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 Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham 12:00 am, 24th May 1972

The right hon. Gentleman has made a number of assertions about the Government's lack of courtesy, not treating the matter seriously, looking amused, and so on. People reading the record might think that was a correct statement of the position.

The Committee, which has considered this matter fairly frequently, will appreciate the difficulty. It was a mammoth task to translate documents going back over the 10 years when we were not members of the Community. We cannot make a correction until we have found out that there has been an error. Looking at the volume of corrections, a lot of the matters covered are things like the omission of the arrangements which have been made about the price of Vietnamese shorts and matters of that kind. Some matters are of great importance and some of less importance. However, it is a difficult problem of translation.

There is a series of batches of new translations coming out all the time. We will try to speed up the process, but speeding up creates the danger of inaccuracy from time to time, which we will try to avoid. We have also indicated that we will help hon. Members when they want translations of draft directives, when the Departments themselves have them and where they are matters which are likely to affect the United Kingdom.