Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson , Hamilton 5:30 pm, 4th March 1993

In European debates one must always watch when someone intervenes in order to help. I know that the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) had that intention in mind. I go along with certain elements of what he said and I accept that the Labour party conference took the view that the Maastricht treaty as a whole was better than any of the available alternatives, but I do not go along with everything else that he says. I believe, and I have believed since the beginning of the process, that Parliament has the right and the duty to scrutinise in some detail the crucial issues concerned with that.

Although there are other issues that should be being debated here—the economy is paramount among them —the reality is that Parliament must still take its time over something that will have a direct effect on our future and the future of many people in Europe. I do not denigrate those on either side of the House—I have no intention of falling out with them at this stage, certainly not at this stage in the evening—who have a different view. They are entitled to put it and at the end of the day the votes will dictate the pace.