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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 30th January 2008.

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Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner 6:30 pm, 30th January 2008

Sir Michael, the quote is perfectly relevant to the point made by Mr. Shepherd:

"But men may construe things after their fashion,

Clean from the purpose of the things themselves."

That is the essence of the Conservative opposition to the energy section of the amended treaty.

I had got as far as energy security and energy supply, and I asked the Opposition whether they opposed that. I then asked them whether they opposed promoting energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; I presume that they do not. I also asked them whether they opposed the interconnection of energy networks.

Those who follow energy policy, and certainly the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton, will know that at Zeebrugge there is a massive interconnection—the gas comes all the way from Russia. At Zeebrugge, some is sent further into Belgium and to Germany and France—and, of course, to the United Kingdom, but we should not talk too much about that, especially in front of my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South.

What is wrong with interconnection? Why do we think that someone is going to pinch our gas? It is amazing. The treaty states:

"Without prejudice to the application of other provisions of the Treaties, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures necessary to achieve the objectives in paragraph 1."

What is wrong with a supranational umbrella that tries to give directions to the member states of the European Union—as far down as Bulgaria and Romania, by the way? [Interruption.] I have a feeling that my hon. Friend might agree with me on that. We need a common energy policy. I agree with my hon. Friend; of course it would be better for there to be harmony in our approach to all the suppliers. What is wrong with that? I cannot imagine.