Cardiff European Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:48 pm on 11th June 1998.

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Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Shadow Secretary of State 5:48 pm, 11th June 1998

I cannot answer that, because I have never had the great privilege of holding that office, but I can approach an answer.

The Foreign Secretary is fond of comparing the Government's attitude to and record on Europe to the attitude and record of their predecessor. An instructive comparison is, indeed, to be made. This was not the first time that the European Parliament voted on a British presidency. The European Parliament was addressed by a Foreign Secretary—Lord Hurd of Westwell—during our last presidency in 1992. Then, too, there was a vote on the UK presidency on the day after the Foreign Secretary addressed the Parliament. Once again, the motion was tabled by Labour MEPs, and it criticised the UK presidency. On that occasion, too, the motion was lost. The European Parliament took a more favourable view of that Conservative presidency than of the current Labour one. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will add that comparison to the list of which he is so proud.