Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson , Nottingham South 8:30 pm, 4th March 1993

I hope that you, Mr. Morris, and the Committee will bear with me, as I am losing my voice following a visit to Brussels. I might criticise a number of things about that visit, but I cannot claim that it is responsible for my loss of voice. I understand that several other hon. Members are similarly afflicted.

I am particularly keen to speak about this aspect of the treaty. To me, one of the most amazing things to emerge from the visit to Brussels and its institutions was the openness and clarity with which people there see the treaty and understand what they are entering into.

I was struck by a couple of comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson), who talked about decisions that we would still be able to make after signing the Maastricht treaty. He said that we would be able to choose what powers to transfer to a European level. He said that we ought to have the right to decide what degree of sovereignty to cede, and that we should cede only where necessary and desirable. But that is not how the European Commission and the European Parliament see the situation. The question of ceding will be determined the other way round. Issues of subsidiarity will come from the centre—from Brussels and the European Parliament.