Oral Answers to Questions — Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1979.

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Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:00 am, 14th March 1979

There is a legal point here, under the treaty. Perhaps I could explain it with some care. The Commission makes price proposals under article 43. The Council decides on such a proposal by a qualified majority. However, under article 149 it can modify a Commission proposal only by a unanimous vote. Thus, provided the Commission does not change its proposal for a price freeze, it would require all nine member States, including the United Kingdom, to force an increase in prices. The right hon. Gentleman has already heard me say what would be the attitude of the United Kingdom on that matter.

If the Commission changed its proposals, the United Kingdom would continue to oppose any increases and discussion would have to continue until an agreement satisfactory to all member States, including the United Kingdom, could be found.