Was it not always crazy to try to create a standardised European plug, as some people advocated? Does my hon. Friend therefore agree that what happened was a massive victory for common sense? Is it not rather disquieting that the officials who attended the meeting that made the recommendation were enjoined not to talk about their discussions? Should not such decisions be made in a way that enables us to approve of or criticise them openly?
As my hon. Friend says, this is a victory for common sense. Although the idea of harmonising plugs on electric appliances so that people can plug in their Hoover in Calais as well as in Dover seems to offer some advantages, the costs of achieving such a vast benefit outweigh it. I congratulate CENELEC on reaching its decision.
CENELEC decided that it would not publish the reasons and records behind its votes, but I can indicate to the House that there was a fairly massive majority against introducing any form of harmonisation.
The Minister's reply shows the extent to which he lives in a cocooned world. Any business person who travels to Europe tries to plug in his laptop, recharge his mobile phone and perhaps send a fax, and has to take many different plugs for the various sockets. I am not for one, giant Euro-plug, although I am pro-European, but the Government would clearly like to pull the plug on Europe altogether. There is a serious point, however. We want to allow our businesses to work in Europe; they should be allowed to plug into Europe.
Although I realise that the hon. Gentleman is a rather elderly jet-setting yuppie, I must tell him that the cost of converting some 20 million homes to a harmonised plug and socket regime is a little more than he might calculate.
Will my hon. Friend remind the pseudo-yuppies on the Opposition Benches that, if they insist on taking their mobile computers with them, they can buy an adaptor that will fit any plug in the world? The question asked by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) was as ill informed as most Labour party policy.
Does the Minister realise that it is enough to make a cat laugh to hear the Tories talking about what is happening in the Common Market? The hon. Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale (Sir M. Lennox-Boyd) is one of the people who dragged us into the Common Market. The Tories voted for it in 1971. The Tory Government, under Lady Thatcher, took us through the Single European Act in the 1980s. This Government passed the Bill on Maastricht; Labour voted solidly against it. I am very pleased to hear the sounds coming from my hon. Friends on the Front Bench and others, who are beginning to speak out against the single currency. The Minister wants to be careful when he talks about Labour because, when it comes to the election, it will once again be Labour that will be standing up for British working-class interests.