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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 Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

The hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Deakins) has referred to this many times during our debates and has portrayed the Bill as a Bill which is acting as some sort of cloak under which the emergence of a federal Europe will be enabled, and he has made clear that such an emergence he would regard with considerable misgivings, to put it midly. The Government of course, have not committed themselves to any such course. But whatever form it takes—after all, federalism takes many forms—if one is prepared to give the Bill a Third Reading, that means that one accepts the concept of supranationalism. If one votes for the Bill tonight, one is voting for the concept of supranationalism, and one must not conceal that.

The problem that must be faced by the House and those of us—and I amone—who want a real Community, who want monetary union and economic union and the development of Community regional policy, is how this is to be effectively democratically controlled. As of now, it will be by the Council of Ministers and the Luxembourg Veto. But in the end this is not likely to be a sufficiency. The European Parliament must be strengthened. Devolution within Europe must be strengthened. It that is done, the future ahead is as exciting as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) was seeking to convey a short while ago.

The trouble with politicians expressing truths as they see them is that they always sound like platitudes. The greatest truths are probably always platitudes.

But I now say what I believe, and this is a simple affirmation in conclusion. Yesterday morning I was very lucky. My wife gave me a son. I really want not only that child of mine to grow up in a Europe where we have no more wars—and I do not believe that we shall have any more wars now in Europe—I shall not use the old argument that Europeans used in the early days, that the Community was a method of overcoming the divisions, because we are past that stage—but I should like to go further beyond that stage and look forward to a Europe where the barriers of language and traditions are broken down and the people in the Community work together to build a Europe which is fair and will go out and offer that fairness to the world.