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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 Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

I am dealing with the broad issue of sovereignty, where the position is largely as it is under other treaties we have signed in the past. But the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) is quite right to say that we have moved on from the general question of sovereignty to the question of parliamentary control. No one was more active in raising this matter than my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mal-ton (Sir Robin Turton). He raised it again today. This is a matter which very much concerns us. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General dealt with it this afternoon.

I would only say once again that it has to be accepted that the Government—both the previous Government and the present Government—accepted from the start the 1967 White Paper's analysis that we were accepting in advance future Community law, and we drew the conclusion from that that Parliament must therefore get in earlier and be able to influence the Community instruments while they are yet proposals.

But there has been a real difference between our approach and that of the opponents of the Bill. They have searched in Committee for something which is inconsistent with the principle of direct applicability. We thought, for our part, that Parliament would wish and would need to adapt to new circumstances. I accepted on Second Reading on behalf of the Government that special arrangements would be needed for Parliament. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton that it is a pity that we have not made more progress in the working out of proposals. The suggestion of an ad hoc committee was one idea which called for a response from the Opposition, but we have had none through the usual channels.