The speech by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) showed a complete lack of observation and interest in what is really going on in the Committee. He made no serious attempt to tackle the real questions which lie at the heart of the provisions that we are supposed to be considering.
The hon. Gentleman blithely and absurdly referred to European institutions as if they are just another piece of paper that does not matter much. He says that the amendments are only probing amendments. My hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) intervened in the hon. Gentleman's speech to say that Labour Members were posturing, but the hon. Gentleman's speech was not so much posturing as imposturing—an attempt merely to probe a matter which goes to the heart of the democracy of the House and of the relationship between the people of this country and their Government. The hon. Member for Hamilton and many of his colleagues make no serious attempt to investigate the basis on which the charade of the Maastricht treaty and the Bill has been constructed, or the deception that lies at its heart.
What is really taking place is a deliberate attempt to drain away the real powers of the House. Attempts—albeit fairly modest—have been made to sustain the overall thrust of a move towards a unitary state, as the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould) said earlier: towards the creation of a European union and the construction of all the framework necessary to achieve that objective.