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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 Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Cheetham 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

I do not wish to stray into the shortcomings of any party. I am concentrating on my own motivation for welcoming our entry into the European Community. It is not one based on a kind of dilettante delight in the weakening of our power and influence over our own destiny. It derives from a passionate determination to preserve in the years ahead of us the maximum say in the decisions affecting the fate of our people and the nature of our democratic institutions.

I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney is an internationalist. He says that he believes in collective agreement for the solution of the world's economic and political problems. That does not commit him to the form of advancing agreements represented by the Community. But it is very odd that those who are in favour of solving world problems by collective agreement should resent so passionately the machinery for giving effect to that collective agreement once it is reached. The assimilation of law is merely an advance in an area, where progress was sorely needed, for enforcing what has been agreed by treaty. It is a great advance on GATT. It is a great advance on the IMF.

Let us take the case of the parity of the £. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney is horrified because President Pompidou says that we ought to go back to a fixed peg parity before we enter the Community. I remind my right hon. Friend that we are already pledged under the IMF rules to be on a non-floating parity. The difference is that when we are members of the Community these matters will be agreed collectively. Having been agreed, they will be enforced unless some Government quite blatantly decides, as it will be free to do, to repudiate the whole treaty and its obligations under it.