Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Bethnal Green and Stepney 7:45 pm, 4th March 1993

The strongest case is the environmental one, but I put it to my hon. Friend that there is an entirely unthought-through division, as it were, of responsibilities for environmental matters now in the hands of the Community which should reside in the United Kingdom. We must decide whether we are to have more roads running through the United Kingdom. Similarly, we must determine our policy towards flora and fauna and the protection of them. That is our responsibility, and we should exercise it. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to do so. We should not hand over such powers to a European body.

On the other hand, there must be some shared responsibilities—for example, the regulation of shipping in the channel. I suspect, however, that most of the environmental matters that my hon. Friend and I are concerned about are not for determination by the Community. That is because they are international matters. We must reach out and make major decisions and agreements on the ozone layer and other issues that concern us as citizens of the United Kingdom, of western Europe and of the world. We have a responsibility, and that should influence us. The idea that all these matters should be crammed into or transferred to a European body is nonsensical.