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Orders of the Day — European Communities Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1972.

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Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

The country will note that, apart from the fact that the hon. and learned Gentleman has delivered a rather ungenerous and at times petulant speech, no less than five months has elapsed between Second and Third Reading, and on no occasion during the course of the protracted Committee stage have the Government in any vote on any Amendment, Clause, or subsection managed to pull in anything like their full majority. That is the first thing that the country will note.

I do not know whether we shall see a repetition of what we had on the vote on Second Reading. After the Prime Minister had made the astonishing threat to resign and to carry all his Cabinet with him if he failed to get a majority, he was supported in the Lobbies by a majority of eight. Only a month ago, when we voted upon Clause 2, which most of us agree is the heart of the Bill, there again the Government's majority was a mere eight. What it will be tonight I do not know, but it is inconceivable that anyone who voted against the Bill on Second Reading or against Clause 2 will find it possible to vote differently tonight.