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

I do not know how best to advise my hon. Friend. I think that he has more reason to be pleased with the Maastricht treaty than I have. The thrust towards a federal union certainly is in the Maastricht treaty.

I have asked myself the question, as others must: why not have a federal western Europe? If matters currently in the control of our Parliament are being transferred to European institutions, why not give additional power to the European Parliament? I am aware that it has many institutional problems, but does it have the same capacity to develop, change and exercise control and democratic accountability as hon. Members? I rather think not, but —this is the important point—hon. Members are prepared to abide by majority decisions because we all represent the same political community. The community of the United Kingdom gives legitimacy and authority to the laws that are made and passed in Parliament. We accept that that is part of the implicit contract. We are British citizens, and we accept the legitimacy of the laws that are democratically made under due process in our Parliament.

The lie at the heart of the European community is that it is a political community of the same kind when it is riot: we are close, we are allies, we are friends, but we are not part of the same citizenship and involvement that we have and believe in. Because that is the lie at the heart of the Community, Britain should never give up to a majority in the European Parliament the powers that we now exercise in our own Parliament.