Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash , Stafford 6:15 pm, 4th March 1993

I am sure that it makes good sense from their point of view. The real question is whether it makes good sense in terms of the European Community. I re-endorse my enthusiasm for the European Community as it stands. My concern is that the entire treaty is about improving —or, as the treaty puts it, enhancing—federalism throughout the Community. The treaty seeks to turn what is basically a trading arrangement combined with political co-operation, which I can accept, into an arrangement that is based on a massive increase in the transfer of governmental power. I do not believe that it is in the interests of the European Community to pretend that we can increase the powers of the European Parliament in the ways that are intended. That is practising a deception on the people of Europe.

We should be creating an enhanced power for the national Parliaments and improving the quality of scrutiny of European legislation in a way that truly reflects the relationship between the voters and the Members of Parliament. The hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman), who, like me, was a member of the Select Committee on European Legislation, knows that perfectly well. The Minister is accountable to the voters and to Members of Parliament as a whole, and thence to the Council of Ministers. To produce an increase in the powers of the European Parliament, which will not work, is practising a deception on the people of Europe. Indeed, such an increase will make even greater the problems that we shall face as Europe falls into greater turmoil, when economic and monetary union and all the other aspirations are seen to have collapsed.

The treaty is perpetrating a fraud on the people of Europe. There is a pretence that the increased powers will fill the democratic deficit; they will not.