HC Deb 29 July 1971 vol 822 cc775-7
Q1. Mr. Golding

asked the Prime Minister whether he will take special steps to ascertain the views of the electors in constituencies unrepresented in the House of Commons at the time of the decision on entry to the European Economic Community.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

No, Sir.

Mr. Golding

Is the Prime Minister aware that the people of Macclesfield are anxious to elect an anti-Common Market Member of Parliament? Is the Prime Minister also aware that in the absence of a referendum or general election, every constituency in this country will be expecting to be represented in the House of Commons during October?

The Prime Minister

I am glad of the hon. Gentleman's realistic appreciation that the seat will return a Conservative Member—and as for his views, he had better wait to hear what they are. As far as the other seats are concerned, two were held by the Labour Party, and the responsibility for moving the Writs does not lie with me.

Mr. Tom Boardman

Does not the result of the public opinion poll published today, showing that 45 per cent. of the electorate sounded are in favour of entry, against 42 per cent. not in favour, show that the electorate are responding to responsible leadership?

The Prime Minister

I thank my hon. Friend for that information.

Mr. Raphael Tuck

In view of the fact that not the Prime Minister, nor his Government, nor this Parliament, have any mandate whatever from the British people, who in every area are against entry into the Common Market, and as he himself said at the general election that the only commitment was to negotiate, how has the Prime Minister the face to state that a vote of this Parliament, whether with writs or no writs, will reflect the full-hearted support of the British people, without which he himself said— [Interruption.]—he himself said—he him self said—

Mr. Speaker

That is the third or fourth time and is tedious repetition.

Mr. Raphael Tuck

—entry would be unthinkable? But, of course, that was before the election.

The Prime Minister

It is impossible to commit oneself to the outcome of negotiations before the negotiations have taken place. We said that if the negotiations provided acceptable terms we believed it right to enter the Community. We think that the terms are acceptable and, therefore, we proposed to Parliament that we should enter the Community.

Q4. Mr. Eadie

asked the Prime Minister what steps he intends to take to explain the implications of entry into the Common Market to the Scottish people during the summer Recess.

The Prime Minister

I intend to make a number of speeches on this subject during the Recess, which will cover the implications for the United Kingdom as a whole, including Scotland.

Mr. Eadie

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his credibility in relation to the people of Scotland is probably at the lowest ebb of any Prime Minister in living memory? How can he come to Scotland and don the mantle of "Mr. Europe" when he already wears the mantle of "Mr. Unemployment"?

The Prime Minister

The people of Scotland recognise from my discussions with them in the past that going into the Community offers great opportunities to them as to well as to England and Wales

Mr. Onslow

On the subject of credibility, will my right hon. Friend confirm that nowhere in the pre-election speeches of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. Harold Wilson) is to be found an indication that, should he have been lucky enough to win the election, and should his Government have succeeded in negotiating terms which he would have had the courage to call acceptable, the next consequence would have been another General Election?

The Prime Minister

I think that is a matter for the right hon. Gentleman to answer.