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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

They may be right.

But they, too, have to assess the reaction of the people of this country. They will have to decide whether the British people will be ready to swallow their objections and be content simply to growl behind the bars of the Treaty of Rome or whether they will insist on breaking them down. No one can be certain of the answer now, but my belief is that if major changes were not secured —and I emphasised the word "major"—the British people, lacking as they do a sense of a special relationship with the countries of Western Europe and conscious more than any other European nation of their connections with the world outside, would insist that another Parliament undoes what this has achieved and takes back into British hands the power to make law and to shape the policies of this land.

The Six should know all this before they ratify, in their turn, the Treaty of Accession. These things should be known by the countries of EFTA and the Commonwealth before they make any associated decisions.

How much better it would be if the Governments of Europe were to agree to postpone the date of entry until after these matters had been put to the British people, and best of all would be the rejection of this Bill tonight.