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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 Raymond Fletcher Mr Raymond Fletcher , Ilkeston 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

There is no question, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has pointed out, that the benefits to Luxembourg, which has the highest standard of living in Europe, derived from membership of the Common Market have been considerable and tremendous. There is no doubt that the Common Market on the whole in the years in which it has existed has been beneficial to Europe. But, equally, there is no doubt that among the giants of the EEC—and they do not include Luxembourg—the old antagonisms are beginning to reveal themselves, not, thank God, over frontiers, but on questions of currency and matters of a similar character.

We are not being asked to enter a harmonious elysium by passing the Bill. It is a squabbling collection of nations which is loosely held together. It has certain achievements to its credit, but to confer upon it the mantle of an earthly paradise is to do the most stupid thing any parliamentarian can do, and for that reason I shall resolutely vote against the Third Reading.