Treaty of Lisbon (No. 4) — (4th Allotted Day)

Part of Business of the House (Lisbon Treaty) (No. 3) – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 6th February 2008.

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Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:11 pm, 6th February 2008

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to end and to insert instead thereof:

"disapproves of the Government's policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning the single market;
notes that the Treaty proper now contains no reference to undistorted competition as one of the activities of the European Union, and indeed relegates to a protocol any mention of competition that is not distorted, with significant implications for the interpretation of European Union law;
deplores the Government's failure to block this change during the negotiations;
and is concerned that the result could be the revival of protectionism in the European Union wholly contrary to Government policy and damaging to the interest both of the United Kingdom and of the European Union.".

People are rightly angry about many aspects of the Government's handling of the treaty of Lisbon: their incompetence in negotiating on Britain's behalf; the casual way in which Britain's self-interest has been abandoned by those charged with protecting it; and above all, the breach of trust with the British people in refusing to hold the promised referendum. However, amid the concerns about the impact of the treaty on matters such as foreign and security policy, justice and migration, relatively little attention has been paid to the way in which one of the best and most successful elements of the European structure has been consciously relegated to the sidelines. The purpose of our amendment is to change that.

For 50 years, the creation of what was first called the Common Market, then the single market, and now the internal market, has been at the heart of the European Economic Community and subsequently the European Union. Underlying it was the simple proposition that economic collaboration between the nations of Europe delivers prosperity, and prosperity delivers peace. Now, quite deliberately and with the connivance of the British Government, this treaty downgrades the objective of an open and competitive single market from its place at the heart of the EU's agenda to an obscure protocol tacked on to the back of the treaty, and it undermines at a stroke one of the undoubted successes of the last 50 years, and just about the only bit of the EU structure that enjoys almost universal support.