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Banking Union and Economic and Monetary Union

Part of Free School Meals (Children Over the Age of 16) – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 6th November 2012.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 4:59 pm, 6th November 2012

Indeed it is. The point I am making very clearly—perhaps not clearly enough—is that I think there should be a greater role for national Parliaments.

The Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Stone, was characteristically eagle-eyed and meticulous in his regard for independence when he baulked at the line in my explanatory memorandum that stated that

“there should be further consideration of how we can use national parliaments to enhance legitimacy and oversight.”

He is absolutely right that “use” is not the mot juste and instead I should have said that the authority of national Parliaments should be respected. It was the very independence and rigour of his and the Committee’s scrutiny that I was commending, and anyone who labours under the misapprehension that his Committee can be used does not know him or his colleagues. I will be more exact in future.

When the document was considered in the October Council, the Prime Minister secured an explicit commitment that the final report and road map in December must include concrete proposals to ensure that the single market’s integrity is respected. I look forward to this afternoon’s debate and tell all hon. Members who will participate that their guidance and advice will be taken seriously by the Government as the detailed negotiations on all these matters proceed in Brussels and across capitals in Europe over the weeks and months ahead.