European Communities (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 20th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:00 pm, 20th November 2001

We all applaud the spirit of self-denial in which the Minister speaks.

It is right and proper that we should focus on the amendments without excluding some of the reasoning—often the great edifice of reasoning—and events that lie behind the proposals in the Nice Treaty and the wish of the amendment that they might disapply in our own legislation.

What we have established from the short debate is that while our amendment is unlikely to change anything very much, neither will the provision. This therefore is change for change's sake. In addition, Article 248 states:

"The Court of Auditors shall draw up its Rules of Procedure. Those rules shall require the approval of the Council, acting by a qualified majority".

That change is in heavy type. So there, too, is a tiny grandmother's footstep forward in directions as regards which we are right to be on our guard. Bearing in mind the need to make progress and that this is perhaps not a central provision either way, although there are questions left hanging in the air—Why bother? Why do it? Why sign up to it?—I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.