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

I shall allow the Minister to intervene after I have dealt with the serious point that my hon. Friend the Member for Dagenham made, although it is probably more relevant to the next debate on subsidiarity.

I do not believe that the other 11 Community countries intend to create a European super-state, from which they will derogate a few minor powers. There is nothing to suggest that any of them have an interest or desire so to do. They believe that power should be taken to the centre only where it makes sense and is relevant, and that the majority of powers and influence should be retained at national level. That is why the creation of these institutions is so important and why the power of, for instance, the European Parliament is so relevant.

The House believes in its own role. It believes in its own importance in scrutinising legislation, but we have reached a stage, from which even my hon. Friend the Member for Dagenham cannot seek to go back, where decisions are increasingly taken by qualified majority vote in the Council of Ministers. Decisions about laws that will affect British people are taken behind the closed doors of the Council of Ministers and are never scrutinised again by elected representatives of the people. The Maastricht treaty's provisions on the European Parliament seek to correct that.