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Orders of the Day — European Assembly Elections Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th July 1977.

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Photo of Dr David Owen Dr David Owen , Plymouth, Devonport 12:00 am, 7th July 1977

The mood of the House reminds me of the debate that took place in this House when on 28th October 1971 the issue of our membership of the EEC was decided by the House as a whole. Then, as tonight, many were exercising their judgment as individual Members of Parliament. The House is no worse for being in that mood when deciding whether to support an issue of principle. That is the issue that is before us tonight.

The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border made a great deal of the voting intentions of various Members of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are your Cabinet supporters? "] The right hon. Gentleman when Leader of the House in 1971 surprised everybody by a last-minute bid to achieve a free vote on the issue of principle at that time. Therefore, it does not behove him to give us great lectures now on the issue of a free vote.