in an area where there are fish for a sufficient time to replace the capital cost. I am glad to hear of that genuine open review in good time.

The Chancellor may not be able to answer my next question, but no doubt somebody will. Why have the Government insisted on a 10 per cent. deposit on boats. Then I want to know what the Norwegians have got or are getting. Is the declaration which the Norwegians have made of any binding force? This is very important. One reason that I have not raised any questions on fishing in the last few weeks is that I want to find out what the Norwegians are doing and what they have got. I pressed the Government and the previous Government to get in touch with the Norwegians and to agree a common policy and to go with this common policy to Europe. They would not do that. Now we have suffered a great deal from it.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to intervene, because these are important matters.

We have been in touch with the Norwegian Government and tried to get a common front. One of the difficulties was that the Norwegians thought that Norway was a special case because it has no hinterland and therefore needed special terms. I had to say that I could not see a review or special arrangements limited to areas of that kind, though the Community were always willing to make special arrangements for Orkney and Shetland and part of the coast of Scotland. I said that the whole coast of the United Kingdom was a special area in the sense that it would have to come into any review. Because the Norwegians' problem is limited to an area with virtually no hinterland or alternative industries, they still want something in a protocol which emphasised this. In fact, though it may help them presentationally—I hope that it will—it emphasises the Community's understanding of the problem. It does not go substantially further than we have gone. The Community have made it clear that the protocol for Norway does not prejudice the generality of the agreement which we have negotiated. They have said this to us, to the Irish and to the Danes. As I said on 13th December, in so far as the terms are more generous to Norway on the 12-mile limit, that is no harm to our case in future because we would obviously ask for comparable treatment for comparable areas.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I am delighted that the Chancellor should interrupt me as often as he wishes, because his interjections are useful. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said two important things. First, he has said that the Community —I hope that I have his attention, because I do not want there to be any misunderstanding—have always been willing to recognise that Orkney and Shetland are in a special position. He has said that before. I take it that his reiteration will apply to future negotiations.

Secondly, as I understand it, he has said that the declaration which Norway has obtained does not in his view add anything to its rights. My fishermen will be interested to hear that. I take it that the Chancellor made both statements with full responsibility.

If the approach made by the Government was the approach in the Prime Minister's letter, I do not wonder that Norway would not co-operate. I have never seen a more ham-fisted attempt.

Are the Government going to encourage fishermen to build bigger boats to increase their catching power? It is unfair to encourage men, who have no great amount of capital, to do this unless the Government stand behind them. They are entitled to a firm declaration from the Government that they have faith in the building of bigger boats in areas like Shetland and round Scotland, that they intend to back them and are satisfied that the returns will be adequate. If there is any doubt about it, then they should offer compensation to those who undertake this work and are let down, if they are.

I should be grateful if the Chancellor could throw any further light on the position of the veto, about which we have heard a good deal. I understand the position of the Community is that new policies will not be entered into if, according to one member, it will cause serious national hardship. That is my understanding. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm whether that is so? If so, when the new fisheries agreement comes up, will a nation which disapproves of that new policy, upon which unanimity is required, be forced to accept it?

I am not clear what happened over the common agricultural policy which no one seems to like except the French. We want a good deal of clarity about the situation in individual countries when new policies arise. There are great advantages to this country in entering Europe and it would be a mistake to be left out. Our influence can be most effectively deployed inside the Six. But the Government have to carry rather more confidence on this issue in the country than they do at present. If they are to do that they have in the next few months to treat the various questions which will be asked about these long and complicated matters with the utmost seriousness.

5.40 p.m.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

One critical approach which can be made to the Opposition Motion is to inquire into the reasons given by the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) for calling on the Government not to accept the Treaty of Accession. This approach could also apply to the speech of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). The right hon. Member for Stepney agreed that there was a good case for signing the Treaty of Accession now and then he took the opportunity, legitimately and beneficially, which had been allowed by Mr. Speaker and yourself, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in permitting a wide debate, to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the negotiations which have taken place in the last few years. I think it is the feeling in the House that it is a good opportunity for discussing again whether it is right or wrong to join the Economic Community and also to discuss whether my right hon. and learned Friend has conducted negotiations satisfactorily.

If we look strictly at the terms of the Motion, I do not believe that anyone would say that the reasons given for not signing the treaty are relevant. The right hon. Gentleman did not like the veto, he did not like what happened to New Zealand. He and the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland expressed doubts about the fishery agreements. They were legitimate doubts, and I welcome these debates, because the more the advantages and disadvantages of the Treaty of the Rome and the negotiations are discussed, the more people see the advantages of joining. What has happened is entirely normal. The Government enter into a treaty, sign a draft treaty and then the House has the opportunity to reject the treaty because it can refuse to give effect to the legislation implementing it. The treaty cannot become operative until it is ratified and it cannot be ratified until the legislation brings into operation in English law the provisions of the treaty.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

And Scots law. I ought to say the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The question is whether this House suffers any real damage. The House would have reason to complain if there were too short a period between the publication of the Treaty of Accession and consideration of the legislation. The objections about reading those bundles we have seen are not so well-founded. They have been available in a non-authorised translation as they came out for the last five or six years. I have had them all for the last five or six years. If an hon. Member belongs to the daily list of Government publications he can tick off the Community regulations which have been translated and published by the Foreign Office.

Has the House really suffered any disadvantage as a result of the Treaty of Accession? In my submission it has not, because between the Treaty of Accession and ratification full examination can be made of the negotiations and the way in which they are put in strict legal language. Examination can be made, if necessary, of the details and of the many clauses of the Treaty of Rome and also of the 2,000 rules and regulations. What is interesting is to know what form the legislation will take.

What is needed is the fullest discussion. When we have signed the Treaty of Accession we have either to reject it in toto or to accent it in toto. We cannot amend a treaty. There was acceptance of the treaty in October. What I have to say is addressed as much to my Front Bench as to the Opposition Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The hon. and learned Gentleman is a distinguished lawyer and we listen carefully to what he has to say. Since October negotiations have continued and decisions have been taken. A decision taken in October would not necessarily approve something not negotiated or negotiated at a later period.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right, but he has not lost his opportunity, because he can reject the legislation. If common sense obtains in this House it means that the House must give the fullest possible time to discussing the legislation. I am about to make a suggestion which I believe will be unwelcome to both Front Benches. I hope the House will accept that I start from the premise that there should be the fullest discussion. I do not want someone to say later that I suggested rushing the House to pass a unique treaty.

My suggestion is that the legislation should consist of one Bill with one clause. We can give eight weeks to the discussion of one clause and there is full discussion. Why do I say it is wrong to put it into statute? It is because statute lends itself to the amending procedure of the House and a treaty cannot be amended. All treaties have always been passed by statutory rule and order. We can start with the Slave Trade Treaty of 1892, signed in Brussels, which has 100 clauses and 100 clauses of translation. With that there was what is equivalent to a one-clause Bill, so that the Government could ensure statutory rule and order. With statutory rule and order we can easily adapt our procedure to give three weeks to discuss the statutory rule and order bringing in the common agricultural policy.

If someone objects and says that we shall not be able to amend it, the answer is that no amendment of a treaty is possible. The House gets exactly the same opportunity of discussion but instead of it being in the form of a statute, it is in the form of statutory rule and order and objection can be made to it. In the House of Commons one does not get the opportunity to get up and say, "I did not say that". It is necessary to anticipate the objections that may be made. One objection is that statutorily delegated legislation is anathema to the British people. Consider the Donougmore Commission. It did not deal with treaties because it accepted that the only way of bringing a treaty into effect was by statutory rule and order.

The objection to delegated legislation, like the objection to Stafford Cripps and Laski and Ellen Wilkinson when they wanted to bring in a revolution by statutory rule and order, was that they wanted to bring in something which should have been debated, amended and discussed in the statute. But if one cannot amend it, there is no harm in putting it in statutory rule and order, provided that one has full discussion.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I am deeply interested in the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument and I support his attacks upon the joint Front Benches. He is a prominent international lawyer, and I want to be clear what he is saying. Is he saying that, until one has signed the instrument of accession, one can go on negotiating about the treaty and trying to get it altered, but that once one has done that, one can do nothing further? If he is saying that, he is driving a coach and horses through the Government's case, because they have been saying that this act of accession is of no great importance, because the House of Commons can go on debating the matter and something can be done. The hon. and learned Gentleman, as I understand him, is saying that this is untrue and that, once the act is passed, all power has passed from the House of Commons except the power to reject or accept the treaty.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

One can go on negotiating provided that one gets all the other sovereign States to agree to put in a protocol to the treaty, but my right hon. and learned Friend does not envisage going on negotiating inside the treaty after the Government have signed it.

At the risk of wearying the House, I should like to give some indications of treaties which have been brought in by statutory rule and order. There have been about 12 slave trade treaties, 60 double taxation treaties and 60 or 70 extradition treaties. But the most dramatic of all is the statute of 1919, when the whole of the treaty of peace—I have not looked it up, but it may have consisted of 400 or 500 clauses—was brought in by means of a one-Clause Bill. That was obviously a treaty of great importance which altered some of our law, and it was brought in by a statutory rule and order.

The treaties of peace with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Finland and Hungary were brought in by the same way, by the equivalent of one-Clause Bills—sometimes there were "official" Clauses each side of the one Clause—in 1946. Mr. Butler, now Lord Butler, objected to that, but only because he wanted the affirmative procedure and the negative procedure was suggested. Obviously, in the present case it must be the affirmative procedure.

Let us consider the double taxation treaties. Suppose one were made with Ruritania. It would alter our law as regards resident and domiciled Ruritanians and as regards English people domiciled or resident in Ruritania or doing business there in 60, 70 or 80 particulars. But the relevant legislation was all passed under one clause in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act, 1970.

There will be some emotional arguments against this suggestion, saying, "How dreadful—delegated legislation". I admit that delegated legislation is dreadful when one is trying to do something which should be amendable by Parliament. Also, of course, some legal pundits may write in The Times that this is anathema. Hon. Members opposite may say that the Government are trying to rush things. I am trying to meet all kinds of emotional arguments. It is not rushing things, because three months could be allowed between the accession and bringing in the legislation.

The advantage to the House is that it would avoid many Amendments which cannot be accepted. It would avoid all night sittings for six months, hair's-breadth three-line Whips—and I think that it would appeal to back benchers on both sides. They will have lost no kind of substantive advantage, except that of annoying the Government and making people stay up all night, which is a fringe activity of Parliament and must not be put in the forefront.

Of course, if someone says, "I will not agree to this because I want the opportunity of keeping people up for three months night and day, debating line by line," we cannot meet that argument. In my submission it is an improper motive. If the treaty is passed, that is the end of it, and all Amendments are out of order in common sense.

Of course it will be possible to put down Amendments to the one Clause, and, for my own amusement, I have drafted a one-Clause Bill in ten minutes to see how it would look. It looks very well. It allows the Government to bring in statutory rules and orders, to be debated for weeks if they want, so as not to deprive the House of the opportunity for debate. But it does deprive the House of the opportunity of amending the treaty —which is in itself unamendable.

I therefore suggest, for the commendation of the usual channels, this entirely logical scheme, which will allow the House full debate but will prevent the House from wasting its time.

I get the feeling in the country that opponents and proponents of the Market feel that the House of Commons should not go through procedural antics just so as to waste people's time with Divisions. What they want is a serious discussion. My scheme would provide more serious discussion than Amendments to leave out the word "the" or to strike out all from "not" to the word "and". If such Amendments succeeded, one would have to go back to the other countries and say, "We have left out the word 'the' and the word 'and'; we want a new Treaty of Accession and we want to start again."

I therefore appeal to back benchers on both sides to bring pressure to bear on their Front Benches to make them have a little sense and a little courage and to realise that, if they do this, they will not be doing something which the country or Parliament cannot stand, but only something which is contrary to the wishes of those who would like to take advantage of what will be termed a slick trick. They are the people who want it in the statute because they want to bring in Amendments which are not permitted.

5.58 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I listened with interest to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster). Despite his attempt to dissociate himself from his own Front Bench, he has ended up by aligning himself with the same kind of approach to this debate as that on which the Chancellor of the Duchy opened. He has taken a legalistic and constitutional position on this subject, when the importance of this Motion is not as a constitutional or legal matter but in the fact that it directs attention to the need for the House to have a fuller grasp and understanding of what has been agreed.

The truth of the matter is that we do not yet know these details. When we have pressed, repeatedly, Question Time after Question Time, in debate after debate, to know things which are so vital for this country and our constituents, we have been met time and again by a bland blankness—particularly by the Chancellor of the Duchy himself.

It is in that light that I stress, in this debate, that, although we could not have at hand the exact Treaty of Accession which is to be signed, we could have had the contents. That is important in several vital respects, of which I will give an illustration.

If one looks at the White Paper which the Government presented to Parliament in July, 1971, on the central issue of the budgetary contribution of this country, one sees that the matter was dealt with in an extremely cursory way in paragraph 96. Great pressure had been brought on the Government to elucidate the financial obligation which Britain would permanently acquire as a result of signing the Treaty of Accession.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) pointed out that the answer we finally got from the Government was the simple statement that the Community had declared during the negotiations that if the figure proved unacceptable, the very survival of the Community would demand that the institutions find equitable solutions. That was not good enough. Indeed, it was no answer at all. How is it to be enforced? We were not told in July and we have not been told since. This is a vital issue and we must know what it means before we sign the Treaty of Accession. We must know what sort of guarantee we are getting and the earnest of this sort of undertaking.

This point covers the several aspects of the financial arrangements of the Community, and it is, of course, the financial arrangements which lie behind the treaty. At this stage in the negotiations and in the preliminaries running up to the signing of the Treaty of Acecssion these arrangements and the matter of the fishery negotiations should receive our scrupulous attention.

I shall return to the subject of fisheries. First, however, I must put on record the fact that from what the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said this afternoon, it seems clear that the kind of guarantee—if "guarantee" is the appropriate word to use—bestowed on us in regard to fisheries policy has a remarkable family resemblance to paragraph 96 of the July White Paper.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that intervention. These are nothing but political guarantees.

We are, therefore, bound to demand to know with precision what kind of pious political declaration this is supposed to be and what it means. I therefore end my general observations on this issue by pointing out that since July, 1971, many odds and ends of negotiation have been completed. A lot of loose ends have been tied up and a fisheries agreement has been negotiated.

It cannot, however, be said with any colour that the White Paper of 1971 now represents the substance of what is to be agreed in the Treaty of Accession. We have no authoritative text, not necessarily of the Treaty of Accession itself but of any kind of agreement reached on this subject since the White Paper. We have not even had a supplementary White Paper, and surely one should have been laid prior to this debate and before the signing of the treaty.

The Government should take this Motion far more seriously and look behind the formality of it to the substance that lies behind it. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney pointed out, despite the jeers of hon. Gentlemen opposite, there is a considerable amount of substance in the Motion.

I come to the question of fisheries. What bothers most of us who are concerned with the fisheries agreement is the question of what is to happen after 1982. This worries us deeply because we have tried diligently and fairly to extract from the Government their intentions and the value of their political guarantee.

I must say in fairness that the Chancellor of the Duchy courteously replied to a letter in which I specifically asked him to clarify this matter. Perhaps I should have said that his reply came in response to efforts of mine to pin him down. I got from him something of the nature of a clear reply to a question which many of us had been asking for a long time but which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had side-stepped.

I asked in my letter what would happen after 1982 and particularly what would occur if an agreement could not be reached in the preliminary negotiations running up to that date. I gather that this could involve a matter of law as well as the overall question of agreement not being reached between the participating countries. The Chancellor's reply included this passage: In the event that full agreement is not reached by the end of 1982 on what could follow, it is not to be assumed that the enlarged Community would automatically revert to the present common fisheries policy of the Six. That reply takes us only so far. To see what it means one must look at the Luxembourg Declaration and the text of the Treaty of Rome as it stands. One can do this without having the text of the Treaty of Accession. If one looks at these two sources, one finds precisely what is involved. The relevant part of the Luxembourg Declaration dealing with the majority voting procedure says in the first part: Where in the case of decisions which may be taken by majority vote on a proposal of the Commission —that obviously applies to the common fisheries policy in the existing Six or the enlarged Ten— very important interests of one or more partners are at stake, members of the Council will endeavour, within a reasonable time to reach solutions which can be adopted by all members of Council. That is the so-called "unanimity rule". It notes in the second part that the French delegation had considered that where very important interests are at stake, the discussion must be continued until unanimous agreement is reached. It says in the third part: The Six delegations note that there is divergence of view on what should be done in the event of failure to reach complete agreement. It is clear, therefore, that this much-vaunted Luxembourg Declaration melts in one's hand and becomes meaningless because nobody knows what will happen in the event of failure to reach agreement by 1982 about what will happen after that date.

Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Kingston upon Hull West

Would my hon. and learned Friend agree that the Government have adopted a phoney attitude over this—perhaps, to be fairer, I should call it a pig-in-a-poke policy—because their fisheries spokesman in another place clearly said, "Yes, we have a veto"? Lord Boothby, Lord Shinwell and others have been given that clear answer. I wonder why the Chancellor of the Duchy will not give the same answer, despite the clear way in which it has been given in the Lords.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

My hon. Friend raises an important aspect, and I entirely agree with him. It is to be regretted that we have not had a clear elucidation of this vital point from the Government.

I wish to make three points that are relevant in the context to the Luxembourg Declaration. Let us consider, first, how its terms apply to the situation as it is bound to arise as we run up to the end of the transitional period in 1982, assuming that the Treaty of Accession is signed.

I accept what the Chancellor of the Duchy said—that within a reasonable time before that date steps will be taken to put forward proposals as to what is to happen after 1982, no doubt after suitable negotiations, to the Council of Ministers; obviously the countries interested in fisheries will take this step—and this is, of course, action which is to be praised.

I hope that the time element will be sufficiently long to enable satisfactory agreement to be reached, but it is essential for us to appreciate what may happen if there is no agreement, and it is here that the Luxembourg Declaration is of no assistance. There are three possibilities.

The first is that the provisions for the 10 years from 1972—or 1973 as it will be for us—to 1982 will continue in the absence of any other agreement. That would be satisfactory, but it has been specifically and expressly stated by Government spokesmen that that is not the consequence, that that does not happen.

The second possibility is that we shall revert to the status quo—the Six with their common fisheries policy and us with our present fishery limits and rules. The third possibility—and I think that there are only three—is that we revert as a Community of Ten to the Common Market fisheries policy agreed by the Community of Six.

There is no escape from those three alternatives, and it is the last of those which troubles me most deeply. What worries me particularly is that we have had no specific political declarations about this, and even if we had had any they would not be of assistance, because it is not for politicians, not even for the Council of Ministers, who could be called statesmen, to decide whether certain consequences will flow if there is a failure to get agreement on a fisheries policy after 1982. That will ultimately be decided by a court of law, and perhaps by the European Court of Justice itself.

In those circumstances, how can the Government say that they have any guarantee for safeguarding the vital fishery interest of this country? If they exercise the rights which they can exercise by way of veto—that is to say, refuse to agree to a common fisheries policy which does not suit them—what will happen is that we shall be stuck with a situation in which the Luxembourg Declaration does not help and a court of law will have to decide what happens.

It seems to me that any court of law is likely to look at the wording of the agreement, at the Luxembourg Declaration for what it is worth, at the treaty, and the text of the fisheries agreement, which we have not seen, but which is the most vital thing of all; and it will consider in addition the words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I presume that he was using words in the text of the treaty itself when he spoke about the fisheries agreement as a derogation from the Common Market fisheries policy of the existing Six.

If the word "derogation" is the key word, then all fair-minded people will agree that in the end a court of law will ask, "derogation from what?". It must be a derogation from the existing policies of the Six which they have solemnly agreed to. In the absence of agreement, we would be back with the policy of the Six, and that would be the most inimical situation that we could possibly envisage for the fisheries of this country.

For those reasons I have no doubt that, if one is taking seriously the interests of fishing in this country, the correct thing to do is to vote for the Motion.

6.13 p.m.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

I suppose my record is as good as any in being consistent in opposing acceptance of the Treaty of Rome as the basis for joining Europe. Both inside the House in debate, and outside the House in the country, in trying to enlighten people as to what would be involved, I have put forward the proposition that the Treaty of Rome as a base for joining Europe would be damaging in the extreme to this country. I think that it would be a bad thing Other people—people whose opinion I respect—have different conclusion.

I see no reason at this stage to alter my view. I believe that to join Europe on the basis of the Treaty of Rome, even with the marginal alterations which have been negotiated by my right hon. and learned Friend, leaves it a proposition which this country ought not to accept. I see no reason to alter that view, and if I were making an argument on the merits for or against joining Europe on these terms, I suppose my argument would be very similar to that of the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore).

But I resent this debate. I resent the Motion which the Opposition have put to the House. I do not believe that the intention behind it has anything to do with the merits or the demerits of whether we are in Europe. It is quite clear to anybody who has any understanding at all of the way in which our party system works within a parliamentary democracy that this Motion—and it is this Motion and the Amendment upon which we shall vote tonight—is a blatant, partisan manoeuvre for Socialist Members of Parliament to show a united front, not for reasons whether it is good or bad in Europe, but to maintain their facade of unity so that they can, as a united team, go on and do things to the economic and political state of this country in fields other than Europe, which would be even more damaging than joining Europe under the Treaty of Rome.

That is the fact of the matter. And whatever arguments are produced, such as we have had so far, I should submit that they do not represent the words on the Motion. The true reason for the vote when we troop into the Lobby tonight is Labour Party unity. We have had the evidence of the right hon. Member for Stepney, who is an economist. We have had evidence submitted by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster), who is a constitutional lawyer of international repute. But we do not need any of those qualifications to understand the reason for the debate on this Motion; it is party tactics.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that whatever arguments are produced he will hold to his view? If that is so, it reveals a closed mind.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The view that we are doing this for party reasons.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I hope that I can convince the hon. Gentleman that that is not the reason.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

I shall listen to the right hon. Gentleman, just as he will listen to me for a minute or two. I am convinced that the Motion has been put forward for party political reasons, to maintain unity. I am convinced that the right hon. Gentleman himself, in aligning himself with the signatories to the Motion, knew that he was doing that. If he is in any doubt about it, I am not.

I regret the Motion, because right hon. Gentlemen opposite are bringing trivia and partisan bigotry into a matter which is bigger and far more important than that. We are not doing justice to a great subject which Parliament will eventually have to decide. It may be that when the final issue arises I shall be more in line with the right hon. Member for Stepney than with some of my hon. Friends, but I do not like to be cheated in the meantime. I have refused to become a stooge of the Tory Party when it has been the Government, and I am not going to become a stooge of the Labour Party when it is in opposition. For those reasons, while I in no way move from the view that I have held on this great issue, I deplore the Opposition's using this sort of manoeuvre. It brings the whole House and our arguments into disrepute.

The right hon. Member for Stepney said that this was not a trivial occasion. The subject certainly is far from trivial, but the way in which it has been dragged on the tails of this Motion means that it is being treated in a trivial fashion by the right hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The hon. Lady says "rubbish". Her right hon. Friend went on to say, "This act has no meaning". The thing that he is raising the roof about not having the details, he admits in advance "has no meaning". He says "The Treaty cannot be effective until ratified". The Amendment makes it clear that the Government have undertaken to provide all the details for which the Opposition ask in their Motion. The Government have undertaken to provide, in any language the hon. Lady may want, the terms that will have to be voted on before they can be put into effect.

The right hon. Gentleman and I have been on the same side on this subject very often. He made a good speech, but he made it at the wrong time, and for unworthy and wrong reasons. I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends who have definite views on this great issue which Parliament will have to decide eventually will not be deviated from being true to Parliament, and will not become the victims of what is such an obvious and clear manoeuvre. It is a manoeuvre.

On this procedural point my right hon. and learned Friend made an unanswerable case which must be accepted by any reasonable man. He read out the timetable which has been put to the House previously for dealing with these things. At the top of the timetable it was said that the Government would sign the Treaty of Accession. That was accepted all down the line by the Leader of the Opposition when it was put to him on the day. The very procedure which the Leader of the Opposition is opposing by the Motion today he agreed with then, and that is on the record of the House.

I could waste the time of the House by arguing my views for and against the Common Market. I do not want to do that. I do not believe that the Motion calls upon us to do it. I do not object to people who want to use an opportunity to put forward their arguments. I have always done that in the past. I agree with the motto—never miss a chance to hang your hat on a hook if the hook is there and you think that your hat will look well on it. Having given hon. Members the chance to make use of our procedures, however, we must not forget that we shall go on the record with our vote on this Motion. If we vote for the Motion we shall, truly, be voting for a party political ploy that is so obvious "that a blind man on a galloping horse could see it", and we should be letting ourselves and Parliament's standards down.

It is for that reason, while in no way retreating from the views I hold as to the damage which can flow to Britain if the Treaty of Rome remains the basis of our joining Europe, that I shall be in the Government Lobby tonight, whatever battles may follow thereafter.

6.22 p.m.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has entirely failed to answer the questions which were put to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) as to where the power of veto lies in the fisheries agreement and the other agreements that he has negotiated.

It is perfectly clear, first, that the Chancellor in his fisheries agreement has failed to keep the two pledges he made to the House, and, second, that he and the noble Lady, Lady Tweedsmuir, in the House of Lords, have falsified the main facts about the fisheries agreement in their official statements to Parliament.

The Chancellor of the Duchy gave two undertakings. The first undertaking he gave was that Britain would get comparable treatment with Norway. "Comparable" was the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own word used in the House in answer to several questions put to him in the House. On 11th November, for instance, he said this: …we would expect to receive comparable treatment to Norway and the other candidate countries."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1971; Vol. 825, c. 1245.] What has happened since? As everyone knows, Norway refused to accept the agreement which was negotiated in such a hurry by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Despite a secret attempt by the Prime Minister to weaken the Norwegian position by writing a letter, which has not yet been revealed to Parliament, Norway, by vigorous negotiations, secured a continuing agreement, which was precisely what the Chancellor of the Duchy abandoned. The agreement with Norway, according to the Press reports, which have not been denied, provides that special arrangements can be prolonged beyond the end of 1982 to the extent appropriate and according to conditions to be fixed. That is the agreement with Norway; and by no stretch of any language can this be said to be comparable with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's agreement. Indeed, if it were, Norway would not have gone on negotiating for a whole month longer to achieve the difference.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman promised, second, that he would secure, not just a transitional, but a continuing agreement. On 25th October, when inviting the House to take its decision on the main issue, he said this: Either we must have an agreement which is satisfactory to all the members—that is all the applicants as well as all the existing members of the Community—or, if we cannot achieve that. we have suggested that the Community will have to accept that we must maintain the status quo. If we do that, any question of a negotiation after enlargement would again be dependent, if the status quo was to be changed, on agreement by all the parties concerned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th October, 1971; Vol. 823, c. 1243.] That means that the right hon. and learned Gentleman promised that the veto would be in our hands.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman repeated on 11th November that however long the initial period there must be arrangements on a continuing basis subject to review."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1971; Vol. 825, C. 1239.] Let us look now—I do not think that anyone has yet done this—at what the right hon. and learned Gentleman actually accepted. There is no continuing agreement at all. The Chancellor of the Duchy misrepresented the facts to the House in his official statement of 13th December by refraining from reporting to the House at all the text of the official agreement reached in Brussels. The right hon. and learned Gentleman's statement was a misleading paraphrase of that agreement. He said this: We have further agreed that before the end of 1982 the enlarged Community will, after studying a report on the situation then obtaining with particular reference to the economic and social conditions of inshore areas and the state of the fish stocks, examine the arrangements which could follow what we have negotiated for the first 10 years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th December, 1971; Vol. 828, c. 53.] That is not what was said in the agreement which the right hon. and learned Gentleman actually signed and which he withheld from the House. That agreement, details of which we have to obtain from the publication "Europe", which is rather typical of the way this whole affair has been conducted, says this: Before December 31st, 1982, the Commission will present to the Council a report concerning the economic and social development of the coastal area of the member States and the state of stocks. On the basis of this report, and of the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy of the Community, the Council, acting on a proposal of the commission, will examine the arrangements which could follow the derogation in force until December 31st, 1982. I repeat these words from the official agreement— the derogation in force until December 31st, 1982". Those are the governing words, but they were wholly omitted from the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech to the House. They mean, not "a fair and open review", as he calls it. They mean that the "derogation" cannot continue without the unanimous agreement of every then member of the Community. Everybody who understands how the Community works knows that a "derogation" is a technical term for a temporary and exceptional deviation from Community regulations which can continue only by agreement. Therefore, the veto in 1982 will be in the hands of those who want to revert to the present common fisheries policy as it is now. That is why the French insisted on these very clear words being inserted in the official document, which has been withheld from the House.

The point was put with remarkable clarity in the newspaper Le Monde—no doubt after some advice from the French Government—on 12th January, as follows, and I translate from Le Monde: This clause means that all member States without exception would have to be in agreement in order that these measures of derogation should be maintained beyond the transition period.Le Monde continued with equal clarity: It is precisely this condition that is considered unacceptable by the Norwegians. The Chancellor of the Duchy said nothing at all about this today, but very early in the morning of 16th December he was asked point blank whether the veto would be in the hands of those who wished to continue the derogation. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman could have said that we had the legal veto, I have no doubt that he would have done so. The very fact that he failed to do so and took refuge in vague references to the Luxembourg compromise shows that what I have said is true.

Indeed, what my hon. Friend said a little earlier in the debate about the irrelevance of the Luxembourg conference is perfectly correct. It is no part of the Treaty of Rome and it is no part of the law of the Community. Still less has the bilateral agreement reached by the Prime Minister and M. Pompidou last May any legal force in the Community. One member of the Community and one applicant country cannot amend the treaty without the consent of all the rest. If a dispute on this matter were referred, as many have been, particularly in the case of Italy, to the E.E.C. Court of Justice, neither the agreement with M. Pompidou nor the Luxembourg compromise would have any force or validity in the eyes of that court.

What, then, in reality, would the situation be if in 1982 this country argued that a continuance of this derogation was a vital national interest of ours and the French, or some other country, argued that its discontinuation was equally a vital national interest of theirs, if all negotiations failed, as could happen, and it went to the court? The court would find that the derogation must end and that the common fisheries policy must continue. It could do nothing else. If British Ministers tried, as no doubt they might, to negotiate to prevent things ever coming to that point, they would be negotiating, as the whole of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's unhappy experience in the last year has shown, with all the legal cards stacked against them. The simple fact is, therefore, that any other member of the E.E.C. in this case can veto the continuance of this derogation after 1982 and we cannot, by veto, ensure its continuance.

The Chancellor has misrepresented the facts to this House and to the fishing industry. In saying categorically in the other place on 14th December that we have a veto, the noble Lady was guilty of a direct falsehood, no doubt out of ignorance rather than malice. This whole misrepresentation of the fisheries agreement, which was described by the Prime Minister in his secret letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister as presenting this question in a manner that will appear satisfactory to our fishing interests, is typical of the disingenuous fashion in which the whole of this E.E.C. policy has been presented to the country.

I am informed by the Library of the House that no authoritative text even of the United Kingdom-E.E.C. fisheries agreement has yet been published or will be published before the time that the Prime Minister proposes to sign this treaty on Saturday. In my judgment, apart from a great deal else, that is sufficient reason why the House should emphatically endorse the Motion.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I am grateful to the last few speakers for the brevity of their speeches. I think that if we continue in this way I shall be able to call all hon. Members who wish to speak.

6.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

This is the second occasion on which I have followed the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay). I always listen with great attention to what he has to say. But this afternoon what he raised in my mind was mainly wonder as to the number of different and diverse subjects which may be in the minds of hon. Gentlemen, on both sides of the House, as to what this debate is supposed to be about.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke, for reasons which no doubt seem adequate and sound to him, about the dangers inherent in the derogation and veto arrangements for fishing. We have had earlier speeches on a number of other different aspects of the Common Market Treaty. The Motion appears to be patently a procedural one. Yet the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) said that he did not want us to get enmeshed in procedural argument, and then proceeded to make a general onslaught on the Common Market. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) deployed a most interesting case in international law. I hope the suggestion he made to both Front Benches will be taken seriously. He said he thought it might be of interest to back benchers on both sides. So far as I am concerned, it certainly is. I have never understood why we have to devote months and months to debating a treaty which we cannot alter anyway. The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) was worried about the budgetary and financial arrangements.

Of all these various views as to what we are supposed to be debating the one which I go for and the speech which attracted me most was that of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls). I do not for a moment mean any disrespect to the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) by what I have to say today. I mean my remarks for the Opposition Front Bench as a whole and for those who planned this debate, and not simply for him. I shall listen with great care to what he says when he replies to the debate.

This debate is a farce, given the circumstances and the fact that there will be a vote on this matter, the figures for which will attract attention in many States in Europe and further afield. In my 11 years' experience in this House I think I have never known such a farce. We all know the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition for a political contortionist but I do not think that he has ever got the Labour Party trussed un in such a net that when it falls to pieces, as inevitably it will, some of them may even miss the safety net!

What is the object? It is perhaps germane to consider some of the outside comments about the debate. I quote from the Economist: The motion is wholly without merit. The Financial Times:As a point of substance it is laughable. The Daily Telegraph:It has been craftily framed so as to ignore totally the substance of the issue.The Times:The aim is to try to persuade the country that the Labour Party in Parliament is united. What a splendid objective that is at this stage. So that in Mr. Bernard Levin's words: The Foot shall dwell also with the Stewart, the Benn shall lie down with the Thomson; and the Shore and the Lever and the Jay together; and a little Wilson shall lead them. That is, for a week or so anyway.

The Motion does not even say whether the Labour Party is opposed to entry. We must gather that some of them are still opposed, from the speech of the right hon. Member for Stepney. But perhaps they are not. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is about to spring back out of the swimming pool feet first on to the diving board, poised for the next performance. I ask a question of my right hon. and hon. Friends who could be considering supporting this performance. I respect as much as anyone in the House their independence of mind and the sincerity of view of those who oppose entry into Europe. I have felt fairly lonely myself in this sort of situation on other subjects.

But are they quite sure, in contemplating such a course of action, of the significance of what they may be doing? They will not be registering a protest about Europe. They will be helping to try to create the illusion of unity in the Labour Party, which no one in Britain in their senses believes in anyway. For that objective, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition refused to accept an invitation to attend the signature of this treaty, which all of us are agreed is of immense significance for Britain from now on. Some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite imagine that in certain eventualities, by some miracle or other, the Labour Party might again win a General Election. What kind of response do they think that the right hon. Gentleman their leader will get at the council tables of Europe after such a manœuvre?

I preface my main point by saying that I take it that all of us, whatever our views on this matter may be, are interested in industrial investment, and that it should advance because it has very great bearing on employment in Britain. May I presume also that all of us, whatever our views, would prefer that if we enter Europe, as undoubtedly we shall, we should make an economic success of it and not a howling failure, with all the unfortunate circumstances that that could bring.

Surely the House must realise that industrial and commercial firms in this country are making their dispositions for Europe. Many of them have been doing so for some time. Others, medium and small, are only now beginning to enter into the considerable problems, the work, the thought and the negotiation involved. The matter is complicated and risky. No one in business wants to engage in something like that unless his plans are based on a fair degree of certainty.

Many of the firms may be relatively ignorant of the political realities of the affair. The sort of thing they must do is fairly obvious: they must prepare a new marketing approach in different and more difficult circumstances and conditions. They have to restructure the internal organisation of their firms or group to cope with new tariff and trading conditions. They have to consider capital investment, with all that that means for a new market. I know of one most important example of a firm engaged at this hour in negotiations in Europe. It may be for joint manufacture, licensing agreements with European firms, a merger of some kind or even a takeover. These negotiations are inevitably conducted at arm's length and they are inevitably rendered more difficult if the European side is continually able to point—however bogusly—at this House and suggest that we may not, after all, be serious about entry. Surely hon. Members appreciate that the political manoeuvring we are suffering this afternoon has the effect of delaying investment decisions, extremely important investment decisions, even to a point where they may be too late.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

The hon. Gentleman has a nerve to say that today.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

I should have thought that what I have said is obvious to anyone interested in reducing unemployment. It is strange to hear the hon. Gentleman scoffing at it.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

The problem is by no means confined to management. It is well known that some trade union leaders are refusing to make any preparations to cope with the situation in Europe because they do not want to go in. It is equally well known that other leaders and officials, perhaps more responsible and wiser, are trying to persuade the movement and the unions to prepare. They are frustrated, just as management is, by the sort of caper we are going through here this afternoon.

In our heart of hearts we all know that we shall join Europe, whatever the ritual protests here this afternoon.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

Mr. Mendelsonrose

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

I will not give way just because the hon. Gentleman continually gets up.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

The hon. Gentleman has just referred to my jeering at him. He should give way.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

I know the hon. Gentleman's habits only too well, getting on his feet and going on and on insisting until he thinks that the Member who is speaking will give way. I always give way when I think it reasonable.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

What is the hon. Gentleman afraid of?

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

All of us here know very well that in the end we shall go into Europe whatever ritual protests may be made today or throughout the debates to come. The point I am trying to make is, why should we have to limp in? I will now give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

On this day of all days the hon. Gentleman has raised the problem of investment and unemployment. Are not the facts clearly established that, wholly unrelated to any discussions about the Common Market, we have more than one million unemployed today because business men and industrialists know that the Government are deliberately creating high unemployment, and therefore have no confidence to risk their money in further investment?

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

That is the repetitive, Marxist view of the hon. Gentleman, and he knows very well that it is nonsense.

The point I am making is that by going through this farce of a debate the Opposition are raising doubts unnecessarily in the minds of those who might well otherwise go forward more quickly with investment plans that would reduce unemployment. The only possible practical effect of the sort of charade to which we are being subjected is that it may serve to increase the limp to which I have referred. What a purpose that is! What an achievement! But that is the Labour Party in its present posture. I repeat that I mean no disrespect to any individual but refer to the party collectively. They appear in my view to be distorted, dishonest and damaging. In the expressive words of Mr. Bernard Levin's Bessarabian grandmother, quoted in The Times yesterday, They give me the sick.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

The main points facing us in this debate can be summed up briefly—we either sign the Treaty of Accession before being able to consider it or see the full text or, as the Government's Amendment says, we wait, treat the matter as an act of faith and give the Government the green light to go ahead with Community membership.

But the House has been dealt with in the same way in the past. It has been refused the necessary information on which to come to a decision on membership. On 28th October, the people of this country had a date with destiny. We were told then that the decision was final and binding. The hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) talked about the standard and quality of this debate, and what the newspapers were saying about it. In some ways the Government justified such comments, because when the decision was made on 28th October to enter Europe, the important fisheries agreement had not been concluded. We took on trust what the Government's negotiators would do for the fishing communities of this island.

To make the situation a great deal worse, the Prime Minister interferred in the negotiations, although ever since he has been Prime Minister he has argued that he leaves his Ministers to the job. He wrote to the Prime Minister of Norway and in hectoring terms suggested that the stand taken by Norway's negotiators was delaying the signing of the Treaty of Accession and our entry into the Community. He even went so far as to say that it was dangerous on Norway's part to delay the negotiations, that Norway might be interfering with Common Market principles. There was no mention of the principles of the applicant countries, no mention of the standards to be set in the fishery negotiations by Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Britain, just a suggestion that the deeply-held principles of the E.E.C. might be upset.

Even worse, in that letter was the suggestion that if our entry into Europe were held up the people of Britain might not be so enthusiastic about entry as the vote on 28th October made them appear to be. In short, the more the people of Britain got to know about the proposals and implications of the Treaty of Accession, the more likely they were to harden their already determined attitude that the step Britain is taking is entirely wrong.

In an intervention in the speech of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster talked about the fisheries agreement. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) made the valid point that in the treaty we shall already have written away all our rights in the matter, because as far as we know we have made only transitional arrangements in the fisheries agreement. In the treaty and the agreement we see a set of proposals that no one can link together, the treaty binding us to entry and the agreement confining us to transitional arrangements only.

Every other agreement, whether on the common agricultural policy, sugar or anything else, terminates at the end of the transitional period, when we immediately move into full acceptance of the terms of the treaty, and every question of veto and power to negotiate will have gone from this Parliament. We can perhaps argue later about some of the new proposals, but the power to change the fisheries policies of the Six, to alter the sugar agreement or anything in the all-embracing Treaty of Accession will have passed to an entirely different body. The quicker we understand the implications of that, the better it will be for all.

One Conservative hon. Member has already said that he is backing the Government tonight, whereas on 28th October he took a different line. If we were to be serious as the representatives of the British people, many more hon. Members on both sides would be examining their attitudes and actions last October and considering very carefully the full implications for Britain and its people.

While Parliament may have given authority for the signing of the treaty and hon. Members may have given the Government a majority, at no time throughout the years in which we have discussed the matter have the people of Britain told the successful party in General Elections, "We give you a mandate to go into Europe". That mandate has been denied to us by the British people, and we have no right to take it from them and to act contrary to their wishes, no matter what arguments may be presented by the Government Front Bench between now and the time we vote tonight. On 28th October, we lost an opportunity to demonstrate that democracy still exists in Britain, and we shall give away our last opportunity if we do not take the action that the people of Britain demand when this debate closes tonight.

6.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Walder Mr David Walder , Clitheroe

I will not comment on what was said by the hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Milne) because a great deal of his speech turned on the merits of the European Community, and we are not talking about that this afternoon. From my own researches into treaties I agree with my right hon. and learned Friend on his interpretation of the timing of the signature and ratification. I agree, however, with those who argue that this is a different sort of treaty from any which Britain has entered into before, but I would argue this to support my case. We are entering a development and changing Community, so it is vain to search for one document which expresses in cast iron terms our relationship with the other members of the Community.

This is a curious debate. In October of last year we had a six-day debate which ended with a majority of 112 in favour of entry into Europe. Presumably, right hon. and hon. Members who voted on that occasion did so after study and consideration, and in some cases after consultation with their constituents. They voted for entry into Europe on the terms negotiated in Brussels. We must presume that they did that consciously and that they knew what they were doing. Those who voted for Europe on that occasion could surely visualise as a result of the decision that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister would sign the Treaty of Accession. On that occasion individual hon. Members stood up and were counted, and in some cases this took considerable courage.

On the eve of the signing of the treaty we have another debate which is not about consequential legislation, the merits of the Community or ratification. There are three categories of right hon. and hon. Members who will be voting tonight.

First, there are those who have been opposed to entry into Europe throughout. A mountain of documents would not change their minds. They voted against entry into Europe in October and no doubt they will still be voting in that sense. They will be honest, consistent, and logical.

Secondly, there are persons like myself who have for a long period been in favour of entry into Europe, who voted in that sense in October and are prepared to consider the consequential legislation when it comes, but take the view that tonight we can vote only one way. We are being honest and logical.

Thirdly, I come to the most interesting category, those Opposition right hon. and hon. Members who voted in October for entry and who are now by the terms of the Motion being urged to try to stop the signing of the treaty. Presumably, such people have not changed their minds about Europe in this short period. They could, of course, in which case they might have to eat a few words, but that is not an uncommon diet in this connection. But I do not think that many of them have changed their viewpoint.

Is this debate important or unimportant? If it is important and the vote tonight shows a majority against the Government, I presume the Government will resign and the treaty will not be signed. For members of the Labour Party, even though they be in favour of entry to Europe, presumably it would be a "good thing" for the Government to resign, in terms of "1066 and All That". Humanly, there must be an element in their thinking that they are really voting against the singer and not the song—or perhaps I should say, in this context, the conductor and not the overture.

Yet if the treaty were not to be signed, how would it square with those arguments and protestations put forward by Labour Members who are in favour of entry into Europe? I can summarise what they said in the debate in October by saying that they were not in favour of frustrating Britain's entry into Europe. All this is if this debate is important, but I suspect that it is not important and that, however the vote goes tonight, the Government will no resign and the treaty will be signed on Saturday.

One might ask then what this debate is about. As I have said, in October, hon. Members stood up and were counted. I suspect that this debate is an attempt to get that third category, those Members in the Labour Party who are in favour of entry into Europe, to stand up and be counted again to produce a different answer. So that instead of one voice on the subject they will now possess two.

The truth is that this Motion is a device to present a united front in the Labour Party where none exists, to present a united front against entry into Europe where none exists. I am intrigued by this and I wonder why the Labour Party thinks that disagreement on this subject should be so dishonourable. I do not know why they worry about it so much. Party unity is a beautiful thing, but it is not often attained—not even in the Tory Party, but I should have thought the Labour Party would have been large enough to face that.

Those right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition benches who voted in October for entry into Europe on the terms that have been negotiated are now being asked to reverse what is often regarded as a parliamentary and democratic principle. A cliché we have all heard quoted and have probably used ourselves which comes originally from Voltaire although many people have laid claim to it, goes like this: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. What this Motion is suggesting to some hon. Members is that they should say to the Government, "We approve of what you are doing but we will fight to the death, or perhaps nearly to the death, to stop you doing it."

7.05 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

I do not know whether hon. Members who have spoken from the Government side realise how boring they are. They have all explained to us what we are doing and why we are doing it. The words of Ernie Bevin are perhaps more relevant than those of Voltaire, and as he used to say, we have heard "ditch after ditch". In case hon. Members do not understand working-class pronunciation, that means "cliché after cliché". It does not say much for their arguments that they have to concentrate so much on us.

A Labour Party conference is probably the best place to find out what working people feel about this issue. At our last conference that feeling was made clear. A Motion opposing entry was carried by more than five million votes against one million. That is clear and conclusive, and that is one reason why right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench have had their minds concentrated on this issue. It is a pity that there are not more of right hon. and hon. Members in the Chamber today. Most speakers have had an audience of about 18, which is a disgrace on an issue of this importance. It is important, irrespective of the regurgitation of journalists' opinions which we have heard from the Government side.

If the Government were to drop the whole issue, because entry is so inimical to the interests of the people of this country both politically and economically, there would be a great sigh of relief. People would say, "Thank goodness we have got that off our backs". But there does not seem to be much hope of that.

Lord Cromer made an extraordinary speech in which he said that the people were ready for political and economic union. This is not so. People are opposed to entry into the Common Market, and most of them realise that what the marketeers call Europe is only a very small part of the world with which we should be concerned.

Many of the issues on which negotiations have been undertaken by the Chancellor of the Duchy have been offered as hostages to fortune. The so-called sugar agreement guaranteed nothing. The fisheries negotiations led to the bludgeoning of Norway—one of our E.F.T.A. partners—to accept something which she did not want to accept. All applicants right at the beginning had to accept the common agricultural policy, however much they disagreed with it, and in spite of the crippling effect it will have on the economy and the cost of living. Entry into the Community will have a disastrous effect on India, Australia and New Zealand, parts of our Commonwealth for which the Government have no regard. We have to make an appallingly high contribution to finances to get into the Market. The Chancellor of the Duchy capitulated on this instead of standing out, as the French stood out. All this is because the Prime Minister has been determined right from the beginning that he would get us into the Common Market at whatever cost.

When we ask questions about these serious problems, we never seem able to get straight, factual information from the Government. There are many serious issues upon which we need information because they affect national policy. One of the most serious aspects is the effect of entry into the E.E.C. on our future defence policy. May we be told more about this aspect? What will be the effect of the non-proliferation treaty if more countries in Europe become nuclear powers? Has the possibility of their manufacturing nuclear weapons, and the fact that such countries may then have a say in determining policy, been taken into consideration? The implications are quite terrible and in the long run will have far-reaching effects on relationships between East and West Europe.

The Government have committed us to value-added tax well in advance of signing the treaty and of entering the Common Market. This will mean a further increase in cost of living over and above the kind of increase which has amounted to 13 per cent. during the last year. How will the cost of living be affected? We are not told what effect this will have on future taxation policy. What will happen to pensioners and lower-paid workers and to deserted wives and other submerged groups if these increases in cost of living continue in future? Will this process continue when we go into the Common Market? We never get answers to these questions. How do the Government expect these people to maintain their standard of living? What help will the Government give them?

Furthermore, what effect will our entry into the E.E.C. have on wage claims put in by the trade unions? Will the Government allow higher wage claims from the trade unions to meet all these additional costs? Do the Government stand by what they said in their White Paper this subject? If they do, they will store up a great deal of trouble for themselves when the working people understand the real implications of entry. Do the Government expect the working people to be forever the victims of the Common Market policy, as they are in respect of everything else done by the Government?

Apart from the break-up of the Commonwealth, which must inevitably follow if we go into the Common Market, what about the effect on the United States? Although initially the United States supported the formation of the Common Market it is now becoming very concerned about the Common Market because it sees the kinds of development which are to come. Are we to launch upon a terrible trade war between Europe and the United States? Is Europe aiming to become a serious economic rival of the United States? Is this part of the price we must pay? Perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to give us some of these answers. What is to be the relationship between the E.F.T.A. neutrals and the enlarged Community? Again, we have asked questions about this important topic but have never received any answers. Will the free trade level be maintained with our E.F.T.A. partners? If not, what effect will this have on the development of the economy of those other countries—or do the Government not care any more about their former E.F.T.A. partners?

What is to happen to our economy? What will happen to small and medium-sized firms once we go into the Common Market? What do the Government intend to do about the Bolton Report on small businesses? The Government have had that report in their hands since last year, but all they have done is to appoint one of the most unpopular Ministers in the Department of Trade and Industry to be responsible for this subject, and industry has not very much support for him or for the ideas he is likely to propose to deal with their problems.

What will happen to small firms if they are to be gobbled up by large international monopolies—which has been the fate of many small firms in France? What effect will this have on the job situation in this country? I suggest that it will mean fewer jobs and will accentuate our difficulties in regard to unemployment.

What about the trade unions, about which one hon. Member opposite made scathing remarks? The trade unions know what is in store for them and are very concerned about what will happen. They know what some of their opposite numbers in the Common Market have been saying. They know that Otto Brenner, the West German leader of I.G. Metall, has called the Common Market "a neocapitalist set-up". This is bound to influence some of our trade unionists.

How will the development of supranational institutions and of a more powerful European Parliament affect our Parliament, our trade unions and our way of life? This must have a profound effect on such institutions. But again when we ask questions of the Government Front Bench, we are given no information. We must remember that the trade unions in the Common Market are divided politically and on religious grounds and that there is considerable conflict between them. It is not surprising that our trade unions are not keen on getting involved in that melée.

How will Articles 117 and 118 apply to the situation in this country? Perhaps we shall be told in the reply this evening. How will legislation affecting labour, trading, social security and trade union law and collective bargaining be guaranteed? Let us be given this information. We want to know the answers. This is why we want to see the treaty so that we can see what is contained in these important Articles.

The trade unions in the Common Market have complained that there is not enough social harmonisation and that there is a lack of collaboration. What will happen in these respects if we join? Perhaps we shall be told this evening. What about overtime? How will this affect methods of calculating pay. How will this affect the protection of workers who lose their jobs and who are made redundant?

What about the problems of immigration vis-à-vis the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Rome in respect of the free movement of labour. We know that the Dutch are very concerned about black British nationals who have British passports being allowed to go into Holland. Holland has a large Indonesian population and the Dutch are not very keen on having any of our new Commonwealth citizens moving into their part of the world.

Then there is an important issue which nobody ever mentions in this House, although hon. Members on both sides are supposed to be concerned about it. I refer to the status of women. How will this status fare if we go into the Common Market? All aspects of social security legislation closely affect women. The British system is the best in the world in respect of national insurance and the National Health Service; these services are far superior to anything in the Six. The Treaty of Rome stipulates that there should be close co-operation on social security, but social security systems must correspond to the needs and traditions of different societies. There are wide discrepancies in the various Common Market countries in respect of the status of women.

Article 119 deals with equal remuneration for the same work by men and women workers, but although it was signed some years ago it has not been implemented. Differentials have not been ironed out. Women's work is often graded into a lower sphere than men's work in order to dodge the equal pay provisions. There are few women in top jobs in the Community. Perhaps the Government will give us the benefit of their ideas on these important matters. Women are very concerned about this whole subject and women's organisations demand to know how they will be affected by the Treaty of Rome.

The overriding problem is to know what kind of community the Government are aiming at. What do they want to create by taking us in and by signing this treaty in such haste before we have a chance to look at it? What are their views? Surely there is more to going into the E.E.C. than just the elusive goal of growth. Economic growth cannot be the whole of the story. What of the problems of human and social progress, the problems of greater equality between men and women and as between different groups in society? Do these aspirations mean nothing? They are never spelled out, and, as we are not able to see an authenticated copy of the treaty, we cannot find out for ourselves how we shall be affected.

I rely upon the Government to provide the answers to all these questions. A long time ago, I described Britain's entry into the Common Market as buying a pig in a poke. There is so much that we do not know and cannot discover from Ministers or from any other source. I believe that what I predicted is turning out to be absolutely true.

7.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

Over the years, I have been privileged to take part in most of our major debates on the Common Market. But I do not regard today's debate as being in that category. Inevitably it is not, since it must turn on much narrower and more technical considerations than some of the key debates that we have had in the past and, no doubt, some which still lie ahead of us.

The matter which we are debating today, apart from the initiative of the Opposition in providing a Supply Day for the purpose, would not have fallen to be debated by Parliament at all at this stage. That is due to the fact that in British constitutional theory and practice, the signing of a treaty is a residual element of the Royal Prerogative and is not subject to parliamentary action or assent. Nevertheless, I welcome the debate, especially for one important reason. It is that the debate provides an opportunity to make clear the constitutional processes attending the attempt to enter the Community. It provides an opportunity to signpost the long course which lies between the present time and entry and the hazards and hurdles lying in the way of any Government who seek to impose upon the British people so unprecedented a change in their law and practice.

If this debate clears up any of the misunderstandings and misconceptions, it will serve a useful purpose. There is considerable misunderstanding, not, perhaps, in this House—I should not be so disrespectful as to suggest that—but certainly in the country as a whole, about the constitutional position, about the nature and effect of the vote of 28th October, and about what is in fact and in law required before any effective decision is reached. It is in the hope of adding, however modestly, to the understanding of this matter that I speak today. It follows that my observations will be expository rather than dialectical. I hope that I shall speak with the voice of reason and not with passion. I hope that that does not sound too deadly dull. If it does, I shall try to compensate by not delaying the House for very long.

I cast no blame on the ordinary citizen for misunderstandings on these somewhat difficult matters. A week or so ago I happened to notice in an advertisement for the Common Market Law Reports an inducement to purchase in the suggestion, Now that Britain has taken a decision… Of course, there is no such decision and there never may be. If lawyers fall into these mistakes, how can we blame laymen? If they do these things in the green, what will be done in the dry?

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Has my right hon. and learned Friend noticed that it is reported in The Times today that the B.B.C. intends to film and broadcast on B.B.C.2 on Saturday night a programme entitled "Britain's entry into the Common Market"? Even The Times can get it desperately wrong.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I did not see that. I hope that a contribution of my own in The Times will make some of these points more clear. But I am sorry if the B.B.C. is doing what my hon. Friend says, because that is clearly an error and, as we know, no decision has been taken nor can a decision be taken until we have gone through a great many more processes.

Though we should not blame the ordinary people for these misconceptions, we should seek to correct and clarify the position. That is a duty which rests on every Member of Parliament. But there is a special duty lying on the Government not to generate or encourage any false impressions. It is the Government's duty to spell out the inchoate and tentative position of entry, and this debate gives them a clear opportunity to perform that duty. It is a duty which some may think has not ranked conspicuously high on their list of priorities so far.

During this inchoate stage and so long as it continues, the Government should play these matters in a minor key, and they should continue to do so until the content of the legislation, its effect on the life of our people and the extent of the erosion of our sovereignty are plain to see. Only then can Parliament say whether the game is worth the candle and whether it consents to the legislation necessary for ratification. Until that time, it is vital and proper to avoid any impression of a fait accompli or that, pending ratification, there is or can be anything which can bind the British people.

Almost equally erroneous and unrealistic would be any impression of a fixed timetable in this matter—a sort of plank of no return which, for our sins or our salvation, we must walk. That is not the position. There is no commitment and cannot be until ratification, and ratification is still only a cloud on the horizon in a changing sky. Ratification can be arrived at properly, honourably and constitutionally only after full scrutiny, through all its complexities, of the extraneous legislation which, as a precondition of ratification, would have to be grafted on to the corpus of British law. The House and the country should be clear on that basic position.

The rule is formulated with crystal clarity by Lord McNair on page 204 of the Law of Treaties: A treaty which requires ratification enters into force upon the exchange or deposit of ratification by all the signatories… In the case of the Treaty of Accession, because of the scope and the content of the preliminary legislation, ratification, in fact if not in form, will depend on the will of Parliament. That will has yet to be expressed. When it is, it will be expressed not by general declaration, not by abstract assent, but by Parliament's decision on the legislation required of it.

I say that nothing as yet has signified assent. I say, further, that at this date, 20th January, no single specific step has been taken in the constitutional process of treaty making. I am not forgetting our October debate. It was a useful, interesting and enjoyable occasion, and I welcomed it. But it made no executive decision. It was declaratory only. It enacted nothing and effected nothing.

Unfortunately, the impression was given that the vote on 28th October was a decision to enter. It was a patent fallacy, but it had wide currency. Some of the blame for that must attach to those enthusiastic advocates of entry who sought to invest this occasion with a kind of pathetic euphoria. They even got Mr. Macmillan to light a bonfire, but for some reason—[An HON. MEMBER: "It went out."]—some little local difficulty no doubt—symbolically and prophetically it fizzled out.

So far then there is no binding or irrevocable step, nor will there be, by signing the Treaty. Nevertheless, signing is not a mere gesture of no practical effect. It has effect, though not conclusive or binding. I think that perhaps the best way to think of it is by the homely analogy of the contract to purchase a house. Such a contract does not pass the property until there is a formal conveyance with everything that leads up to and is required for conveyance. Nevertheless, a contract does impose certain obligations and takes the matter that much further forward.

Again, Lord McNair has stated this proposition in these words: Nevertheless, as from the time of signature, every party is under an obligation of good faith not to do anything which will diminish the value of any property or other rights which could be transferred, or of any rights which could be created when the treaty comes into operation. Therefore, we get this position. Signing a treaty is itself of no conclusive effect. Nevertheless, it is a step in the process not lightly to be embarked upon, or indeed embarked upon at all, unless the conditions of ratification are likely to be satisfied.

What are these conditions? My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister cited Mr. Herbert Morrison's dictum of 10th March, 1949: …the responsibility of the House of Commons to ratify or not to ratify".— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1949;Vol. 462, c. 1400.] That is not strictly correct. I, like everybody else who knew him, had an affectionate regard for Herbert Morrison, but, after all, this was a dictum made off the cuff in answer to business questions. I can imagine what he would have said if he had thought that this was to be cited as expressing the constitutional law more than 20 years later. Indeed, even my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House and the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) might feel a mixture of surprise and embarrassment if they thought that their off-the-cuff dicta on Thursday afternoons were to be quoted in 1993, or thereabouts, as embodying the constitutional law. No, that is not correct.

Constitutionally, the ratification of treaties, like the signing of them, is a prerogative act and subject to no formal parliamentary control. Nor do the Ponsonby Rules, to which my right hon. and learned Friend referred, apply any formal parliamentary control; only an opportunity for discussion within a minimum of 21 days if Parliament has not already discussed it. So that is irrelevant here, because we shall have fully discussed it.

In the present case the opportunity will, or should, be present in abundance in the scrutiny and discussion of the legislation. It is in this context—in the context of the so-called consequential legislation—that Parliamentary control will operate and the sovereignty of Parliament manifest itself.

In constitutional theory the Government could ratify as a prerogative act without the assent of Parliament. If they did, they would bind this country in international law vis-à-vis the other countries who are parties to the Treaty. But such an action would be nugatory and self-defeating. The reason is clear and simple. The courts in this country will not give effect to changes in the law simply because they are expressed in a Treaty to which this country is a party. All the changes in law and practice demanded by entry—we all know the vast and varied scope of them—will have to be expressly incorporated in our statute law one way or another through the processes of this House. Unless and until that position is reached, such provisions of the Treaty cannot take effect.

We see from that that we are not at the end of any road, or even anywhere near the middle. Constitutionally, Parliament is not even at the beginning. Only with the publication and presentation of the legislation will Parliament's task begin —the great and responsible task of deciding on all the legislative proposals necessary if Britain is effectively to enter. That is the heart of the matter, and all else lies ahead. We should not, therefore make too much of the signing of the Treaty. We should not invest it with a practical or constitutional significance beyond that which properly belongs to it.

I will summarise the constitutional position as I see it. The Government, for the reasons which I have given, are within their constitutional rights in signing the Treaty of Accession as a prerogative act without discussion in Parliament or prior publication of the text. Nevertheless, while they are entitled so to proceed, they are not obliged to do so. As the House knows, in the matter of the North Atlantic Pact the agreed text was made available as a White Paper on 18th March and the Treaty was not in fact signed until 4th April.

Against that background, I come to what is the correct course today for a person holding the views which I hold. Before applying myself to that question, I should preface it by a word on my general approach to the matter of voting when we reach the heart of the matter on legislation. I shall then cast no vote lightly, nor shall I on any occasion vote against my right hon. Friends without a close study of their case, without giving them the benefit of any doubt there may be, and, in any case, with the reluctance and regret natural to a difference among friends. Nor will I associate myself with, or look with sympathy upon, any operation which has as its inspiration or motive force the desire to embarrass the Government rather than the merits of this great issue. But where those merits are involved, where great matters of principle are at stake and where, in particular, our national institutions and the sovereignty of Parliament—this Parliament which I have known so long, loved so well and tried to serve a little—are in issue, then personal preference and party Whip must yield to a higher imperative. I shall then cast my votes according to my long-held and conscientious convictions. I can do no less. I hope that less would not be asked or expected of me. This I have sought to do over 10 years or more on this great issue and this, so help me God, I shall seek to do to the end.

Tonight is not such an occasion. Tonight we are not at the heart of the matter. I cannot support the Government in what they have done; but they have not by their actions acted unconstitutionally or deprived Parliament of its constitutional rights, which will find opportunity of expression hereafter. So I shall not vote against the Government Amendment.

7.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwickshire and East Lothian

The whole House will be grateful to the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) for putting a little depth and tone into a debate which has so far, I fear, been a non-event. We are grateful to him for doing this and we respect the long and strong struggle he has put up on his convictions against the Market over these many years. His attitude, considering this long road, considering the negotiations between this country and France, considering the debate on 28th October, reminds me of an old and much respected leader of the Labour movement who once told me, "The Labour movement never suffers defeats, my boy. It suffers set-back after setback until victory." The right hon. and learned Gentleman is hoping for victory, but I do not think that in this case it will be with him. He knows, and he recognised in his final words, that if his Government fail to carry this through to completion it is disaster for them and the end of the Government. He knows this and he honestly faced the problem of how he should vote.

I turn now to the Motion. When it was tabled I confess to feeling that there was a point in it. I have never thought for a moment that what we would get in the treaty would be substantially different from the major conditions and agreements negotiated by the Chancellor of the Duchy in Brussels and reported after each session to this House. But, when it came to drafting the treaty, we all read in the papers odd snippets saying that in translation "shall" might be "ought", or "would" might become "must", or a "partially" might be translated with a little more force, and so on.

I could see some point in the argument that in this case it might be worth publishing the treaty before the Prime Minister signs it, but I regard this event as largely a formality and in constitu- tional law, the present procedure is in no way wrong. What I must say I could not accept was when my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) tried to argue that when the treaty was published there would be discovered new items so strange, so surprising to this House which has been over these matters again and again, so surprising to the pressure groups outside who have worked the terms through backwards and forwards and sideways, that a new situation would arise.

I cannot really accept this argument for a moment. What I would find even more difficult to accent is the further suggestion that, on contemplating such alleged changes hon. Members who cast their votes on 28th October in favour of the Common Market would be influenced to change them. I cannot accept that. I cannot, with respect, accept the argument of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East that the vote on 28th October was so unimportant. I do not believe that was his view in the great struggle he put up before it took place to influence that vote. We have to accept that this was one of the most important votes in this House showing Members' views, not with any specific constitutional or legal effect, but showing how they stood on this issue after the utmost pressure had been put upon them. Above all, it was a time when hon. Members had to stand up and be counted.

It was the time which, whatever the legal position, revealed how the bulk of this House came down on the overall principle of entry. I cannot accept the argument that the majority of 112 has in any way altered or would be affected by the publication of the treaty. I must also ask my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney at this point whether he thinks he was playing quite fair in his opening speech to broaden his condemnation of entry to the Market into large areas of criticism into which I feel sure he knows certain signatories of the Motion who signed it because of its specific constitutional import would not have followed.

It is misleading to suggest that all the people whose names are on the Opposition Motion would for a moment have accepted his view, for example, of the budgetary cost or of the common agricultural policy. It was a mistake to broaden what was a deliberately chosen narrow Motion on which hon. Members could agree, into this overall condemnation.

I am very worried about the prospects for the House and the country if we go on like this over the next five or six months. I will explain why. I accept the brilliant legal speech of the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster), who explained that the treaty is unamendable. I agree, and I hope that we do not spend the next five or six months hearing over and over again the old case for and against entry. This has been argued, as the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East said, for 10 years, and to go on with this argument is not only fruitless when the Government have set their hand to this task and will, as far as I can see, carry it through or collapse, but it also distracts this House from two or three important things about which we should be talking before we join the Common Market.

I would like to illustrate this point using the subject which has come up most in this debate, the fisheries negotiations. It seems that in the first place one of the mistakes that many people have made in criticising the non-production of the treaty is to imagine that every aspect of every particle of policy in fishing, agriculture, trade and commerce will be laid down by the treaty. Of course it will not be. The Common Market policy in so many areas is a set of guide lines and if the practice of member countries today is inspected, it will be seen that they fill out the policy by their own laws, regulations and administration. What we have to do in many spheres between now and 1st January, 1973, is not just go over the "Do we want to enter?" argument, but to realise that we shall in all probability enter on 1st January and to set up machinery to carry through these policies in practice. It is no good hon. Members shaking their heads when I say this because those people who belong to a group profoundly affected by entry are deeply concerned. In a curious way opinion in the country has moved ahead of opinion in the House. It has accepted that the argument about entry, like it or not, is past—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I say this on evidence from my own constitu- ency, containing farmers and inshore fishermen, people who wil lbe profoundly affected. When I attended meetings in the last Recess, they were not arguing "Should we or should we not go in?". Let us take the inshore fishing situation. The fishermen were saying, "We have the broad rules; here they are, we have studied them, and now we want to know how to operate within these rules". They asked me "What exactly does it mean to adopt these rules on the East coast of Scotland; what does a producers' association mean?"

The treaty will not tell them. This is where hon. and right hon. Members are wrong. It will not say in the treaty what is a producers' association in the East of Scotland. We have to set it up and to make the necessary decisions. A producers' association has to work within the framework of the regulations. We can either use the present seven Scottish inshore associations and turn them into trading organisations or we can set up one or more separate trading organisations. We have to work out how the fishermen will pay the levy and how the associations will market the fish within Common Market regulations. It was an admirable decision that we should get a different withdrawal price for the remoter areas. This was a great asset, but we do not know which areas fall into which band, nor will this be in the treaty. This is left to Britain to work out according to the needs of her fishermen. This is what we should be doing—seeing how the new system is to operate.

If we take the marketing aspect of the fisheries agreement, it is by far the most important to inshore fishermen because the limits issue will come up in 1982 but the marketing agreement will start on 1st January, 1973. No hon. Member on this side of the House who has talked about fishing has ever bothered to mention the marketing regulations, which are of immediate importance. If we set up this marketing system we shall get a withdrawal price and we need to decide ourselves or to find out how it is to operate. We shall get 66 per cent. of the price from F.E.O.G.A. funds at Brussels. On the whole—and these are the calculations not of marketeers but of fishermen's experts and advisers—the result of the marketing mechanism will be slightly to increase the overall income of the inshore fishing fleet. That is possibly the reason why it has not been openingly mentioned by people whose sole interest, I regret to say, seems to have been to pursue the old "do we go in or don't we?" argument. We have to set up the most advantageous machinery for our fishermen within the broad guidelines of the common policy.

The fishery limits question illustrates my other worry. Not only, if we go on with the old arguments over the next six months, shall we neglect the basic structure which we should set up to carry out Common Market policies, but we shall also fail to think about the critical question of how we want the Common Market to develop after we become a member. The lines of development are not settled. They will not be in the treaty and will not be a matter of law. What happens will depend on the strength we give the Commission, on whether, at the summit conference this autumn, we support a stronger Commission, or whether we prefer to build up the Council of Ministers.

Many people on the Continent are wondering whether the advent of Britain will reduce the E.E.C. into a loose confederation, or whether it will give impetus to greater harmony or greater joint activity. It is in this context that the future of fishing limits should be seen rather than in the light of the legalistic points that have been brought up in the House.

We have heard again and again—in the very able speech by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray), for example —what will happen in 1982 or if we have to go to the Court at The Hague. But that is 10 years ahead. What really matters, and what will determine what should happen in 1982 to safeguard our interests, is whether in the interim period we can solve the conservation problem. This is the key.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetlands (Mr. Grimond) asked whether the Government would promise to support new boat building at all times under the regulations. I hope that the Government will be cautious, because there is a great deal of evidence of over-fishing throughout the North Sea. One of the greatest culprits is Norway. The Norwegians have had extensive grants and subsidies for the expansion of their fishing and they have built up their fleet and fished the North Sea flat of herring—not within 12 miles, but right across. Therefore, whether we can afford to have different limits, the same limits or wider limits, is not a legal matter but depends on fishery resources at that time.

What we can afford to have in 1982 will depend on whether a satisfactory conservation agreement has been reached among E.E.C. members and between the E.E.C. and Poland, Russia and Iceland, the only other countries that matter in the North Sea area, and whether such an agreement can be policed. Whether this happens or not depends on whether we seek, after our entry, to give the Commission powers and energy enough to produce policies and evolve common regulations and then enforce them. Constant bilateral attempts to solve this will mean each nation chipping away at the other and we shall have no common conservation policy.

This is the sort of point which we should be thinking about in the year before entry. I repeat my point, which produced some irritation on this side of the House, that most of the people deeply affected by entry of the Common Market are thinking of the practical implications, how it is to work. They are, in a sense, ahead of this House. I hope that we do not end up, at the end of this year, going into the Common Market, as I believe we shall and should, without the machinery for implementation, without having given a thought to the future of Europe or its institutions or all the other important matters that lie ahead of us.

It would be very dangerous for this country if we spent the next five or six months—I do not wish to insult anyone who has spoken in the debate—hearing the same old speeches over and over again.

Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Kingston upon Hull West

The party to which my hon. Friend and I belong is a party of planners. Why is he not turning his mind to the end of the decade? Whatever we do between New Year's morning 1973 and New Year's Eve 1982, at the end of the 10 years we must be able to look forward to a better state of affairs. The Government have not yet told us what they intend to do. Would my hon. Friend turn his mind to that?

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwickshire and East Lothian

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, but he has not followed my argument—

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwickshire and East Lothian

The legal position and what the Government can do was beautifully spelled out by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith. In theory, there are certain alternatives if we have to accept a purely legal settlement. It is possible to continue the present régime, to fall back on the policy of the Six, to retreat to separate national policies, or the E.E.C. could devise a new policy. But when the review comes it will not be reviewing the situation which we have today, with the dangers which fishermen face today.

To give an example on price alone, the danger if one were to remove the limits on the West Coast of Scotland now is that it would pay certain Continental fishermen to catch fish in the area, because the price of herring and shellfish is so much higher on the Continent than it is here. But this will not be so if we have a common price policy developed over the next 10 years. That whole argument for these particular limits will disappear. But there may also be arguments for wider limits if we find that the conservation policies worked out in the E.E.C. are not working.

The whole question of the state of fishing in the late 'seventies and early 'eighties cannot be written legally into the treaty now but will have to be determined by the strength and cohesion of the drive which we put behind a united attempt in Europe to solve the conservation problem. I believe this to be self-evident. It is the purpose of entering Europe—to get better policies to avoid this kind of mutual destruction and to preserve an adequate fishing industry for our whole community.

I return to the point that it would be dangerous if this House—I respect all the views for and against the Market—spent the next five or six months in the arid battles which we have had before, with the kind of speeches we have heard today, going over the old arguments, and did not now seek to get the best we can as a nation for our people out of this opportunity to create a more united Europe.

7.56 p.m.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

I hope that the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) will forgive me if I do not follow him on the subject of fishing.

It is always an enormous task to follow so brilliant a speech as that of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), which not only impressed the House but, I am certain, will be much quoted in years long after we have all departed this scene. My position is different from that of my right hon. and learned Friend, perhaps only because he has a brilliant constitutional legal back ground and I have not. This may leave me a little freer in action.

I cannot believe that Parliamnet has shown a very good face to the British people over this whole matter or that every hon. Member has been strictly honest throughout—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I apologise to anyone who may think that I am speaking about him: I am not. I merely say that not every hon. Member has been absolutely honest in his approach.

I will support that remark. The Prime Mininster said, in unequivocal terms which will go on being repeated ad nauseam, that he would not recommend Britain to enter the Common Market without the full-hearted support of people and Parliament. We know that, when the Prime Minister goes to sign the treaty on Saturday, he will not have won that full-hearted support. By no stretch of the imagination will the Prime Minister be able to say in truth even to himself, or perhaps only to himself, "I have the full-hearted support of the British people.

Let us give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt, and I assure all my hon. Friends that I am anxious to do this. Not only will he be unable to say on Saturday that he has the full-hearted support of the Brfitish people, he will not even be able to say that he has the full-hearted support of the British Parliament, which he claimed to have after the vote on the 28th. Whatever majority there will be, it will not be one-third of the majority that resulted on the 28th. How, therefore, can my right hon. Friend claim to have the full-hearted support of either the British people or the British Parliament?

Photo of Mr Hugh Delargy Mr Hugh Delargy , Thurrock

I cannot see the force of the hon. Gentleman's argument. The Prime Minister does not have the full-hearted support of the British people in anything he does. Would the hon. Gentleman attack him on all his policies for this reason?

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

I did not expect that sort of unworthy intervention from the hon. Gentleman. He knows that, together with a number of hon. Members, I am not in the easiest position tonight.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

I accept that.

I must declare—this is the only reason why I am detaining the House—that I shall be voting tonight with the people, and that means voting against the Government. [Interruption.] This may cause some mirth on the part of certain occupants of the Government Front Bench, but I assure them that it is not a laughing matter when an hon. Member is forced to vote against his own Government. My opinions have been made public throughout the piece, right back to my clash with Harold Macmillan when he lit the damp squib ten years ago.

I have been consistent all along, and at the last election I said in every village in which I spoke, "I am your anti-Common Market candidate." That is more than can be said of some hon. Members. Do not let us have laughter when an hon. Member is trying to uphold the dignity of this House, much of which has gone for a Burton in recent months. More than dignity will go if we do not watch things very carefully.

I close my remarks with a quotation. I do so because there is at present in the minds of many hon. Members an enormous tussle going on. In my view, too strong an influence is being used on hon. Members in advising them how to vote in Parliament. It has been going on among Conservative hon. Members and I have no doubt that it has been going on among hon. Gentlemen opposite, but it has now gone well beyond a joke.

It is, therefore, not irrelevant to remind hon. Members of the letter from which I am sure they know I intend to quote. I will read a short extract from the famous letter from Burke to his Bristol constituents: Certainly gentlemen"— in speaking of this whole question of an hon. Member's relationship with his constituents it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence"— I note that the occupants of the Government Front Bench are in conversation. I trust that they will listen to this quotation. I would not ask them to do so if I were simply quoting my own words. They might have some respect for this quotation, which continues: the closest correspondence and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him, their opinion high respect and their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions to theirs and, above all, ever and in all cases to prefer their interests to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience he ought not to sacrifice to you"— that is, to his constituents to any man or to any set of men living. This he does not derive from your pleasure"— that is, from his constituents nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from providence, for an abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you not his industry only but his judgment, and he betrays instead of serves you if he sacrifices it to your opinion. I end on that note because it is highly relevant to the position of many hon. Members at this time.

It is in the strong light of that advice of the great Edmund Burke to his constituents that I feel free to defend my constituents' interests, and I feel that I can do that best by defending the interests of the British nation by voting against the Government on every occasion when I can do anything to support those millions of people outside this House who are avowed to support, and, have supported, us in our battle against Britain going into Europe.

8.8 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

I hope that the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) will forgive me if I do not comment at length on the points he raised, except to say that I agreed with the greater part, if not all, of his speech.

I wish to confine my comments to the question of fishing. I thought I detected in the speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster a desire that the debate should not focus on the subject of fishing. However, it is clear that fishing became one of the, if not the most, important issue in the Common Market negotiations, for it provided a test of the good faith of the Six and of Her Majesty's Government.

It is well known that, having relatively no fisheries compared with Britain and Norway, the Six got together when the application for entry was made and formulated a policy. That was where their good faith could be tested, as they had nothing to lose by giving a fair deal to the applicant nations. But their attitude showed a complete lack of good faith.

The British Government were also tested for good faith on fishing because, although they had arrived at some sort of agreement in respect of other interests, they decided to enter without having achieved a satisfactory agreement on fisheries. The vital interests of our inshore fishermen, and particularly those of Scotland, where the fishing industry is doubly important, have never been safeguarded by the Government.

The Sea Fisheries Regulation (Scotland) Act of 1895 created a limit of 13 miles. Although that Measure was on the Statute Book, it was never given any practical effect. It is possibly the only Act—certainly the only one of which I know—passed by the House which was completely null, and as a result fishermen on the west coast of Scotland in those days were ruined.

In 1906 a Norwegian was apprehended while engaged in illegal trawling in the Moray Firth. He was taken to a Scottish court and fined. The conviction was upheld in the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, but the policy of the Scottish Fisheries Board in prosecuting him was overturned by a decision in Westminster in 1907. Since then foreign trawlers have enjoyed the privilege of fishing in areas of the Moray Firth where even British trawlers are prohibited.

Now we have a modern betrayal of Scottish inshore fishermen. Hon. Members who have inshore fishing interests—and I address myself particularly to those with Scottish inshore fishing constituencies—have betrayed the fishermen, and I say that for three reasons. First, they knew that the Government were going to sign the treaty before a satisfactory agreement had been made. Second, as they were aware that their votes were vital to the Government they were in a position to put a great deal of pressure on the Government to secure a fair deal for the inshore fishermen. Third, they knew that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, if he was not prepared in advance to go naked to the conference chamber, intended going to the conference chamber draped in the white flag of surrender of the six- and 12-mile limits, so he threw away his best cards before he went to the negotiating table.

Reference has been made to the letter written by the Prime Minister to the Prime Minister of Norway. In the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Milne)—and I agree with him—it was an unwarrantable intrusion into the affairs of Norway. It boils down to a plea that has often been addressed to Scotland from this place. In brief the message is, "Sacrifice yourselves, it is for the good of England", and I am not surprised that it has fallen on deaf ears in Norway.

There is one question which I should like to have answered, and that is the question asked by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) about what is going to happen in 1982 or 1983. The Government's negotiator has given us his interpretation of the situation. When the Norwegian negotiations were under way the French spokesman said categorically that "free access would come into force in 1983 unless there was a unanimous vote to the contrary." Is that correct? If it is, the fishing interests have been sold out.

One hon. Member said that this debate was of no importance. This is another battle in the campaign to keep the country out of the Common Market, and therefore I shall support the Motion.

8.4 p.m.

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

I shall not comment very much on what was said by the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart), except to say that he is misleading the House and, indeed, the country when he says that the 12-mile limit around our coasts has been abandoned. That is not so. It is not so from Cape Wrath eastwards and southwards down towards Yorkshire. We retain absolute control up to the 12-mile limit right round the coast of the United Kingdom, and to say that we have sacrificed that control is really humbug.

The other point that I want to make on that—and I am referring to the hon. Gentleman's part of the world too—is that in the six- to 12-mile band down the west coast of Scotland, outside the Hebrides where the Minch is protected, only about 1·9 per cent. of the inshore Scottish catch is caught, and most of that is shell fish.

It is true that one of the town councils which the hon. Gentleman represents has written to all hon. Members and to many other people asking them for their support against the regulations and against Britain's entering the Common Market. There is no white fish market in Stornoway, so it is not a case of protecting the seine fleet in that part of the world. That is the kind of misconception that has been bandied about. It is bound to undermine confidence in the fishing industry, and I deprecate it very much.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Would the hon. Gentleman say why it is important that there should be a market at Stornoway? It is a big fleet, and it lands its catch in many ports. The fishermen go where they can get the best market. They land their white fish catches in Minchports. The fact that Stornoway does not happen to be a port for white fish seems irrelevant.

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

The reason why they land their catches on the mainland rather than at Stornoway is that they have to go hundreds of miles round the top of the island to get back to Stornoway if they want to land their fish there.

I do not want to fly under false colours and enter into a legal argument, but I should like to refer to the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray). He said that there were three possibilities for the fishing industry at the end of 1982. It could continue the agreement that we have now, it could return to the status quo, or it could revert to the Community of Ten's policy. There is a fourth consideration, and that is that we could continue with such modifications as suited ourselves. That may sound contentious in view of what has been said about the review after 10 years.

If we are going to revert to the original policies, it means that we are going to fly in the face of fact and in the face of what is said in the Treaty of Rome, because in Article 39—and this is unexceptional—it lays it down that one of the intentions of the fisheries policy is to raise the standard of living of all fishermen. Surely to goodness we want to continue to raise the standards of living of our fishermen throughout the United Kingdom? Going back on the arrangements would not be in their interests. Surely to goodness no British Government, of whatever colour, would sanction that kind of thing going on. To my mind, that is the strongest reason why we should accept the review clause.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) suggested that we should encourage the building of larger fishing vessels. He must be aware that under our existing regulations vessels of more than 80 feet cannot fish within our limits. If they did, they would do so to the detriment of conservation and, indeed, to the whole future of British fishing. The right hon. Gentleman ought to get his facts right before making statements of that kind.

Then there is the fact, rather than the fiction, of what happens within the Community itself. The Leader of the Opposition said this in November, 1966, when he was Prime Minister: As far as the Treaty of Rome is concerned, it is a question of convention and the way in which it has worked or looks like working, and this is of great importance for us…there was the Luxembourg compromise, which was reached early this year. That is highly relevant to any assessment of how the constitution really works rather than, as I have said, basing oneself on the literal interpretation of the wording. The Luxembourg compromise is not part of the treaty, but it is of the greatest importance to anyone who seeks to examine the way in which the Community, with or without Britain, is likely to operate in the future."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th November, 1966; Vol. 736, c. 762.] As I understand it, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when he went to Paris last spring, agreed with President Pompidou that a similar arrangement would continue. Therefore, it is sheer humbug to say that the result of the review under the agreement would be to our detriment—that is, as affecting our vital interests. We must have confidence in the fishing industry and a continuity of the catching power of our inshore and deep water fleets.

That confidence is there. There is evidence of it in my constituency. There is evidence that the fishermen's national organisations, having accepted the bones of the agreement, have passed it on to the local fishermen's organisation. The order books of some of the building yards in the North of Scotland are pretty full.

It is right to probe and to seek to obtain information, but those who run down the Agreement merely because they are anti-marketeers do a great disservice to the fishing industry and are undermining confidence. That is not in the national interest.

Several hon. Members opposite have said that sufficient information has not been made available. That is rubbish. The information, particularly on fishing, is available if people wish to find it out. The information has been given to fishermen's organisations.

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

When asked for. I have asked for information and I have been given it. I do not think that any other hon. Member who asked for it would be denied it.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

On the general question, and not on the particular, I have been trying for 12 months, by means of hundreds of parliamentary Questions, to get all the rules, regulations, and edicts, which we shall have to pass in toto, without amendment. They were published on 14th January. They weigh about half a hundredweight and it will take 12 months to read them, let alone to study them. We must sign the Treaty of Accession on Saturday. Is that fair, reasonable and democratic?

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

The hon. Gentleman has taken the question very much wider than I was taking it. I was talking about the agreement on fisheries, what has come out of that and how it will affect our fishermen.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

It is a very wide issue and is much more important than fish.

Photo of Mr Bill Baker Mr Bill Baker , Banffshire

It is not. In my constituency fish are extremely important. It is right that I, together with my colleagues, should have pressed my right hon. Friends to get a good agreement. I think that they have got a good agreement.

It has been said that information on fishing is not available. It is available. There was a quotation in the Aberdeen Press and Journal this week of a speech made by the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) in which he dealt with many of the points which are in the document which I have before me. The grading position has been vastly changed, to the benefit of our fishermen. The price system has been altered, Rules for producers' organisations have been altered, considerably to the benefit of our fishermen.

These are facts. The facts are available. The facts about the limits are also available. If hon. Members who represent fishing constituencies are willing to take the trouble to find out what these things are and to pass the details on, I am certain that our fishermen will accept the Agreement, as I certainly do on their behalf.

8.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roland Moyle Mr Roland Moyle , Lewisham North

I hope that the hon. Member for Banff (Mr. W. H. K. Baker) will forgive me if I do not follow him in the points that he made, because we have had a very good airing of the fisheries question today.

I wish to refer to two speeches, the first of which is that very capable speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), but only to say that I, and I believe the great majority of the British people, will continue to fight the Common Market legislation, because I do not want Britain to join the Common Market. I take this view because I believe that to join the Common Market would do Britain more harm than to be out of it.

If by some queer alchemy of politics I should find myself on the losing side, I shall still engineer every opportunity of ensuring that the minimum of damage is done to Britain by membership of the Common Market. I believe that in this attitude I shall have the support of the majority of the people.

I listened with great pleasure to the legal and academic gem which the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) laid before the House for its delectation earlier on. It is said that lawyers tend to be concerned with detail rather than with the general idea.

I thought that the hon. and learned Member, for an eminent lawyer, fell right into the trap. He failed to observe the central British constitutional doc. trine that Parliament is sovereign. Of course if we want to amend the legislation following upon signing the instrument of accession we can do so. There is a perfectly simple piece of machinery for the consequent decision to be put into operation. The Government can return to Brussels and re-negotiate the Treaty in the terms of the amendment which we reach in the House. It may well be that our possible future partners in the Six will not accept that position. If that is so, it is not my hard luck, nor that of my constituents, although I concede that it may well be the Government's hard luck.

We have had a fairly broad debate in many respects, apart from the subject of fishing. I want to narrow the debate down on a new topic, because I believe that it would instruct the House as to what is going on and what will become even more widespread in many facets of the national life as the process of trying to accommodate ourselves to the Common Market goes on.

I should like to bring to the attention of the House the situation in which the British pharmaceutical industry is finding itself as a result of the Chancellor of the Duchy coming to the House and saying in broad and glowing terms that an agreement has been reached on the subject of animal health between us and the Common Market. What does this mean in practice when we get down to detail? What it means is that as a result of that political decision the pharmacists of this country must adapt all their standards and methods to the European pharmaceutical practice. That is the remit under which they are endeavouring to work. What happens is that products for humans were very general a group of men on the Continent called Group 15V—not some sinister assassination group of a James Bond story—but a group of men meeting somewhere in Europe, have been producing a European pharmacopoeia, a European code of conduct for pharmacists, which they are sending to the British Pharmaceutical Society, and the British Pharmaceutical Society have set up a sub-committee, of whose minutes I have some here, called the Biological Products Sub-Committee.

This committee is going through the European pharmaceutical codex in an attempt to accommodate British practice to European practice. What it really means is that we in Britain are trying to accommodate our medicines, particularly veterinary medicines, to the Continental medicines.

That committee started off in no mood of woolly idealism because the first thing it said was No time should be spent in criticising the layout and standard of English —that is, of the specifications. It said that this was outside the control of the committee. Fair enough. There is a story of a schoolmaster who wrote a report on one of his pupils saying that hitherto the boy's writing had been illegible but that now it had become legible and in consequence the boy was found to be illiterate. I think that sums up the views of British pharmacists on the animal health specifications which they have looked at. These specifications in many cases are incomprehensible but where they are comprehensible they are found to be wholly inadequate. The standards which are being laid down in Europe are in many cases much lower than those followed in this country.

For example, the British Pharmaceutical Society started by looking at a monograph for Avian infectious bronchitis. It had to say that it wished to emphasise the fundamental errors and inconsistencies in the monograph. Yet according to the political decision which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has reached in Brussels, British pharmacists are going to have to accept them.

Then the British pharmacists found that completed monographs on biological in nature and of no real practical good.

Some of the statements were confused and not translatable into practical terms, and they found also that lower standards were used than the standard throughout this country.

This means that without import control of pharmaceutical products after we have joined the Common Market the Continental pharmaceutical products will oust the British ones by virtue of their lower standards and their lower costs. The only remedy for the British pharmaceutical industry would be to lower its standards to standards which are prevalent on the Continent—a sort of pharmaceutical Gresham's Law.

For example, horses are used to produce serum for the protection of cattle from tetanus. The Belgians objected to treating the horses with penicillin in the fear that serum contaminated by penicillin might be fed to cattle which have an allergy to penicillin. Horses themselves whilst producing serum have to be protected by the administration of penicillin, in the event of being ill but horses themselves would be subjected to discomfort if the treatment by penicillin was withheld. The Belgians were parties to the formation of the European pharmaceutical code of practice and they were able to get their point established.

Again, in this country, vaccines are bottled. They are bottled for two years before they are tested for instability. The European practice is to leave them for three years before they are tested far instability. Therefore there is a greater danger of unstable vaccines being given to domestic pets—dogs and the like—suffering from distemper by European standards. The unstable condition comes from the greater period of test time which will elapse. One can imagine the great amount of domestic stress which might be caused where children, for example, have to see beloved pets of theirs dying over a long period in considerable agony because unstable vaccine has been given to the creatures.

There is another point we ought to consider and it is this. All of us owe a certain amount of loyalty to the House of Commons. Although the House is dominated by the party opposite which produces decisions these days with which I do not agree, and although I reserve my right to criticise them as vigorously as I can, when it comes to the crunch and one of my constituents asks whether he should do what the Government have asked him to do, I say, "Yes, this is what the British people voted for". Therefore, by the democratic process, we must accept decisions even if we dislike them. But by no possible stretch of the imagination could it be said that the British people have ever been asked to consider and pass judgment upon the institutions of the Common Market.

The Conservative Party fought the last election on the basis that its commitment was to negotiate, no more and no less. That is fair enough to people such as ourselves, who are fairly politically sophisticated. Contemplating politics perhaps in a calm attitude, we may come to the conclusion that that implies automatically that there will be a negotiation followed by an agreement. But that is not how that phrase was intended to be read in the country. It was intended to mislead people into believing that when the Government reached an agreement on the Common Market, they would go back to the people and ask whether they would says "Yes" or "No". That was the way in which the British people read that particular phrase in the Conservative Party's manifesto, and that is what they are expecting; that we shall take the agreement to them and ask for their judgment.

In the absence of the Government doing that and, as the Motion states, in view of the unique nature of the treaty —the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) pointed out that it may well be the last treaty of this kind that Britain will ever sign, so it is a unique treaty—and in the absence of the approval of the British people, what sort of advice should we give our constituents when they ask us whether they should accept what the various European institutions are doing and what is being applied by them in Britain?

I would not attempt to answer the general point at this stage. I am not a constitutional expert. But if any pharmacist asked me what he should do in the light of what is taking place in the pharmaceutical industry, I would say, "Ignore the political agreement which the Government have reached. You hold out for the best British standards. If there is no agreement, we should not expect an agreement; we should expect a breakdown. The pharmaceutical industry should hold out for British standards, come what may." That is the advice I would give.

8.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Nelson and Colne

The hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) will forgive me if I do not follow the arguments he put forward in his interesting speech. I assure him that I listened carefully to the points he made.

I return to something said by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) in his brilliant contribution. He said that he feared that many people in Britain had misinterpreted the vote at the end of October of last year. He was making the point that he felt that many people regarded that vote in October as if it were an acceptance of all the consequences of signing the treaty. If he were present now, I would ask him, if he feels that many people have misunderstood the significance of that vote, whether there is not, indeed, a risk of people in Britain misinterpreting the vote tonight and its significance.

I could not help smiling during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), who said that he thought that probably tonight there would not be a majority for the Government anything like the majority attained on 28th October. He said that he did not suppose that it would be more than a third the size of that majority. But he must surely have asked himself now and again why that should be so. He will answer by saying to himself, what is obvious to all of us, that tonight we shall be voting on a different matter. Does any hon. Member seriously think that numerous hon. Members have changed their minds since 28th October on whether it is in the long-term interests of this country to enter the Common Market since 28th October? Not more than one or two right hon. and hon. Members can have changed their minds on the general issue one whit since then.

The truth is that although—I say this with respect—the Chair has allowed hon. Members to canvass many matters in this debate and to give their views on many aspects of entry into the E.E.C., we are not voting on whether it is in Britain's interests to enter the E.E.C. Hon. Members have been able to express their views on the general principle and to say what they think about the fisheries agreement. But before going into the Lobby we shall all have to ask ourselves what we are voting on, and when I read the Motion and the Amendment I see that I am not asked to say that I approve or disapprove of entry into the E.E.C.

We all know perfectly well that the Motion was carefully worded and that there must be a very important reason why the House does not have before it a Motion in general terms so that hon. Members can express their views on the general principle. We all know that there must be a reason why the House does not have before it, for instance, a Motion mentioning the specific issue of the fisheries negotiations conducted by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and that the real reason why the Motion has been framed in this way is that the Labour Party leadership hoped by framing it as it did to take into the Lobby with it hon. Members who are still firmly convinced that it is in the long-term interest of this country to enter the E.E.C.

We might as well face realities. Labour hon. Members smile, and they may well do so. We all know the truth, but it is important that the country should know it. We all know that if the Opposition had tabled a Motion criticising, for instance, the way in which my right hon. and learned Friend conducted the fisheries negotiations the leadership of the Labour Party would not have been able to take into the Lobby with it those whom it hoped to take, because many right hon. and hon. Members opposite are satisfied with the result of the negotiations, and one of them was brave enough to speak in the debate.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Does my hon. and learned Friend also agree that the Government's Amendment was equally carefully drafted with the object of trying—I emphasise "trying"—to get people like me to go into their Lobby?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Nelson and Colne

I hope that that was the Government's intention, and that their efforts will succeed. But it was the Opposition that initiated the debate and chose the subject, and the Government obviously had a duty to decide whether to leave the Motion as it stood or to table an Amendment. Let us make no bones about it. This is an Opposition Supply Day, and it was the Opposition that chose not to put down a Motion raising the principle of entry.

Hon Members obviously know, but it is as well to spell it out to people in the country, that originally the Opposition were minded to put down a Motion raising the question whether the fisheries terms were acceptable. That is precisely what their intention was before Chritmas. If hon. Members refresh their memories from column 1307 of HANSARD for 21st December they will see that the Leader of the Opposition then gave notice that this Supply Day would be used for a debate on the fisheries question. Lest there be any misunderstanding about the position, he gave that notice to the Government in the full knowledge that there would be a debate on fisheries on the following day on the Consolidated Fund Bill, and he made it plain that he did not consider that debate would be sufficient for this important subject and that this Supply Day would be used to debate fisheries.

I came into this House an innocent, but I have learnt a lot. I asked myself why the Leader of the Opposition had changed his mind. Having thought about it for 10 seconds, I came to the conclusion that perhaps certain Members of the Labour Party might vote with the Leader of the Opposition on a Motion framed as this Motion is framed but would not dream of voting in the same Lobby as the Leader of the Opposition if the Motion referred merely to the negotiations on fisheries.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I hate to spoil the hon. and learned Gentleman's fun, but if he could have persuaded his Front Bench to defer the signing of the Treaty of Accession we should have been more than happy to have had the debate on fishing and then gone on to debate this Motion. It would have been an absurdity, two days before the Government have the impertinence to sign a treaty of such magnitude and importance before the House and the people have seen it, for the Opposition to let this opportunity go by.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Nelson and Colne

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is so naïve as he would like us to believe. If he reads the proceedings of 21st December. 1971, he will see that it was made abundantly plain that the treaty would be signed without there being a debate prior to signature. As I have said, the Leader of the Opposition, in the knowledge that the treaty would be signed without there being a prior debate on its terms, gave notice that he chose to have a debate on fisheries, so there is nothing in the right hon. Gentleman's point.

I fear that the Labour leadership is hoping to deceive. Not to put too fine a point on it, it hopes that the vote tonight may be wrongly interpreted in the country as a vote on the merits, and that, if the Amendment is carried by only a narrow majority, some people will conclude that support in the House for entry into Europe has declined. We all know perfectly well that it has not declined. I do not know of a single hon. Member who has changed sides on this issue since October.

It is transparent nonsense to complain that the full text of the treaty has not been published. The constitutional position has been spelt out, and I will not repeat it, except to say that the signing of the treaty is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative which does not need the prior sanction of Parliament but, if the treaty involves a promise to alter the domestic law, it is only theoretically binding on signature because both parties to the treaty recognise that it cannot be enforced until the legislation to change the domestic law is passed and that the Queen will not be advised to ratify until those changes have been made.

So what on earth is all the fuss about? We all know perfectly well the substance of what is in the treaty. We know it will be what has been negotiated in Brussels and disclosed in the House. Parliament will have all the time in the world to debate the enabling legislation, and long before we do so the text will be in our hands. The Motion is a transparent and sordid device designed to mislead the country and I urge all hon. Members to treat it as such.

8.52 p.m.

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Walthamstow West

I trust that the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) will forgive me if I do not follow his arguments, but time is passing and many hon. Members wish to speak.

I shall be brief and address my remarks to the constitutional and legal issues, in all humility, since I am neither a lawyer nor a constitutionalist. I happen to be an historian by training and I know a little of the development of the British constitution.

I emphasise, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) did, the exceptional nature of this treaty, which lies not only in its wide-ranging provisions but in the fact that it is a treaty without an end. It is a treaty which we are supposed to be signing for ever and ever. That in itself is an exceptional circumstance.

We have a constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successor. Are there not here the seeds of a potential constitutional conflict between the needs of a future Parliament in the interests of the British people as it might interpret them and the fact that a previous Government have committed the country in perpetuity by signing a treaty which has no time limit? We need clarification of this fundamental point before the treaty is signed.

My second point is that this is a treaty which contains an important provision to which nobody has yet referred in this debate—a provision for ultimate majority voting in the Council of Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is on record in a statement to the House, on his return from his meeting with President Pompidou last year, as saying that that would not apply. I shall quote his exact words lest it should be said that I am misinterpreting him. He then said: We were in agreement…that decisions should in practice be taken by unanimous agreement when vital national interests of any one or more members are at stake."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th May, 1971; Vol. 818, c. 32.] Is there any constitutional precedent in the history of this country for a government signing a treaty one of whose terms it has already disowned in advance of signing that treaty? That is not only hypocritical, but goes against all common sense and constitutional practice. Surely we need clarification on this issue.

One could go further and ask the hon. and learned Gentleman who is to reply to say whether the Prime Minister's statement on 24th May will be put into a legal form of words to the same effect in the Treaty of Accession which the Prime Minister will sign this Saturday?

My third point is that the text of the treaty is vitally needed in this House before signature, because the text will clarify a large number of the issues which have been fudged in the many statements which have been made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to this House in the past 18 months. In addition, hon. Members should have the chance to study the 2,000 regulations which have been promulgated and which I have with me now. These are the regulations produced by the Common Market over the past 10 years, and they are still in force.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

My hon. Friend understates the figure—there are 2,600 of these regulations.

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Walthamstow West

Hon. Members should have the chance to study these documents before the Government commit us by signing the treaty on Saturday. Not a single statement had been made to this House by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which has had any bearing on any of the details in these regulations.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

The Chancellor of the Duchy has never read them.

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Walthamstow West

I challenge any member of the Government Front Bench to say that they have read these documents and understood them. If they have read them, they should not deny to Members of this House an equal opportunity before the Treaty is signed.

My final point is to ask why the text of the Treaty is not available before signature. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) asked this question during the opening remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman and he dodged it. We realise that the Government deliberately chose not to make the text available before Saturday. They could easily have done so, but they are treating the House with contempt—the same sort of contempt to which the Prime Minister treated the House in Question Time earlier this week when answering my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). When my hon. Friend asked the Government whether they would abide by the decision of the House today, the right hon. Gentleman said that they would not: We as Her Majesty's Government will follow the British constitutional procedure of acting under the Royal Prerogative to sign the Treaty of Accession on Saturday, 22nd January."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 209.] I have news for the Government and for any other doubters in this House. When the Prime Minister goes to Brussels on Saturday he will be signing a treaty on behalf of the Government under the Royal Prerogative only. He will not be signing on behalf of this House, nor will he be signing on behalf of the British people. Whatever the Royal Prerogative may say, nobody except Parliament can commit the British people. As long as we remain a democracy—and there is some doubt as to the future with our loss of sovereignty under the Treaty of Accession [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."]—no government will be able to succeed in signing away in perpetuity the sovereignty of this House which we all love.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Glasgow Cathcart

We have listened to several very significant, brief and brilliant speeches. However, I have not been greatly impressed by the arguments on either side. We know that the Motion is a device to bring together in one Lobby all those on the benches opposite who feel different ways about the Common Market.

As for the arguments on the other side, I feel that it is difficult to maintain that it is normal practice when dealing with treaties to adopt the course proposed by the Government in the case of a unique treaty and one which will destroy precedent for many future treaties, bearing in mind that after joining the Common Market it will be virtually impossible for this country to negotiate any treaty on trade with any other country. Apart from that, the Government have a clear choice whether to publish the treaty or not. In these circumstances, I have not been impressed by the arguments on either side.

Come what may, we know that a very important step will be taken on Satur- day. I voted against Britain's entry, and nothing has happened since 28th October to convince me that I was wrong. I expressed concern about the cost. Since that time, we have seen all the reasons why the cost to Britain will be greater because of proposed increases in Common Market food prices and the fall in certain world food prices.

I expressed concern about Scotland. Perhaps the wrong impression is created in some of our debates that the only people in Scotland are farmers and fishermen. However, a number of people in Scotland still work in industry, and there are two big issues for them on which we have had no word of clarification. Let us think about regional policies. With the exception of Edinburgh, the whole of Scotland is a development area. In the central areas designated by the Commission, it is not possible to carry on with this scale of assistance. We have no indication of the areas which will be designated as central areas by the Commission in discussions with ourselves. We do not know whether it will be a case of the whole of Scotland or of half or a quarter of Scotland. All that we have is a reply in the House on Monday that discussions on these matters will commence in the first six months of our membership.

Then there is steel, which is crucial for Scotland. It is not a question just of the steel industry. We have to consider the price of steel. All that we have is a statement to the effect that the present safeguards for the Scottish industry of a uniform delivered price for steel will not be possible in the Common Market. We know that there will be basing point prices and that customers will have to pay the basing point price plus transport costs. We do not know how many basing points we shall have. We do not even know how many the Government are seeking. All we know from a splendid article which appeared in the Financial Times on Tuesday is that we in Britain could have one company whose works in Scotland would have to charge 5 per cent. or 10 per cent. more for its steel. We do not know which figure is right. We shall have to have some indication of the Government's views on it.

I believe that it was a major mistake to vote in favour of Britain's entry. The only matter which fortifies me is the knowledge that I have been wrong in the past. For the nation's sake, if we go in, I sincerely hope that I am completely wrong on this occasion.

The Motion is an important one. The wording of it indicates the feeling that exists on the benches opposite. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite could have said that Britain should not sign the Treaty of Accession, full-stop. In those circumstances, those who feel as I do possibly would have gone to the last ditch in support of it. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite could have said that Britain should withdraw the application. If they had, I believe that there are those right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House who would have gone to the last ditch over an issue which we believe is perhaps more important for this country than anything else. Instead, we have a Motion calling for the publication of the Treaty of Accession in English and laying it before the House of Commons.

The right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) made what I thought was a splendid speech. His arguments were of such a character that some of his hon. Friends who are Marketeers objected strongly. That indicates to me that among those who are the alternative Government there is no consolidated will against our joining the Common Market. In those circumstances, on many of the future votes on the forthcoming legislation, I believe that we have a choice between a Government who want to join the Common Market and, once the treaty is signed, an Opposition who, if they became the Government, would not withdraw our application and would not withdraw from membership.

Whilst saying that I believe we now have a choice of Government, or alternative Government, continuing with the Common Market, feeling as I do about Scotland and the Common Market, I cannot bring myself to vote for any Motion relating to the Common Market so long as the Treaty is unsigned. For that reason, I shall not vote tonight.

9.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Kingston upon Hull West

Having made an earlier intervention, I give my word to speak for less than five minutes to elaborate and attempt to pin down the Solicitor-General, who is to reply, to giving us an answer which we have not yet had from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancashire.

The Government are pursuing a pig-in-a-poke policy. Whatever the arguments in the debate as a whole, there is no doubt that we have not yet received an answer to the crucial question about fisheries. This is our last chance. We were not given a chance to debate fisheries before the signing of the treaty, so I ask this question tonight, and it must be answered: what will happen at the end of the 10 years transitional period which the Chancellor has negotiated?

The Government, not for the first time, have spoken with two voices. In the other place the noble Lady, the Baroness Tweedsmuir, gave a categorical answer. She said that we would have a veto at the end of the 10 years. Whether the noble Lady spoke with a muted voice, the Chancellor speaks with no voice at all because he would not give us an answer to what I believe to be the Achilles heel of the Government's policy in this matter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke on 13th December and later. Is the Solicitor-General, in winding-up, going to disown what was said in the other place? Is this merely a question of Women's Lib? Is the female of the species allowed to give the correct answer in the upper House while we in the lower House get nothing? The noble Lady's answer satisfied Lord Boothby and many others who had been a bit weak. If Lord Boothby can be satisfied in the upper Chamber, why cannot we have an equally emphatic statement in the lower Chamber?

I warn the Chancellor that, although he may tell us that he has got 95 per cent. for the fishing industry, there is still legitimate concern about the future. He may talk about conservation in the next 10 years, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), but we want a definite statement tonight about the end of the 10 years.

The Chancellor of the Duchy has time and again said that he will get us comparable treatment with Norway. Has he? He has not. I will tell him why. There is a certain Commissioner in Brussels named Deniau. We now know that the Commission will review the situation after ten years. Deniau is the Commissioner dealing with fisheries and he has clearly said that the distinction between the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Norway is that only Norway has demanded permanent exception and, as we understand it, only Norway has got it. The House would wish the right hon. and learned Gentleman to deny this. Are we not to be allowed the same exception? Why cannot the Minister say that we demand and in ten years will accept nothing less than a permanent exception of the 12-mile limit? Why cannot we be told this? Why is it that in the upper Chamber it can be said but we cannot have it said today by the official Government spokesman?

The Chancellor of the Duchy, on 13th December, said that, whatever the legal position in the light of the Luxembourg Agreement, we shall protect our vital industry. Why not delete the word "vital" and simply say that we shall protect the permanent limit of twelve miles? That is what we ask him to do. If he will stand up and say that, he will become what many people would like him to be, if I may use this upside down metaphor, a Gaullist in our camp who will fight for his country's interests as much as de Gaulle has done in the past inside the Six for his people.

9.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

We are now in the concluding stages of what has been an extremely interesting and powerful debate. All hon. Members would agree that we have had some eloquent speeches, representative of various views. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) moved the Motion in moderate terms, in a clear and reasonable speech which must have impressed many hon. Members who probably disagree with him.

Today's debate is not about whether we are for or against the Market. I have my own views, known to the House, and I have participated in all the previous debates. I am a sceptic and will remain so. The issue tonight is fundamentally a parliamentary one of the right of Members to be informed, to be able to participate more fully in decisions, in the sense of being able to scrutinise what is being done in their name and to be kept in touch with the feelings in the country. This has emerged in many speeches.

Other hon. Members have taken a contrary point of view. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) and the hon. Member for Clitheroe (Mr. David Walder) strongly disagreed with our Motion. We have had several Common Market debates. There was the probing debate on the White Paper and then the major debate when we came to a decision in principle. Those debates were of a high quality, despite Press criticism. They were not parliamentary bores in the wide sense. Hon. Members listened to the debate, put their points of view vigorously and successfully. I pay tribute to the Leader of the House for acceding to the needs of the House and having these major debates. It may be asked: why have another debate of this kind? We have had long discussions, terms have been negotiated and now we are on the eve of signing the Treaty of Accession.

It could be said that another debate would be merely repetitive, but I have not found that. Naturally some hon. Members passionately argued their case. such as the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) and my hon. Friend the Member for Waltham-stow, West (Mr. Deakins). Much of the debate has been about questions which affect the working of Parliament. After the formalities have been concluded Parliament will have adequate time to examine, to approve or disapprove the consequential legislation flowing from Britain's signature of the Treaty of Accession.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

We have had that assurance. The Leader of the House has given an assurance that we will have adequate time. [Interruption.] If that is not forthcoming I hope that my hon. Friend will protest. [Interruption.] I hope that he will let me make my own speech. He has made his protest.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

We have not had any assurance.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I am making my own speech in my own way. There will inevitably be a division on a decision of principle. But we are not debating for or against entry—that will come later, when we debate the legislation. We are now arguing about constitutional rights, and whether or not we should follow constitutional precedents.

On 18th January, the Prime Minister told one of his hon. Friends that the Government were continuing the procedure which Governments have always followed in relation to the signing of treaties. He recommended to the House the words of a distinguished Leader of the House and member of my party, the late Herbert Morrison: We shall follow the customary British parliamentary practice."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1949; Vol. 462, c. 1400.] I admit that there is a powerful case on grounds of precedent for doing as the Government have been doing. But the main argument about why we need a change at this stage was what the Leader of the Opposition said when he questioned the Prime Minister: Is it not a fact that in that particular case it involved a treaty which, although important, was not as important as this one?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 208.] Then, it was the N.A.T.O. Treaty but we are now dealing with the Treaty of Accession, which is not a normal treaty.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) argued that it is unique. The hon. Member for Clitheroe, who criticised our Motion, conceded this. It is for this reason that we believe that it should have been published and that hon. Members should be able to discuss it before it is signed. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster argued his case well, but even he had to admit that it was unique. The Prime Minister has said that entry is a momentous decision. That may be a cliché, but everyone agrees.

The policies which flow from the Treaty will profoundly affect the lives of British men and women whether for better or worse. As I said, I remain a sceptic, but, whatever we may say about the Treaty of Rome, the legislation which will flow from it will inevitably affect all sections of life in our community. I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will appreciate that it considerably affects his industry. It also affects the interests of many Commonwealth citizens because of the agricultural and food implications —in Australia, New Zealand, in the Caribbean and those great sugar-producing areas which have special contractual arrangements with us under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement.

Parliament and the parliamentary system will be affected in a unique way. There will be a new system and new relationships. We are therefore dealing with a different treaty, although it has been argued that all Governments sign treaties which are subject to ratification.

Will the treaty and the regulations under it—there are over 10,000 of them —purport to override future as well as existing Acts of Parliament? I hope that we shall get a reply from the Government because this is a major issue.

It is a fundamental rule of our constitution that no Government must bind their successors in relation to our internal sovereignty. Although this important issue has been raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) on previous occasions, it has not been adequately discussed, and it was referred to today only in passing. The sovereignty of Parliament does not belong to those who are at any given time its members. They hold it in trust for the people and they cannot give it up without the consent of the people.

In a pre-election speech on the subject of Britain's entry into the Common Market the present Prime Minister said that there had to be the full-hearted consent of the people. We should bear in mind that there is no civilised country in the world which allows a basic constitutional change to be made without a referendum, without the consent of the people or without a special majority of their legislatures. This is true of, for example, Denmark, Norway and Ireland. Thus, the Prime Minister will be signing the Treaty of Accession on behalf of the British Government, but he will be ignoring Parliament and the British people.

We should know what is in the treaty. Hon. Members have a right to know the details. We must rely on the Press to tell us what has been happening, and in a signed article in The Guardian today there appear under the headline Last-minute frenzy before treaty is signed details about the Treaty of Accession.

There are 161 articles annexed to the treaty applying the Common Market rules to the four candidates. It also contains 30 protocols and another series of special annexes. The Guardian article tells us about them: They comprise documents which, according to one British negotiator, 'are of amazing complexity and unintelligibility'. Hopefully, Parliament will be able to translate them into simpler language. If the treaty is available to the Press and if Pressmen know its form, should it not be available to hon. Members?

In addition to reports in the Press, on which we have had to rely—they have not been denied by the Government—there have been leaks from Brussels, speeches by civil servants, and fortunately we have some excellent Common Market correspondents writing in our newspapers. An article appeared in the Financial Times on 8th January describing some of the decisions which have been made in Brussels, yet they have not been revealed to this House, not even by the Ministers who have been responsible for the negotiations.

I am sure that the Chancellor of the Duchy has done his best, and I am not complaining about him personally. However, not enough detailed information has been given to hon. Members about some of the decisions of the Community since we approved the White Paper on negotiations in principle. One need only read the accounts in the Press to realise that we should have been given for more information.

My hon. Friends and I are really arguing that before taking this major decision, we should have revealed the full details of the Treaty of Accession, a document which will alter our whole way of life, which in many ways will be irrevocable and which is highly complicated in view of its 161 articles and protocols.

We are not asking today for a decision on principle. We are merely saying that Parliament should be informed. After all, the documents which are before the negotiators, and which will be before those who sign the treaty, are complex and have long annexes.

No major secondary legislation has been revealed to the House. If one reads the old Treaty of Rome of 25th March, 1957, one recognises that many of the protocols in the Treaty of that day, which I am certain will be repeated in relation to the interests of Britain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark, contain major sections of policy agreements which have not been given to the respective Parliaments.

I do not want history to repeat itself. It is right that we should know what is being done. The protocols in the treaty are important. I believe that they affect not only the countries concerned, but also those countries which have commercial arrangements with the European Community.

There is the whole question of secondary legislation. Right hon. and hon. Members may be surprised at the amount. This pre-accession series of English texts of the secondary legislation of the European Communities is published to show how the secondary legislation as it stood at 10th November, 1971, will apply to the United Kingdom when the Communities are enlarged.

There is then a whole series of notes at the end of the individual instructions indicating the adaptations which have been agreed or are under discussion with the Communities. This is the first time that Parliament has had these authentic English texts. They cover a wide range of decision-making. Three-quarters of the secondary legislation involves the adaptation and phasing in of the common agricultural policy.

Only the other day when we were debating the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill I thought that the Minister was rather surprised at one of the regulations in the series of articles which deals with a matter on which he was legislating. I refer to his decision to disband the Agricultural Statistical Advisory Committee, which is essential for the Price Review, and also for an assessment of the state of the agriculture industry.

We see here that in the Community itself there is a regulation which is binding on the Minister. It will inevitably make him set-up a special regional committee to do precisely the sort of thing which he is seeking not to do in the legislation before the House. It is no good the hon. Gentleman saying "nonsense". The simple fact is that in the secondary legislation there are many important matters relating to agriculture and food which have never been discussed and have never been reported to the House.

The regulations are in many cases couched in different language. They say here that there will be articles stating that regulations shall come into force on a specific day. There are regulations which state that they are binding in their entirety and directly applicable to all member States. There is a statement, too, that the instrument may, in certain circumstances, be subject to the adaptation of the larger Community, and also that the instrument is subject to further discussions within the Community. There is, therefore, a great variety of complex secondary legislation which has never been debated in the House. Many of our lawyer friends will undoubtedly have a field day on this.

The hon. and learned Member for Norwich (Sir J. Foster), who made an interesting and stimulating speech, put a direct question to the Minister, which I hope the Lord President of the Council will have noticed. He asked what form the legislation would take following the signing of the Treaty of Accession. The hon. and learned Gentleman argued for a one-Clause Bill with a series of orders flowing from it. He argued also that the legislation sanctioning the Treaty of Accession could not be amended. I hope that the Solicitor-General will be able to give an answer on this important question. If that legislation is not capable of amendment, Parliament may have to consider other ways and means and the Government may have to adopt some other approach so that Parliament is properly informed of what is going on.

I could argue that there is still the C.A.P. The instruments show that in some of the legislation flowing from the C.A.P. many of these matters still have not been finalised. The steps of the levy and many of the issues involving marketing boards are still in a state of uncertainty. Even the rôle of the farmers in price review negotiations in a European setting and many of the issues on animal health have not been finally settled.

Then there is the fisheries issue, which has been debated at great length today. My right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) and the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart) argued cogently about the sell out in relation to the fisheries agreement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] Hon. Members may deny it. I know that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster have repeated over and over again that the fishermen are satisfied with what they have achieved. That is not so. The fishery organisation for England and Wales is strongly opposed to the Government's decision in this respect.

The Chancellor of the Duchy has not got a continuing arrangement. He has not got even what has been agreed for Norway. He still gives an uncertain opinion in relation to the veto. At one stage during these debates the Minister of State, Scottish Office, stated emphatically in another place that we could use the veto at the end of the 10-year period.

The question was directed to the Chancellor of the Duchy in the final stages of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson). Even at this late stage, I give the right hon. and learned Gentleman this opportunity to answer the direct question: at the end of the day, when we are in negotiating another agreement, shall we be able to use the veto, as the Minister of State, Scottish Office, said that we would.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

On this question, all that I would do is to ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the reports of the very long debate which we had on 13th December, when I made the position very clear, both in law and in practice.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The Chancellor of the Duchy has not answered me, and he knows it. He knows that he has no continuing arrangement. He knows that he promised it. He knows that there could not be the use of the veto as stated by the Minister of State, Scottish Office. He knows that there will still be uncertainty. That is why many sections of the fishing industry, in my area of the North-West in particular, who have been left out, feel that they have been sold out. They have registered strong opposition.

As with fisheries, so with other commodities which have been negotiated—there is still uncertainty. There is still uncertainty over the sugar agreement. The Chancellor of the Duchy did not get bankable assurances about quotas for the Commonwealth sugar producers. Nothing was negotiated for the Commonwealth producers. There was only a decision to take note. There is no guaranteed access to the British market. All that has been agreed by the Community is that it shall take note of what is the position of the Commonwealth when future arrangements are made. Nothing has been negotiated; nothing has been agreed. That is why we want to see the text. That is why we want to see the Treaty of Accession. That is why many hon. Members on both sides of the House believe that we should see the details in the protocols and the annexes which will be attached to the treaty.

This debate, then, is not really just about the Common Market in the sense of being for or against it. The debate is really on an issue which involves information to Parliament by Ministers. It is a question which involves the sovereignty of Parliament. Above all, it is a question which in the end will be answered in the country, because if the Government ignore this House then, in the end, they ignore the British people.

9.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The debate which the House is closing has been in some ways a curious and contrived debate. One has some insight into that by considering the number of hon. Members sitting opposite even at this stage.

Hon. Members:

Where are they?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The curiosity about the speech just made by the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) was the way in which he was discussing, for example, the secondary legislation as though it were a source of surprise and astonishment to him, the House and the nation, when he knows, as do many hon. and right hon. Friends, that most of the instruments now published in the con- solidated edition were being printed and made available in unofficial translations —[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."]—but in the English language—by the Stationery Office during the term of the last Government. The extent to which that is clear is apparent from the speech made by the former Foreign Secretary, Lord George-Brown.

An Hon. Member:

He is in another place.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

Certainly he is in another place now, but at the time that he said what I seek to quote he was Foreign Secretary in the Government of which the right hon. Member for Workington was a member. So little was the mystery then attached to the secondary legislation that he said, speaking to the Council of the Western European Union on 4th July, 1967, making a statement on behalf of the Government —I quote from paragraph 44— In all other fields we accept, as I have already made clear, the obligations of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community and the regulations, directives and other decisions taken under it, subject only to a transitional period and, of course, to developments in the Community in the meantime". So little was the sense of mystery there attached to those documents, so great is the extent to which the right hon. Gentleman's speech and the debate have been contrived.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The hon. and learned Member knows that, for example, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) challenged the Government on the specific issue of documents from Brussels dealing with the fisheries agreement, it was clear that those have never been revealed to the House. There is a lot of secondary legislation which has never been revealed—until the other day.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The right hon. Gentleman has conveniently moved his ground away from secondary legislation to the treaty itself. The secondary legislation has been published at the appropriate time.

If I may go back to the contrived way in which the debate started, the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) founded it himself when he began opening his presentation to the House, on the basis of the Opposition's case, as I understand it, that what the Government are doing is a threat to the basic rights of democracy. That, I think, was his phrase. I have one comment to make on that. It is remarkable that such a basic right of democracy as is now said to have been infringed or to be in jeopardy at the hands of Her Majesty's Government has scarcely been mentioned or discovered, has scarcely come across the horizon of anyone in the House or outside it, until about Wednesday evening of last week.

The importance of the debate arises not so much from the issues as they have been presented by the right hon. Members opposite as from the importance of making clear misunderstandings about the principles underlying it. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said, it is important to make clear the principles with which we are here concerned and how the House will be invited to proceed.

I have little reason to disagree—no one should be surprised at this—with my right hon. and learned Friend's analysis of the position in law. There will be one point on which I shall alter the emphasis which he attached at a certain point, and I shall come to that in due course. But concerning principle it is really now common ground, accepted by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Gimond), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) and other Members of the House, that Her Majesty's Government are observing the fundamental principles of constitutional law. Throughout, the treaty making power resides in the Crown, in Her Majesty the Queen acting upon the advice of her Ministers. It is by virtue of the Royal Prerogative in the conduct of foreign affairs that the Government initiate, sign and ratify international agreements. As a matter of constitutional law, no parliamentary authority is necessary before the Crown may exercise those powers.

The other principle is equally important. Those prerogative powers, the treaty-making powers, do not enable the Crown to alter the law within the United Kingdom so as to implement the treaty. This internal implementation—this is an important point about which the House can be entirely reassured—is fundamentally distinct from the making or the conclusion of the treaty. If a treaty includes an alteration of our domestic law, including the granting of new powers to the Crown or the undertaking of new financial commitments, then Parliamentary approval in the form of appropriate legislation is necessary before the objectives of the treaty can be met.

I note with interest what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich said about the form in which the legislation might be introduced. It would not be right for me now to anticipate the form that it will take. My hon. and learned Friend is wrong, however, when he argues as a matter of principle that the legislation to implement a treaty allows no scope for amendment, because the House will be familiar with much legislation implementing other treaties of more or less importance in the past, all of which has been capable of amendment, dependent upon the way in which the Government of the day chooses to implement the treaty obligations.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Can we amend any of this?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The passage of that legislation—

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Can we amend any of this?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

—is necessary before the Crown may proceed to ratification, and because the passage of that legislation is necessary, that will be the time to debate the important questions—

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

To debate them but not to amend.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

—including those of sovereignty, which the right hon. Member for Workington has just mentioned, in order to see how far the Government are then carrying out the intentions foreshadowed in the 1967 White Paper. That is the appropriate method and the appropriate time to enable Parliament to consider and, if it pleases, approve and implement the consequences of the treaty.

It is just for the purpose of allowing that process to be carried through that ratification is here provided for. That is the answer to the point made by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, the suggestion that there is a great hurry to get the legislation on to the Statute Book, and to the point made by the right hon. Member for Stepney. Indeed, the right hon. Member for Stepney answered himself, because he said that the Treaty of Accession in itself as a matter of influencing and changing domestic law has no final effect. It is dependent upon ratification consequent upon the legislation process, so that all the time rightly needed by Parliament in accordance with our practice for discussion and debate after signature and before ratification will be available. There has never been any doubt, under this Government or any other, that the present treaties and accession to them will require legislation of that kind. So the Government's handling of the matter accords today, as it would have accorded under the last Government, with constitutional principles throughout.

The importance of ratification in the context of these treaties is, moreover, made clear by the treaties themselves. The provisions of all three treaties, including, by way of example, Article 237 of the Economic Community treaty, make it plain that: Any European State may apply to become a member of the Community. It shall address its application to the Council whose decision, after the opinion of the Commission has been obtained, shall be unanimous thereon.The conditions of admission and the adjustments to this Treaty necessitated thereby shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. That agreement —this is the important point— shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional rules. Therefore, whether we look at the question in accordance with our practice and constitution or in accordance with the treaty, ratification is required in international law as well as national law. That will be plain from the accession treaty itself. Thus far I agree entirely with what my right hon. and learned Friend said about the constitutional position.

The argument, so far as one has been able to analyse it in the debate, has been to the effect that Parliamentary consideration should take place before signature. That is not required—indeed, the right hon. Gentleman conceded as much —by precedent or practice, nor by any convention of the constitution. It would be exceptional, out of line with the general line of precedents, and, more important, quite unfruitful as a practical matter. I say "unfruitful" because the substance of the treaty is already well known, owing to the exceptional care that has been taken to keep the House informed. That was the point made by the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh). As he said, there will be no surprises to be found in the contents of the treaty.

The next stage of consideration that will be appropriate is the study of the legislative provisions needed to give effect to the treaties alongside those treaties themselves. The treaties in isolation are not as suitable for scrutiny by the House as the treaties in conjunction with the legislation; they are to be taken and studied alongside each other.

It is true that in some cases the texts of treaties have been published before signature, but if those treaties are examined it will be found that they do not support the argument that in this kind of case there is any constitutional practice requiring publication of the treaty before signature. It is even more out of line with the precedents for the treaty to be debated before signature. There is no practice that any particular kind of treaty should be published before signature. Examination of treaties published before signature over the past quarter of a century shows that those that are so published are generally conventions of a multilateral kind where the text is the result of prolonged negotiations, and separate signature and accession is regarded as a separate stage. There are examples in codification conventions, conventions on diplomatic and consular relations and other codifications under private international law.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

Whilst I accept what the hon. and learned Gentleman says about the internal situation in the United Kingdom, is it or is it not the case that the mere signing of a treaty prior to ratification by Parliament creates obligations to other States, which could be subject to the sanction of a hearing before the International Court of Justice?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

That was the point dealt with by my right hon. and learned Friend. Where a treaty on the face of it requires ratification, as this one does—and I have quoted Article 237 of the Economic Community Treaty—the treaty does not come into force and does not create international legal obligations until it has been ratified. It is subject to the qualification which my right hon. and learned Friend mentioned of proceeding in good faith towards ratification, but in itself it has no binding effect until ratified. That is the case both internationally and nationally.

The treaties that have been published before signature have included some of those mentioned. It is true that some are important, but it is not possible to find any distinguishing characteristic. The conclusion is that Governments decide, upon the political background of the case, whether treaties are published before signature.

On the prospect of debate before signature, it has not been possible to find any modern case in which a treaty has been published before signature and there has been debate upon it before signature.

I come back to the point which is at the heart of the Opposition's Motion. It is founded upon the proposition that the treaty is unique, because except upon that foundation the argument does not begin. In no way do I deny the far-reaching importance of what we shall be about, but that does not in this case call for this kind of special treatment. The practice which we have followed in proceeding towards signature before parliamentary debate and subsequent implementation by legislation and ratification is appropriate. What the importance of the treaty does justify is what it has received, namely, unique treatment before Parliament. At every stage in Parliament and in the country the treaty has received unique treatment. Indeed, four years ago—and again I quote the then Foreign Secretary in 1967—Lord George-Brown said: The processes of argument and debate in Britain which led to our decision were long and arduous. The issues have been fully weighed in full realisation of what is at stake. The massive vote which the Government received from the House of Commons on 10th May, 1967, in support of the application is the result. What has followed since the negotiations were taken up again in the summer of 1970 on this round has been exactly in line with that which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister promised, and which was annexed to the White Paper of June, 1971. When he made his statement of the programme then, it was welcomed, not once but four times, by the Leader of the Opposition. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East said then: I and many of those who think like me on this matter…welcome the programme which my right hon. Friend has put forward as providing the best means of ascertaining whether or not there is a wholehearted approval of Parliament and the people for joining."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th June, 1971: Vol. 819, c. 647.] We are following now the programme and pattern foreshadowed by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and welcomed on both sides of the House. It has never been questioned since that time and has certainly not been questioned in the respect in which it has been questioned tonight.

In that context one sess the importance, not in strict law but as a matter of constitutional convention, of the Division and decision of the House on 28th October. It is at this point that I disagree with what my right hon. and learned Friend said. I agree with him that, as a matter of strict law, that decision had no effect, but one has to have regard to those occasions on which Governments have sought the prior approval of Parliament for the principle of a treaty to which they are proposing to accede. The Locarno Treaty was one of that kind, and this treaty has throughout been handled upon that basis and has received that kind of treatment.

Back in 1967, on 10th May, this House approved the statement made by the then Government in respect of membership of the European Communities. In July 1971, we had four days of further debate, and finally we had the Motion that was adopted by the House and endorsed by the other place, the decision to which one can attach importance: That this House approves Her Majesty's Government's decision of principle to join the European Communities on the basis of the arrangements which have been negotiated."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1971; Vol. 823, c. 912.] Parliament, in other words, has been meticulously consulted throughout and in detail to keep it informed and to secure continuing support from Parliament for the principle of what is proposed.

It is in that setting, a constitutional political setting, rather than one of pure law, that the vote on 28th October is and can properly be regarded as a decisively important expression of the will and of the support of Parliament. Although, quite rightly, it has been pointed out that legislation and ratification are still necessary, the vote of this House on 28th October is, as everyone recognised at that time, a fundamental fortification for my right hon. Friends when they come to sign the Treaty of Accession on Saturday.

To come back to the general pattern of the debate, as was pointed out by several of my hon. Friends and in particular by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough, (Sir Harmar Nicholls), the Motion before the House has been so scantily supported by arguments that are to the point that it does not deserve a vote from any of my hon. Friends who generally support the policies and constitutional properties of Her Majesty's Government. The Motion has been so

fiercely supported by arguments which are not to the point, but which are directed solely against the principle of entry into the Communities, that it does not deserve a vote from any other hon. Member who is in principle in favour of entry. The only hon. Members—a handful—who can convincingly support the Motion are those who disapprove of entry into the Communities with the same fervour as they disapprove of Her Majesty's present Government, and that is the limit of support that the Motion ought to receive.

I conclude by saying that the course which the Government are proposing to follow is in line with the practical needs of the situation, in line with the programme promised by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in line with the precedents that have been followed in such matters over many years and entirely in line with the principles of our constitution. In short, we have been discussing an issue on which Her Majesty's Government cannot properly or convincingly be challenged. It is upon that basis that I commend the Amendment to the House.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 298. Noes 277.

Division No. 37.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Adley, RobertBuchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)Drayson, G. B.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Buck, Antonydu Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Burden, F. A.Dykes, Hugh
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianButler, Adam (Bosworth)Eden, Sir John
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Campbell. Rt. Kn. G.(Moray&Nairn)Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Astor, JohnCarlisle, MarkElliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Atkins, HumphreyCarr, Rt. Hn. RobertElliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Awdry, DanielCary, Sir RobertEmery, Peter
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Channon, PaulFenner, Mrs. Peggy
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Chapman, SydneyFinsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Balniel, Rt. Hn. LordChataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherFisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyChichester-Clark, R.Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Batsford, BrianChurchill, W. S.Fookes, Miss Janet
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonClark, William (Surrey, E.)Fortescue, Tim
Bell, RonaldClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Foster, Sir John
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Clegg, WalterFowler, Norman
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Cockeram, EricFox, Marcus
Benyon, W.Cooke, RobertFry, Peter
Berry, Hn. AnthonyCoombs, DerekGalbraith, Hn. T. G.
Biffen, JohnCooper, A. E.Gardner, Edward
Biggs-Davison, JohnCordle, JohnGibson-Watt, David
Blaker, PeterCorfield, Rt. Hn. FrederickGilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Cormack, PatrickGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Boscawen, RobertCostain, A. P.Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bossom, Sir CliveCritchley, JulianGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Bowden, AndrewCrouch, DavidGoodhart, Philip
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnCrowder, F. P.Goodhew, Victor
Braine, Sir BernardCurran, CharlesGorst, John
Bray, RonaldDavies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)Gower, Raymond
Brewis, Johnd'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryGrant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Brinton, Sir Tattond'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen. JamesGray, Hamish
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherDean, PaulGreen, Alan
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Dixon, PiersGrimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Bryan, PaulDouglas-Home. Rt. Hn. Sir AlecGrylls, Michael
Gummer, J. SelwynMacmillan, Rt. Hn. Maurice (Farnham)St. John-Stevas, Norman
Gurden, HaroldMcNair-Wilson, MichaelSandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Scott, Nicholas
Hall, John (Wycombe)Maddan, MartinScott-Hopkins, James
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Madel, DavidSharples, Richard
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Marples, Rt. Hn. ErnestShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hannam, John (Exeter)Mather, CarolShelton, William (Clapham)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Maude, AngusSimeons, Charles
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldSinclair, Sir George
Haselhurst, AlanMawby, RaySkeet, T. H. H.
Hastings, StephenMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Havers, MichaelMeyer, Sir AnthonySorel, Harold
Hawkins, PaulMills, Peter (Torrington)Speed, Keith
Hay, JohnMills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)Spence, John
Hayhoe, BarneyMiscampbell, NormanSproat, Iain
Heath, Rt. Hn. EdwardMitchell, Lt. -Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)Stainton, Keith
Heseltine, MichaelMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Stanbrook, Ivor
Hicks, RobertMoney, ErnieSteel, David
Higgins, Terence L.Monks, Mrs. ConnieStewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hiley, JosephMonro, HectorStodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Montgomery, FergusStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Hill, James (Southampton, Test)More, JasperStokes, John
Holland, PhilipMorgan, Geraint (Denbigh)Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Holt, Miss MaryMorgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.Tapsell, peter
Hordern, PeterMorrison, CharlesTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hornby, RichardMurton, OscarTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame PatriciaNeave, AireyTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)Nicholls, Sir HarmarTebbit, Norman
Howell, David (Guildford)Noble, Rt. Hn. MichaelTemple, John M.
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Normanton, TomThatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Hunt, JohnNott, JohnThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Iremonger, T. L.Onslow, CranleyThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Oppenheim, Mrs. SallyThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
James, DavidOsborn, JohnThorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)Tilney, John
Jessel, TobyPage, Graham (Crosby)Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Page, John (Harrow, W.)Trew, Peter
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Pardoe, JohnTugendhat, Christopher
Jopling, MichaelParkinson, Cecilvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithPeel, JohnVaughan, Dr. Gerard
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPercival, IanVickers, Dame Joan
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElainePeyton, Rt. Hn. JohnWaddington, David
Kershaw, AnthonyPike, Miss MervynWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Kilfedder, JamesPink, R. BonnerWalker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Kimball, MarcusPounder, RaftonWall, Patrick
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Price, David (Eastleigh)Walters, Dennis
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.Ward, Dame Irene
Kinsey, J. R.Proudfoot, WilfredWarren, Kenneth
Kirk, PeterPym, Rt. Hn. FrancisWells, John (Maidstone)
Kitson, TimothyQuennell, Miss J. M.White, Roger (Gravesend)
Knight, Mrs. JillRaison, TimothyWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Knox, DavidRamsden, Rt. Hn. JamesWiggin, Jerry
Lambton, AntonyRawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir PeterWilkinson, John
Lane, DavidRedmond, RobertWinterton, Nicholas
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnReed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryRees-Davies, W. R.Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir DavidWoodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWoodnutt, Mark
Longden, Sir GilbertRidley, Hn. NicholasWorsley, Marcus
Loveridge, JohnRidsdale, JulianWylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Luce, R. N.Rippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyYounger, Hn. George
McAdden, Sir StephenRoberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
MacArthur, IanRoberts, Wyn (Conway)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McCrindle, R. A.Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill
McLaren, MartinRost, Peter
Maclean, Sir FitzroyRoyle, Anthony
NOES
Abse, LeoBennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Albu, AustenBidwell, SydneyCampbell, J. (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Bishop, E. S.Cant, R. B.
Alien, ScholefieldBlenkinsop, ArthurCarmichael, Neil
Archer, Peter (Rowly Regis)Boardman, H. (Leigh)Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)
Armstrong, ErnestBody, RichardCarter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)
Ashley, JackBooth, AlbertCastle, Rt. Hn. Barbara
Ashton, JoeBottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurClark, David (Colne Valley)
Atkinson, NormanBradley, TomCocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Broughton, Sir AlfredCohen, Stanley
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)Coleman, Donald
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Concannon, J. D.
Baxter, WilliamBrown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)Conlan, Bernard
Beaney, AlanBuchan, NormanCorbet, Mrs. Freda
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodBuchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Crawshaw, RichardJenkins, Hugh (Putney)Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Cronin, JohnJennings, J. C. (Burton)Pendry, Tom
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyJohn, BrynmorPentland, Norman
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardJohnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Perry, Ernest G.
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Dalyell, TamJones, Barry (Flint, E.)Prescott, John
Davidson, ArthurJones, Dan (Burnley)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Jones, Rt. Hr. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)Price, William (Rugby)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)Probert, Arthur
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)Rankin, John
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Judd, FrankReed, D. (Sedgefield)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Kaufman, GeraldRees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Deakins, EricKelley, RichardRhodes, Geoffrey
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyKinnock, NeilRichard, Ivor
Delargy, H. J.Lambie, DavidRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dell, Rt. Hn. EdmundLamond, JamesRobertson, John (Paisley)
Dempsey, JamesLatham, ArthurRoderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Doig, PeterLawson, GeorgeRodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dormand, J. D.Leadbitter, TedRoper, John
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Lee, Rt. Hn. FrederickRose, Paul B.
Douglas-Mann, BruceLeonard, DickRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Driberg, TomLestor, Miss JoanSandelson, Neville
Duffy, A. E. P.Lever, Rt. Hn. HaroldSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Dunnett, JackLewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)Shore, Rt. Hn. peter (Stepney)
Eadie, AlexLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Edelman, MauriceLipton, MarcusShort, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Lomas, KennethSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Edwards, William (Merioneth)Loughlin, CharlesSilkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Ellis, TomLyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Sillars, James
English, MichaelMabon, Dr. J. DicksonSilverman, Julius
Evans, FredMcBride, NeilSkinner, Dennis
Ewing, HenryMcCann, JohnSmall, William
Fell, AnthonyMcCartney, HughSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.McElhone, FrankSpearing, Nigel
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)McGuire, MichaelSpriggs, Leslie
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Mackenzie, GregorStallard, A. W.
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Mackle, JohnStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Foley, MauriceMackintosh, John P.Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Foot, MichaelMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Ford, BenMcNamara, J. KevinStonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Forrester, JohnMahon, Simon (Bootle)Strang, Gavin
Fraser, John (Norwood)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Freeson, ReginaldMarks, KennethSummerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Galpern, Sir MyerMarquand, DavidSwain, Thomas
Garrett, W. E.Marsden, F.Taverne, Dick
Gilbert, Dr. JohnMarshall, Dr. EdmundThomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Golding, JohnMayhew, ChristopherThomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.Meacher, MichaelTinn, James
Gourlay, HarryMellish, Rt. Hn. RobertTomney, Frank
Grant, George (Morpeth)Mendelson, JohnTorney, Tom
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)Millan, BruceTuck, Raphael
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)Milne, EdwardUrwin, T. W.
Griffiths, Will (Exchange)Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)Varley, Eric G.
Hamling, WilliamMolloy, WilliamWainwright, Edwin
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Hardy, PeterMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Harper, JosephMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Wallace, George
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)Watkins, David
Hart, Rt. Hn. JudithMoyle, RolandWeitzman, David
Hattersley, RoyMulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickWellbeloved, James
Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMurray, Ronald KingWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Heffer, Eric S.Oakes, GordonWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Hilton, W. S.Ogden, EricWhitehead, Phillip
Hooson, EmlynO'Halloran, MichaelWhitlock, William
Horam, JohnO'Malley, BrianWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasOram, BertWilliams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Orbach, MauriceWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Huckfield, LeslieOrme, StanleyWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Oswald, ThomasWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Hughes, Mark (Durham)Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)Padley, WalterWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Paget, R. T.Woof, Robert
Hunter, AdamPalmer, Arthur
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur(Edge Hill)Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Janner, GrevilleParker, John (Dagenham)Mr. James A. Dunn and Mr. James Hamilton.
Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasParry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Jeger, Mrs LenaPavitt, Laurie

Main Question, as amended, put:

The House divided: Ayes 296, Noes 276.

Division No. 38.1AYES[10.14 p. m.
Adley, RobertFookes, Miss JanetLuce, R. N.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Fortescue, TimMcAdden, Sir Stephen
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Foster, Sir JohnMacArthur, Ian
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianFowler, NormanMcCrindle, R. A.
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Fox, MarcusMcLaren, Martin
Astor, JohnFry, peterMaclean, Sir Fitzroy
Atkins, HumphreyGaibraith, Hn. T. G.Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Awdry, DanielGardner, EdwardMcNair-Wilson, Michael
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Gibson-Watt, DavidMcNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Maddan, Martin
Balniel, LordGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)Madel, David
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyGlyn, Dr. AlanMarples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Batsford, BrianGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Mather, Carol
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonGoodhart, PhilipMaude, Angus
Bell, RonaldGoodhew, VictorMaudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Gorst, JohnMawby, Ray
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Gower, RaymondMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Benyon, W.Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)Meyer, Sir Anthony
Berry, Hn. AnthonyGray, HamishMills, Peter (Torrington)
Biffen, JohnGreen, AlanMills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Biggs-Davison, JohnGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Miscampbell, Norman
Blaker, PeterGrimond, Rt. Hn. J.Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Grylls, MichaelMitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Boscawen, RobertGummer, SelwynMoney, Ernie
Bossom, Sir CliveGurden, HaroldMonks, Mrs. Connie
Bowden, AndrewHall, Miss Joan (Keighley)Monro, Hector
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnHall, John (Wycombe)Montgomery, Fergus
Braine, BernardHall-Davis, A. G. F.More, Jasper
Bray, RonaldHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Brewis, JohnHannam, John (Exeter)Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Brinton, Sir TattonHarrison, Brian (Maldon)Morrison, Charles
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Murton, Oscar
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Haselhurst, AlanNeave, Airey
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Hastings, StephenNicholls, Sir Harmar
Bryan, PaulHavers, MichaelNoble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)Hawkins, PaulNormanton, Tom
Buck, AntonyHay, JohnNott, John
Burden, F. A.Hayhoe, BarneyOnslow, Cranley
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Heath, Rt. Hn. EdwardOppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray&Nairn)Heseltine, MichaelOsborn, John
Carlisle, MarkHicks, RobertOwen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHiggins, Terence L.Page, Graham (Crosby)
Cary, Sir RobertHiley, JosephPage, John (Harrow, W.)
Channon, PaulHill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Pardoe, John
Chapman, SydneyHill, James (Southampton, Test)Parkinson, Cecil
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherHolland, PhilipPeel, John
Chichester-Clark, RHolt, Miss MaryPercival, Ian
Churchill, W. S.Hordern, PeterPeyton, Rt. Hn. John
Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Hornby, RichardPike, Miss Mervyn
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Hornsby-Smlth, Rt. Hn. Dame PatriciaPink, R. Bonner
Clegg, WalterHowe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)Pounder, Rafton
Cockeram, EricHowell, David (Guildford)Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cooke, RobertHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Coombs, DerekHunt, JohnProudfoot, Wilfred
Cooper, A. E.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Cordle, JohnJames, DavidQuennell, Miss J. M.
Corfield, Rt. Hn. FrederickJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Raison, Timothy
Cormack, PatrickJessel, TobyRamsden, Rt. Hn. James
Costain, A. P.Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Rawlinson, Rt. Hr. Sir Peter
Critchley, JulianJones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Redmond, Robert
Crouch, DavidJopling, MichaelReed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Crowder, F. P.Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRees-Davies, W. R.
Curran, CharlesKaberry, Sir DonaldRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKershaw, AnthonyRidley, Hn. Nicholas
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. JamesKimball, MarcusRidsdale, Julian
Dean, PaulKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.King, Tom (Bridgwater)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Dixon, PiersKinsey, J. R.Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecKirk, PeterRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Drayson, G. B.Kitson, TimothyRost, Peter
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardKnight, Mrs. JillRoyle, Anthony
Eden, Sir JohnKnox, DavidSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Lambton, AntonySandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Lane, DavidScott, Nicholas
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnScott-Hopkins, James
Emery, PeterLegge-Bourke, Sir HarrySharples, Richard
Fenner, Mrs. PeggyLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Shelton, William (Clapham)
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)Longden, GilbertSimeons, Charles
Fletchor-Cooke, CharlesLoveridge, JohnSinclair, Sir George
Skeet, T. H. H.
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Soref, HaroldThatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. MargaretWarren, Kenneth
Speed, KeithThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)Wells, John (Maidstone)
Spence, JohnThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)White, Roger (Gravesend)
Sproat, IainThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Stainton, KeithThorpe, Rt. Hn. JeremyWiggin, Jerry
Stanbrook, IvorTilney, JohnWilkinson, John
Steel, DavidTrafford, Dr. AnthonyWinterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)Trew, PeterWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)Tugendhat, ChristopherWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.van Straubenzee, W. R.Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Stokes, JohnVaughan, Dr. GerardWoodnutt, Mark
Stuttaford, Dr. TomVickers, Dame JoanWorsley, Marcus
Tapsell, PeterWaddington, DavidWylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)Walder, David (Clitheroe)Younger, Hn. George
Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)Wall, PatrickTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Tebbit, NormanWalters, DennisMr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Temple, John M.Ward, Dame Irene
NOES
Abse, LeoDelargy, H. J.Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Albu, AustenDell, Rt. Hn. EdmundJeger, Mrs. Lena
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Dempsey, JamesJenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Allen, ScholefieldDormand, J. D.Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)John, Brynmor
Armstrong, ErnestDouglas-Mann, BruceJohnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Ashley, JackDriberg, TomJohnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Ashton, JoeDuffy, A. E. P.Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Atkinson, NormanDunnett, JackJones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Eadie, AlexJones, Dan (Burnley)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Edelman, MauriceJones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Baxter, WilliamEdwards, William (Merioneth)Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Beaney, AlanEllis, TomJudd, Frank
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodEnglish, MichaelKaufman, Gerald
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Evans, FredKelley, Richard
Bidwell, SydneyEwing, HarryKinnock, Neil
Bishop, E. S.Fell, AnthonyLambie, David
Blenkinsop, ArthurFernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.Lamond, James
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)Latham, Arthur
Body, RichardFitch, Alan (Wigan)Lawson, George
Booth AlbertFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Leadbitter, Ted
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurFoley, MauriceLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Bradley, TomFoot, MichaelLeonard, Dick
Broughton, Sir AlfredFord, BenLestor, Miss Joan
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)Forrester, JohnLever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Fraser, John (Norwood)Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch &F'bury)Freeson, ReginaldLewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Buchan, NormanGalpern, Sir MyerLipton, Marcus
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Garrett, W. E.Lomas, Kenneth
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Gilbert, Dr. JohnLoughlin, Charles
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Cant, R. B.Golding, JohnMabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Carmichael, NeilGordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.McBride, Neil
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Gourlay, HarryMcCann, John
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Grant, George (Morpeth)McCartney, Hugh
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraGrant, John D. (Islington, E.)McElhone, Frank
Clark, David (Colne Valley)Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)McGuire, Michael
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Griffiths, Will (Exchange)Mackenzie, Gregor
Cohen, StanleyHamling, WilliamMackie, John
Coleman, DonaldHannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)Mackintosh, John P.
Concannon, J. D.Hardy, PeterMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Conlan, BernardHarper, JosephMcNamara, J. Kevin
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)Hart, Rt. Hn. JudithMallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Crawshaw, RichardHattersley, RoyMarks, Kenneth
Cronin, JohnKealey, Rt. Hn. DenisMarquand, David
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyHeffer, Eric S.Marsden, F.
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardHilton, W. S.Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Cunningham, G (Islington, S.W.)Hooson, EmlynMason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Horam, JohnMayhew, Christopher
Dalyell, TamHoughton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMeacher, Michael
Davidson, ArthurHowell, Denis (Small Heath)Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Huckfield, LeslieMendelson, John
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Millan, Bruce
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)Hughes, Mark (Durham)Milne, Edward
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Hughes, Roy (Newport)Molloy, William
Deakins, EricHunter, AdamMorgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyIrvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Janner, GrevilleMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Morris, Rt. Hn. James (Aberavon)Richard, IvorThomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Moyle, RolandRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickRobertson, John (Paisley)Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Murray, Ronald KingRoderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)Tinn, James
Oakes, GordonRodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)Tomney, Frank
Ogden, EricRoper, JohnTorney, Tom
O'Halloran, MichaelRose, Paul B.Tuck, Raphael
O'Malley, BrianRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Urwin, T. W.
Oram, BertSandelson, NevilleVarley, Eric G.
Orbach, MauriceSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)Wainwright, Edwin
Orme, StanleyShore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Oswald, ThomasShort, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)Wallace, George
Padley, WalterSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)Watkins, David
Paget, R. T.Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Weitzman, David
Palmer, ArthurSillars, JamesWellbeloved, James
Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesSilverman, JuliusWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Parker, John (Dagenham)Skinner, DennisWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)Small, WilliamWhiteheal, Phillip
Pavitt, LaurieSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)Whitlock, William
Peart, Rt. Hn. FredSpearing, NigelWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Pendry, TomSpriggs, LeslieWilliams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Pentland, NormanStallard, A. W.Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Perry, Ernest G.Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. EnochStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.Stoddart, David (Swindon)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Prescott, JohnStonehouse, Rt. Hn. JohnWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Strang, GavinWoof, Robert
Price, William (Rugby)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Probert, ArthurSummerskill, Hn. Dr. ShirleyMr. James A. Dunn and Mr. James Hamilton.
Rankin, JohnSwain, Thomas
Reed, D. (Sedgefield)Taverne, Dick
Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Rhodes, Geoffrey

Resolved, That recognising that under international law the Treaty of Accession to the European Communities would not become operative until ratified, this House approves the intention of Her Majesty's Government to lay before the House the full and agreed English text of the Treaty when signed and the Government's proposals for the legislation required for its implementation.