European Union (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 19th May 2008.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs, Deputy Shadow Leader, Parliament, Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 9:30 pm, 19th May 2008

The previous passerelles were not similar to the one here because the treaty will collapse the Third and Second Pillars into the First Pillar. The noble Lord used the words, "May never be used". Even so, the "never" is not advisable. I advise him and others who think in that mode to read this very fashionable book The Black Swan, the theme of which is that surprises always occur—that things that are not predicted, not in trend and not extrapolated and do not fit the averages always happen and shape the future far more significantly than normal processes. If he does not like that—it is a very good read—he might recall the adage of my noble friend Lady Thatcher, the previous Prime Minister, that the unexpected always happens. Either way, we should be foolish as a legislative Chamber and as a Parliament to assume that because these things have not been used very much in the past and because this is similar in name to previous treaty provisions—although it is not similar in its extent and scope; it is much larger—they may never be used in the future. We should provide that it should be so.