European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr George Lawson Mr George Lawson , Motherwell 12:00 am, 13th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a White Paper giving his analysis of the particular advantages likely to accrue to Scotland in consequence of the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a White Paper giving his analysis of the particular advantages and disadvantages likely to accrue to Scotland in consequence of the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

I do not consider it practicable to attempt to assess in detail the consequences of entry for Scotland, with the decision taken and our entry to the Communities less than three weeks away. I have no doubt however that the accession of Britain to the European Economic Community is very much in the best interests of Scotland.

Photo of Mr George Lawson Mr George Lawson , Motherwell

Does not the hon. Gentleman think it is about time to unfurl the banner for Scotland and get rid of so much of the pessimism and back-biting which takes place in this House and to a large extent even on this side? Will he undertake a wee bit of education of hon. Members of this House in the excellent advantages which, because of Scotland's geographical position, can accrue to Scotland through our entry into Europe? Will he do something urgently about it at this stage?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

The Jeremiahs in this House are in complete contrast with Scottish industry. Scottish industry and Scottish firms have already demonstrated that they are export oriented and ready to grasp the opportunities of our entry into Europe to the benefit of Scottish industry and the people of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Will the Minister confirm or deny that Scotland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, will be bound by the Council of Ministers' decisions, which may or may not be in the interests of this country or of Scotland, and that those decisions will have to be implemented and carried out without this House having a chance to alter them unless we can use the veto, which can be done only if we can show that a decision is directly against the best interests of this country? How can that be democratic or good or in the interests of this country?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

What the hon. Member ignores is the fact that after 1st January we shall be taking part with our partners in Europe in the decision-making process instead of being simply at the receiving end on the outside.

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Aberdeen South

If my hon. Friend will not publish a White Paper will he at least accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) and do as much as he can to publicise the new markets that will be open for Scotland, the new sources of private investment for Scotland and the fact that for the first time we shall have access to the Community's regional fund, the European Investment Bank, and the social fund of the Community—access which we would not otherwise have?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

I agree thoroughly with what my hon. Friend says. The Scottish Council and individual firms have already done a great deal to get into Europe, and one example is the agricultural industry, which has been preparing itself for entry and is already oriented towards Europe.

Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness

The Minister mentioned the decision-making processes of the Community. What specific Scottish representation will there be in those processes by which Scotland will be better enabled to further her interests?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

The hon. Gentleman knows that I myself have taken part in the negotiations. I see no reason why Scottish Ministers should not continue to take part in the process as demonstrated in the negotiations.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

Will not the hon. Gentleman have another look at his answer? Can we be given these analyses of particular advantages? One of the difficulties is that if he does not publish such a While Paper many of us will begin to think that even the Government have no idea of what the particular advantages are.

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

I thought it too much to expect that we should get through this Question Time without gloom being spread through the proceedings, but I remind the right hon. Gentleman of an answer he gave on 16th July 1969 when he said that it was not practicable to give a detailed analysis for different parts of the United Kingdom but that he was confident that United Kingdom membership of the Community would be of economic advantage to all parts of the United Kingdom. It is the right hon. Gentleman who has changed.