Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson , Nottingham South 8:45 pm, 4th March 1993

There is a gap between what people's wishes are and what mechanisms the House would have for addressing those policy proposals and changes if that is the direction in which they go. I am simply saying that, before we sign our names to this treaty, we must ask ourselves what checks and controls we would have, so that we could say no to this sort of development once we had signed the Maastricht treaty.

I believe that the presumptions of the Commission and of the European Parliament—and perhaps of the Council of Ministers too, although I have not visited its members —are that we would be moving towards a much more centralised bureaucracy, which will determine the shape of Europe.

The other point that came out of each of the sessions during this visit was in connection with European monetary union. The Commission's assumptions about the role of the bank were all to the effect that European monetary union was a deferred inevitability. The notion of the opt-out was described as the legitimate choice of a passenger choosing to bail out of an aircraft at 10,000 feet without a parachute. Of course we would have that choice, but the question is whether at the time we would believe that only a fool would squander the existing position and take the risk of not taking the next step. That is very similar to the message that we are being given now.

I simply convey to the Committee that these were the messages that were coming back to me as part of that argument.