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

It is a regular occurrence, but if the hon. Gentleman looks back under previous documents of this kind, he will find that the tone is somewhat different. I want to draw attention to the way in which in this document, under cover of lip service to subsidiarity, those leaders make calls for further moves towards political union.

May we have an assurance from the Minister of State when he winds up the debate that any such calls at Cardiff for further political integration and union will be resisted? May we have an assurance that one last attempt will be made to achieve the goals of the presidency with which, as I said when we last debated these issues six months ago, we substantially agree? May we have an assurance that, this time, the Prime Minister will make a real effort to rescue the United Kingdom presidency from the ignominy into which it has fallen?

The Cardiff summit should be the crowning glory of the UK presidency. Instead, it is likely to be its farewell whimper. I hope that my forebodings are misplaced. I suspect that they will be amply justified.