Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson , Hamilton 5:15 pm, 4th March 1993

This amendment is designed only to allow a debate. It is of a probing nature, and it will not be pressed to a vote. The debate is about the institutions that drive and control the European Community, and it goes to the very heart of the Maastricht treaty and its ambition for an economic and monetary union in our continent, balanced by developed political institutions that will ensure that any such union will be responsible not to crude market forces or faceless bureaucrats and bankers but to the people of Europe.

The debate also provides us with vivid evidence of the Government's real failure at Maastricht in December 1991—their abject failure on behalf of the British people to see that by downgrading democracy, accountability and European decentralisation, just as they dismiss and degrade such things at home, they leave it to others to set the agenda and to mould the future decision-making structures of the European Community.

It was in that historic failure to see the central importance of democratic, responsive, open and accountable institutions that the Government sowed the seeds of the present corrosive conflict that lies at the heart of the Conservative party. It is a shambles. There is a rabble that is out of control. The members have not the slightest atom of knowledge of where they will go in Europe or anywhere else. The 1922 Committee will be having its weekly blood bath in just over half an hour's time. The committee was once seen widely in the political world as the praetorian guard of Tory internal discipline. Week by week, it resembles a badly scripted Marx Brothers comedy.