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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 have not treated is as a light matter. These are all grave matters. My right hon. Friend must not judge, from the fact that sometimes I try to lighten the way in which I express my views and do not contort my features into continuous gloom that I am indifferent to the gravity of these matters.

At the outset I found an unwillingness among the opponents to entry to believe the simple statement that I made, now confirmed by my right hon. Friend, that we could if we chose in the future rescind this legislation by means of a simple Bill. The nearer that we get to entering, the smaller loom the possible legal objections to rescinding it, as do the de facto or practical difficulties which now take on a somewhat lighter character. I noticed that my right hon. Friend felt able to say that if we were elected to power certain consequences would follow.

This does not indicate a belief either in a de jure or de facto irreversibility of what has been agreed, and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) that the debate will go on. It is the nature of this partnership with Europe that the debate will go on not merely about the terms but about the problems of the years ahead. We shall still be debating and arguing between ourselves how things should be done.