§ 12.12 a.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Robert Mellish)
I beg to move,That Mr. Guy, Barnett, Miss Betty Boothroyd, Mr. Tam Dalyell, Sir Geoffrey de Freitas, Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, Mr. Tom Ellis, Mr. John Evans, Mr. William Hamilton, Mr. Mark Hughes, Mr. R. C. Mitchell, Mr John Prescott and Mr. Michael Stewart be designated members of the European Parliament:That this Order be a Standing Order of the House.I move the motion briefly in order that hon. Members, the Liberal Party in particular, may express certain views upon it. I am sure that it will meet the convenience of the House if I listen to what hon. Members have to say and seek to reply towards the end of the debate.
§ 12.13 a.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
I beg leave to oppose the motion.
I hope that the events which have just transpired will leave no one in any doubt that my right hon. and hon. Friends feel intense anger and wish to protest strongly at the way in which this matter has been handled, particularly in another place. I hope to refer to the events which have transpired in the expectation that the Chief Whip, who I understand will reply to the debate, will make some comments on them.
This is one of what is apparently to be several stages by which the two Houses of Parliament appoint the full delegation of 36 Parliamentarians who will represent this country at the European Parliament.
Tonight we are being asked to approve 12 hon. Members of this House from the Government side. Therefore, we are being asked to approve a third of the delegation without any indication of the two-thirds, yet unresolved.
We have had certain indications about the other two-thirds of the delegation which I find profoundly disquieting. For this country to decide its delegation to the European Parliament in instalments while the rest of the delegation is shrouded in mystery is a profoundly unsatisfactory way for either House to operate. For the Government to act in this way is contrary to the spirit and 1382 intentions operated to date by at least seven of our partners in the Community.
During the Committee stage of the European Communities Bill on 14th June, 1972, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) moved an amendment to the effect that the list of names of proposed representatives of the Houses of Parliament to the European Parliament should be laid in draft form before Parliament and be subject to the approval of the Commons. The then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) made every effort to meet the wishes of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and said in the debate:If it is the wish of the Committee, the Government are perfectly willing to propose the setting up of a Select Committee to consider the ways in which members could be nominated for the European Assembly. That would provide a full opportunity for views to be expressed and examined. The Select Committee could report to the House, and the report could be debated if the House so wished."—[Official Report, 14th June 1972; Vol. 838, c. 1515].That undertaking was not sufficient for the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and when, on 19th December 1972, this House came to appoint the first delegation to the European Assembly, he said:Not only should we be discussing the actual selection of Members with which this motion is supposed to deal; we should also be discussing the whole nature of the assembly and the way in which any delegation to such a body should be formed and composed. These matters of general principle should have been discussed by the House."—[Official Report, 19th December 1972; Vol. 848, c. 1258]I respectfully agree with everything said by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale.
The only Parliament out of step in this matter in the past was the Conservative Government under the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and no one was more critical of them than the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. I am anxious that the present Government should not fall into the same traps.
The object of the European Assembly is to represent the peoples of Europe. I cannot speak for other minority parties in this House, but I do speak for a party which, whether the House likes it or not, represents 5⅓ million people in this country and, apart from the meetings we have requested, there has been no indication 1383 from the Government about what they have in mind in relation to Liberal representation on the British delegation. It is extraordinary that we should be asked to vote for one-third of the delegation tonight without having any idea of who is to fill the rest of the places.
Because the delegation has to be drawn from both Houses, it is relevant to look at what we are doing here and what is happening in another place. My strictures are almost exclusively for those in another place. I acquit the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr, Mellish) of any discourtesy or unhelpfulness. He is in the position which Lord Greenwood once hypothecated for Lord Butler of promising every form of assistance short of actual help. We hope to remedy that unhappy situation by the end of this debate. But I make no bones about it that the behaviour of the Government in another place has been a plan of deviousness and discourtesy which it would be very difficult to equal.
What is the object of, and what are the purposes which have to be fulfilled in, the European Parliament? We know that there have been many hon. and right hon. Members who have been highly critical of that Parliament. Bearing in mind the number of Labour Members who were anxious at least to be considered for membership of that Parliament we may take it that much of that opposition has evaporated. There are a few—the last of the Mohicans—who still oppose it, and I pay tribute to them for at least not having put their names forward for inclusion.
The position of the European Parliament is as follows, and it is the view of the secretariat of the European Parliament and is based on the experience of those countries which have been represented in that Parliament. The entitlement to representatives is broadly related to populations of the member countries. The number of representatives per delegation is in no case fewer than six. and entitlement is related to the populations.
§ Mr. Thorpe
The hon. Member should not be too critical of Luxembourg. It has a great contribution to make to the Assembly.
The European Movement published its report on the recommendations to which even that leading Gaullist the right hon. Member for Sidcup has now become converted and in which the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) played a leading rôle. In paragraph 16 it said, interpreting the basis upon which that European Parliament, should be elected:The allocation of seats between parties should correspond not to the balance of parties in Westminster but to votes at the previous General Election. This would amount to a 'halfway house' between nomination and a genuine system of direct elections with Proportional Representation.I merely mention that this has been the basis upon which seven of the other eight have filled their allocations. The French have not made efforts so to do and the British cannot be judged, because one of the major parties has not until now taken up its seats. But there is no question that the basis upon which the membership of that European Parliament is made up is reflective of the votes of the people of those countries.
§ Mr. English
I take the right hon. Gentleman's point, but he is surely not saying that this was always so.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am not, and it was because the Italian Government sought to fill all the places with government representatives that there was what was known as the Hondt Convention which indicated that the Parliament should be representative not only of Governments but, broadly, of opposition parties too. I am therefore in entire agreement with the hon. Member and I am grateful to him for reinforcing my case.
Before I proceed further about the delegation to Europe may I remind the House that at the last General Election the Labour Party polled 11,400,000 votes, the Tory Party polled 10,400,000, the Liberal Party 5,300,000, the SNP 890,000, Plaid Cymru 166,000 and the United Ulster Unionist Coalition 605,000. If the membership of the European Parliament were representative of those votes—and 1385 I am not making that claim since we do not have an electoral system which reflects votes accurately—the position would be 15 Labour, 13 Conservative and seven Liberal representatives, and one SNP and, possibly, one UUUC representative in the European Parliament.
§ Mrs. Margaret Bain (Dumbartonshire, East)
Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that in this situation we must look at the national communities within the United Kingdom? If the Scottish National Party polled that number of votes, which indicates 30 per cent, support within Scotland, surely Scotland is entitled to more representatives within Europe than the Liberal Party, which polled only 8 per cent. of the votes in Scotland.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I have always taken the view, following the last election, that the Scottish National Party should be represented in the European Parliament. I have also taken the view that there should be direct elections to the European Parliament, so that there is an opportunity for the people of Wales, of the north-east, of Yorkshire or of the west country to be represented on a territorial basis. If the Labour Party is becoming converted to the idea of consulting the people, I welcome that.
The Liberal Party, which, if I am not being indelicate, polled nearly six times the number of votes polled by the Scottish National Party, is a United Kingdom party, yet it is proposed that the Liberal seats should be cut from two to one. [HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] There is plenty of time. Government supporters should have patience. We have waited long enough for the Labour Party to become converted to Europe.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
The right hon. Gentleman has quoted figures. Does he take cognizance of the fact that although he said that seven of the participating countries are sending their delegations in the manner which he has described—on the ratio of their popular vote in the country—the situation in this country is different? Although the right hon. Gentleman favours proportional representation, Members of Parliament are elected on the basis of single member constituencies. If there is any substance in the argument of having representation 1386 according to the popular vote, why does not the right hon. Gentleman demand, on behalf of the Liberal Party the same number of Members on all the Committees of this House—or do the Members of the Liberal Party not wish to man the Committees?
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. He never loses the common touch. [HON. MEMBERS: "You gave way to him."] It is true that I gave way to the hon. Gentleman. The courtesy shown by the hon. Gentleman overcame me.
I reply in two ways. In this House the number of Members of Parliament has not always been the determining factor. The most recent example was what I might loosely call the "Short money", which was determined on the basis not only of membership in this House but of votes in the country. But Mr. Speaker has a difficult task to perform. Mr. Speaker takes account not merely of the numbers of Members of Parliament but the fact that the Liberal Party is a United Kingdom party. In debates on Scotland the interests of the Scottish National Party are considered. To say that we are merely determining matters upon the outcome of a General Election, in which votes are distorted in terms of seats, is a travesty of the fact.
The hon. Gentleman asked why the Liberals were not represented on every Committee. The Liberal Party represents 5⅓ million people but, with only 13 Members of Parliament, it is fully stretched.
I do not believe that the present electoral system is exclusively the determinant of manning Committees, of being called in the House, of representation at the European Parliament, or of representation in another place. I could give a host of examples. That is one of the few ways in which the official channels seek to redress something of the imbalance of our electoral system in this country.
When in 1973 the initial delegations were appointed, there were 18 Conservative Members, there were 15 Labour places offered—that was thought to be the appropriate number by the Prime Minister of the day—there were two Liberals, and one Independent. The suggestion now put forward is that the 1387 Liberal delegation should be cut from two to one. I use the word "suggestion" advisedly, because at no stage has there been any indication from the Government as to what figure they have in mind.
There have been occasions when I have asked the Government if we could have the matter discussed. One has been received with great courtesy, but there has never been any indication as to the numbers they have in mind. But there have been rumours that the Liberal delegation should be cut from two to one, to celebrate the fact that the party which had six MPs in 1973, and two million votes, now has 13 MPs and five million votes. I do not think this is right. There have been a series of rumours. There has been nothing firm. I am placed in this difficulty and it has been accentuated by the behaviour in another place. My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) is one of the two Liberal delegates in the Assembly. He has served on the Regional Committee and has to date been the sole representative from Scotland. He is also the foreign affairs spokesman of the Liberal Party.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk (Saffron Walden)
Mr. John Brewis served from this House as a representative from Scotland until the last election, and by hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Mr. Corrie) has been a representative for Scotland since then.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman and I accept that point. There have been two representatives from Scotland. I am sorry if I failed to mention his two hon. Friends.
The other delegate has been my noble Friend Lord Gladwyn. Whether the House agrees or disagrees with his views, one can at least claim that he has some considerable distinction. He was the first President of the Security Council of the United Nations. He is a former Ambassador to Paris. He is Vice-President of the first Political Committee, he is the rapporteur of the Defence Resolution which is to be discussed in October, and he is the foreign affairs spokesman of the Liberal group.
Having read reports that it is the Government's intention so to devise the delegation that the Liberals will be cut to 1388 one, with 16 Tories, 18 Labour Members and one from the SNP, I asked whether I might discuss the matter with the Prime Minister. It was obviously confidential. The Prime Minister was courteous and helpful, and sought, I think, to put forward a proposal which, had it been successful, might have resolved this particular problem, but it was not feasible. Since then there has been no word whatsoever from the Government.
On Thursday afternoon my noble Friend the Leader of the Liberal peers, Lord Byers, went to see the Lord Privy Seal, the noble Lord Shepherd, to say that there were rumours that the Government were going to resolve this matter simply by putting down a motion on the Order Paper, and asked whether it would be possible at least to speak to the noble Lord before anything happened. The noble Lord found it impossible to make contact with my noble Friend until nine o'clock the next morning, by which time my noble Friend Lord Gladwyn, and everybody else, had been told on the radio that a delegation of ten was to be appointed—six noble Lords from the Labour benches, and four noble Lords from the Conservative benches. What transpired, therefore, was that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn and the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, were automatically dropped, and the first they heard about it was on the radio.
If we can believe what is in the newspapers—because no one has said anything else about it—there are to be 12 hon. Members from the Labour side, 12 from the Conservative side, one Liberal and one from the SNP, making a total of 26. The fact that there are ten peers means that there will be no vacancies for anybody else.
I find it staggering, first, that we should never have been consulted. The Government simply put down a motion the effect of which was to discharge an existing member of the delegation, without any consultation. I assume that the Government must have consulted the Tory Party, because two Tory Peers were dropped. Unless the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, carried out his axe on the Tory delegation as he did on our own delegation from another place, I assume that the Tory Party was consulted. If it were not, it makes it even worse.
1389 Even on the basis that the Liberal delegation was cut to one, the Government might, as a matter of courtesy, have asked which of our two delegates we wished to retain.
Therefore, I think that this matter has been handled appallingly. The Government have decided simply on numbers. They have been close. They have not told anyone what they have decided. They have simply used the Order Paper in another place to announce which delegate they will drop.
I say to the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) may not like it, but there is a queue of Labour Members who are crawling to get into the European Parliament. There is a queue of 50 Labour Members seeking to get in. The hon. Gentleman may not be on the list. But there are 50 who, having said that it is the most appalling disease, are trying to get inoculated with it as soon as possible.
There would be no British delegation in the European Parliament if it had not been for the Liberal vote in this House on the European Communities Bill when the Tories were in power, and this Government would not have got a majority in the House approving the renegotiated terms if it had not been for the Tory and Liberal votes, and they know it.
We Liberals happen to mind about Europe. Unlike some in this House, we happen to have been totally consistent from the beginning. I think that I am the only Member of this House to have been attacked physically on the issue of Europe. One of my hon. Friends was spat at by one hon. Lady in the Labour Party for whom one might find a charitable explanation.
All that I say is that it is an outrage that, when the European Parliament seeks to represent the peoples of Europe, this is the moment when the Government, without consultation, take the representation of one of the minority parties in this country and cut it in half and, what is more, decide which one to jettison.
§ Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe)
I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would mind repeating what he said just now? Am I right in thinking that he said that there was a queue of 50 Labour 1390 Members wishing "to crawl into Europe"?
§ Mr. Thorpe
The hon. Lady is wholly correct in that, following the referendum in which a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party expressed themselves against the concept of Britain's continued membership of the European Community because they opposed all that it stood for, they opposed the European Assembly as being parasites, as being a talking shop and as being an expensive luxury, the Government had no difficulty in finding 50 hon. Ladies and hon. Gentlemen overnight who were queueing up to be part of the Labour delegation. If the hon. Lady asks whether I believe that the word "crawling" is the proper verb, may I say that it was the verb which I chose to use, and that I do not seek to retract it.
§ Mrs. Dunwoody
Would the right hon. Gentleman not accept that it is not for his party to take upon themselves the honour of deciding who shall represent the British people in an assembly that is not an elected assembly? He must accept that those who have different views still represent a good many people in this Island and will continue to speak their minds without needing to crawl anywhere.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I would prefer that no one in this House decided who represented us in Europe. I should prefer the British people to decide it by direct elections. I hope that by 1978 we shall have direct elections, as the hon. Lady will discover.
The hon. Lady is saying that there will be people on that delegation who are opposed to the concept of Europe, that they are entitled to be there and that they will make their views heard. I entirely agree. There are 5⅓ million people who voted Liberal and they, equally, are entitled to be heard and represented in that Parliament. I am not even asking that they should be represented in proportion to the vote which we got, which would entitle us to seven seats. I am merely saying that having polled 2 million votes, having six Members of Parliament and having been represented by two Members—one from this House and one from another place—I believe that it would be manifestly unfair for that allocation to be cut. With 13 MPs and 5⅓ 1391 million votes behind us, I believe that I can carry the hon. Lady with me in saying that that is a reasonable assertion.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)
Is it in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the right hon. Member for some obscure constituency in Devon to describe Labour Members as crawling into Europe and to imply that some of us actually applied to go to the European Parliament although we made no such application? Nor have we made any application to London and Counties Securities Ltd.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. George Thomas)
The right hon. Gentleman takes responsibility for his own speech, but I have heard many worse expressions than "crawling".
§ Mr. Thorpe
If I have in any way offended the well-known sensibilities of the hon. Gentleman, of course I express my condolences. If his contempt for my constituency is such as he has indicated, it may explain why the Labour Party so often loses its deposit.
In case the hon. Gentleman did not hear, I expressly excluded him from the list of those who queued up to go to Europe because I know that there is no keener or more forthright supporter of the manifesto than the hon. Gentleman and I know that he is not among those who wish to go to Europe. Indeed, I should have been profoundly surprised if he were.
I hope that the Government will realise that in this House there are not two parties but six. Apart from the two major parties, the other four parties represent 7 million people in this country. They are entitled to be consulted. The irony of this situation is that the way in which the Liberal Party is being treated comes at the precise moment when this country, having joyfully welcomed the somersault of 1962 from this side, has welcomed the somersault of 1974 from that side. At last the Labour Party has confirmed its membership of the Community, which I welcome.
I want our delegation to be representative of the people of this country and I do not believe that the way in which the Government are carving it up—no doubt with talks with the Opposition—is the way to go about it.
1392 There is much to look at in the figures which the right hon. Member for Sidcup thought to be the correct apportionment between the Government, the Opposition and the minorities, and that might well be a starter for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Whip. I agree with the Secretary of State for Employment that this is a matter on which we should appoint a Select Committee.
To have one-third of the delegation appointed from this House, for the Labour peers to put in a list of Members who they think might get in and then to see what is left over and sweep up the bits is not the way in which the Government and Parliament should appoint their representatives to the European Assembly. It must be representative of the people.
For that reason I hope that the Government will consider taking the advice of the Secretary of State for Employment and set up a Select Committee. If they do that at least they will approach the problem as good Europeans—which I hope they are now intending to be—and prevent a grave injustice not only to the Liberal Party but to the principles upon which the members of the European Assembly are empanelled. For these reasons I protest at the way the Government have behaved, particularly in another place, and I look to the right hon. Gentleman to see that justice is done.
§ 12.46 a.m.
§ Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North-West)
The theme of the debate is parliamentary democracy, and I do not apologise for detaining my hon. Friends for a few minutes in pursuing that subject. The importance of the theme is illustrated by the presence in large numbers of my hon. Friends and, indeed, of the Liberal Party, but I find it contemptible that so few Tories have turned up to discuss a matter which should be of as much importance to them as it is to the rest of us.
I declare a negative interest in this subject. I am not one of those who submitted his name for inclusion in the list of delegates to Strasbourg, and I can therefore take a clinical interest in the subject. At the same time, I have a great deal of sympathy for the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) in his 1393 indignation at having had his delegation cut by 50 per cent. After all, the cut was made as a result of a process of consultative patronage.
The essence of the nomination of delegates to Strasbourg is laid down in Article 138(1) of the Treaty of Rome, which states:delegates who shall be designated by the respective Parliaments from among their members in accordance with the procedure laid down by each Member State.The significance of that Article of the Treaty of Rome is that the nomination of delegates should be a matter for Parliaments and not for Governments. In other words, the less the patronage involved in the nomination of members the greater the degree of democracy that is achieved.
§ Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)
The hon. Gentleman spoke of the procedure to be followed by the nominating country. Will he explain the procedure to a simpleminded person like myself? Some of us know our limitations and are prepared to admit them. Others pretend to have qualities that they do not have. We are talking not about how many Members shall go to Strasbourg but the procedure to be followed to determine that number. One of our major concerns is that no procedure is laid down.
§ Mr. Edelman
It is for the Chief Whip to reply to that question. I found a formula for it when I referred to a system of consultative patronage, which is the way in which this delegation has emerged.
In reply to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the nature of the delegation, I say at once that the delegation which has emerged and which is named on the Order Paper is an admirable one. It covers a broad spectrum of attitudes and ideas about Europe. I find it in no sense a disadvantage that among those listed there are men and women who have been opposed to the European idea. The remarkable thing is that the air and hospitality of Strasbourg have a rapidly Europeanising effect. It is extraordinary how many delegates who arrive at the Council of Europe, for example, as bitter anti-Europeans return enthusiastically European.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I have not sought to criticise the individual members of the delegation. That is not for me to do. I 1394 have said how extraordinary it was that there was a very long queue—[HON. MEMBERS: "Crawlers."]—Yes, crawling indeed. Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that it is very odd to appoint a delegation of 36 by instalments? That is all that I am saying.
§ Mr. Edelman
Let us deal first with the nature of the delegation. Whilst presumably a considerable number of the 47 applicants for membership of the delegation were anti-Marketeers, I see no reason why they should not seek to present their views and attitudes at Strasbourg, especially in a post-referendum climate. I see nothing dishonourable in such hon. Members proposing themselves for inclusion in the delegation. I am sure that out of the general discussion there will emerge a synthesis of opinion which can only redound to the honour and wisdom of the British delegation.
I have been for many years a pro-Marketeer, but I hope that after tonight no more base motives will be imputed to those who took an anti-Market point of view.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
Does my hon. Friend agree that what the Liberals have been arguing tonight is that it is quite all right for them to use a political system of which they strongly disapprove in order to enter this Parliament but they do not allow such liberalism to other people to join an organisation approved by the people but which some were not in favour of? Hence we have had from the Leader of the Liberal Party views reaching almost the pinnacle of hypocrisy.
§ Mr. Edelman
It is not my purpose to accuse the Leader of the Liberal Party of hypocrisy. On the contrary, if the composition of the delegation to Strasbourg were determined by honourable consistency in support of the European idea, in the face of much opposition, the Liberal Party and its leader would be entitled to a much larger representation than they have. I am obliged to concede that, in fairness.
But I was astonished that the right hon. Gentleman deployed an argument ad hominem. One of his major arguments was in favour of Lord Gladwyn, a most distinguished European, whose honours were listed by the right hon. Gentleman. 1395 Lord Gladwyn has consistently fought for the Common Market. His ideas on Europe have become the common currency of discussion throughout Europe. Yet the argument that any individual may be indispensable was long ago refuted by M. Clemenceau, when he said that the cemeteries were full of indispensable men. That argument could well be applied to any individual whose case was argued in the House. The matter cannot be resolved by arguing the merit of any individual, however distinguished.
The fact is that the real matter which we should consider is not so much what the merits or even the demerits of individuals may be, but what is the method of selection. That is ultimately the matter that must be decided.
If I could attract the attention of my right hon. Friend the Government Chief Whip, I should like to turn to one aspect of that matter. In these matters of selection and patronage, we ought to consider the democratic or anti-democratic nature, for example, of some of those delegates who are drawn from their Lordships' House. It is extraordinary to note how many of them have been failed candidates at the hustings in the country generally. Having failed at the hustings they were then sent to the House of Lords. Having arrived there, they are given a further degree, so to speak, in anti-democratic practice, by being directed to Strasbourg, where they then become Members of Parliament for Europe.
I ask the Patronage Secretary whether that is his conception of democracy or whether it is what was meant when we fought for a referendum in order to establish the democratic right of the people to assert their case.
I say that because it is time that we woke up to some of the realities of patronage and the way in which it is exercised and distributed like confetti over a broad range of those who come to the altar in order to enjoy the benefits of political matrimony. They are there now possessed of this gradual elevation. This is the continuing process of antidemocracy—first to the House of Lords, then the Council of Europe, and finally ending up as Members of Parliament for 1396 Europe. What a rise and what an accession! We should look at this matter very carefully.
That is why, when I said that this was an important debate for parliamentary democracy, I meant not only the fact that the Liberals may feel perhaps justly and deeply aggrieved but, much more profoundly, that more and more the system of patronage has been reaching out fingers into public life. Systems of governmental intervention have had their camp followers, who followed in order to pick up the available pickings.
In looking at the motion we must concern ourselves with the essence of what parliamentary democracy is, how it is applied and whether the bad old days which Walpole knew in such abundance are not returning. I believe very firmly that if we are to have any kind of European Parliament, that Parliament should be elected by direct vote and involve direct representation. That is the only way in which we can have a popular vote.
Those of us on the Government side of the House who supported through our manifesto the idea of the referendum should say to ourselves that even if this particular list of people is accepted on this occasion, it should encourage us to urge more strongly for the future that there should be a system of direct representation and direct elections. Only then shall we be able to have a real European Parliament.
§ 12.59 a.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Henderson (Aberdeenshire, East)
I wish to say how concerned and surprised I am with the way in which the selection of hon. Members on the list has been dealt with by the Government.
Listening to the recital given by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party, I appreciated how much easier the original selection must have been, because then the Labour Party was in Opposition and took the view, quite properly, that it felt that it could not participate in this European Assembly until there had been a fair vote on the subject by the people—a view with which my hon. Friends and I entirely agree. At that time it was also relatively simple in that there were basically three 1397 parties in the House whereas now there are several more.
I can appreciate the difficulties which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and his colleagues have had in dealing with this situation. However, the point has been reached when there has been just too much rumour and confusion and too much newspaper speculation, which I had hoped that the Parliamentary Secretary would clarify when he moved the motion tonight.
Let me make my position clear. I did not wish to apply to go to the European Parliament. In fact, my party has had great problems trying to persuade one of its Members to go. However, we have decided that with the referendum decision behind us it is right that we should be entitled to a voice in Europe. Therefore, we have made a nomination. As an independent country Scotland would be entitled to 10 representatives in the EEC Assembly. On that basis I think that our request for one representative is modest and in keeping with the way in which we conduct ourselves in this House and in the country.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)
The hon. Gentleman has said that his party has made a nomination. Was the hon. Gentleman's party invited to submit a nomination? The Liberal Party did not receive such an invitation.
§ Mr. Henderson
I do not intend to contradict myself when I say that we behave in a modest way, but I was totally immodest in that I wrote to the Government Chief Whip and submitted a nomination to him. I hope that clears up that point.
§ Mr. Henderson
In response to the hon. Gentleman's remark from a sedentary position, no assurance has been given to us by anyone.
Tonight we expect the Government Chief Whip to clear up the confusion and to make the basis of representation quite clear. We expect him to make it clear whether my hon. Friends are to be represented.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
There were Press reports that the Leader 1398 of the House had offered the hon. Gentleman's party a place. Is that true?
§ Mr. Henderson
The hon. Gentleman should know that Press reports are a poor basis on which to base decisions of that kind. The question can be answered categorically, unlike the answers that we tend to get at Question Time. The answer is "No".
We are in the unfortunate situation that part of this matter has to be dealt with in another place. There is the difficulty of understanding the implications of what is being done or not being done in another place. I would have thought that the Government could introduce one motion with a list of names representing those Members who were to be nominated. That would have made the position clear from the start.
I confidently expect that when the Government Chief Whip sums up he will put all this speculation to rest. I hope that in his usual blunt and forthright manner he will explain the position in exact terms.
§ 1.3 a.m.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
I make no bones about this matter. I think that what has happened has been utterly shameful. What the Government have said, as has been described by the leader of my party, is a disgrace in itself. But much more important than that is the complete failure to adjust to the fact that we are in a new situation and about to send a full delegation to a Parliament which will be a permanent feature of the representative democracy of this country.
The hon. Member for Coventry, North-West (Mr. Edelman) has pointed out that the nub of the question is how the delegation is selected. The Conservative Opposition have connived with the Government in the attitude that they have adopted. The Conservative Opposition's posture in all this has been utterly extraordinary. I am amazed that the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) should sit on the Conservative Front Bench and not raise his voice once on the matter despite the fact that we have served with him in the European Parliament these past two-and-a-half years. Furthermore, the Conservative Party has not raised its voice in this matter.
How is the delegation selected? The Government's original commitment was 1399 that they were entitled to have a majority of 19 out of 36. But the European Parliament is not a place for governments; it is a place for representatives of the people of Europe.
The Governments of the Community have their places and vetoes in the Council of Ministers. That is where the national interest is safeguarded—not in the European Parliament. [An HON. MEMBER: "What has the European Parliament done?"] Let me tell the House what it has done by quoting the spokesman of the Social Democratic Group at the European Parliament when we debated direct elections at the beginning of the year. This is what was said in the European Parliament debate by the spokesman of the Social Democratic Group, Mr. Schmidt:There are politicians in Europe who feel that the European Parliament will probably never have sufficient powers for effective supervision of the enormous organisation which has arisen here. There are some who say that it would be better to let parliamentary sovereignty remain with the national parliaments. I should like to point out that whoever says this has failed to recognise the slow undermining of democracy, the quiet sapping of the powers of the national parliaments and their replacement by unsupervised actions, by an impenetrable jungle. Decisions involving sums of thousands of millions are taken without any democratic supervision. Anyone who pleads for the retention of the sovereignty of the national parliaments, even in a European context, is essentially attacking parliamentary supervision. This is something which we Socialists cannot accept. What we need is adequate democratic supervision, since the only Europe which has a future is a Europe with democratic structures. This is what we want …".That speech was greeted by what is called "Loud applause". But on the subject of what would be achieved, the view was that the situation was different because clearly the Community is composed of countries of different sizes. There is an obvious difficulty in regard to meetings in Luxembourg and Mr. Schmidt recognised that problem by saying:… if we look at the case of Luxembourg, the proposal does not fully reflect this principle. Wherever a principle is breached, there is a danger spot, and we must ask ourselves how we are to escape from this dilemma. I think there are two things we need: representation which is as fair and balanced as possible on the one hand, and a Parliament which is capable of working on the other.The call went out for that Parliament to be genuinely representative and for it 1400 not to be made so clumsy that it would not work properly. I ask Labour Members whether they think it right for 5,250,000 Liberal voters to be represented at the European Parliament by only one person. I do not think they can say that it is right.
§ Mr. Johnston
If the hon. Gentleman wants my view on peers, I could dilate for a considerable period of time. I am not particularly in favour of a second Chamber which in part depends on the privilege of luck and in part on the privilege of patronage. However, we must operate within the situation in which we are and that is that we have 13 Members here and we should have, on a proportionate basis, 115. We have to do the work of 115.
§ Mr. Johnston
It is all very well for the right hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas), a nice European with a long record, to say "Dear, dear", but that is the fact of the matter. The trouble with the Liberal Party over many years is that we have been so decent, reasonable, and fair that nobody has taken a blind bit of notice of the fact that we have suffered from a gross injustice. If this is to be carried into the European Parliament, it is time to stop.
§ Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrewshire, West
I was interested on the point about peers. Will the hon. Gentleman agree—knowing that I have given up quite a lot to oppose the Common Market and that I did not apply to go to the European Parliament—that it would be wrong for any of us in the House to describe others as "crawling" into that place. Will the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) repudiate that term?
§ Mr. Johnston
It is a phrase which people choose for themselves. They speak for themselves and I am not going to adjudicate on adjectives.—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is a verb."] My grammar is faulty.
The point I had been making was that the situation is grossly unfair. Let me give a further instance of the way in 1401 which this works in practice. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) said, if the British delegation were chosen on the same basis as those from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark, the breakdown would be 15 Labour, 13 Conservative, seven Liberal and one SNP Member. If the Patronage Secretary and the Government propose that our figure should be one, we shall be six fewer than we would otherwise be. That not only has an effect on Liberal voters in the United Kingdom but a direct effect on the political position of the European Parliament, the views it expresses, the composition of committees, and the composition of groups within it.
The consequence of what the Government do is not only to deprive Liberals and possibly the SNP of votes to which they are entitled but also to reduce the votes of the Liberals in the Community as a whole and to increase unreasonably the votes of both Conservative and Labour. The Conservative Party has been so mute and miserable throughout today. I read in the newspapers that it is Freedom Day, and Freedom Day has been the occasion for a speech at a great rally by the Leader of the Opposition who said that freedom is indivisible. But when it comes to a gross injustice of this sort, we hear nothing from the Conservative Party. It is despicable.
I should like to make a number of individual points on the statement which we all recall the Prime Minister making on 9th June. That statement was rightly intended, to take the country a stage further out of the argument in which we had been bitterly locked into a new situation. The right hon. Gentleman said:I hope that… the country as a whole will follow the lead which the Government intend to give in placing past divisions behind us, and in working together to play a full and constructive part in all Community policies and activities."—[Official Report, 9th June 1975; Vol. 893, cc. 29–30.]Is the way that the delegation has been chosen an example of that?
It has been pointed out that the Labour delegation will consist of some who were for and some who were against entry into the Common Market. I agree that it is reasonable, fair and right to have a balance of different points of view within the Labour Party. But if it is right that the 1402 Labour Party be balanced in that way, how can it possibly be right that such a large section—18.3 per cent.—of the population of the United Kingdom be not represented?
The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) shakes his head, but that is the fact. He may like it or not, but that is the fact. That is the way that our Community partners judge their democracy. In the end this Mother of Parliaments will have much more to learn than to give on questions of democracy within the Community, which is different from what was originally expected. Indeed, the emphasis that was laid on enthusiasm for entry by, for example, the Dutch and the Germans was because of the democratic impetus that we could give to the European Community. It did not work out that way at all. At this rate, it does not look like working out that way either.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
In my own defence, I should point out that I was shaking my head at some wise words of my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson), and I missed what the hon. Gentleman was saying.
§ Mr. Johnston
I should be delighted to repeat what I said for the hon. Gentleman's benefit. But I will rely upon the fact that the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson), being wise, will have kept one ear open and will relay it to him.
The Prime Minister, as reported at col. 36, said that the delegation should be representative. I think that is evidence from the Prime Minister that that was the intention of the Government.
There it is. I hope that when the Government discuss and consider this matter between now and Thursday, when I understand the motion comes up in the House of Lords, they will have some second thoughts.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North said that he was not at this instant seeking to effect so revolutionary a change as to have the Liberal Party proportionally represented. All he was seeking to do at this stage was to ensure that we were not so badly treated as, quite astonishingly, it seem we would be.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Does my hon. Friend agree that the situation would be greatly assisted if the Government were to withdraw the motion, pending the decision in another place on Thursday, so that we could know more clearly what is the position? If they were to do that, the kind of discussion that he has mentioned could then take place.
§ Mr. Johnston
I entirely agree, but it is not a proposal that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury is likely to accept and I do not believe in asking for something which is out of the question.
I trust that the points that I have made will be borne in mind by hon. Members on the other side of the House who are concerned about democracy and fair play. I know there are a great many of them.
§ 1.21 a.m.
§ Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)
The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) has just illustrated to perfection how much better he speaks on European issues than does the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe).
I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Devon, North was aware of it, but during his speech, I could hear mutterings, not necessarily adverse, from my hon. Friends behind me. What they said could be approximately translated as meaning that the right hon. Gentleman spoiled what might have been a good case. At one point, he sounded like little Jerry whose rattle had been taken away and at another he made what seemed a perfectly fair point that he was leader of his party and had not been consulted about which of two people should be dropped from the delegation. No doubt my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury will answer that point if it is valid.
I think the right hon. Member for Devon, North offended the House when he equated acceptance of the majority verdict of the people with crawling. He spoke about democracy and about this Parliament in relation to European Parliaments. I do not understand how he can equate them because ours is the only Parliament of which half is not elected. This Parliament is rather odd, and it sounded extremely odd for the right hon. Member for Devon, North 1404 to be defending democracy on the basis that Lord Gladwyn should be at the European Parliament. He said that Lord Gladwyn was once President of the Security Council, but that was for Mr. Attlee's Government, not for the Liberal Party.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I do not see what the hon. Gentleman's remarks have to do with the matter. The noble Lord was also a High Commissioner under a Macmillan Government. What has that to do with it?
§ Mr. English
If the right hon. Gentleman looks back at his speech he will see he was trying to take the past history of Lord Gladwyn and fit it in with his Liberal present. It comes peculiarly from those who make this point about a Member of another place to preach democracy. The other place is not democratic.
I would prefer us to send 36 delegates, all of whom were from the House of Commons, and not have Lord Gladwyn, or any other Labour, Conservative or independent peer on the delegation.
§ Mr. English
The hon. Member for Inverness made an extremely good speech and it would have been better for his party if it had been the only speech from those benches.
The idea that the Liberal Party should be represented in proportion to its votes is another odd idea because, again, it is not votes but Parliaments which are supposed to be represented in the European Assembly.
We have a Parliament which is elected in a particular way. I know what is worrying the Liberals. They have been going around for a week protesting that if there is only one Liberal and one Member of the SNP, this might reveal to the European Assembly that there are actually more Nationalists in this House than Liberals.
What is the Liberal European Assembly proposals in the present draft convention on direct elections for 1978? The right hon. Member for Devon, North may not realise it, but a lot of my hon. Friends believe in direct elections to the European Assembly as well and they are by no means necessarily those who believed that 1405 Britain should remain in the EEC. They might be former anti-Marketeers whose objection to the Community was that it was undemocratic and that we should like it to be democratic. Hon. Members of all convictions on the Government side, supported by hon. Members of all convictions on the Government side, supported by hon. Members of all convictions on the Opposition side, might believe in that, but the draft convention says that in 1978 elections for the European Assembly sould be determined by each member State as it wishes. The implication is that in each member State an electoral law should be passed by the State Parliament to provide for an Assembly directly elected according to the normal electoral laws of those States.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
The hon. Member is right. Mr. Patijn, the Dutch Socialist, dodged the question of a system of direct elections, according to a common electoral system to the Euorpean Paliament by 1978. The hon. Member has been talking about democracy. Does he concede that if there were a system of direct elections Britain's allocation would would be 67 and that if that allocation took place under our system it is possible that the Liberty Party would win the same number of votes as now but get no seats? Is that democratic?
§ Mr. English
It is as democratic as is the system under which the whole of the East Midlands would be entitled to five seats, one per county, whereas Luxembourg, with only perhaps one third the population of the East Midlands, would be entitled to six.
I have no doubt that the day after the first Assembly elections, if we have them in 1978, the Liberal Party will be saying, "We did not get elected". That party had its chance when it was in a majority in this House. It was in favour of our present system then. The moment it ceased to hold a majority here it ceased to favour the system.
The extraordinary assumption that the right hon. Member for Devon, North made was that we should automatically take what is usual in Europe as our guide. He should say that to his own party first, because it advocates not the normal sort of PR system which is used in the Netherlands. Denmark or Scandinavia, but the system which is used only in 1406 Northern Ireland and which has produced the opposite result to that desired by the people there in the last three elections. In each of those elections the Government who were elected suffered a decline in their share of the vote.
§ Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)
Does the hon. Member accept that the Irish Republic had a referendum on the subject of changing its voting system and that the people chose to keep it?
§ Mr. English
I was referring to the electoral system advocated by the Liberal Party. The result of that referendum was much the same as ours. However, I shall not weary the House with that small point.
I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman was sincere. If he believed in democracy he would not have referred to Lord Gladwyn, nor would he have spoken so much about the composition of this delegation. He would have made greater reference to the future.
§ 1.30 a.m.
§ Sir Raymond Gower (Barry)
I agree with those hon. Members who said that many troubles had arisen as a result of the manner in which the European Parliament delegation was formed. We should look forward to the day when there is some system of election.
I do not agree with those who have suggested that it is objectionable for us to make use of the resources of Parliament in forming delegations. Many demands are made by Committees on the manpower in the House. It is sensible in those circumstances to make up the representation from this Parliament using some of the manpower available in the other place, which is part of the constitutional Parliament. The procedure is sensible and we find no objection to it. A large number of Members of the other place are persons of great experience in our political life who have given long service to the House. Many of those people can be used with great advantage in this situation.
I hope that the Government will explain why this matter has been managed in such a hamfisted way. Whatever the merits of the argument about the size of the Liberal component, it is apparent that the matter has been badly managed. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will 1407 reassure us on that point. From the evidence which I have acquired as a result of reading about this, a good deal of discourtesy is involved. I am sure that is not desirable in matters of this kind.
I accept that the Government deem it desirable to have a majority of members of the delegation. Surely, this is not vital in this context. This is a new venture. The previous Liberal representation of two members was small. Was it necessary to reduce it to one member? That seems a footling step to take. I hope that the Government will look again at this matter. I cannot applaud the fact that the small Liberal representation has been reduced.
§ 1.34 a.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The method and the result of the appointment of the delegation to the European Parliament does no credit to our democracy. I am certain that no Government supporter will be proud of the manner in which this is being done, or of the result.
The Government thought it necessary to consult the people in a referendum to decide whether to stay in Europe. Thereafter to deny a large segment of that population its proper voice in Europe takes some answering in a democracy.
As the Opposition have stated the case clearly, I wish to devote myself to one small point. I address the question to the Patronage Secretary. There must have been considerable negotiations between the Government and Opposition Front Bench Members through the usual channels on the question of the delegation. In 1972 the then Prime Minister, now the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), offered 15 seats to the Labour Party. Eighteen seats were retained for the Conservative Party, two seats were allocated to the Liberal Party and one seat was allocated to an independent peer. Why has the Conservative Party retained 18 seats? That is wrong. It is impossible to justify the contention on any rational or democratic basis, that a party which gained over 5 million votes should have its representation cut from two seats to one seat.
Not one Member opposite has given any justification for this, and I think that the Patronage Secretary should disclose 1408 what negotiations have taken place between the two Front Benches. If one thing stands out a mile in this debate it is that the Conservative Party officially—except for the helpful contribution of the hon. Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower)—has remained silent. The Conservatives are in a conspiracy of silence to ensure that the Liberal delegation is cut to one. They are not prepared to make any gesture at all. I think that the country has a right to know what negotiations have taken place, because the net result of all this reflects no glory on this Government or on democracy in this country nor does the fact that it should ensue in this kind of way.
§ 1.36 a.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)
I want briefly to comment on one or two points arising more out of the motion than out of the complaints of the Liberal Party. This is an example of some of the difficulties in which we find ourselves on a number of occasions concerning the European Assembly.
As to the matter of delegation numbers, that is for the Patronage Secretary, but I think that some of the things said by Liberal Members can be questioned. I understand their feelings about their 5 million votes and the number of seats they have in the House, but I remind the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) that he represents the people of his constituency just as every other hon. Member represents all the people in his constituency, whichever way they may have voted, or even if they did not vote at all.
That is the fundamental basis of parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom. We come here as hon. Members first, whatever our party allegiance.
In so far as I have been able to understand it, the organisation of the European Assembly does not operate entirely on that basis. There is a greater emphasis on the party and on the party group. I am glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman nods his head.
This different form of operation will cause difficulties. One of the reasons that I opposed our joining the Common Market was that I could not see how some of the institutional arrangements that exist on the mainland of Europe and those that we have in the United Kingdom 1409 could be joined together without severe difficulties. I think that we are seeing one or two of them tonight.
Another example is the word "delegation" that has been inaccurately bandied around the House. We have used it in a sense in which everybody has accepted it, but I venture to suggest that the Members comprising the delegation are not delegates at all. We are not able to mandate them, and so far as I know they do not report back to this House by laying a report on the Table with the Clerk, in the manner of a Standing Committee or Select Committee. There is no machinery whereby they may do this. Yet nobody has raised this in the discussions we have had about the EEC.
I understand that on Monday next there is to be a debate in the European Assembly on the Political Affairs Committee Draft Interim Report on European Union. Some of the hon. Members who may be appointed tonight will have to decide whether they should support certain motions. The rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee is Mr. A. Bertrand, and the date of the draft report is 6th September 1974, though no doubt it has been updated since. In the motion for a resolution it is consideredthat the European Union must be administered by: a decision-making Centre which will gradually take the form of a genuine European government; a Parliament elected by direct universal suffrage whose agreement must be obtained before any European government decisions can enter into force; a Chamber of States;and so on.
If they were delegates, we should have an opportunity to discuss this and to suggest to them the way in which they might represent our views. But no such debate will take place, and I suspect that we shall not hear a report from them. I suggest that they are not delegates in the normal sense of the word.
The matter of direct elections has been espoused by many Opposition Members and, for that matter, by some of my hon. Friends. I suggest that if we ever reach that stage, we are in for some considerable difficulties. Every hon. Member knows the difficulty that the public have—and which we have sometimes—in distinguishing between the correct roles of county councillors, dis- 1410 trict councillors and Members of Parliament. We know how a district council or county council will blame the Government, and how the Government will blame the local authority. Very often it is the result of a misunderstanding, deliberate or accidental, between the officials concerned. If we have direct elections of Members to the European Assembly, whatever its powers may be, and if a constituent comes to see his Member of Parliament about something, he will be told to see his European Parliament Member, but the European Parliament Member will say, "This is a matter for the Council of Ministers. You must see your representative at Westminster," The difficulties that I envisage are considerable.
I do not oppose this motion, but I warn the House of certain difficulties to come, and I commend the thought to the right hon. Member for Devon, North that, when it comes to the practicalities of politics, these are difficulties which someone will have to iron out. If we had not joined the European Community, we should not have been troubled by these matters.
§ 1.42 a.m.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk (Saffron Walden)
The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) accused me of being mute and miserable. Mute I may have been. I thought it only courteous to listen to what hon. Members had to say. Miserable I never am, especially when discussing my favourite subject, which is the European Parliament and the members of it.
We are discussing a motion which, on the surface, appears straightforward. It is to appoint 12 hon. Members from the Labour Party to join those of us who are already there in the European Parliament. If it were just that, I could confine my remarks to three words—"About time, too." But it has been clear from the debate that various other sentiments are surfacing.
One or two remarks have been made, based, I suspect on an article in The Times on Monday, which may of itself have been based on information given to that newspaper by some of those who have spoken in this debate. I cannot be sure about that, but the inaccuracies match each other so neatly that it would seem that they have something to do with each other. I dealt with one of 1411 them in an intervention during the speech by the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) when I pointed out that The Times was inaccurate in suggesting that the hon. Member for Inverness was the sole voice of Scotland in the European Parliament. Despite the powerful oratory of the hon. Gentleman in the European Parliament the Conservative Party had ensured that he had sufficient back-up both from the House of Lords and from the House of Commons. There were other inaccuracies concerned with the numbers game which we have been playing tonight and about which I want to say a few words later.
Perhaps I may begin, though I do not suppose that it will be much consolation, by saying that I have considerable sympathy with the views put forward by the Liberal Party tonight. Those of us who together have borne the heat and burden of the day in the European Parliament may feel that we are entitled on an occasion like this to stand together. Most of the time we were fighting the Labour Party, which tried to prevent us carrying out our European duties. But we had a number of fights to carry on against the Council of Ministers and the Commission, as any Parliament has. I do not think that the Liberal and Conservative Members or the independent Member of the European Parliament coming from this Parliament really disagreed very much about the necessities that we saw.
I certainly pay tribute, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, to the effort of both the hon. Member for Inverness and to Lord Gladwyn. In passing, perhaps I might be allowed to pay a modest tribute to the Conservative Members who have also contributed a great deal to the development of the European Parliament over the two and a half years we have been waiting for the Labour Party to make up its collective mind. Now that it has done so, we are faced with the question of what we do about the representation of this House and, indeed, another place within the European Parliament.
I have considerable sympathy with the case that the right hon. Member for Devon, North, the hon. Member for Inverness and the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) have 1412 developed. I have perhaps slightly less sympathy for the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Henderson). I recall a visit paid by his hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) to the European Parliament last December, at the end of which she came back and said that she was convinced of its translucent virtues and would recommend that her party should participate from then on. Whether the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East voted against it or not I would not know, but certainly the Scottish National Party refused at that time to take up any representation.
That party has joined the band wagon subsequent to the referendum. I put it in the same category as the Labour Party. They are both late-comers—converts naturally. We all know that there is much joy in heaven over any sinner who repenteth, and when we have a mass repentence of this kind the joy is enormous. Nevertheless my sympathy for the Scottish National Party is small compared with the sympathy I have for the right hon. Member for Devon, North.
§ Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's wish to make political points in the referendum, and the Scottish National Party accepted the decision of the Scottish people in relation to the referendum. Is not the hon. Gentleman prepared to accept fully, however, the fact that the Scottish National Party, being a party with 11 Members of Parliament and having polled 30 per cent. of the vote in Scotland—which is far more than the Conservative Party polled in Scotland—is fully entitled to representation? Would he not, therefore, accept that the SNP, which represents nearly 900,000 people in Scotland, is entitled to representation in the new circumstances in the European Parliament?
§ Mr. Kirk
The hon. Gentleman, like so many Scotsmen, has intervened too early. I did not say anything about denying his party representation. I said that I had less sympathy for his party than for the Liberals because his party has shown less enthusiasm for the idea and came round to it only when defeated in the referendum. The Scottish National Party was recommended by one of its most distinguished and—it sounds ungallant to say this—one of its oldest 1413 Members in this House in terms of service to join the European Parliament seven months ago and it declined to do so. Now it is jumping on the band wagon. I do not blame it; it has a perfect right to do so and I would not stop it. However, that is a matter not for me but for the Government.
This is a Government motion. The motion in another place is a Government motion. Taking into account hon. Members who are already members of the European Parliament and whose names do not feature on the Order Paper tonight, we have a total of 35 members and there are 36 places. Conservative Members have made their position quite plain. We believe that we are entitled to 16 seats out of those 36. What happens to the other 20 seats is a matter for the Government in negotiation with other parties.
In answer to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery, there have been no negotiations between the Government and the Conservative Party. We made that assumption because it was the assumption we made in 1972 when we were in government. Perhaps I can caution the right hon. Member for Devon, North not to believe everything he reads on the front page of The Times, because the figures published there were not accurate. In 1972 we had in mind a representation based, as this representation should be based, on the representation of this House in the Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is the only comparable body. No one takes seriously the idea that the Committee of Selection should be involved. At that time there were 18 Members from the Government party, 16 from the main Opposition party—not 15 as has been said twice from the Liberal benches—and two Members from other parties, which at that time meant the Liberal Party. That is what we had in mind then, and that is what we assume that the Government accept now.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I accept, as the hon. Gentleman says, that there was no consultation at all, but will he confirm that previously there were six noble lords on the Conservative delegation and only four are suggested on the Order Paper? Who took the decision about the two who should be dropped?
§ Mr. Kirk
I did. I recommended to my right hon. Friend the Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) the two who should be dropped. We notified the Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords that we would drop those two. There was no pressure on us from the Government to drop two. The decision I took was a painful one because both noble Lords had worked extremely hard. The decision was merely communicated to the Government because it was their motion and the matter was entirely in their hands. It was not for us to do more than indicate, as we did, that we accepted that as we were now in opposition we lost two seats and to tell the Government the two we would give up. The Government framed their motion in another place taking account of that. That is all that happened.
§ Mr. Hooson
The hon. Gentleman has detailed how the delegation was appointed in 1972. Will he explain how the independent Lord O'Hagan came into it?
§ Mr. Kirk
Hon. Members are so impatient. I clearly was not either as mute or as miserable as the hon. Member for Inverness suggested. Once it became plain that the Labour Party would not take up the 16 seats allocated to it, the independent peers went to the then Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Jellicoe, and said that they would like to nominate a Member. The then Leader of the House of Lords said to Lord Strang, who had approached him, that in those circumstances he could not object but that if the Labour Party subsequently wished to nominate Members the nomination of the independent peer would lapse. That position was made plain to the independent peers in 1972. No offer was made by the Government at that time. I was responsible for forming that delegation in company with the Government Chief Whip and the Prime Minister of the day. I know precisely what happened, and what has been printed in the newspapers and said here tonight is not wholly accurate.
§ Mr. David Penhaligon (Truro)
On what basis does the hon. Gentleman say that the Conservative Party deserves 16 of the 36 Members? Sixteen out of 36 is 44 per cent., which is more than the 1415 Conservative Party polled at the last election.
§ Mr. Kirk
We based this in 1972—and we assume that the Government are basing it tonight—on the Council of Europe delegations, which are 18, 16 and two. That has always been the case unless the Government have had an overwhelming majority, as in 1965 and 1956, in which case the Government party has had 19 Members and the leading Opposition party has had 15. That has always been the position with the Council of Europe. We based our calculations in 1972 on the Council of Europe calculations, and I assume that the Government are doing the same tonight. This seems to me to be wholly reasonable.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
I dispute the phrase "wholly reasonable". The hon. Gentleman has been operating for two and a half years in the European Parliament, and he has seen for himself that that is not the way in which other countries—with which we shall have to harmonise—operate. Surely he should take that into account.
§ Mr. Kirk
The hon. Gentleman must not take what has been a factual description as being necessarily what I want to see in the future. In view of the various misstatements about the position, both in 1972 and now, I have described what actually happened and what I assume has happened on this occasion.
My party and I do not accept that it will happen for all time. For one thing we have the prospect of direct elections. For another, now that the Labour Party has agreed to come into full membership of the European Parliament, there is the possibility of consultation, which I would welcome, as I think my party would, about whether there is a better way of doing these things.
But the basis on which they have been done up to now, whether it was right or wrong, at least has been consistent. As a party we have taken the view from the start—and we assume that it was the view of the Labour Party—that the Council of Europe was the only guide we had and that it was the one that we should accept as reasonable and sensible. It is true that in 1972 there were 1416 basically only three parties represented in the House. There are now six—
§ Mr. Kirk
I defer to the Deputy Chief Whip. He obviously knows more than I do about the splits in his party. Anyway, there are many more parties in the House now than there were then.
Therefore, we think it not unreasonable that there should be consultations in the near future between the parties about whether we can find a better way of doing this. I hope that the Patronage Secretary will accept this as a reasonable offer. We would like to join in such discussions, and I hope that other parties will do so. For the time being we believe that this is the right way of doing it.
Although there have been many shots across our bows, most of the flak has been directed at the Government benches. I recall when the delegation was first made up. I apologise to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) for using the word "delegation" but I cannot think of a better word. When we first asked Members to go to the European Parliament we had a majority of, I think 40, and we accepted 18 seats. The Government now have an overall majority of one. They have taken 18 seats, and we have accepted 16 as the leading minority party. I do not think that one can be much fairer in regard to party balance within the House.
Throughout the whole two and a half years, although from time to time there have been rude noises about the Members of the European Parliament, we have conducted these affairs with a considerable amount of give and take on all sides. I hope that tonight we shall pass the motion, even though it does not affect any Member of my party, in the confident belief that, although the appearance of Labour Members at the European Parliament will undoubtedly give a considerable shock to the Socialist Group there, it will nevertheless lead to the furtherance of European unity.
§ 1.59 a.m.
§ Mr. Mellish
I apologise for the absence of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, who normally deals with this and all other matters concerning 1417 House business. I was asked by him and others to deal with it because I have been very much involved in what has become the famous selection system of the Labour Party. In arriving at the names which appear on the Order Paper I was very much involved in selecting those individuals. It was felt right that having that experience of the delegation—I am almost frightened to use the word "delegation"—that we are sending to Europe, and knowing also something of the background of how these numbers were made up, I should reply to the debate.
I understand the feeling of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party about this matter, for which I genuinely have a lot of sympathy. However, I do not have much of an answer or solution to offer him. All of us ought to understand the situation in which this problem has arisen.
The hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) used a phrase which I found offensive—I hope that he will not mind me saying that—about jumping on band wagons. That is something I have never done. Nor have this Labour Government jumped on any European band wagons. What we did was to undertake a democratic process of asking the people of this country whether they thought that Britain should stay in the Common Market. I speak as a good pro-Marketeer. If the British people had decided that we should not stay in the Common Market, my Labour Government would not have sent any delegation to Europe. Therefore, there is no question of jumping on band wagons. The fact is that it was a natural outcome of the decision of the people that we then decided to take our full responsibility in the European Parliament.
Here was a situation in which the Labour Party had not yet become involved in any of the affairs of Europe as such, and therefore the whole of the 36 seats were at the disposal of the then Government, the Conservative Government. It is perfectly fair to say that they offered the Labour Party of that day 16 seats, which they did not accept. The then Government were in a position in which, apart from sending their own delegation, they could be very generous with anyone and everyone. That is how we come to get the independent peer who has been mentioned—which has been 1418 confirmed—and how it was that immediately, without hesitation, the Conservative Government offered the Liberal Party two seats. I understand that those individuals both the noble lord, Lord Gladwyn and the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston), have done a first-class job in Europe.
But that position changed when we as a Government, after the referendum, decided to take up our own seats.
Where does the formula come from? The hon. Member for Saffron Walden was quite right to refer to this question. This is not something about which the Liberals have not heard. They know about the formulas of this House on representation. The Committee of Selection, for example, in deciding how a Standing Committee shall be selected, has a formula which is very well known in the House. The figures are that the Government of the day get 19, the main Opposition party gets 15 and the others—I do not use that term offensively—two. That is the procedure in the Standing Orders of the House. I did not decide suddenly to invent those. They have always been with us.
Perhaps I may explain the attitude we took when we decided to take our full share of the responsibility in Europe. I immediately said "We shall not apply the Committee of Selection formula of taking 19 seats for the Government party and giving only 15 to the Conservatives and two to the others". I could have done that. There was nothing to prevent my doing it under the rules of the House, because we are the Government party. But I decided to apply what I thought was a much more honourable principle, the principle of how we arrived at the Council of Europe delegation. I therefore turned at once to the main Opposition party and said that we were taking not 19 seats but 18. I offered the Conservative Party 16 seats, which were accepted. That left the two seats for the others.
I understand the immediate difficulties created. However, with respect to the hon. Member for Saffron Walden, who spoke about having sympathy for the Liberal Party, if he is really sympathetic all that he has to do is to give the Liberals one of the Tory seats. He is not that sympathetic. Therefore, let us have no 1419 crocodile tears about that matter. I am not complaining about that. I do not know whether I would do that if I were in opposition.
I am stating the case that the Government party has not been dishonourable in this matter. We could have taken 19 seats. We said that we would not do that but would take 18. If the Conservative Opposition had decided to say "No, we will take the principle of the 15, which is the normal formula for the other precedure, and we will give the extra seat to what are called the 'others'," all would have been well.
§ Mr. Hooson
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is saying that the Government took a generous view in not taking the 19 seats. However, as I understand the right hon. Gentleman's description of the selection procedure, the Conservative Party was entitled to 15 seats yet he offered it 16 seats. It seems that he was generous to the Conservatives but not to the minority parties.
§ Mr. Mellish
That is for the simple reason that I was not unaware that the Conservative Party, as a result of the Labour Party taking its share of the European Parliament membership, would have to make great sacrifices from its point of view. Indeed the Conservative Party has taken two off its delegation as a consequence. We have not heard who it has taken off, and that is none of our business. We are not concerned with that.
We must be straightforward and honest in our approach. Although I understand what the Liberal Party describes as an injustice, I must put it to Liberal Members that if one of them ever had my job, which I do not think likely, that Member would have to approach the matter in much the same way. If I could get agreement from those involved I should be delighted to agree to the representation of two Liberals. That is why we have been waiting on consultation.
Of course, since we took our original stance there has been a change of membership within the House. The Scottish National Party is now a party represented in the House with numbers that give it a right to be considered in parity with the Liberals. The SNP has the right to claim one of the two seats. That was the case 1420 as I saw it, and that was one of the difficulties. Should it be the Government party, the Labour Party or the Conservative Party that gives up one seat to provide it to the Liberals? I do not see any immediate compromise.
§ Mr. Thorpe
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that in letters to me the Prime Minister has attached great importance to the fact that under the selection procedure the Government would have been entitled to 19 seats yet they have taken only 18. But is it not the situation that under that procedure the Government have given up one seat to which they would have been entitled and have promptly given it to the Tory Party?
§ Mr. Mellish
I understand the right hon. Gentleman's complaint about that. I appreciate that being a Liberal he does not like the Tory Party or the Labour Party. That is fair enough. I was not unmindful of the fact that the Conservative Party, as a result of the Labour Party going into Europe, would lose at least two seats. The Conservative Party would have lost three seats had we insisted on its having only 15 seats. Of course, there is nothing to stop the Conservative Chief Whip stopping the debate going any further by saying that the extra seat that has been given to his party will be given to the Liberals.
§ Mr. Kirk
We do not accept that the right hon. Gentleman has given us a seat. We have never accepted that the principle of the Committee of Selection is one properly applied to this sort of issue. We have proceeded from the start on the basis of the Council of Europe procedure. That was why in 1972 we offered the Labour Party 16 seats although at that time we had a majority of 40. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman's party virtually has no majority.
§ Mr. Mellish
We may not have a majority, but every time we go into the Division Lobbies we seem to come out all right. Last week we had majorities of 62 and 71, so we cannot complain.
I understand that the procedures of the House have resulted in the Liberal Party feeling especially aggrieved. Some of my hon. Friends have joined in the expressions of grief. This situation, over which I have no control, is one which I should like to solve. I am not making 1421 any promises tonight because I do not know of an immediate solution.
§ Mr. McCusker (Armagh)
As the right hon. Gentleman is referring to majorities, perhaps this is an opportune time for me to interject. It seems that on the basis of what the right hon. Gentleman is saying this will not be a United Kingdom delegation but a Great Britain delegation. When he refers to the representation of the Liberal Party and the Scottish National Party entitling them to representation at Strasbourg, does not the same argument apply to my party?
§ Mr. Mellish
The more I stay here, the more complicated the matter becomes. The normal lines of communication are open to Irish Members as they are to the Scots and to the Liberals. The Liberals and the SNP Members seem to write to me regularly telling me what they want, but the Irish Members never seem to write to me. I thought that they had enough problems of their own in Ireland without wanting to go to Europe and muck about over there.
If those Members decide to write to me officially demanding to be considered for the delegation, I do not know the answer. How does one divide two into two, other than throwing two in the air and saying "The best man catches either one"? That is not the right way to go about the matter. I concede that there will have to be further discussions and consultations on how we can resolve the position.
Let me deal with the House of Lords and how its membership was selected. It is not for me to question the procedure in another place. There are some Liberal peers there and I have no doubt that they will be very critical. If they are as noisy as the Liberals in this House, it will be a lively debate. I shall not suggest to the other place how it should select its delegation, but it is doing the honourable thing—namely, tabling a motion which will be properly debated.
Let me deal with my own delegation because I was involved in the selection process. At the end of the day we take a decision democratically. My party meeting decided whether the members of the delegation should be elected of selected. Our Members decided, by an overwhelming majority, that delegation Members should be selected by the Chair- 1422 man of the Labour Party, my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) and myself. That was my party's decision. Having done that, they were invited to write asking to be considered.
I found the remarks of the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) somewhat offensive when he talked of some of my hon. Friends as if they were crawling into Europe. It happens to be a fact that the 48 people who wrote asking to be considered are among the finest people in my party. They are genuine people with no desire other than to serve the European Parliament to the best of their ability and to change it or alter it where they think it is right and proper to do so. Therefore, on behalf of those people I resent what was said by the right hon. Gentleman.
By the use of the method which we have adopted, we now have every region in the country represented. We have also ensured the appointment of two Scotsmen, two Londoners and, indeed, representation for the whole country.
§ Mr. Penhaligon
The nearest representative to Truro in this respect is 200 miles distant. Will not this arrangement mean that my area is the worst represented in the whole country?
§ Mr. Mellish
That is another nationalist argument, is it? I thought that Cornwall was in England. I was under the impression that within its area or region Cornwall was part of the rest of the country. Forgive me if I am wrong about that.
I understand the concern which has been expressed by the Liberals in this debate. I ask them to believe that there was nothing malicious about this arrangement. I am still prepared to discuss with the Liberal Party and the SNP how this difficulty can be overcome. This is not the end of the story but is the beginning for those interests since further motions will have to be tabled if the SNP Members are to be included. It will be understood, I hope, that Conservative nominees have already been approved by the House.
The alterations that have been made have been made in the other House where two of their Lordships are being deleted from their list, but the House has approved the Conservative list and the proper way to do this would be to put it down after further discussion and agreement. There is no reason why 1423 another motion cannot be put down when it is decided how the remaining two places are to be dealt with.
The Liberal Member has already had his name approved and we are really talking only of the one Scottish National. This will have to be done by a further motion, and in the light of the information I have given—that this has been done without any malice to any other party in the House—I hope that the House will approve.
§ Mr. Gordon Wilson
I am grateful for what the Patronage Secretary has told us, but the question still arises that if one postulates that the House of Lords, in considering its motion, approves of a Liberal representative there, according to my information that would effectively fill the delegation to the European Assembly and thereby disfranchise the Scottish National Party. Would it be possible in those circumstances for the matter to be brought back to this House, and would we have powers to override what the other House had done?
§ Mr. Mellish
If the other place did what the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) has said, it would fill up the other seats and would deprive me of the chance to offer the SNP one seat; but I do not think that that is likely to happen. It is not a supposition I am prepared to accept. It is not going to happen. It is up to the House of Lords to decide, but I can tell the hon. Member what it has done and what I have done has been honourable.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
While the Patronage Secretary may be totally lacking in malice, which, as a right hon. Gentleman he is well known for being, it really is the most disgraceful of all solutions that he should be saying that the allocation of the one remaining place should be up to negotiation between the Liberals and the SNP, which is essentially what he said, particularly as he has already indicated to the House that the rules or traditions upon which he based his original proposals are not inviolable and can be changed. Surely there is a requirement for major parties to make a concession to democracy.
§ Mr. Mellish
The Conservative Chief Whip has heard every word that has been 1424 said. If his heart has been touched by the pleas that have been made, I shall be willing to agree that through the usual channels.
I say again that I did not invent the formula but inherited it and applied it honourably and fairly without vindictiveness against the Liberals or any other party.
If I had been so arrogant as to say "It will be given to the Liberals", there would have been criticism and I should have been accused of arrogance. There will have to be further discussion, not only on this but about other delegations. That is my case and on that I stand.
§ 2.19 a.m.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)
I shall be very brief. In all the time I have known the Government Chief Whip and had pleasant dealings with him when I held that same responsibility for my party, I never knew anyone who could wield a sledge-hammer with greater charm. He has done it again tonight. He was pleasant and gracious and gave nothing away. He did not concede any of our arguments about the manner in which the whole question has been handled and the way in which we were led to believe that we would be reduced from two Members to one in the European Parliament.
The greatest single criticism is that in no other organisation, whether in Committees of this House or in deputations or delegations of any kind to other bodies such as the Council of Europe, would we set about it in this piecemeal manner. There would and should surely have been some opportunity to discuss the names in the motion. That opportunity has not been afforded to us. Having accepted the referendum result, we have had no opportunity of discussing the composition of the delegation that we should send to Strasbourg.
The Labour Party has had its own internal debate. Democracy has worked there. But what is good for the Labour Party internally is too good for the House of Commons as a whole. We cannot accept that situation. It is a little late to offer consultation after names have been included in motions on the Order Papers of both Houses.
In effect, the Government have said "We would have been entitled to 19. We 1425 have decided to take 18. Therefore we are satisfied, and that is the end of the story." The Opposition have said "We wanted 16. We have 16, and that is the end of the matter as far as we are concerned."
I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) was unfair in describing the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) as mute and miserable. The hon. Gentleman was not mute, but he made it clear that he was being miserable by not giving anything away having got what he wanted. Concepts of fairness of representation are not of the slightest concern to the Opposition. They have what they wanted, and that is the end of the story.
It is not good enough to quote the Council of Europe delegation. That was drawn up years before there was a United Ulster Unionist Party, a Scottish National Party or a Liberal Party with such strength in the country represented in this House. Therefore, it is no use dredging up the composition of a delegation formed 20 years ago to justify the composition of the delegation for the European Parliament.
Both the Government and the Opposition have failed to observe the assurances which were given to the House during the passage of the European Communities Bill. At that time the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon), then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in an intervention in my speech, specifically said that it was right that, when the time came to send our delegation to the European Parliament, a Select Committee of this House should consider the method of selecting representatives from both Houses of Parlia-
§ ment. The Opposition have not said that today. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot), now a member of the Government, went well beyond that and said that that was the minimum which would be required in terms of discussion before we got down to passing motions of this kind.
§ Obviously, if the Government insist on going ahead tonight by moving the closure and rallying their troops to get their majority, the minority parties are entitled to say that they are not satisfied with the answers they have had. There is no reason why the delegation should not consist of 17 Labour Members, 15 Conservative Members, two Liberal Members and one Member from each of the other parties. Indeed, the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker) made the fair point that his party represents the whole of one section of the United Kingdom and is therefore entitled to a representative. I see no reason why a delegation of that sort of composition, which would more accurately reflect the views of the people of this country, is not the right one to go forward into Europe.
§ If we lose the debate tonight, it will be carried on in another place whenever the motion is moved there.
§ Mr. Cyril Smith rose—
§ Mr. Walter Harrison (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 119, Noes, 11.1427
|Division No. 262.]||AYES||[2.45 a.m.|
|Allaun, Frank||Coleman, Donald||Flannery, Martin|
|Archer, Peter||Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)|
|Ashton, Joe||Crawford, Douglas||Garrett, John (Norwich S)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cryer, Bob||George, Bruce|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Golding, John|
|Barnett. Guy (Greenwich)||Dalyell, Tam||Graham, Ted|
|Bates, Alf||Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Bean, R. E.||Deakins, Eric||Hardy, Peter|
|Bishop, E. S.||de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Harper, Joseph|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Dempsey, James||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Dormand, J. D.||Henderson, Douglas|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Dunnett, Jack||Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)|
|Buchan, Norman||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Huckfield, Les|
|Campbell, Ian||Edge, Geoff||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Ellis Tom (Wrexham)||Hunter, Adam|
|Clemitson, Ivor||English, Michael||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Evans, John (Newton)||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)|
|Jones, Alec (Rhondda)||Ovenden,John||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Owen, Dr David||Thompson, George|
|Lamborn, Harry||Palmer, Arthur||Tinn, James|
|Lamond, James||Prescott, John||Tomlinson, John|
|Litterick, Tom||Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|MacCormick, Iain||Richardson, Miss Jo||Ward, Michael|
|McElhone, Frank||Roderick, Caerwyn||Watt, Hamish|
|MacFarquhar, Roderick||Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Welsh, Andrew|
|McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Rooker, J. w.||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|McNamara, Kevin||Rowlands, Ted||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Ryman, John||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Sandelson, Neville||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Mikardo, Ian||Silverman, Julius||Woodall, Alec|
|Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)||Skinner, Dennis||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Small, William||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Molloy, William||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Spearing, Nigel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Stoddart, David||Mr. James A. Dunn and|
|Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King||Stott, Roger||Mrs. Betty Boothroyd.|
|Noble, Mike||Strang, Gavin|
|Brotherton, Michael||Penhaligon, David|
|Freud, Clement||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Mr. A. J. Beith and|
|Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)||Mr. Cyril Smith.|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Main Question put accordingly:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 119, Noes 11.1429
|Division No. 263.]||AYES||[2.34 a.m.|
|Allaun, Frank||Evans, John (Newton)||Noble, Mike|
|Archer, Peter||Flannery, Martin||Ovenden, John|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Owen, Dr David|
|Ashton, Joe||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Prescott, John|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||George, Bruce||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Golding, John||Reid, George|
|Bates, Alf||Graham, Ted||Richardson, Miss Jo|
|Bean, Ft. E.||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Roderick, Caerwyn|
|Bishop, E. S.||Hardy, Peter||Rodgers, George (Chorley)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Harper, Joseph||Rooker, J. W.|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Brotherton, Michael||Henderson, Douglas||Ryman, John|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Sandelson, Neville|
|Buchan, Norman||Huckfield, Les||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Campbell, Ian||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Silverman, Julius|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Small, William|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hunter, Adam||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)||Stott, Roger|
|Cohen, Stanley||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)||Strang, Gavin|
|Coleman, Donald||Jones, Alec (Rhondda)||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)|
|Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Thompson, George|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Lamborn, Harry||Tinn, James|
|Crawford, Douglas||Lamond, James||Tomlinson, John|
|Cryer, Bob||Litterick, Tom||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||MacCormick, Iain||Ward, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||McElhone, Frank||Watt, Hamish|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||MacFarquhar, Roderick||Welsh, Andrew|
|Deakins, Eric||McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||McNamara, Kevin||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Dempsey, James||Marks, Kenneth||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Dunn, James A.||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mikardo, Ian||Woodall, Alec|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Edge, Geoff||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Molloy, William|
|Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|English, Michael||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Miss Betty Boothroyd and|
|Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King||Mr. David Stoddart.|
|Beith, A. J.||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)|
|Freud, Clement||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Pardoe, John||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Mr. Russell Johnson and|
|Penhaligon, David||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)||Mr. Geraint Howells.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That Mr. Guy Barnett, Miss Betty Boothroyd, Mr. Tam Dalyell, Sir Geoffrey de Freitas, Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, Mr. Tom Ellis. Mr. John Evans, Mr. William Hamilton, Mr. Mark Hughes, Mr. R. C. Mitchell, Mr. John Prescott and Mr. Michael Stewart be designated members of the European Parliament:
That this Order be a Standing Order of the House.