Orders of the Day — European Communities Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th May 1972.

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Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney 12:00 am, 24th May 1972

Perhaps I could encourage my hon. Friend to stay for a moment longer, because I want to give my blessing to his plea. This is a serious defect, and it is not the first time that he and others have raised this matter.

We understand, Sir Robert, that your role in this matter is limited. Nevertheless, the Government Front Bench, in their yawning and studied indifference, must have heard that it is a matter of some concern on both sides of the Committee. There should at least be the minimum courtesy of the translation of those laws which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends are busy stuffing down our throats with the help of the guillotine. It is a situation without precedent in the history of this country. The only justification, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman had the gall to make his own case for himself, is that, even if the regulations were correct and up to date and translated in front of us, this Committee has no power to do anything with them. That is precisely what the right hon. and learned Gentleman intends. We would not now have the time to discuss them, even if they were before us. The Government may think this is an amusing matter, but I cannot think that it will be thought to be amusing when the contents of these regulations come, as they will, to affect many people in many different ways.

One becomes a little tired of making pleas. I simply ask the Government, once again, to look at this matter seriously. We understand that there must be a short delay in the business of translation, but it is a serious matter and people can translate. Heaven knows, there are enough people without work in London who can be brought in to help with the business of turning the regulations and directives into the English language and laying them before the Committee. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to treat the matter seriously.