I am bound to agree with the hon. Gentleman, because it is a deliberate change of direction. I cannot understand it. It causes me, and, indeed, many other people, considerable concern.
In an article in The Daily Telegraph shortly after the consummation of this marriage, Lord Bethell, who is a member of the European Parliament, set out in an honest way the difficulties which were inherent in that significant shift of position.
Nevertheless, it is an important matter and it goes to the heart of article 138a, considering the importance of the Conservative party to the people in the United Kingdom and those of us who, in terms of this treaty, would regard our position as firmly based on the principles of Conservatism and of the Tory party. In standing up for our constitutional arrangements and for the voters, we do not want to see these powers shifted in the direction to which the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber referred.
Voters will continue to insist on their right, not out of any theoretical, theological or even constitutional approach but simply because the basis on which we are elected represents a practical footing on which we can serve our constituents. When our constituents make decisions, the decisions are truly theirs, as reflected through Members of Parliament in this House and Ministers who form the Government. That will be taken away under stage 2 of economic and monetary union.
Stage 2 will come into effect on 1 January 1994. If the treaty is ratified, it is barely nine months until the provisions take effect. It is precisely for those reasons, and many others, that I object so strongly to the provisions of the treaty.