European Commission: National Parliaments

Part of Deregulation Bill (Programme) (No.3) – in the House of Commons at 5:55 pm on 10th March 2015.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 5:55 pm, 10th March 2015

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I would hardly have begun my speech if I were going to go through all the intricacies it might be necessary to cover, but I do not want to upset my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester, who has a serious matter to discuss that concerns my constituency.

The Government must bear in mind that the debate is truncated out of the good nature of members of the European Scrutiny Committee and the Whips scurrying around asking whether we would be kindly. It has not been truncated because there is not a great deal to discuss. When the answer comes back that we are not interested as we do not take the full time, that will be an untruth. I am glad to see that the Minister for Europe is looking in my direction and notes that, because he never says anything other than the truth. I have great confidence in his intellect, if not always in the answers that come from it.

Proportionality and subsidiarity are of considerable importance. I am slightly suspicious of subsidiarity because, as the shadow Minister Mr McFadden has said, it comes from the teaching of the Catholic Church. The holy mother Church, to which I belong, is a great, illustrious and historic institution, but if it is known for one thing other than its piety, it is its centralisation of power. It therefore strikes me that, if subsidiarity has been thought up by the holy mother Church, it is more likely to be to do with reinforcing the authority of the Holy See and of the papacy in particular than with spreading it far and wide. I happen to think that, in the case of the Church, that is a thoroughly good thing.