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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Minister of State (Europe) 9:45 pm, 5th February 2008

I am delighted to have the opportunity to respond to this evening's debate, albeit relatively briefly. I think that we have had a fascinating debate earlier this afternoon and on the amendments before us now.

We have had the chance to hear from my hon. Friend Jon Trickett, and I will seek to find the key to unlock the hidden door a little later in my comments. We also heard from my hon. Friend Rob Marris and my right hon. Friend Ms Hewitt, who have been assiduous in their attendance and intervention in our proceedings on each and every day on which we have considered the Bill.

We also heard from, among others, Mr. Francois, with whom I am enjoying our daily—or nightly—debates. He made a good case in arguing for his amendments in his own terms, but what was missing from his comments was any discussion of what a Conservative Government would do. Once again, he has remained silent on the social chapter. He had the opportunity to put his views on the record, but he chose not to do so. His silence on withdrawal from the social chapter speaks volumes. Of course, he could intervene now to put the record straight. The hon. Gentleman also refused to say whether, in the event of a Conservative victory, a Conservative Government would seek to renegotiate the treaty and remove the charter from it—