Report (1st Day)

Part of European Union Bill – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 8th June 2011.

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Photo of Lord Pearson of Rannoch Lord Pearson of Rannoch UKIP 7:00 pm, 8th June 2011

My Lords, there is another reason to disagree with the amendment. Any Joint Committee composed of Members of your Lordships' House and the other place is bound to be stacked in favour of the Europhiles. In your Lordships' House, we now number some 800 Members, of whom I think only eight are prepared to say, more or less in public, that we should leave the European Union. That compares with some 84 per cent of the British public who want a referendum on whether we stay in the European Union at all-which has nothing to do with the Bill-and more than 50 per cent who believe that we should leave outright. In recent years, I have often pointed out that the composition of your Lordships' Select Committees is skewed in favour of Europhilia, even by the standards of your Lordships' House. I have not made a recent examination of the members of the main European Select Committee or its sub-committees, but I am prepared to bet that not a single member of those committees agrees with at least half the British people, and perhaps only two or three of them could be regarded as vaguely Eurosceptic.

In the House of Commons, some 26 Members have joined the joint Better Off Out group and have voted in a refreshingly Eurosceptic direction on the Bill and other matters. The Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament of course will be stacked by the Whips and will, in the recent tradition of both Houses of Parliament, get wildly out of tune with the British people-something that the Bill is supposed to do something to correct. The amendment goes in entirely the opposite direction and I hope that it will be resisted.