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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 John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

It is no use the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying "No". He has addressed us on a number of occasions at great length laying down the law, but tonight he must listen. This legislation is very much the Prime Minister's personal legislation. It is the result of a political directive to which his Ministers must somehow agree. The Chancellor of the Duchy will one day have to write his memoirs. I may not carry some of my hon. Friends with me, but the time will come when he will get a reasonable offer and he will do it. When that time comes he ought to tell us about the kind of instructions and directives he has received. His fairly firm and even slightly bombastic talk about the sugar producers never explained the complete collapse of the policy in 24 hours. He has never explained that. I do not blame him for it. I blame him for many things, but not for that. That was a directive countermanding his attitude from his governor, the Prime Minister, and he had to toe the line. It is quite untrue that there could have been no different outcome to these negotiations.

Thirdly, there have been no negotiations on the substance of the issues. All that the negotiations were concerned with were transitional arrangements. The electorate have never been told of this. There was no question of telling them when the last General Election was fought and when the Prime Minister invented deliberately the careful phrase, "We are committed to negotiate, and nothing else", which was no mandate for taking this country into the Common Market without a further series of consultations with the electorate.