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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 Peter Lilley Peter Lilley Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden 6:30 pm, 30th January 2008

I bring the Committee's attention to my interests as declared in the Register. However, I shall draw on neither my experience as director of an oil company nor my experience as an oil analyst in the City, but on my experience as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in the lead-up to the single market. At that time, I urged Britain to take the opportunity that we would be offered by the liberalisation that the single market would bring about. I argued that the common market had given a particular advantage to Germany, whose relative strength was in manufactures, and that the common agricultural policy had given a particular advantage to the French, who had great strength in agriculture. It was our turn now, I suggested: we had a relative strength in services and the privatised utilities, and the liberalising measures in the single market should help us to fulfil that.

Admittedly, in the ensuing 15 years progress has been rather slower than I hoped then, but—along with, I think, the whole of my party—I still believe in the liberalisation of energy markets in Europe. We have no objection to the liberalising provisions that are in the existing treaties and are, to a degree, mirrored in this treaty. We see no point in changing them, and we see no gain in reaffirming or altering them. If we were to stick with existing treaties, we would have all the liberalisation that we would have if we proceeded with this treaty. However, this treaty goes further than that.