Committee. Report and Third Reading: time allotted for proceedings
1. Paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings, but—
5. — (1) References in this Order to proceedings on consideration or Third Reading include references to proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of, re-committal.
(2) No debate shall be permitted on any Motion to recommit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise) and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any Amendment moved to the Question.
Conclusion of proceedings
8. For the purpose of bringing any proceedings on the Bill to a conclusion in pursuance of this Order the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others)—
9.— (1) The proceedings on any Motion made in the House by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.
(2) If on the day on which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.
I have selected the following: amendment (a), in (1), leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert:
'the proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion at such times after the start as are shown in the following Table ("the start" for this purpose being the time when the House next resolves itself into a Committee on the Bill):
|Proceedings||Time for conclusion of Proceedings|
|Amendment No. 7||1 hour|
|Amendment No. 9||2 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 11 and 14||3 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 47 and 22, the remainder of Clause No. 1, Clause No.2, and Clause No. 3 to the end of subsection (3).||4 hours|
|Amendment No. 46 and remaining proceedings in Committee and on consideration and Third Reading||5 hours|
Amendment (b), in (1), leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert:
: 'the proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion at such times after the start as are shown in the following Table ("the start" for this purpose being the time when the House next resolves into a Committee on the Bill):
Provided that, in calculating such times, no account shall be taken of time spent on Divisions:
|Proceedings||Time for conclusion of proceedings|
|Amendment No. 7||2 hours|
|Amendment No. 9||4 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 11 and 14||6 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 47 and 22, the remainder of Clause No. 1, Clause No.2, and Clause No. 3 to the end of subsection (3).||8 hours|
|Amendment No. 46 and remaining proceedings in Committee and on consideration and Third Reading||10 hours.'.|
The motion before us today would provide a timetable for the remaining stages of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in this House. While our Standing Orders do not formally recognise constitutional Bills as a separate category of legislation, I would not seek to deny the constitutional importance of the Bill. Later, I propose to deal more generally with the nature of the passage of constitutional Bills, and the problems that it can pose. First, however, I shall say a few words about the passage of the Bill so far and about the timing and content of the timetable motion. The main purpose of the Bill is to incorporate into our law the agreement reached in the Single European Act. That Act was signed by representatives of all member states of the European Community at Luxembourg in February this year. Its roots lie in the European Council's meeting at Fontainebleau in 1984. Perhaps the most important provision of the Single European Act relates to completion of the internal market within the European Community and the greater use of qualified majority voting. The Act also allows for the establishment of a new court of first instance related to the European Court of Justice. Beyond the Single European Act and the court which it creates, the Bill itself gives effect also to the formal change of name of the "European Assembly" to "European Parliament'.
They are important matters, both substantively and symbolically. For that reason, we have provided a significant amount of time for the House to debate them. The Second Reading debate of the Bill, which took place on 23 April, lasted a full day, and we have had extensive discussions in Committee. The Bill received its Second Reading with the clear majority of 319 votes to 160. That is an indication that the Government fully have the authority of the House for wishing to ensure that the passage of the Bill can be concluded.
I am grateful to the Leader of the House for giving way so soon. Has he not forgotten one major feature in the catalogue of major features of the Single European Act? Does not clause 3(4) of the Bill certify that additional powers will be given to the European Assembly or Parliament? Am I right in thinking that the right hon. Gentleman did not mention that during his brief resume?
Obviously, the resume was brief because we are operating within a three-hour debate as provided by the Standing Orders. The number of hon. Members present shows that many others wish to speak in the debate besides me.
Progress on the Bill has, however, been slow. Five hours were spent in Committee on the Floor of the House on 16 June, a further eight hours on 26 June, and five hours on 27 June. Yet those 18 hours of debate have concluded our proceedings on only three groups of amendments. We have barely started the fourth. I believe that progress could have been quicker without impairing our consideration of the Bill.
That has been taken into account in the timetable motion in my name which would provide for two hours to complete the Committee stage of the Bill and a further one hour for the Third Reading debate.
In the proceedings to which the Leader of the House has just referred did the Government at any stage seek to make progress? If they did not, can the right hon. Gentleman recall any precedent of a Government who did not seek progress at any stage, nevertheless tabling a guillotine motion?
Yes, the European Assembly Elections Act 1978. Indeed, the motion was set down for debate in the belief that there was no voluntary agreement which would satisfy those who most strongly seek to resist the passage of the Bill.
At this point, I should deal with the point raised on Friday by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), the shadow Leader of the House, who asked for an example of a guillotine motion debated outside prime time. On 21 May 1968, the Labour Government moved and passed a timetable motion on the Finance Bill in a debate which began at 10.27 pm. In April 1970, when the right hon. Gentleman was deputy Leader of the House, a debate on the timetable motion on the Ports Bill began at 10.12 pm. Finally, I remind the right hon. Gentleman that in July 1976 the House had three debates on timetable motions in succession. The last of these began at 10.50 pm and provided timetables for two Bills, the Rent (Agriculture) Bill and the Education Bill.
I would not wish to justify the debate on a timetable motion at this time merely on the grounds of those precedents. I believe that taking this debate now is a way of causing the minimum disturbance to the programme already given to the House since it is the time previously set aside for the Third Reading of the Bill.
As my right hon. Friend has said that in allocating two hours for the Committee stage of the Bill he has taken into account the important issues to be discussed, and as he knows that we must discuss the European monetary system, harmonisation of VAT, additional powers to the Commission, the reform of the common agricultural policy and a commitment to European union, how much time in particular does he think should be allocated to each subject within that two hours?
I may be able to provide the most happy answer to my hon. Friend when I deal with the amendment that stands in his name. Earlier I mentioned that there were various problems relating to constitutional Bills. In part that arises from their being taken on the Floor of the House where they must compete with other Bills and other subjects for debate when time is being allotted.
The rumour going round the House at the moment is that the last substantive business, the Whip business, to be put before the House during this Session will be on 18 July. Does that not mean that there is plenty of time for a proper debate on this subject? My right hon. Friend is suggesting that he will take up my hon. Friend's amendment which offers five hours of debate. That is, five hours for the six important subjects that my hon. Friend has put forward. Is that not scandalous?
In this instance the word scandal is on the lips of the speaker. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am sorry, on the lips of the parliamentary oracle. If my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North is talking of the House rising on 18 July, I hope that he will not have to pay for so much optimism.
Constitutional Bills often attract disparate forms of opposition, and the usual understandings to provide an adequate and ordered debate under voluntary arrangements are that much more difficult to conclude. Inevitably, this renders constitutional Bills particularly vulnerable to timetable motions. It has been so on this occasion.
Since 1966, six constitutional Bills have been timetabled. These were the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) (No. 2) Bill in 1969, the European Communities Bill in 1972, the Scotland Bill and the Wales Bill in 1979, the European Assembly Elections Bill in 1978, to which I have already referred, and the Northern Ireland Bill 1982. All were taken on the Floor of the House and all save the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) (No. 2) Bill were subject to sustained opposition which fell outside the operation of the usual channels.
One always travels hopefully in these matters, even if the negotiations are through intrinsically, unusual channels.
I turn now to the amendments to the motion which have been selected for debate. Amendments (c) and (e) in the names of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues would together provide for a further 15 hours consideration of the Bill, and a six-hour Third Reading debate to be taken on a different day.
It will come as no surprise to the House to hear that I cannot recommend the acceptance of these amendments. Not only would they provide more time than we can afford for concluding the passage of this Bill, but they would do so in a far from constructive way. In particular, the lack of any way of allocating time within the 15 hours proposed for Committee means that, if this amendment were accepted, we might spend all 15 hours in lengthy discussion on one or perhaps two groups of amendments, and at the end of that time we would still not have addressed at all the issues arising from the later amendments.
Amendment (b) in the name of the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) and two other hon. Members would provide a further 10 hours for the remainder of the Committee stage and Third Reading of the Bill. In addition to this would be any time taken by Divisions. The terms of this amendment would at least ensure a structured debate on the remaining amendments to the Bill which have been selected but not yet fully considered. None the less, the amount of time recommended for debate, together with the amount of time that might be taken up by Divisions, would be excessive considering the length of time we have already spent on this Bill—important though it is.
Why does the Leader of the House keep referring to the amount of time already spent on the Bill as if that justified having insufficient time to deal with the remainder of the Bill? Does he realise that he is busily convincing people who think it reasonable to have a timetable and has not formed any reasonable assessment of how much time the Bill requires?
One always travels in the hope that one can construct a reasonably free arrangement for the passage of a Bill. That has been essayed by my right hon. and hon. Friends and they have not met with success. I have to acknowledge that.
The hon. Gentleman said, "Why was not the Bill taken through Thursday night?" I think that that is an extraordinary form of tribal ritualism — that the House must sit through the night when there is no prospect of constructive progress of the Bill but, none the less, it has to be undertaken to justify the timetable motion.
The events of Thursday might were not as the Leader of the House suggests. The Tory party Whips were running around the House of Commons, including the bar and the terrace, trying to find Tory Members who would go into the Chamber to provide them with 100 Members so the debate could be closed. The truth is that the Leader of the House did not have enough Common Market slaves to do the job, and that is why the guillotine has been introduced.
The thought that the Whips are put around like a bunch of ferrets is always a charming one. I am extremely loth to disabuse the hon. Gentleman of his analogy, but I fear that it does not neatly correspond with the truth.
Finally, I turn to amendment (a) in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) and others. My hon. Friend has been a doughty opponent of the Bill, but the amendment shows that he is not one who would oppose the will of the majority of the House by undue delaying tactics. Moreover, the timetable which he proposes takes realistic account of the pressure on parliamentary time at this stage of the year. It would provide for five hours — one hour for outstanding amendments divided into five sets, the last hour of which might include any debate on Third Reading. That represents a framework within which all the remaining amendments can be considered, albeit briefly.
That will depend on the length of Front Bench speeches. Given the high quality of Back Bench contributions throughout the debate so far, there will be a great incentive for my right hon. Friends to be commendably brief.
I recognise the concern that was expressed yesterday about the terms of the motion in my name. Following further discussions through the usual channels, and more widely, I can now say to the House that I am prepared to accept the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East.
In conclusion, I would ask the House to reflect that we are now in July. As I said earlier, and as has been said by right hon. and hon. Members throughout our consideration of this measure, these are important matters, but we have many other matters of significance to discuss before we rise for the summer recess. It is not an ignoble consideration to take into account the desire of the House to adjourn for the summer recess no later than early next month. [Interruption.] The best is yet to come. That objective has been made more difficult by the proceedings on this Bill. Time already taken cannot be recalled. Within the constraints that that implies, I believe that amendment (a) is a constructive and realistic step.
In spite of the levity and good humour with which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has regaled us, I must express in the stongest terms the deep objections which are felt not only by myself but by many hon. Members at the existence and content of the timetable motion and to the timing of this important debate at 10 o'clock tonight. I shall deal with the precedents for late night debates on guillotines a little later. We shall not he bought off with the sop which the Leader has contemptuously offered the House in the adoption of the five-hour debate which his hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) put down in amendment form.
I agree with the Leader of the House on just one point. the European Communities (Amendment) Bill is not just another Bill relating to our domestic affairs. It is not a Bill which, however objectionable to the Opposition and others and however truncated the debate on it, is still capable of repeal and replacement in a subsequent Parliament when a different party will occupy the Treasury Bench. It is not even what might he described as a domestic constitutional Bill, such as the Bill abolishing the metropolitan counties or the Bill on devolution for Scotland and Wales, for they, too, are capable of restoration or repeal in a subsequent Parliament.
What is special about the Bill is that it gives legislative effect to a treaty concluded with other nations — the member states of the EEC — and upon whose institutions it confers additional legislative powers. Once passed, this measure cannot be repealed by a subsequent Parliament, unless that Parliament is prepared to tear up the underlying treaty itself — a special dimension of difficulty which I do not believe many Conservative Members have even given serious thought to.
Moreover, it is a Bill that directly affects the power of Parliament. That point has been drawn to our attention by the House of Commons Select Committee on the European Communities and, most recently, on 6 May by the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities. The House of Lords concludes:
The powers of the United Kingdom Parliament will be weakened by the Single European Act. The Committee draws this important fact to the special attention of the House.
The powers of the United Kingdom Parliament will he weakened in two principal ways: first, because, as a result of amendments to the Rome treaty, qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers will be substituted for unanimity voting in five important articles of the Rome treaty and, secondly, because it introduces the new so-called "co-operation" procedure between the European Assembly and the Council of Ministers which will remove the national veto from a wide range of Council decisions and permit the Council to reject amendments by the European Assembly only if the Council itself is unanimous. Whereas previously there has existed a national veto on all the decisions of the Council of Ministers, henceforth the Council can only reject in large parts of the treaty the revised proposals from the European Assembly by unanimity.
The veto power in the Council of Ministers has been the central defence of British national interests. During the referendum campaign in 1975, the then Government,
supported by the Conservative Opposition, sought to comfort the sceptical British electorate with this categorical statement — I quote from the document "Britain's New Deal in Europe"—
no important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British Minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament.
The top decision-making body in the Market is the Council of Ministers which is composed of senior Ministers representing each of the nine member governments … it is the Council of Ministers and not the market officials who take important decisions. These decisions can be taken only if all the members of the Council agree. The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interest.
How do the Government expect and justify this departure and change? It would be refreshingly honest if they had admitted in the first place that a change was taking place and rested their case on what they clearly believe in —the advantage of removing the veto in many areas of the treaty, especially in all the provisions making for a single European market. But that is not the argument that they deploy.
On 23 April, on Second Reading, the Foreign Secretary brazenly claimed:
The one thing that is clear is that the Luxembourg compromise as I have described it is in no way affected one way or the other by the Single European Act." —[Official Report, 23 April 1986; Vol. 96, c. 321.]
In rebuttal, I content myself with this passage from the House of Lords Select Committee:
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has said that the veto under the Luxembourg compromise is still available to be invoked where necessary. It must however he open to question whether it would, or even could, be invoked in circumstances where the Commission, the majority of the European Parliament, and a qualified majority of Member States were united against the United Kingdom.
That judgment by the Select Committee in the House of Lords is repeated in almost identical terms in the report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs in this House.
As a member of the Select Committee on European Legislation, may I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that we made recommendations to withdraw to the House and to Westminster some vital scrutiny improvements which could be made, which would effectively deal with many of the problems to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred and which would not engage us in a re-run of the events of 1972.
This is not matter of scrutiny. We are considering a shift of power, the removal of the power of veto and the precise breach of the undertakings given to honour and maintain the Luxembourg compromise.
Furthermore, as the Foreign Secretary said, the Luxembourg compromise is not a provision of the treaty. It can be — and has been — overridden and it will certainly be overridden when the new co-operation procedure permits it to happen.
The other defences against the charge that both the Council of Ministers has been weakened as a whole and that the national veto within it has been similarly weakened, were deployed by the Minister of State on 26 June. Her defence was twofold: first, that it was unlikely that the European Assembly would be in a position to do much damage since it needed an absolute majority of its members to adopt an amendment to the Council of Ministers common position. There will be many occasions when it will find its decisions much more interesting in future than they have been in the past. We can confidently expect that there will be far more absolute majority voting decisions in the European Assembly in the future, than there have been in the past.
I will give way when I have completed my second point.
The Minister of State's second defence was her naive and misleading assertion:
The power of the Council as the decision-taking body in the Community remains as before. The Council will have the last word on all decisions." — [Official Report, 26 June 1986; Vol. 100, c. 532.]
However, the hon. Lady omitted the crucial fact that the last word was not in future to be the national veto but the highly improbable unanimous rejection of the Euro-Assembly's amendments by the whole 12 members of the Council of Ministers.
Does my right hon. Friend accept that the European Assembly's standing orders in relation to the acceptance of amendments is laid down by the Assembly itself? The Council of Ministers, in whatever position it operates, cannot lay down the procedure of the Parliament. That is laid down by the bureau to the Parliament and accepted by it. If the Council of Ministers wishes to alter the rules of procedure it can do so.
My hon. Friend has direct experience of that Assembly and he has made an additional valid point.
Irrespective of that, I believe that what I have said is right. There will be a greater interest in turning out to vote in the Assembly because the power of the Assembly has been enhanced.
In addition, there is a commitment in the Single European Act to complete the free and frontierless internal market by the end of 1992, including Commission programme reports by the end of 1988 and 1990. If, by the end of 1992, the Commission is not satisfied, it will be able to draw up an inventory of relevant national laws not yet harmonised and submit appropriate proposals.
I have not even mentioned the extension of the Treaty into such areas as high technology, transport, environment and foreign policy. But I have said enough to establish that the content of the Bill and the treaty changes which it embodies are of a kind that merit, at the very least, deep and serious debate and cross-examination in this House.
One might have expected, therefore, that the Government would have responded with equal seriousness and adequate time would have been allotted to the Bill's Committee stage. Instead, the Government have responded first with deception — the pretence that the Bill is a minor, piffling matter—and secondly with an arrogant and sustained attempt to bulldoze it through the House in the minimum time. We have had precisely three days of debate. Since the Government have not seen fit to move a single closure, and since the subject matter of the treaty changes is both complex and important, it is hardly surprising that only the first three groups of amendments have so far been dealt with.
At the end of business last Friday, a further six groups of amendments remained, including such major matters as tax harmonisation, monetary union and foreign policy coordination. We were then treated to the astonishing announcement from the Lord Privy Seal, that it was the Government's intention to introduce a timetable motion to limit further debate, and quite remarkably, that it would be taken not in prime time but after 10 pm tonight.
Like the Lord Privy Seal, I have looked at the precedents. While it is true that guillotine motions have occasionally been moved after 10 pm, it is certainly not the case that any constitutional measure or any measure deemed important enough to be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House has ever been treated in this way. Yesterday, the Government's insolence and arrogance was taken a long step forward with the announcement that the remaining timetable stage of the Bill would be concluded in just three hours: two hours for the Committee stage, and one hour for Third Reading.
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to deal with the last argument of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal? My right hon. Friend would not give way to me, but I noticed that there was some concern in the House. My right hon. Friend said that he was very short of time this session. However, many of us who recollect that the Shops Bill was defeated, and who realise that it would have taken a very long time on the Floor of the House, find that rather difficult to understand. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman has had some discussions with my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, and I wonder whether he would care to comment on my right hon. Friend's assertions.
I simply assumed that the Lord Privy Seal was being untypically vulgar and populist in his appeal to hon. Members' baser instincts to go on holiday at the earliest possible moment.
Like other right hon. and hon. Members, I pointed out yesterday that this derisory timetable would not even allow for votes to be taken on outstanding matters, let alone for any room for debate to be held. I say again, that substantially the same objection must apply to the additional two hours that the amendment of the right hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) requires, and which the Lord Privy Seal has seen fit to accept.
This is not just a party matter, but a matter for the House; conscious that it is dealing here with the rights of the British people. My own instinct and belief is that we should reject the timetable motion all together. But at the very least, I strongly urge hon. Members to support our amendments, which will at least allow minimum debating time for these major and outstanding issues.
I beg to move amendment (a), in (1), leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert:
'the proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion at such times after the start as are shown in the following Table ("the start" for this purpose being the time when the House next resolves itself into a Committee on the Bill):
I should make it clear that, although the time proposed for these vital issues in my amendments is pathetically inadequate. I strongly feel that it is desperately important that the House should at least have a minimal amount of time in which to discuss these major issues and to vote on them. If we had approved the original motion for two hours on the lot, without any time for votes on those vital issues, it would have come back to haunt us in the years to come.
Whether hon. Members support or oppose the Bill, they all agree that the Bill is very important. It will radically change our constitution. It will mean that a whole flood of regulations is applied in Britain whether or not the Government want those regulations. It will also mean that things will be decided or dropped by the European Assembly, when it previously did not have the power to do that. If we care about democracy at all, we should realise that nothing could undermine it more than the realisation of our constituents that we are powerless to do anything about the issues raised by business men or constitutents, and—more importantly—that we did not even have the time to vote on the original principle. For that reason, if for no other, I am grateful for the fact that the Government have at least given us the opportunity to vote for or against these massive, fundamental constitutional proposals.
The second reason why I am glad that the amendment has been accepted is that this would have been an appalling precedent for any future Government. I do not live in fear of what any of the Opposition parties may do, because I believe that deep down they are still committed to the democratic way of life and that they are sincere about the views that they hold. However, if we had approved a motion relating to a Bill that is of major constitutional importance that did not allow time for votes on major issues, a future extreme Government would have been able to come to the House and throw this legislation in our faces and say, "This is what you did in 1986. We are only doing what you did." For that reason, if for no other, it is important that the Government have made this minor concession, for which I am grateful. This is the first time that a guillotine motion has been amended for 25 years. That, therefore, is something.
There are six vital issues to be considered, upon one of which I hope there will be time to divide the House. It relates to the important issue that many new articles are to be incorporated in the treaty upon which decisions will not be taken by the Council of Ministers. They will be interpreted by the European Court. Some hon. Members believe that it is right that our VAT system should be harmonised with Europe. The Commission's view is that that is vital if the internal market is to be completed. However, other hon. Members think that it would be unfair if we were to harmonise VAT and then to levy VAT on such items as children's shoes, gas and electricity. I do not believe that hon. Members appreciate that decisions on the new articles that are to be incorporated in the treaty will not be taken by the Council of Ministers, or by Parliament. They will be taken by the European Court, on a proposition from the European Commission.
I do not believe, either, that hon. Members fully realise what is involved in the additional powers that are to be given to the Commission. Some hon. Members think that what is wrong with the Common Market is that the Commission is not strong enough, because it does not have the power to overrule the Council of Ministers or member states if it is thought that the treaty is not being applied. Other hon. Members think that the Commission is too powerful and that it is wrong that it should be spending money when it has no legal authority to do so. How wrong it would be if hon. Members did not express a view.
On the veto, hon. Members know that the Luxembourg compromise is a load of nonsense. This country used it only once, on prices for agricultural products, and then it was overturned by a majority vote. The real issue is the veto. Therefore this issue should be examined very carefully. Hon. Members will shortly be receiving letters from their constituents about the flood of harmonisation directives that Lord Cockfield and his friends intend to introduce. Reference has already been made today to the harmonisation of MOT tests, which will result in ore costly and more difficult MOT tests. Very few of our constituents believe that this House does not have the power to decide what kind of MOT test this country should apply and what fee should be charged. However, that will be decided on a majority vote.
We cannot go into the merits of this matter on a guillotine motion, but surely my hon. Friend accepts that the right of the Commission or the council to impose, by a majority vote, that kind of decision on this House is something to which we should say yes or no. If the original motion stands, vital issues, such as handing over power to the Common Market, will be decided without this House having expressed an opinion upon them.
On European union, if the motion stands in its original form, the House of Commons will not have even the right to vote on whether European union is good or bad. Some hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) have consistently and sincerely put forward the view that there should be a federal Europe, or a united states of Europe, and that decision-making powers should be handed over to it. That is a fair point of view, which is held sincerely by certain hon. Members.
Yes, indeed. Hon. Members should realise that this directive exists today. The Government have said that they are opposed to it, the BBC has said that it is opposed to it, and the 113A has said that it thinks it is wrong. It is one of the majority voting directives. There is a whole flood of them. I hope hon. Members will appreciate that what we are deciding is a big thing. It will mean a flood, and such things as MOT test, the content of television programmes and a whole range of things will be decided by majority vote. Even though our Ministers and Members of Parliament vote against by 630 to nothing, it will not make the slightest difference.
If we are going to make any sense of democracy in the House, it is crucial that we either agree to give this new power to Europe or say that we will not do it.
What are the views of the House on whether we want to give powers to the Commission to bring forward a European union? That is one of the amendments. If the motion stands in its original form, we will not even have a chance to vote yes or no. I have always understood that at the end of guillotines we have votes on all the outstanding amendments, but this motion does not allow that. It says that we will not even have votes on the outstanding amendments.
Then there is the question of the environment and whether polluters should pay, which is a vital issue; and the question of the European monetary system and extra powers for the European assembly. I am surprised that the Government have even suggested this. It would be criminal and an abrogation of our duties as Members of Parliament if we were to agree to a Bill to hand over these powers without even having the right to say whether we support or oppose it.
The main reason why I move the amendment—and I am very glad to have had enormous support from my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann), who made strong representations, as did other of my hon. Friends—is that we have an absolute obligation to our constituents for the power given to us. Some of us—it seems the majority—think it is right to hand over a lot of that power to Europe. Many Members take the view that it is right that a major area of decision should be undertaken by majority voting in the Common Market. I feel that it is our duty to go into the division Lobbies and say whether we, as representatives of the people, think that it is a good thing or a bad thing.
There are many issues that divide all of us in the House. The one thing we must never run away from is taking the responsibility to say that we agree or do not agree.
I appeal to those who may think that the amendment is a silly one because it allows for only a pathetically limited debate to understand that, if we pass the amendment, it means that every Member of the House will have to decide whether we want to give more powers to the European assembly, whether we want to surrender the veto in a big way, whether we want to support the European union, whether we believe in the harmonisation of VAT and excise duties and whether we want to give more powers of implementation to the Commission. These are things that we cannot run away from.
While I accept that many people have fought the Bill tooth and nail, and rightly so in their view, I hope that they will accept that at least, if we pass this little amendment, we will have the right to give our approval or our disapproval to what is one of the major constitutional issues of our time, on which I accept that there are differing views in the House.
I hope that, if the guillotine motion does anything at all, it will encourage Members to read the European Communities (Amendment) Bill and the Single European Act. One of the tragedies is that, if what has happened here had happened in the republic of South Africa, I fancy there would have been five "Panorama" programmes and two special "Newsnight" programmes to talk about what was happening to democracy. What is happening is enormous. I hope that Members will think carefully about whether this is something to which they would want to add their names. More important, I hope that they will bear in mind what is in the Bill when, at a later stage, our constituents . start complaining that we have thrown away power on issues that they think are important and vital.
For these reasons, I thank the Leader of the House for having accepted the amendment which, although it does not offer the opportunity for proper debate, at least gives Members of the House of Commons the chance to say whether we agree or disagree to a massive constitutional change and a massive handing over of powers to another body in Europe.
So it has happened again. Fourteen years ago, when it was proposed to this House that it should make a comprehensive resignation of its traditional constitutional powers and transfer them to the institutions of the European Economic Community, the House had to be forced to do it by means of a guillotine motion. Now, in 1986, when it is proposed that that transfer of powers should be further enlarged, as the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) has demonstrated, and that we should accept, by writing into an Act of Parliament, the principle of political union as the objective of our membership of the EEC, the Government come forward to coerce the House of Commons to pass that legislation by means of a guillotine motion.
It is a cruel irony that this act is committed to the hands of the right hon. Member for Shropshire, North (Mr. Biffen). The House knows, and the country knows, the right hon. Gentleman's view of British membership of the European Economic Community. Through all his years in office he has preserved his honour on this subject in the sense that by no word or gesture has he conveyed to anyone approval of the decision that was taken in 1972. He has given no one any reason for mistaking where his heart and where his mind lay upon this subject. Yet it falls to him, by cruel chance, to propose that the House of Commons should be guillotined in order to pass this further instalment of abnegation.
The right hon. Gentleman, in a courteous and generous reply to me last Friday, sought to find some differentiation. He said:
perhaps I have a different recollection of the arithmetic.
That was a different recollection from mine. He continued:
The size of the majority on the Second Reading of this Bill is in no way related to that on the Second Reading of the European Communities Bill." — [Official Report, 27 June 1986; Vol. 100, c. 666.]
Indeed, on the Second Reading of this Bill the majority in favour was far larger than the niggardly eight by which the Second Reading of the European Communities Bill was carried on 17 February 1972, or the even more niggardly figure of four to which the Government majority fell at one point in Committee.
The right hon. Member for Shropshire, North is not unaware of another important numerical consideration. Three days have been allotted so far to the Committee on the Floor of the House on this Bill. The second and third days were last Thursday and Friday. If the Government had commanded adequate support in the House for the Bill, with the availability of the whole of the sitting on Thursday and the whole of the sitting on Friday, and the use of the powers of curtailing debate that are available under the closure procedure, there would have been no difficulty in making substantial and even decisive progress before the House rose on Friday. We should be almost as near to the termination of proceedings had that been so as we shall be brought to by the passing of this guillotine motion.
The fact is that the Government do not enjoy sufficient support on their own Benches for the Bill to be able to carry it through in Committee in the House of Commons by means of the ordinary resources at their disposal. On the very day, 1 July, on which the United Kingdom assumes the so-called presidency of the European Economic Community, the Government are faced with the fact that they do not enjoy adequate support, in a House in which they have a huge majority, for the passage by ordinary means of this piece of legislation.
I wonder whether the Government and the Foreign Secretary have been candid with what they call their partners in the European Economic Community. I wonder whether they have told that, in the midst of the euphoria for a further move towards political union in Europe, that the mood and mind not only of the public of the United Kingdom remain deeply entrenched against membership, let alone the extension of its implications, but that a Government commanding so imposing a majority in the House of Commons cannot, by ordinary means, pass through Parliament a Bill which would embody in the law of this country the terms of the treaty that has been made.
I hope that that has been made clear to the European Community. I hope that the Government have been candid, for they have a duty to be candid. They have a duty on behalf of the House and the people of this country to declare that, in this respect, there is a deep difference between the attitude and mind of the public of Britain and that of the rest of the Community, without even the exception of Denmark. A deep repugnance is felt in the country and the House to the resignation of our ancestral rights and freedoms. It is something to which there is no parallel in Europe, and that has been demonstrated by the progress of the Bill. It is demonstrated by the motion that is before the House tonight. The Government ought to be candid in the face of Europe about the true situation and mind of the United Kingdom.
The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), in a speech which delighted the House last Friday, drew attention to a curious anomaly which had engaged his notice, namely, that the Prime Minister was, to all appearances, strongly opposed to the step which we are invited to embody in United Kingdom legislation. The Prime Minister had stated publicly and repeatedly that no such treaty was necessary, and that for the purposes and interests of the United Kingdom in the Common Market no such legislation as this to embody that treaty would be called for. Nevertheless, the hon. Member for Bolsover pointed out, she went along and signed.
The hon. Gentleman did not pursue his reflections into the reasons for that difference, I think that it is a real difference. I do not think that this is just an exhibition of insincerity and contortion. I think that it is a real difference between the instincts and motives of the right hon. Lady and the actions that are extorted from her in the circumstances in which she finds herself, not only in Europe, but specifically and particularly in Europe.
I think that this evening it is right that those differences should be mentioned on the Floor of the House if we are to be forced into passing the means of compulsorily embodying this treaty in the law of the United Kingdom.
Eighteen months ago there was a remarkable review in the Sunday Telegraph by Sir Anthony Parsons, who has not been a stranger to the present Administration, of a book by Sir Nicholas Henderson. In that book Sir Nicholas Henderson said:
a severe strain would be imposed on the code of loyal service to political masters if a future Government were to adopt an extremely radical policy, such as withdrawal from the European Community".
I pause there for a moment because I noted with interest this evening the remarks of the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney who did not quote from the same 1975 referendum document as he quoted other phrases from. He made the remarkable assertion that if the result of the referendum were yes, British membership of the European Community would depend upon the continued consent of Parliament. In other words, it was an assertion that this House retained, and retains, the right, of course by the proper international steps taken in consequence on behalf of this country by a Government, to withdraw, if need be, from the commitments which have been created by our entry into the treaty of Brussels and by our signature to the Single European Act. But this is a digression.
Sir Anthony Parsons continued and concluded:
I would go further. I think that, if the broad bipartisanship of the past 40 years"—
that is 1946 to 1986—
broke down in such a way, many officials in the higher reaches of the Foreign Office would find it impossible conscientiously to implement the new policies and the Government would be obliged to recruit political loyalists in order to carry out its will.
That is a description of the prison which has been constructed and in which the Prime Minister finds that her instincts and her will are "cribb'd, cabin'd and confin'd."
It is under those pressures and under that kind of blackmail and dictation that the House finds itself being compelled, at the gunpoint of a guillotine, to pass the legislation consequent upon the Single European Act. It is blackmail, and it is blackmail from a quarter from which the House ought not to accept blackmail. It is a blackmail imposed by those who are not, as we are, the elected representatives of the people of this country, and it is a blackmail and a pressure to which successive British Governments, during the 40 years of bipartisanship, have been subject. If we are to do so, we bow the neck again to the yoke tonight, it is well that we should understand what we are doing. As for myself, I will have none of it.
The right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell) is entirely right. The House should not be treated in this way. This is a sad and a wretched occasion. While I very much regret that we shall be taking precious hours tonight to debate the guillotine motion instead of the far-reaching proposals in the Bill, I regret even more its proposal. I agree with the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), who made an admirable speech This is a sad, bad and unnecessary measure and it should not be proceeded with.
Like almost every other right hon. and hon. Member, I have voted over the years in favour of guillotine motions when my party in government has invited me to do so, and like almost every other right hon. and hon. Member I have voted against guillotine motions when my party out of government has invited me to do that.
In the first instance I have always felt uncomfortable, and I dare say that that is a shared feeling too. That is partly because delay is one of few legitimate devices, weapons, courses of conduct, open to the objector. One loyally follows the Whip, of course, because we are all elected here as party men, yet none of us was elected, was he, as a simple sycophant? We were sent here, above all, to use the capacity of judgment. That is our constitutional duty, as the right hon. Member for South Down suggested. A responsible democratic system must always allow a fair time for argument about the proposals of the Government of the day. Patience is the hallmark of wise leadership in a democracy, just as intolerance is the badge of the dictator. When we abandon reason — that is to say, Discussion—as the arbiter of issues, we are surely on a slippery slope away from our democratic tradition.
There is another point. This Parliament, so it is said, is the forum of the nation. Through our discussions in this place we interest popular opinion, awaken it and involve our fellow citizens in the decision-making process. That is our duty, and I think many of us would say our pride. But not in respect of this measure.
Why are the Government so keen, I wonder, to curtail discussion on the measure— for a second time in four days. Admittedly the Government may say that they have been provoked by lengthy speeches on occasion, but what a trivial provocation that is, in truth. There are always pressures on the Government's timetable in July, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House indicated, but what is one day in the scheme of things—one day of the 250 on which we sit?
Also, we have not even troubled to discuss this far-reaching treaty, which was signed by a junior Minister and was not made available promptly for inspection in the Library of the House. I hope that discussion is not being truncated because some members of the Government are worried that if the measure's full implications were more widely comprehended, they would cause public anxieties which had better lie dormant. If the case for the Bill is so good, let it be argued with conviction in the Chamber of the House. If the arguments are so persuasive, they will prevail. It must be wrong — to use a footballing metaphor—for time to be blown by an umpire who is also a combatant early in the first half of the discussion. We should be ashamed of government by stealth and lawmaking by fudging.
As the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar reminded us, when the great debates of the 1970s took place in Parliament and in the country, before the referendum and the votes in the House of Commons, the advocates of Britain's signature to the treaty of Rome—no doubt sincerely — gave us clear assurances, for example, that there would be no derogation of the United Kingdom's national sovereignty, that Parliament would retain all its powers and that the courts would retain their powers.
What is the reality, a little more than a decade later? European law is increasingly taking primacy over United Kingdom law. Look at the way in which the Government scuttled, a fortnight ago, just one day before a decision on social matters was promulgated in the European Court. Now the right of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Parliament to decide taxation levels is to be subordinated to the prospect of harmonisation, about which my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) spoke, in a remarkable and important speech.
The zero rate of taxation is already under challenge in the European Court. Most nations already have higher top VAT rates than does the United Kingdom. A vote for this Bill is a vote for higher VAT rates. I remember so well the late Patrick Hutber's law that improvement almost invariably means deterioration. One might argue that harmonisation in tax matters means always increasing tax rates. More money for an administration whose poor housekeeping is a scandal is the prospect in this Bill. Would that we had a European Public Accounts Committee or a departmental Select Committee to expose it.
The Bill provides for us to take further giant strides towards an integrated Europe. As my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East said, how we will achieve that happy objective—if that is what it is—is not disclosed. It reminds me of the time of the south sea bubble, when promoters raised money for an enterprise, the purposes of which were to be secret, but which was such a good enterprise that it must be worth raising the cash for it. If someone tried to do that in the City of London today, he would be sent to prison.
So the Bill means, inevitably, a lesser role for our Parliament. Even the veto to protect our vital national interests is at risk, and power will increasingly rest with the Council of Ministers, where the United Kingdom, with a triviality of votes, can easily be outvoted by any combination of nations. Power will also rest increasingly with the bureaucracy. That is the certain prospect. The comments of the right hon. Member for South Down, deserve emphasis: with all the power that we can command, let it be said that the balance of power is to shift. That is what that Bill means.
Does not the way in which the Community has been enlarged, and may be enlarged in future, move further and further away from our country and Parliament our control over our own affairs? More and more, we shall be subject to peoples who are perhaps not yet members of the Community.
That is a wise observation. My hon. Friend raises the question whether a constitution that was devised for an old situation is any longer adequate for an entirely new one.
Above all else, the Bill proves that the old assurances upon which our people in the country have relied are now unreliable and false.
Is two hours enough for a sober and careful examination of the most significant issues raised by the Bill —issues with the deepest constitutional implications and prospects? Is five hours, as proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East enough? I do not know. However, I do know that one cannot timetable free discussion among free men, and that one should not attempt, on such affairs, to do so. These are matters that we should take adequate time to discuss.
Every previous guillotine debate in which I have participated in past years has been wholly different in character from this. There has always been a lengthy Committee stage. There have always been closures. There has always been what my right hon. Friend, in his opening speech, called a pertinacious Opposition. That has not been so in this case.
All the other guillotine debates have been, basically, about party matters such as nationalisation and denationalization — the great domestic divides between the two sides of the House. The present matter is wholly different in character, scope, style and implication. The situation with which we are now dealing is unprecedented because, as the right hon. Member for South Down has so clearly shown, the constitutional issues are fundamental.
The House should unite to reject the motion. This affair is above party. It is above the personal convenience of a day's holiday more or less. I do not argue how the matter should be decided, but I argue that our Parliament should discuss it thoroughly and encourage the nation similarly. I do not believe that such a proposal can reasonably be contradicted by any right hon. or hon. Member in any part of the House. I hope that the motion will be triumphantly rejected tonight.
The Leader of the House referred at the beginning of his speech and later on to some previous guillotine motion debates. I hope that I will not be thought arrogant if I say that I am as great an authority on guillotines as almost any hon. Member in the House. I believe that I have participated in as many guillotine debates as anyone.
I was somewhat disturbed—although I have heard it from the Liberal and other Benches before—to hear the proposition that the right way to deal with these matters is to have timetable motions for all measures before they are introduced. I am bitterly opposed to any such proposition, even though I know that, as the right hon. Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann) said, it is quite often the case that some Government supporters support guillotines whereas those who oppose a Government tend to oppose them. However, I am certainly opposed to the idea of introducing regular timetables for all Bills. If anyone is seeking an easy and simple way to kill off what remains of the debating vitality of the House of Commons, I recommend the idea of permanent timetables, which would also injure proper debate in the House as a whole.
How much debating vitality does the right hon. Gentleman think would be left for the Bill even with the acceptance of the amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor)?
We have had some vitality up to now, although the Government are trying to kill it off. The Liberal party, on the other hand, would have killed off that vitality from the beginning. The idea of permanent guillotines, permanent timetables or other permanent arrangements for the allocation of time is not a good recommendation for debate. Such an arrangement would play straight into the hands of any Government, and it should be rejected.
I have no doubt that the Leader of the House has referred, in the usual polite way in which he always treats me, to certain occasions when I introduced guillotine motions, and I agree that I introduced quite a large number on a certain occasion. But none of those instances have any relevance to this debate. The five measures in question were all manifesto commitments of the party to which I belonged and the Government whom I supported. If guillotines had not been introduced in those cases, there would not have been the remotest chance of those measures being translated into operation. All had passed through their Second Reading stages and had been the subject of substantial votes.
That cannot be said of the position today. Even had the Leader of the House not introduced this guillotine, he would have had a good chance —even though some of us would have opposed the measure strongly—of getting the Bill through. He cannot claim, therefore, that the situations are the same, and the excuse that he or others may seek to invoke—of comparing this with previous occasions — does not apply, and the right hon. Gentleman should not resort to such a comparison.
The House will agree that there must be different rules, with greater provision for discussion, for constitutional as opposed to other measures. That does not mean that guillotine motions can never be applied to constitutional measures. Indeed, had that been the case, some major constitutional measures of the century would never had been placed on the statute book. In the last resort, therefore, Governments have a right to resort to the guillotine to get through constitutional measures.
But Governments, especially when dealing with questions that come fresh to debate in the House, have an obligation to ensure the fullest possible debate on great constitutional issues. Thus, the first charge against the Government—as most people listening to today's debate will agree—is that they have sought to push through this measure as if it were a minor, trivial one, when every minute of the debate has proved that it is a major constitutional measure. The Leader of the House will agree with that proposition.
The right hon. Gentleman agrees that it is a great constitutional measure. In that case, there cannot be any excuse for him — and we appreciate that he understands the House of Commons better than any other member of the Treasury Bench — tabling a motion saying in effect, that all debate on this great constitutional measure must be curtailed to a couple of hours, with an hour for Third Reading. Such a motion represents not a provision for debate but a denial of debate.
My right hon. Friend will agree that the crime is made more heinous by the fact that, unlike the examples to which he referred, the Government have no mandate from the British people for this measure. It was not mentioned in their 1983 manifesto.
My hon. Friend is right, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) showed not only that the Government do not have a mandate for it but what happened when various parties sought approval for Britain's continued membership of the Market in 1975. The British people had propositions put before them to win their support for the maintenance of our position in the EEC, some of which propositions are being denied by this Bill, and an attempt is being made to push it through without the British people knowing what is happening to them.
The case is aggravated not only by the breach of the undertakings given by all parties to the British people at the time of the referendum but by our subsequent experience. The British people, especially the British Parliament, like to say how pragmatic we can be and how we work things out in practice. During all our debates at the time of our entry I remember many pro-marketeers saying, "Let us see how we can work these things out. A proper scrutiny committee among other organisations will examine the legislation. Let us see how that works. It will help to safeguard against the perils that are being described." We have a Scrutiny Committee and nobody would deny that it has done excellent work. If it had not been for my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), who is Chairman of it, and other hon. Members who have given it huge amounts of their time, the dangers of our entry would have become even more apparent over the years. But if the Scrutiny Committee is asked to advise the House, occasionally one must take note of what it says, particularly when it refers to such a measure as this.
The second great charge against the Leader of the House is that he has brushed aside all the advice that he has received on this measure. The Select Committee on European Legislation said:
The arrival of the Single European Act demonstrates one inherent weakness of the current system (of scrutiny). The House had no opportunity to examine the Act until it had been agreed by the Member States, and even now can only accept or reject it as a whole through the European Communities (Amendment) Bill. As a scrutiny committee, we were never able to report on the Act, or on the Inter-Governmental Conference held in accordance with the Treaty in autumn 1985 which produced it. because both were outside our terms of reference. A similar situation has occurred from time to time in the budgetary affairs of the Community, when an Inter-Governmental Agreement has been used to supplement Community funds. Here again, the House was suddenly faced with a major development, almost without warning, and the terms of reference of the Committee meant that the document was not subject to scrutiny procedure.
This major constitutional measure, as the right hon. Gentleman has now been forced to acknowledge it, is not only being forced through in insufficient time but in opposition to the warnings given by our Scrutiny Committee.
I am not for a moment claiming that the operations of the Scrutiny Committee are a satisfactory substitute for the protection of the House. I never accepted the view that because the Scrutiny Committee examines this curious form of legislation, which arrives from the Assembly or the Council of Ministers—their methods of legislation are very different from ours, which is why it is so difficult to amalgamate the two methods by which the Assembly and the House work — it can successfully ensure that amalgamation. Despite that, what are we to say when a Scrutiny Committee had been set up to advise on these matters, its advice is brushed aside and a measure is rushed through in this ignominious way?
This will do great damage to the Government. I am sorry that it will also damage the Leader of the House, because he is far and away the best member of the Government. He is the only one who really seeks to understand what is happening in the House and who takes back faithful reports. No doubt that is why he has not been invited to participate in some of these inner sanctums which have been set up in recent weeks. If I could think of any other compliment that would do him some damage I would be happy to pay it. That always comes easily to me.
I am deeply surprised that the right hon. Gentleman is a party to this. The only explanation is that he too has, perhaps, awakened to the fact that these proposals are far-reaching. Of course, if he tries to force through the scandal of a two-hour debate, that will be even worse. Even if, on the basis of accepting the amendment from his hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) he forces that through, it will come back to haunt the Government and the right hon. Gentleman, because all the matters raised by the right hon. Member for Taunton and by all the other speakers, and the matters that will be raised in abbreviated future debates will be laid at the door of the Government.
When people discover that they will have to pay more in VAT because of some decision taken in Europe that this House had decided shall not be referrable to us, the Government's unpopularity will be multiplied manyfold. The wisest course for the Leader of the House is not only to accept the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Southend, East but to get up and recognise the force of this debate. Nobody listening to the debate can doubt that the British House of Commons is asserting its authority. The right hon. Gentleman and all hon. Members ought to pay
I shall not add to the discomfiture of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House by praising him, much as I should like to do so. I know about his underwhelming enthusiasm for the measure that we are debating and speak merely to support him.
These guillotine debates are as weary, stale, flat and unprofitable as most of our debates on the EEC. They are also as entirely predictable, and my own contribution will be entirely predictable. I make it primarily to show that not every speaker, even on the Government side, is so unrepresentative as to be hostile to the European Community.
The right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell) made a quite remarkable contribution to our debate when he suggested that there was something terrible about the idea that there exist in the Foreign Office senior civil servants who are so attached to traditional interests and to policies based on those interests that they would find extreme difficulty in serving a Government that abandoned those interests. It seemed to me that what he was rattling as a terrifying spectre in front of us was a totally admirable statement by senior civil servants that there are interests transcending their careers and the kind of blind obedience that the right hon. Gentleman would seek to force upon them that would require them not to serve a Government that went so far away from everything that has traditionally been in the interests of Britain.
As I said, my contribution is totally predictable. I support the guillotine motion. It seems clear from the debate so far and from the lengthy speeches made on both sides, that however much time the Government had allowed for the further consideration of the measure, progress would have remained imperceptible. At whatever stage the Government had decided to impose a timetable motion, there would have been the routine howls of protest.
The complaint was made, especially by Opposition Members, that at no stage did the Government seek to move a closure. To that I retort that on the few occasions when we managed to get as far as a vote, the number of objectors to the measure who took the trouble to turn up in the Division Lobby was ludicrously small. I have no hesitation whatever in following my right hon. Friend into the Division Lobby to try to get a move on with this Bill.
The first part of my speech will not be predictable. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) in his dogged determination of the cause of which he often speaks. I pay tribute to his internationalism. We have a happy augury of official representatives of foreign states in this building tomorrow. The point between us is the sound, philosophical and fundamental difference in how we express that internationalism. Some hon. Members express that internationalism by a wish for co-operation, which indicates that operations are parallel, by agreement and by consent. Some hon. Gentlemen believe that international accord can best be achieved by a pooling of legislative and judicial authority. That is what the Single European Act is all about. I do not think that the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West and I agree on that, but we might at least agree on the differences. I believe that the Single European Act seeks to do that, with serious consequences.
The Bill should consider the Single European Act, which contains 22 pages of small print and more than 50 amendments to the treaty of Rome. It is complex in the extreme, because it is legislation by reference and reference. A double take is necessary. Yet, despite that, the Government have not seen tit to publish a White Paper or guide. Indeed, the explanatory memorandum at the front of the Bill is as derisory as the motion before us tonight.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) has said that the way in which the Government have gone about the Bill illustrates the politics of coercion. That point was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) last week and repeated today by the right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell). The Prime Minister has said that she does not want the Bill. I suggest to the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West that if one pursues the path of pooled legislation, pooled budgetary powers and a pooled judiciary, one ends up with the politics of coercion. That is what hon. Members are faced with. The Bill is not wanted by the Government, and they can only get it through by means of the motion before us.
I shall be a little less provocative perhaps, and turn to my role as Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent kindly referred. The Scrutiny Committee can only look and report. It does not have the power to act. If the House gives its power away, it will not have the power to act. There is a difference between an ability to see and an ability to act.
The present terms of reference of the Scrutiny Committee have not permitted it to give a summary of the Single European Act as it stands. The Committee was able to report on the Single European Act only in so far as it affected our duties on scrutiny. That is what we did in House of Commons paper No. 400. We also suggested that. if we were to discharge our duty to the House, we should require slightly enlarged terms of reference. That was a unanimous decision. I am glad to see that it was unanimously endorsed by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.
As I am concerned with parliamentary scrutiny, I shall do something which I do not think has been done before in guillotine debates. I shall tell the House in some excruciating detail the groups of amendments which still remain to be debated. I hope to summarise—although not at too much length — the contents of the Single European Act.
The Committee is debating amendment No. 7, moved by the right hon. Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann), which relates to article 17 of the Single European Act and new article 99 of the treaty of Rome. The article deals with the harmonisation of legislation concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and VAT, which could be imposed on food, fuel, hooks and a range of other activities. Many suspect that the unpopular VAT on building repairs, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced some time ago, was the result of letters from the Commission under the sixth VAT directive. If that is not the case, I invite the right hon. Gentleman to write to tell me so.
Under the timetable motion of the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor), one hour is to be spent on that vast range of fiscal activity. I suggest that the very minimum period would be two hours. If any hon. Member thinks that the time should be less, let him get up and say so.
The next amendment is amendment No. 9, which relates to article 20 of the Single European Act and new article 102A of the treaty. It deals with the vast subject of the obligation on the House to accept European monetary union and the European monetary system and to accept the convergence of policies and it provides for conferences on that subject to be called under article 23 by only one Government. In addition, there is to be a new article 70(1) of the treaty of Rome which says that directives relating to exchange policy shall be achieved by a "qualified majority". I can hardly credit that. 10 years ago, any Chancellor would have agreed, let alone contemplated, such a proposal. As hon. Members know, if there is a qualified majority, we can do nothing about a measure once it is accepted.
I should have thought that those matters required at least a two-hour debate. If any hon. Member thinks that they do not, let him say so. The motion of the hon. Member for Southend, East would give us an hour.
The guillotine motion does not provide for amendments Nos. 23 to 25, which are to do with the solemn declaration at Stuttgart which has 32 paragraphs and is published in full by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs in House of Commons Paper 442. The measure also concerns European co-operation of a political character. Title III of the European Common Act and new article 30 has 10 paragraphs which set out the treaty form of European political co-operation. This group of amendments would provide the only means of debating that matter, but there is no time allocated to it. There will be six new treaty institutions relating to an obligation to consult on all matters of foreign affairs, at multilateral and bilateral levels. I should have thought that a two-hour debate on both topics would be the least anyone could expect. I should prefer double or treble that time, but I do not think that any Conservative Members could suggest that it be less than two hours.
The next amendment is amendment No. 11 which deals with article 25 of the single European Act and the new articles 130R. 130S and 130T of the treaty of Rome. It concerns the new scope of the treaty in relation to the environment. New article 130S says that if the Council of Ministers decides unanimously that certain things shall be decided by a qualified majority, it shall be so. I calculate that the motion of the hon. Member for Southend, East allows for a half-hour debate but I should have thought that two hours at least were needed to debate the environment, which is a huge topic and one on which the European Community is now claiming vires.
The next amendment is amendment No. 14, which concerns article 10 of the Single European Act and new article 145 of the Rome treaty. It deals with the important topic of providing the Commission with delegated powers. Many hon. Members might think that the Commission already has plenty of delegated powers but I have news —there are new delegated powers under new article 145 of the treaty. The hon. Member for Southend, East allocates half an hour to that matter. I should have thought that one hour at least would have been necessary.
The next group of amendments covers amendment 47 and relates to the Single European Act article 23 and to the Treaty of Rome, new article 130A, 130B, 130C. and 130D. These deal with what is called cohesion in the Community and they require reports on the future of the common agricultural policy, the social fund and the regional fund and their revision. I suggest that one hour on the CAP and half an hour on each of the other subjects is much too little time, but on my calculations we will have only a quarter of an hour on the lot, if we are lucky, under the motion of the hon. Member for Southend, East.
The next group of amendments contains amendment No. 22 which deals with the complete meaning of the preamble of the Treaty. As hon. Members will know, the preamble of the Treaty, while not being part of the Treaty, can be taken into account if there is any dispute as to its meaning. Therefore, the preamble — which I would recommend hon. Members to read if they have not already done so—will be taken into account by the European Court if their is any question as to whether we should be within the jurisdiction of the Treaty or not. If hon. Members read the preamble they will see its extensive terms. Half an hour would be far too short a time for that subject and the hon. Member for Southend, East gives about a quarter of an hour for that in his motion.
The next topic for debate would be clause stand part on clauses 1 and 2. We have debated these clauses already, but we have not entered into discussions on the complex machinery of the powers of the Commission and the Parliament and the expansion of the Court. That was discussed but the Court is being given a blank cheque to produce proposals as to how it can expand — not I hasten to add in powers—but in numbers. I would have thought that two hours on that point would have been reasonable. The Southend motion gives it half an hour.
The last amendment is amendment No. 46 in the name of the right hon. Member for South Down. The amendment covers a very important part of the Bill, clause 3(4), because it relates to the fact that the European Assembly Elections Act 1978 required an Act of Parliament if power was to be transferred to the European Assembly. The mere fact that this is in the Bill shows that the Government acknowledge that power will be transferred.
The Third Reading will receive two hours when it should have three. My grand total is that some 16 hours 30 minutes or 17 hours of debate without Divisions would be needed. That is more than the total of 15 hours put down in the motion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) which was rubbished by the Leader of the House. With Divisions, we would need about 20 hours to carry out the minimum timetable that I have suggested tonight. Instead of that, we are being asked to spend five hours, including Divisions.
Some people want to give powers away from the House. They have every right to say that, and I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West for expressing that view. However, have they got the power to prevent us from discussing whether we should give powers away? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Islwyn has said, once those powers have gone we will be told that we gave binding international treaties to that effect.
People in South Africa are struggling to obtain some form of democracy. Can it be that today we are giving ours away too lightly? My own charitable interpretation is that I do not think that the Government know what the Bill contains. They do not know the extent or implications of the Single European Act and by moving the guillotine motion tonight they are preventing people and Parliament from finding out what it contains.
A full House, late at night. No press present, with the media gone to bed. A shameful time to debate this shameful issue. That is not parliamentary hyperbole. This is the most important constitutional issue to he debated since I became a Member of Parliament. I believe that it is even more important than the European Communities Act. After that Act, we had a veto. Can we be sure that we have a veto now?
Almost every major provision in the Bill is more pregnant with significance than any two items of primary legislation, yet it is to he debated, including Divisions, in five short hours. No wonder that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House sits hunched in his seat. He is an honest man, and I imagine that he must feel sick at heart. I hope that we shall not have any more little jokes about the Front Bench making short speeches on major issues that merit a proper introduction.
For the past few weeks, the House and the country have been deeply concerned about the important and tragic events of South Africa. We might have some minimum control over those events, but we potentially have a great deal of control over this massive event. Yet we are not being allowed to have a proper debate on the issue.
The media have not taken the issue seriously at all. Is it because it is too complex, and people do not understand it? Or is it because the Government have such a massive majority that people believe that nothing can be done about it? When we had a referendum, it was about a common market and not about a united Europe. But despite that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann) said, only last week there were major changes in our social legislation as a result of the European Court. It was nothing to do with harmonising the internal market, or with the common market that we joined. It had everything to do with moving towards a united Europe.
Two or three short weeks ago, my right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster General made a statement reducing the burdens on small companies. Immediately afterwards he introduced some European legislation to increase the burdens on small companies. Was that necessary for the internal market? Of course we all want co-operation with Europe and a large, vital trading entity within Europe. But that does not mean that we have to harmonise everything: harmonise the arrangements for family leave, harmonise the health and safety regulations, and so on.
Harmonised and unified as we are, we are moving yet further towards this Single European Act. Of course, at first it was not called that. It was going to be called the Act of European union. But out of deference to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the title was changed. Many people have said that the Prime Minister is against this measure, because it is unnecessary. I believe that to be her position. We know that those Conservative Members who think about the issue are not in favour of it. On Friday we had an important debate, yet how many Conservative Members were here to vote it through? The answer is a mere 84 and two Tellers which amounts to 86 members out What about the country? What does the country know about this issue? Does it know how important and significant this matter is? Have the Government shouted from the rooftops what they intend to do, and what the effects of the measure will be? If' the country knew about it, it would be, as it should be, against it. About the only person in favour of it is the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She has always been in favour of a united Europe. But she does not for one moment represent the views of hon. Members on this matter.
Of course, people will say that this matter has nothing to do with a federal Europe and nothing to do with a united Europe. Really! Have they, or all of my hon. Friends, read the Bill? I apologise to my hon. Friends for saying this, but if they have not done so, they should read it and read it again. They should understand it. They should find out what is in it, and what it will do to the sovereignty of the House. They should find out what the Bill will do to our ability to control the fortunes of our country. This is dynamite, and important dynamite, and it should be read and digested.
The preamble says:
to transform relations as a whole among their States into a European Union".
The Bill is a vice in the hands of the European Court with which to squeeze the nation states of Europe into a union, which is often against their individual wills.
What about giving more power to the European Assembly? There, as anywhere else, issues will be debated on a political basis. Overriding all that, however, the Assembly will be concerned first and foremost with European unity, and the more power that it has the more European unity there will be.
Does my hon. Friend not agree, however, that it would be preferable for a democratically elected body to have the power to propose amendments to Commission proposals, or would he perfer to be governed constantly by the proposals of a non-elected body such as the Commission?
I say with due deference to my hon. Friend, whom I respect a great deal, that I believe that the conjunction of powers between the European Court, the European Assembly and the European Commission, all of which will be committed to a federal and united Europe, will lead to the negation rather than to the enhancement of democracy.
On majority voting, that already takes place on minor issues, but majority voting is to be extended. What effect will its extension have? It will move us towards European unity. We have 10 votes out of 78, or whatever the number is. The population of Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece, Portugal and Ireland — seven small countries—when put together is smaller than ours, but they have 28 votes. Because they have no influence elsewhere, the small countries of Europe want to move towards a united Europe. How can British Ministers agree to those small countries having nearly three times as many votes as we have? And, having given them those votes, how can British Ministers agree that they should be allowed to vote on issues that are of paramount importance to this country? Why does this parliamentary democracy and sovereign state intend to surrender its powers to a bureaucracy? How will that benefit the British people?
My hon. Friend the Minister of State patronised the Prime Minister the other day. She said that the Prime Minister did not like it at first, but she has learnt and that is why she changed her mind. I would not patronise the Prime Minister if I wanted to join the Cabinet and if I were the hot tip as the next lady in the Cabinet. However. I am sure that the Prime Minister is a forgiving lady. If she wants to get back into the Prime Minister's good books, I suggest to my hon. Friend the Minister of State that when she winds up the debate she should tell us what power and strength are still left to us, how committed she is to the veto —the Luxembourg compromise, or whatever we call it —and how we shall be able to sustain interests that are vital to this nation in the Council of Ministers. We have not yet been told, and it is high time that we were.
In our imperfect constitution, made more imperfect by the Bill, there is but one hope, but it is not here. Too many hon. Members are confused by the Bill and know little about it. They have been bullied by the Whips and they are not prepared to stand up on this issue. They are not concerned for the generations and centuries of history of this country and therefore do not feel that they should do what is right about it. But there is still the other place.
This Bill was not a manifesto commitment. It was not contained in the Queen's Speech. It is not about money. First and foremost, it is a constitutional issue. The other place has great power over constitutional issues. If we raise the ceiling tonight and make a noise, if we make people aware tonight of what this issue means, then let them wake up at the other end of the building. Let them stand up for Britain and do what they think is right. Let them throw the wretched thing out.
In no way shall I attempt to follow that. I support the Bill, and in so doing I do not believe that I am betraying anybody. Also, I support the view that in general it is fairer to hon. Members and that it is of advantage, in order to secure a balanced argument, for timetabling to take place from the outset, after discussion between the parties, if a Bill is likely to be controversial. That is well known in advance. I also support, where necessary, a limitation on the speaking time that is allotted to hon. Members. In working that out, I believe that Front Benchers should also be prepared to accept some restraint. Hon. Members have already said that some Back Benchers are occasionally garrulous, but many Front Benchers are often garrulous. In the period that I have been in the House, I have heard Front Benchers on both sides propose and oppose timetable motions in almost identical terms, so I cannot get terribly worked up anymore about their speeches.
In general, what has been wrong with timetable motions is that they have never really been, or even succeeded in being considered as, matters for the House of Commons, as the shadow Leader of the House put it. The situation has rather been as the Leader of the House frankly stated when he said that the majority on Second Reading represented "the authority of the House", and hence the right to propose a guillotine—in other words, the power of the majority to steamroller legislation through the House.
I am in no doubt that to allow the Bill to drift on in the way that occurred, only once moving. That the Question be now put—
This was close to midnight on 16 June:
Question put, That the Question be now put".—[Official Report, 16 June 1986; Vol. 99, c. 868.]
That motion was moved by the Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household. It was, therefore, moved once after a limited
After that, to come to the House and suggest that all the other amendments be concluded in two hours is really insulting. There is no way in which a proper debate can be conducted in that time. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who is not garrulous at all, has already taken up nearly an hour and a half of the Committee's proceedings, and it is now proposed to allocate only two hours for the whole of the remaining amendments. We would merely be spectators of abbreviated exchanges between Front-Bench spokesmen who would not even allow interjections or questions in their speeches. One of the supposedly unique characteristics in the Chamber is that people can interrupt and ask questions rather than having the set piece orations that are the normal characteristic of continental hemicycles. Therefore, that would not be in the tradition of this place.
The timetable proposed by the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) is, of course, better. When one considers that he spoke for nearly an hour and a quarter on amendment No. 1, it would be interesting to know how he feels time should be allocated within the hour that he has suggested for amendment No. 7. That amendment has already been proposed by the right hon. Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann), who was still speaking when the Committee was adjourned on 27 June, having addressed the Committee up until then with his customary fluency for about 40 minutes. The hon. Member for Southend, East agrees that the time is inadequate. One presumes that he proposed the inadequate time only because he had some intuition or information that the Leader of the House would accept his alternative as a means of giving the appearance of generosity.
As I see it, if we have a timetable motion now, it should be so constructed as to make available sufficient time for some reasonable debate. I believe that the proposition made by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), the shadow Leader of the House, meets these requirements, and I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to support it.
I too want to ask why the Government are in such a hurry. The right hon. Gentleman who used to be the Member for Ebbw Vale, which is now something rather complex and Welsh — Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot)—sought to probe my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House about why the Government and my right hon. Friend in particular were so anxious to proceed apace on an important constitutional Bill. The right hon. Gentleman, like many other hon. Gentlemen on both sides, put many questions to my right hon. Friend. I do not think that he answered them properly in his opening remarks. I can see no reason why we should have a truncated debate on this important and critical Bill or why we should have a timetable motion.
Unfortunately, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is not here at the moment. He has been in the Chamber continuously until now and has an excellent record of listening to the debate. I should have hoped that by now he had heard enough arguments from both sides to convince him that there is no good reason for a guillotine motion. He might even ask my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to make the appropriate sounds and withdraw the guillotine motion.
It has already been pointed out that there is no question of a shortage of time—not that time matters on an issue of constitutional importance, as this Bill is. Even if it was not a constitutional matter, there is no question of a shortage of time because of the demise of the Shops Bill. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, whose integrity I trust implicitly and whom I have always admired—I am only sorry that he is not present to hear all the nice things I am saying about him —is not intent on deceiving the House.
The messages that my right hon. Friend has got continuously through the usual channels, and in the debate tonight, have contained one theme: that he is making a severe mistake in recommending the timetable motion to the House. I hope that he may come up with the right answer later and will give an appropriate message to my hon. Friend. Unless he does, I shall certainly vote against the timetable motion, for reasons that have been stated clearly earlier in the debate.
I am puzzled because my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, who is such a capable parliamentarian, has always prided himself on keeping closely in touch with opinion in the country. He cannot say after this debate, after the article in The Times some days ago by Mr. Johnson and after the article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday by Mr. Utley that he is not aware that this is a significant measure. If he was making an attempt to slide it through on the quiet, that attempt has been rumbled.
My hon. Friends have spoken about the implications. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) referred to the VAT implications, to the other problems that could be associated with harmonising and to the questions that we are likely to be asked at the next general election and future elections about the attitude we took to this measure, which goes many paces beyond the original European Community legislation.
Having been a Member of the House at the time, I can well recall the assurances that were given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath) that we would never go beyond what was in the original measure. I can recall, and it is in Hansard, that one or two hon. Members suggested that it could lead to a form of European union. When some of us raised these matters in private, we were assured that in no way would that take place and that in any event never would a guillotine motion even be contemplated by a sensible Labour or Conservative Government on such a constitutional matter.
I think that is a big step backwards and the House must think again about this matter. I only hope that the usual channels will have a word with my right hon. Friend, the Leader of the House, so that he can persuade my hon. Friend the Minister, who will reply to the debate, that perhaps there is no great rush to rise before the royal wedding or some other event which may be happening. In any event. a matter of this consitutional importance and gravity cannot be swept under the carpet. All the important amendments which are needed must be debated fully and aired in public.
I rise for a number of reasons, hut I ought to tell the House that of the 50-odd amendments to the Bill, just under half are in my name. Therefore, I have some interest in the remaining proceedings of the Bill. Of the amendments I have tabled a number have been selected in the subsequent debates and some have been linked with those of other hon. Members.
In 1640 and 1641 this House of Commons debated ship money and also the proclaimed right—a divine right— of Charles Ito tax the British people without their consent and that of their parliamentary representatives. There was a very important series of constitutional debates in the two years preceeding the civil war. I ask myself and right hon. and hon. Gentlemans of both sides of the House, what would have been the verdict of contemporaries and the subsequent verdict of history, had those in the king's party sought to guillotine the debate on those vital issues. Of course, in those days, the guillotine was not available and this is mere speculation. In view of the importance of the constitutional issues, the verdict would have been one of abhorrence and contempt at the squalid manoeuvring to attempt to stifle the debate on important constitutional issues.
No one can deny from the speeches we have heard tonight that the issues we are debating in the Bill, although not directly in this guillotine motion, are just as important as those which laced the House in 1640, 1641 and also in 1972, as well as on other occasions, when constitutional issues of major importance have been before the nation. Surely there has not been any previous occasion when any Government have sought to stifle discussion on such issues without any mandate from the people of the country for that measure or for trying to stifle the debate.
As an historian — I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman is an historian— I know we had a civil war first before that happened.
I do not wish to waste the time of' the House by developing the constitutional arguments of the importance of the Bill— they have already been outlined by many speakers. I wish to take up one by one—no one else has done so — the Leader of the House's argument in support of this guillotine motion.
The right hon. Gentleman argued that we have had 18 hours of' debate and that we have got through just over three groups of amendments. That 18 hours of debate was in fact two and a half days of parliamentary time. We had a half day on a Monday, a day on a Thursday and a day on a Friday.
One of the issues that we were discussing was a subsidiary court of the European Court of Justice and that legitimately raised— it was not out of order— the whole future of the European Court of Justice, the verdicts it has given and what sort of court it is. Surely, in anyone's estimation that was worth half a day of parliamentary time to discuss?
We then had less than a day — half a day — with a debate truncated to suit the convenience or hon. Members on both sides of the House and we eventually had a vote at 8.30 pm. We had a half day in which to debate the new powers to be given to the European Assembly, which is increasingly emerging as a competitor to this Parliament. One would have thought that in normal circumstances, had it not been for the convenience of hon. Members, that debate would have been worthy of a whole day. So no one can argue that that was not an important topic and worthy of the time that was allocated to it.
We then went on to the third debate on the completion of the internal market. On that, the Committee would probably have divided on party lines. Most Government supporters are in favour of the completion of the internal market and most people on the Labour Benches are against that, for purely party political reasons which I do not wish to go into now.
Nevertheless, we all recognise the great importance of that subject from our differing points of view, particularly those of us on the Labour Benches. We felt that that subject was well worth going into in some detail. I did that myself in a speech which ended proceedings on Thursday evening when I gave a great number of details and statistics to show that the case for completing the internal market was not a good one since our experience of the incomplete internal market over the past 13 years has not exactly been a happy one economically. My arguments may not have been right, but that is not the point. However, they were valid arguments. They were all in order. The debate was in order. That important debate was well worthy of a full day's debate in the time of the House of Commons.
When the Lord Privy Seal uses as his first argument for the guillotine that we have been dilatory on our debates so far, we have had 18 hours—two and a half days—on three groups of amendments, he has not bothered to look at what the amendments were, as I have just done. I hope that I have convinced at least those who have an open mind on these issues that those debates were not deliberately prolonged, that they were real debates on important issues affecting both sides of the House and the British people. Therefore, no argument can rest on the fact that they should have been disposed of in two or three hours instead of 18.
The second argument used by the right hon. Gentleman was that — I quote his exact words — "time cannot be afforded" for the completion of the Bill. But are we not masters of our own time? Whether we choose to begin our summer recess on 5 August, 1 August, 27 July, 24 July or 18 July is entirely within our control. Of course, the Government naturally control the business of the House, and no one objects to that. We can make choices between any of those dates and the choice really rests on the importance of the business that remains to be done.
Surely it cannot be a valid argument in any circumstances to say that on this supremely important constitutional issue time cannot be afforded for the remaining stages of the Bill, and yet can be afforded for other matters which are of lesser importance, although one understands that they are important in terms of the Government's programme, and one does not object to the Government spending time on them.
The Lord Privy Seal has sought to submit to the House this evening an entirely specious set of arguments in justification of, this guillotine motion. He attacked the words of the motion in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore). asking for a mere 15 hours, roughly two days of Parliamentary time, to be given to complete the Committee stage of the Bill. He implied, in criticising my right hon. Friend, who had not then spoken but whose motion is on the Order Paper, that such a motion should he rejected, as he did, not merely because it said 15 hours but because it did not lay out the timing of the individual debates. He implied, significantly, that it would not leave enough time for later groups of amendments, and that the House could consider only some groups of amendments in those 15 hours because my right hon. Friend had not divided the time properly. That is an open admission that the House needs substantial time to debate those groups of amendments.
The arguments of the Lord Privy Seal were specious and were intended—I say this sadly—to stifle the debate and to censor the arguments that would otherwise have been put. Had the press been present on Thursday and Friday, they might also have been put to the British people.
The Government have accepted the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Southend. East (Mr. Taylor), but they have not accepted the other amendments, which will no doubt be voted upon. However, because of the Government's majority, they will probably be rejected.
Perhaps I am being unduly pessimistic. I accept the right hon. Gentleman's point.
Seven groups of amendments remain to be debated, and we shall have three clause stand part debates. No one expects a clause stand part debate on clause 4, but clauses 1, 2 and 3 are important. Therefore, we have the prospect of 10 debates in Committee, including the debate on which we embarked on Friday. Even if the hon. Gentleman's amendment is accepted by the House, that means that we shall have 10 debates in four hours. If there were no votes, it would mean 24 minutes for each debate.
However, the House would be justified in assuming that some of the issues are so vital that the House would wish to vote on them, and I mention only four. Hon. Members may disagree with my choice. I expect that hon. Members would wish to record an opinion on tax harmonisation, economic, monetary and political union, the common agricultural policy and the entire preamble. The amendment tabled by the right hon. Member for South Down, to which I have attached my name, would remove the preamble from the Bill. If we shall need one hour for voting, that would leave only three hours for debate. Therefore, the average time for debate would be 18 minutes on each of the seven groups of amendments and three clause stand part debates.
One point that the Lord Privy Seal did not make in his speech, although he tried to explain it in reply to me at Business Questions on Thursday of last week, was that between the Second Reading of the Bill on 23 April and the first Committee stage day in the House, there was a gap of six weeks. I asked the Lord Privy Seal for an explanation. He hummed and hawed and said, "We had to have informal and formal consultations." I reject that entirely. It would have been possible for the Government to introduce the Committee stage after two weeks, which would have provided ample time for consultation with Conservative Back-Bench Members, Labour Back-Bench Members, the usual channels, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all.
The Government chose not to so so. I do not query why they chose not to do so. It is the Government's prerogative to decide when to bring a Bill to its Committee stage. But as in the normal course of events, they had chosen to start the Committee stage within two weeks of the Second Reading, we could have had one day a week in Committee and we would probably have disposed of the Bill without the need for guillotines or closures.
Some may say that that is wishful thinking, but all the issues could have been explored in that time. I await a proper explanation of this from the Lord Privy Seal. Perhaps the Patronage Secretary was responsible for it. Whoever is responsible has not yet so far given the House an explanation. It is the failure to bring the Bill back to Committee stage that is responsible for the mess that the Government are in now. The Government themselves have wasted five weeks of parliamentary time when they could have brought the Bill before the House.
The Government confidently thought that the Bill could be disposed of in Committee stage, in its entirety, in one parliamentary day. When they made that assumption, there were already 40 amendments on the Amendment Paper. The Chairman of Ways and Means had not yet made his selection, but the Government could have formed some inkling from the authorities of the House of how many groupings there might be. They must have known that there would be a number of serious and controversial debates. How could the Government have imagined that it would be possible to dispose of all those debates in seven or eight hours? They must have been out of their tiny mind. I said to the Lord Privy Seal at Business Questions last week that he had been treating the House with arrogance and contempt. I was thinking not just of the Lord Privy Seal — he happened to be answering Business Questions—but of the Government as a whole and the other Ministers responsible.
Whatever one thinks about the Bill, how could the Government have imagined that such a major constitutional Bill could have been disposed of in its Committee stage in one day of parliamentary time? I do not understand the mentality. Perhaps the Minister who is to reply will be able to tell us.
Furthermore, the Lord Privy Seal and those who advise him, by determining that the Bill should really have been disposed of in one day—and the Lord Privy Seal tells us that two and a half days would be far too long—are making a serious if implied criticism of the Chairman of Ways and Means. In effect, they are saying "We did not expect that, on this Bill which we do not regard as important and which should only have one day of parliamentary time, you would choose nine groups of amendments with the possibility of three clause stand part debates. We had assumed that there would be so little choice in the groups of amendments that we could have disposed of the Bill in one day." It is an implied criticism of the Chairman of Ways and Means that the Government are now saying that much less time should have been given to the Bill than has already been given to it in Committee.
In the form and content of the guillotine motion, the Leader of the House has set a very dangerous precedent. This place works, by and large, on the basis of give and take. Governments know that they will not be Governments for ever. By and large, Oppositions know that they will not be Oppositions for ever. One cannot say that there will not be revolutionary changes in the next decade, but one has every right to assume that that situation will remain as it is.
After the next Election there will be many more Labour Members in the House, and I hope that they will be sitting on the Government Benches. That parliamentary Labour party will be different in temperament and character from the present parliamentary Labour party. That Labour Government will have a contentious and heavy programme of controversial legislation to get through as quickly as possible, and the members of that parliamentary Labour party will seize on this precedent—not the precedent of a guillotine, but the precedent of disposing of an important constitutional Bill under a guillotine at the rate of 16 minutes for each group of amendments. The Government and the Conservative party will live to regret this day. Before it is too late, let them think seriously about what they are doing.
It is with some reluctance that I shall support the Government tonight. My view, having been here only since 1983, is that the Government have brought many of their difficulties on themselves.
Since my arrival here, I have watched the archaic procedures of Parliament snarling up the business that the public would like to see transacted in a more efficient manner. We do not need to be lectured by senior Members of the House who have allowed the whole of their parliamentary careers to pass without paying attention to the way in which we transact our business. They have no right to say, in the twilight of their careers, that it is disgraceful for the Government to move guillotine motions or make the House sit late at night.
That was an ingenious attempt to distort my argument. I recall, for example, an attempt that was made to alter, at any rate for an experimental period, some of the procedures of the House. On that occasion the Government wheeled out the payroll vote to defeat any modification.
We must examine the whole way in which Parliament conducts its business. When people say that the Government or Members of Parliament are out of touch with public opinion, the clearest demonstration that they may be right is for us to continue to transact our business late at night, placing an enormous premium on length rather than on lucidity. For hon. Members to argue at length why there should not he a timetable seems to many people outside to be not only incomprehensible but inefficient.
Is my hon. Friend aware that it is an extraordinary tradition of the House that hon. Members are often allowed to speak the most appalling rubbish while their colleagues sit listening almost without a word of disagreement?
The fact that my hon. Friend has interrupted my remarks twice leads me to believe that he does not consider that I have been talking rubbish.
We must improve our procedures. Hon. Members who have spoken at length in this debate have themselves shown the need for the guillotine. After all, had they spoken briefly and to the point, they would have attracted more support for their views.
That is a long-standing tradition. It is believed that the only weapon a minority has is time and the interminable repetition of points that are fairly easily grasped first time if they are made well. It is a procedure which seems worthy of re-examination. I entirely accept that the discipline of the Whips has become absurdly overextended. The combination of the two reinforces my view.
This Chamber is supposedly the place where Governments are made and unmade, and where Governments can and should be controlled. The fact that they are not is substantially due to two factors. First, because nobody has ever looked hard enough at the number of matters that we are asked to consider, the size of the Executive has been allowed to grow to the point where there is no controlling it. Secondly, we should not have to debate so much administrative and executive detail. The result is that large constitutional issues are not properly addressed.
Far be it from me to level any such charge. I believe strongly that we must take the way we do our business seriously, instead of nearly all the time concentrating on specialist subjects, not coming into the Chamber when our subjects are not being discussed and then complaining when business is slipped passed us by the use of the Whipped vote.
It ill becomes some hon. Members who have already contributed to the debate to complain that what Euro Members do is incomprehensible and not explained sufficiently well to the House, when some of them took part in decisions which excluded the possibility of Euro Members having any space in this building, where they could explain what they were doing. We shall make the EC work by taking pains to understand its extraordinary achievements, whereby free democracies have come together in a form of alliance which has no precedent and which holds the seeds of the future. That is why, reluctantly, I shall support the Government.
If the Bill goes through, and I hope it does not, the hon. Member for Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe) will be more irrelevant in future than he has been tonight.
We are discussing the future of this Parliament and that has not been brought out in the speeches of many hon. Members. I am an internationalist, but political union should not be brought about by stealth and that is what is happening in the Bill. We are being manoeuvred into a situation and one day we will wake up and discover that the importance of the House has been lost to us. That is the issue and we should wake up to it now and do something about it.
I remember the debates on Europe that we had when I was on the Front Bench. We raised the question of the veto and were given plenty of assurances. We were told that there was no need to worry, that the Conservative Government would protect the rights of the Parliament and the people by way of the veto. Because some of us did not believe that, we were told there was no question of the European Assembly becoming a real Parliament and having advanced powers.
Many of us said over the years that, once the European Parliament was in operation, it would automatically insist on getting greater powers. That is what is happening, and stage by stage we can see the political union developing. That is taking place, without a proper debate in the country and without the people really understanding what is happening. That is the issue, and everything else is flapdoodle.
If the hon. Member for Mid-Kent wants to talk about the procedures of the House, he should do so in an appropriate debate and in this debate should not depart from the issues that we are considering. The Leader of the House agreed with my right hon. Friend the Member of Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) that this legislation is of greater constitutional importance.
We must understand what has happened in the past on constitutional matters. There was a great deal of opposition to devolution when we debated it, but in the main most people felt that the measure would go through without any difficulty. Then the issues began to be understood in the country and as the debate went on and people in all parts of the British Isles understood it, there was growing opposition among hon. Members who at first were quite indifferent to devolution. If we had the time properly to discuss these issues, there would be growing opposition to the Bill before the House.
I have sat here the whole evening and I shall speak for five minutes. If the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) does not mind, I shall not give way.
It is vital that the House does not agree with this guillotine motion. A number of hon. Members have outlined, and my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) spoke in detail about, the sort of issues that have still to be discussed.
The hon. Member for Southend. East (Mr. Taylor) pointed out the long list of issues which should be discussed but which will not be discussed properly. I believe that that is absolutely wrong. I ask all hon. Members to vote against the guillotine motion. I do not know whether the Government have been able to get Conservative Members into the Chamber. They have not been able to get them in up until now so that they could close the debate. If they are in the House tonight, I hope that they will put the interests our people first and not allow us to get into a political union by stealth, as is happening now.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your guidance. We are debating the Government's motion and, I understand, the amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend. East (Mr. Taylor). Does the Chair take note of the names of hon. Members on the amendment? Can you give some guidance, Mr. Speaker, to hon. Members? When an examination is made of those hon. Members who are called, it will be found that only——
The hon. Member knows—it is at the discretion of the Chair—that in such a debate a balance must be struck. In that it is true that some hon. Members who support the various motions that I have selected on the Order Paper have been called tonight, as have some hon. Members who are against the amendments in their entirety.
This guillotine motion
is no ordinary guillotine. The House faces a major constitutional innovation with far-reaching ramifications that are hard to predict, and that may take years, and even decades, to develop. Therefore it behoves us to proceed with more care and caution and to take more time before reaching a final conclusion."— [Official Report, 22 February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 1253.]
Those are not my words. They are the words of the then Leader of the House, the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym), speaking in the debate on the allocation of time for the Scotland and Wales Bill (Allocation of Time) Order on 22 February
1977. It is one of the standard traditions of guillotine debates for hon. and right hon. Members to find that their words are thrown back in their teeth all the time.
This has been an amazing debate. It commenced by an amazing contribution by the Leader of the House. The House looks forward to the right hon. Gentleman's contributions. We hear them increasingly as the Prime Minister tours the world and the right hon. Gentleman stands in at Prime Minister's Question Time. We have come to anticipate with great pleasure the dry humour that he brings to such occasions. Indeed, one might think of him as the "thinking man's Les Dawson". However, the right hon. Gentleman stooped to a fairly low level of humour tonight when he tried to threaten the House with the pain of postponing its summer holidays in order to consider, day after day, the European Communities (Amendment) Bill.
The Leader of the House supervised a delay of six weeks from the Second Reading of the Bill on 23 April to when the Committee stage commenced. The Leader of the House proposed only one closure on all the hours of debate that he catalogued this evening. He was able to muster only 84 Conservative Members at the end of the debate on Friday afternoon. What is being put forward by the right hon. Gentleman is incompetence on a massive scale. It is thinly disguised as a compassion for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen and Ladies, and for the staff of the House. I should like to ask the Leader of the House whether in his heart there really was a feeling of compassion for the staff of the House, whose inconvenience must he considerable as we drone on into the night discussing these and other matters, and why he kept the staff and the rest of us hanging on the end of a string until 2.30 on Friday afternoon before he decided that the debate had reached the stage at which the guillotine had to be invoked.
The Government have mismanaged the Bill. They have mismanaged their timetable and have lost their supporters. They have found themselves in such trouble that on this major constitutional issue we were to be allocated only three hours for the remaining stages.
But of course out of the dark night comes a white charger to rescue the Government. Here comes the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) with the great compromise. I knew the hon. Gentleman when he was just plain Teddy Taylor, shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, the man who, if it were not for the whim of the electorate in Glasgow, Cathcart, would have found himself in the Scottish Office amid the splendours of Bute house, and the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) would be planked here defending the indefensible, as he did for so many long months before he was promoted to Cabinet.
I distinctly heard some Labour Members saying, in words that will not be recorded in Hansard, that this was a dirty deal, a shabby compromise, a sort of sell-out, but I know the hon. Member for Southend, East much better that that. I know that it was simply a pay-off and that somehow, somewhere a deal was done and, undoubtedly, his rewards will be great. Who knows, he might yet be a Government Member, standing at the Dispatch Box defending the next intergovernmental agreement, the next European budget supplement or even the 1·6 per cent. VAT limit after the next meeting of the European Council!
I should like to pay one further tribute to absent friends, among whom I count the whole of the Social Democratic party. We are told that the members of the SDP left the Labour party with one major reason being the fact that they disagreed with our disenchantment with the European Community. They said that it was not good enough for them to be tied in to a party that was so equivocal on Europe. I am glad that the equivocation of the Labour party to which they referred has been so richly repaid by the support that they have given during the passage of the Bill.
Throughout all our hours of deliberation on the Bill we have not seen a single Social Democratic Member, with the sole exception of the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Jenkins), who made an all too fleeting visit to the debate and did not stay long enough to get his own Adjournment debate! I know that the right hon. Gentleman is not sufficiently experienced in the ways of the House to recognise that one gets one's Adjournment debate when the main debate has ended and that sometimes it is a matter of caution to stay until the end of that debate to make sure of one's own debate.
The sole voice of the huge multi-party alliance present during the debates—I pay single tribute to him for his bravery in the face of much opposition—has been the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston). At last, we now discover why they gave him, and only him a knighthood.
The real crunch in the debate is the fact that it was not even necessary. The Bill and the Single European Act were not necessary. It is not I who contend that. On 22 July 1985, the Prime Minister returned from Milan and said:
I saw nothing before us that would require an amendment to the treaty."—[0ffichd Report, 22 July 1985; Vol. 82, c. 189.]
But now we are told by the Leader of the House, no less, that so necessary are the treaty amendments and the Bill that we are going to truncate the debate on a massive and major constitutional Bill on the Floor of the House and telescope it into a tiny fragement of parliamentary time during which it could not possibly be given any scrutiny, let alone the scrutiny that it deserves.
Let us return to the happy days in February 1977 and the allocation of time on the Scotland and Wales Bill which I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) will remember only too well.
As my hon. Friend is dealing with the Leader of the House and the fact that the Leader of the House has brought in the guillotine motion, is my hon. Friend aware that for some strange reason—and we know that the Leader of the House has an anti-Common Market past—his name is not on the Bill that is before us? [Interruption.]
That is an illustration in words which cannot be recorded in theOfficial Report, that the crafty master of procedure who may have made a few mistakes along this road, has not made all the mistakes that he could have made.
The right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East, whose words I used to open my speech, may now have been tipped out into the rubbish can of Prime Ministerial history, but the hon. Member who wound up the debate on the allocation of time for the Scotland and Wales Bill is still in the Cabinet. The right hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards), the Secretary of State for Wales, is a fairly shadowy character. None the less, he said:
This brings us to the central point of our discussions. The sole practical and moral justification for the timetable motion is that it ensures that all aspects of the Bill are adequately debated and all clauses discussed. That was the principal justification for the timetable motion on the European Communities Bill." —(Official Report, 22 February 1977, Vol. 926, c. 1346.]
That Bill was held up as the great example during that debate. I remind the Leader of the House and I do not need to remind my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) that that debate which caused such outraged comments from the Conservative Benches and which led to these distinguished Members making such dreadful comments, was carried out on the basis of an offer of 20 parliamentary days to debate the matter. Yet 20 parliamentary days were not adequate or sufficient for a measure that was going to strike at the heart of the British constitution. However, we are told this evening that even after the great compromise from the depths of Southend, five hours are sufficient to consider the incredible constitutional significance of the Single European Act and the European Communities (Amendment) Bill today.
No, I will not give way. For a brief moment, I thought that when the right hon. Member for Taunton (Sir E. du Cann) was talking about the bad, sad Bill, he had in mind the hon. Member for Tayside, North.
The constitutional importance of the Bill has already been outlined and the need for discussion has already been adequately explored. Right hon. and hon. Members have stated those points with great clarity and they have used a Select Committee report from the House of Lords and one from the House of Commons. Both had Conservative majorities and both were prayed in aid to show the important constitutional implications of the Bill.
I repeat what my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) said from the Front Bench, and the House of Lords Select Committee report sums it up in one sentence:
The powers of the United Kingdom Parliament will he weakened by the Single European Act.
The United Kingdom Parliament will not even have enough time to consider the implications of that incredible statement. There is more than a whiff of humbug from the Government on this motion, hearing in mind all that they have said in the past on the matter. This is simply a facade and a display of complete parliamentary incompetence. In this debate we can detect little conviction or support for the timetable, let alone for the Bill. If the Government had any sense of shame or any consistency, they would withdraw their motion. If, as we expect, they have disregarded their essential sense of honesty, I can only invite the House to vote overwhelming against the motion tonight.
Many right hon. and hon. Members have sought to fight again the accession battles of 1972 — [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish".] I do not underestimate the significance of the treaty change that in turn involves a change to legislation. II there were no changes there would be no need for legislation, but this is only a limited change to the treaties, particularly by comparison with the changes to our law which were required when we entered the Community 13 years ago.
There is, too, the practical advantage of these changes. I remind the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) and the House that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, in relation to the meeting of the European Council on 2 and 3 December 1985, that those changes marked
an important step towards enabling this country to realise more fully the benefits of our membership of the European Community."—[Official Report, 5 December 1985; Vol. 88, c. 430.]
In the last 18 or so hours of debate so far on the Committee stage of the Bill we have covered three groups of amendments and have just begun a fourth group. On two of the issues—the court of the first instance and the internal market—the arguments put in Committee have been less about the significance of the changes that are now to be made than about the powers set out in the original Community treaties to which this nation acceded 14 years ago.
The way in which some hon. Members have spoken tonight makes it hard to believe that those hours were spent in Committee, and that the Committee stage had been preceded by a total of 10 hours of discussion in debates in the House on 5 March and during Second Reading on 23 April. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) said in the course of his speech on the Single European Act on 16 June that there were few "excessive Europeans" in the House. Most hon. Members would agree with him.
I do not for one moment suggest that the few anti-Europeans are obsessive either, but I dispute whether over the past few weeks we have not heard from some hon. Members frequently, and at considerable length —sometimes rather repetitively.
The hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Deakins) was clearly embarrassed by the poor attendance the other night on the Opposition Benches. He decided to make good the default by making all the speeches of his colleagues for them. He spoke for an hour and a half on the subject of the internal market— —
I apologise if I missed the odd minute and added it up wrongly, but the hon. Gentleman did not stay to vote for his amendment. Indeed, not one Labour vote was cast in favour of the amendment for which Labour Members had spoken for several hours in relation to the internal market. I hardly think that those hon. Members who have, between them, occupied nearly half of the 17 or so hours of debate in Committee can complain if the remaining amendments are taken somewhat more briskly.
Is the Minister aware that two Labour Members, including me, acted as Tellers in order to cause that Division? We did so, not to see how many hon. Members voted, but to prove to everyone something that has been demonstrated again tonight — that the Government had only 84 hon. Members there, which was not enough to force the closure. That is why my hon. Friends did not go into the Lobby, but I and one of my hon. Friends were there as Tellers.
The selection list shows that the Question was put on amendment No. 5, which was something of a derogation. Most of the debate was on amendment No. 15, which has yet to be voted on. It would therefore have been inappropriate for hon. Members to vote effectively against a derogation.
The hon. Gentleman knows the principle that I have in mind. After a very long and detailed debate, only two Labour Members were left.
The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), rightly in his view, said that the guillotine was wrong, but he also believed that the Government should have moved closure motions. I have heard many hon. Members say that, but it came as no surprise to right hon. and hon. Members that the Government sought to give a second and third day of debate to the Bill last Thursday and Friday so that the groups of amendments on which debate began on 16 June could be discussed.
There are many occasions on which the House uses the usual channels successfully. Sometimes, even more unusual channels are used. The Government proceed on the basis of all the information that is available to them, and that is what the Government sought to do on this Bill. They felt that it was right to try to meet the wishes that had been expressed. I recognise the wish of my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East that there should be a sensibly timed debate, but it was clear that progress was not being made. One only has to look at the statistics to see what progress had been made.
I do not know how long my hon. Friend has been speaking, but she has been looking backwards all the time. Perhaps she could dignify the House by looking forward. Under my hon. Friend's amendment, there will be a total of five hours of debate. Assuming that every issue is voted upon, and assuming also that the Front Benches take 15 minutes between them on each debate, how long will that leave for Back Benchers?
If my hon. Friend intervenes a litte less frequently than he did in some of our previous debates, I shall do my very best to ensure that he is allotted the maximum amount of time.
There were over four hours of debate on the first amendment, which related to the limited issue of the court of first instance. On that occasion the Government majority was 83. There were over two and a half hours of debate on the second amendment, which related to cooperation between the Council of Ministers and the name of the European Parliament. On that occasion the Government majority was 70. We spent over eight hours on the amendment that related to the internal market. The hon. Member for Walthamstow took up over one and a quarter hours of that debate, while the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) took up about 35 minutes, the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) over 40 minutes, the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) about 30 minutes and the hon. Member for Bolsover about 30 minutes. There were also other speakers. The majority for the Government after that debate was 80. The only votes against the Government were, as the hon. Member for Bolsover said, those of four Conservative Members. It is interesting to note how many hon. Members were in the House to vote for issues about which they have argued so loudly tonight.
The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney referred to the veto and the Luxembourg compromise. I hope that he will hold neither me nor this Government responsible for what was said to the people of this country by the Government of which he was a member. He said today that the Luxembourg compromise has always been applicable to articles where majority voting applies. Its role is in no way changed by the Single European Act. In any case, it is not the Luxembourg compromise on which we have relied to safeguard our interests. Where we need to retain unanimity we have done so, and where we need national safeguards we have secured them, too.
The right hon. Gentleman also implied that the role of the Council is to be changed by the new co-operation procedure with the European Parliament. The hon. Member for Newham, South agreed with him, yet it was the Committee that was chaired by the hon. Member for Newham, South that reported to the House:
At the end of the day the European Parliament still has no power to insist and the last word remains with the
Why does the hon. Lady set her judgment about the effect of these changes in the Bill on the veto against the considered judgment of the Select Committee of this House and the Select Committee of the other place? Why does she think that she is right and they are wrong?
I have never said that I am right and that they are wrong. I have quoted words that are contained in a report of a Select Committee that was chaired by the hon. Member for Newham, South, and I have done no more than agree with its findings.
During the Committee proceedings last week several hon. Members referred to the public hanging on to every word because they wanted to know whether they could go peacefully to bed or whether they should man the barricades. All I can say is that the public have had to hang on for a very long time. I believe firmly that the people of this country want Britain to make a success of its membership of the Community. The Community is valued and the role that we are playing in the Community in reinforcing peace, stability and democracy is a vital one. The people of this country value the role that the Community can play as a bridge between East and West. They want the Community to make a difference to prosperity and jobs.
The Bill is not about a diminution of the powers of this Parliament. It is about getting more from our membership of the Community. I repeat the words that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister used in December 1985. She said that the changes were
an important step towards enabling this country to realise more fully the benefits of our membership of the European Community."—[Official Report, 5 December 1985; Vol. 88, c. 430.]
That is exactly what we shall achieve from the improved voting on the internal market and from the initiatives that we are taking. The public are not impressed when we sit here night after night raking through the tepid embers of past battles. They want Parliament to get on with the job. That is exactly what we seek to do.
Perhaps it is the only time that I may say this on this Bill, but on this occasion may I urge the House to support the amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East, which provides a sensible way forward at this stage of the Bill.
|Division No. 239]||[1.25 am|
|Alexander, Richard||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)|
|Amess, David||Emery, Sir Peter|
|Ancram, Michael||Evennett, David|
|Arnold, Tom||Eyre, Sir Reginald|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Fairbairn, Nicholas|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Fallon, Michael|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Farr, Sir John|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Favell, Anthony|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Fletcher, Alexander|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Baldry, Tony||Forman, Nigel|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Fox, Sir Marcus|
|Bellingham, Henry||Franks, Cecil|
|Bendall, Vivian||Fraser, Peter (Angus East)|
|Benyon, William||Freeman, Roger|
|Best, Keith||Fry, Peter|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Gale, Roger|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Galley, Roy|
|Blackburn, John||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Bottomley, Peter||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Gorst, John|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Gow, Ian|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Bright, Graham||Greenway, Harry|
|Brinton, Tim||Gregory, Conal|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Griffiths, Sir Eldon|
|Browne, John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Grist, Ian|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Grylls, Michael|
|Budgen, Nick||Gummer, Rt Hon John S|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Burt, Alistair||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Butcher, John||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Butterfill, John||Hannam, John|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hargreaves, Kenneth|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)||Harris, David|
|Cash, William||Harvey, Robert|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hayes, J.|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hayward, Robert|
|Chope, Christopher||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Churchill, W. S.||Heddle, John|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)||Henderson, Barry|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Hickmet, Richard|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hicks, Robert|
|Cockeram, Eric||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Colvin, Michael||Hind, Kenneth|
|Coombs, Simon||Hirst, Michael|
|Cope, John||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Couchman, James||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Holt, Richard|
|Critchley, Julian||Hordern, Sir Peter|
|Crouch, David||Howard, Michael|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Dunn, Robert||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Durant, Tony||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Dykes, Hugh||Jackson, Robert|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Jones, Robert (Herts W)||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Key, Robert||Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'field)||Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)|
|Knight, Greg (Derby N)||Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Knowles, Michael||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Knox, David||Rost, Peter|
|Lamont, Rt Hon Norman||Rowe, Andrew|
|Lang, Ian||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Latham, Michael||Ryder, Richard|
|Lawler, Geoffrey||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Lester, Jim||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lilley, Peter||Shersby, Michael|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Silvester, Fred|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Sims, Roger|
|Lord, Michael||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|McCrindle, Robert||Speed, Keith|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Spencer, Derek|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Squire, Robin|
|MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Stanley, Rt Hon John|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)||Steen, Anthony|
|Malins, Humfrey||Stern, Michael|
|Maples, John||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Marland, Paul||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mates, Michael||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Mather, Carol||Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Sumberg, David|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Mayhew, Sir Patrick||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Mellor, David||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Merchant, Piers||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Mills, Iain (Meriden)||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Tracey, Richard|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Trippier, David|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Neale, Gerrard||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Nelson, Anthony||Viggers, Peter|
|Neubert, Michael||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Newton, Tony||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Walden, George|
|Norris, Steven||Walker, Bill (T'side N)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Waller, Gary|
|Ottaway, Richard||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||Watson, John|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Watts, John|
|Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abgdn)||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Pattie, Geoffrey||Wheeler, John|
|Pawsey, James||Whitfield, John|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Whitney, Raymond|
|Pollock, Alexander||Wolfson, Mark|
|Porter, Barry||Wood, Timothy|
|Portillo, Michael||Yeo, Tim|
|Powley, John||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Price, Sir David||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis|
|Raffan, Keith||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Mr. Teddy Taylor and|
|Rathbone, Tim||Mr. Jonathan Aitken.|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Janner, Hon Greville|
|Alton, David||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Ashton. Joe||Lambie, David|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Lamond, James|
|Barnett, Guy||Leighton, Ronald|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Beith, A. J.||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Bell, Stuart||Litherland, Robert|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Bermingham, Gerald||McCartney, Hugh|
|Bidwell, Sydney||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Blair, Anthony||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||McKelvey, William|
|Boyes, Roland||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||McTaggart, Robert|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Madden, Max|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)||Marek, Dr John|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Marlow, Antony|
|Caborn, Richard||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Maxton, John|
|Campbell, Ian||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Canavan, Dennis||Meacher, Michael|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Clarke, Thomas||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Clay, Robert||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Clelland, David Gordon||Nellist, David|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)||O'Brien, William|
|Cohen, Harry||O'Neill, Martin|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||Park, George|
|Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)||Patchett, Terry|
|Corbett, Robin||Pendry, Tom|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Pike, Peter|
|Craigen, J. M.||Powell, Rt Hon J. E.|
|Crowther, Stan||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Randall, Stuart|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)||Raynsford, Nick|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I)||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Deakins, Eric||Robertson, George|
|Dewar, Donald||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Dixon, Donald||Rogers, Allan|
|Dormand, Jack||Rowlands, Ted|
|Douglas, Dick||Sheerman, Barry|
|Dubs, Alfred||Sheldon, Rt Hon R.|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Eastham, Ken||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Smith, C.(lsl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Fisher, Mark||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Flannery, Martin||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Soley, Clive|
|Forrester, John||Spearing, Nigel|
|Foster, Derek||Strang, Gavin|
|Foulkes, George||Straw, Jack|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Garrett, W. E.||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|George, Bruce||Tinn, James|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Wallace, James|
|Gould, Bryan||Warden, Gareth (Gower)|
|Hamilton, James (M'well N)||Wareing, Robert|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||White, James|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Winnick, David|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Woodall, Alec|
|Hogg,'N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)|
|Home Robertson, John||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Mr. John McWilliam and|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport East)||Mr. Derek Fatchett.|
|Division No. 240]||[1.40 am|
|Alexander, Richard||Franks, Cecil|
|Amess, David||Fraser, Peter (Angus East)|
|Ancram, Michael||Freeman, Roger|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Gale, Roger|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Galley, Roy|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Baldry, Tony||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Batiste, Spencer||Gorst, John|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Gow, Ian|
|Bellingham, Henry||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Bendall, Vivian||Greenway, Harry|
|Best, Keith||Gregory, Conal|
|Bitien, Rt Hon John||Griffiths, Sir Eldon|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Blackburn, John||Grist, Ian|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Grylls, Michael|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Gummer, Rt Hon John S|
|Bottomley, Peter||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Hannam, John|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Hargreaves, Kenneth|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Harris, David|
|Bright, Graham||Harvey, Robert|
|Brinton, Tim||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Hayes, J.|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Hayward, Robert|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Heddle, John|
|Burt. Alistair||Henderson, Barry|
|Butcher, John||Hickmet, Richard|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Hicks, Robert|
|Butterfill, John||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hind, Kenneth|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)||Hirst, Michael|
|Cash, William||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Holt, Richard|
|Chapman, Sydney||Howard, Michael|
|Chope, Christopher||Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)|
|Cockeram, Eric||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Colvin, Michael||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Coombs, Simon||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Cope, John||Jackson, Robert|
|Couchman, James||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Crouch, David||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Jones, Robert (Herts W)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Key, Robert|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||King, Roger (B'ham N field)|
|Dunn, Robert||Knight, Greg (Derby N)|
|Durant, Tony||Knowles, Michael|
|Dykes, Hugh||Knox, David|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Lang, Ian|
|Evennett, David||Latham, Michael|
|Eyre, Sir Reginald||Lawler, Geoffrey|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Fallon, Michael||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Favell, Anthony||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Fletcher, Alexander||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Forman, Nigel||Lester, Jim|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Lilley, Peter|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Lord, Michael||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Ryder, Richard|
|McCrindle, Robert||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Shersby, Michael|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)||Silvester, Fred|
|Malins, Humfrey||Sims, Roger|
|Maples, John||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Marland, Paul||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Mates, Michael||Speed, Keith|
|Mather, Carol||Spencer, Derek|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Squire, Robin|
|Mayhew, Sir Patrick||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Mellor, David||Stanley, Rt Hon John|
|Merchant, Piers||Steen, Anthony|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Stern, Michael|
|Mills, Iain (Meriden)||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Sumberg, David|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Neale, Gerrard||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Nelson, Anthony||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Newton, Tony||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Thurnham, Peter|
|Norris, Steven||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Tracey, Richard|
|Ottaway, Richard||Trippier, David|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abgdn)||Viggers, Peter|
|Pattie. Geoffrey||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Pawsey, James||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Walden, George|
|Pollock, Alexander||Walker, Bill (T'side N)|
|Porter, Barry||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Portillo, Michael||Waller, Gary|
|Powley, John||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Price, Sir David||Warren, Kenneth|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Watson, John|
|Raffan, Keith||Watts, John|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Rathbone, Tim||Wheeler, John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Whitfield, John|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Whitney, Raymond|
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas||Wolfson, Mark|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Wood, Timothy|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm||Yeo, Tim|
|Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Rost, Peter||Mr. Michael Neubert and|
|Rowe, Andrew||Mr. Tim Sainsbury.|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Blair, Anthony|
|Alton, David||Boothroyd, Miss Betty|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Boyes, Roland|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Bray, Dr Jeremy|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)|
|Barnett, Guy||Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Caborn, Richard|
|Beith, A. J.||Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)|
|Bell, Stuart||Campbell, Ian|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Canavan, Dennis|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Clarke, Thomas|
|Clay, Robert||McCartney, Hugh|
|Clelland, David Gordon||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)||McKelvey, William|
|Cohen, Harry||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||McTaggart, Robert|
|Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)||Madden, Max|
|Corbett, Robin||Marek, Dr John|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Marlow, Antony|
|Craigen, J. M.||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Crowther, Stan||Maxton, John|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Maynard, Miss. Joan|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)||Meacher, Michael|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I)||Mil Ian, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Deakins, Eric||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Dewar, Donald||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Dormand, Jack||Nellist, David|
|Douglas, Dick||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Dubs, Alfred||O'Brien, William|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward||O'Neill, Martin|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Park, George|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Patchett, Terry|
|Eastham, Ken||Pendry. Tom|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Pike, Peter|
|Farr, Sir John||Powell, Rt Hon J. E.|
|Fatchett, Derek||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Randall, Stuart|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Raynsford, Nick|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Fisher, Mark||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Flannery, Martin||Robertson, George|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Forrester, John||Rogers, Allan|
|Foster, Derek||Rowlands, Ted|
|Foulkes, George||Sheerman, Barry|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Sheldon, Rt Hon R.|
|Fry, Peter||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Garrett, W. E.||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|George, Bruce||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Gould, Bryan||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hamilton, James (M'well N)||Smith, C.(lsl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Soley, Clive|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Spearing, Nigel|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Strang, Gavin|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Straw, Jack|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Home Robertson, John||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Tinn, James|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport East)||Wallace, James|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Wareing, Robert|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||White, James|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Lambie, David||Winnick, David|
|Lamond, James||Woodall, Alec|
|Leighton, Ronald||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Lewis, Terence (Worsley)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Litherland, Robert||Mr. Don Dixon and|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Mr. John McWilliam.|
Committee, Report and Third Reading: time allotted for proceedings
1. Paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings, but the proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion at such times after the start as are shown in the following Table ("the start" for this purpose being the time when the House next resolves itself into a Committee on the Bill):
|Proceedings||Time for conclusion of proceedings|
|Amendment No. 7||1 hour|
|Amendment No. 9||2 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 11 and 14||3 hours|
|Amendments Nos. 47 and 22, the remainder of Clause No. 1, Clause No. 2, and Clause No. 3 to the end of subsection (3).||4 hours|
|Amendment No. 46 and remaining proceedings in Committee and on consideration and Third Reading||5 hours|
8. For the purpose of bringing any proceedings on the Bill to a conclusion in pursuance of this Order the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others)—
9. — (1) The proceedings on any Motion made in the House by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.
(2) If on the day on which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order the House is adjourned, or the siting is suspended, before that time no notice shall he required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.