European Constitution

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 8th July 2003.

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Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 11:30 am, 8th July 2003

The hon. Gentleman is a doughty defender of the fishing interests of his constituents, but he is right to draw attention to the fact that under the constitutional treaty there is a strengthened role for national Parliaments. It is important that they should play a central part.

Let me quote from Hansard:

"It is indispensable to our system of government that Parliament should play its full part in all the important acts of state".—[Hansard, 8 December 1941; Vol. 376, c. 1358.]

That was said by Winston Churchill. In those days, the Conservative party was led by someone who believed in defending the rights of this House, not in surrendering them to the Rothermere press so that it could dictate policy.