§ Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)
I beg to move,That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend certain provisions of the European Communities Act 1972.I ask for leave to introduce the Bill to restore to this House, the sovereign Parliament of this land, the right, once in every year, to approve or disapprove the continued payment of moneys into the European budget. This tribute, money taken from the pockets of our people like income tax or value added tax, is a tax, and the first requirement of any system of taxation is that it should be equitable. So long as the European budget is equitably spent, so long will it receive the House's approval.
I should like to explain why I wish to introduce the Bill at this stage. I must stress, first, that this is not intended as an anti-European measure; rather it is intended to help to strengthen Europe. It may, of course, conflict with some of the rigidities within the existing EEC arrangements.
When we first joined the Common Market, one of the reasons given was the need to prevent the disaster of a future European war; another Hitler or Kaiser would rise and would destroy another generation of Europe's young men. Even then this was a far-fetched and unconvincing reason. It is now almost an inverse of the truth.
Since the last war the world has become a much smaller place. In military terms, at leastin the developed world, the nation State has given way to the continental power bloc. Europe has the population, the inventiveness and the potential wealth of either of the two super Powers, but it does not yet have, to its grave disadvantage, the influence or the proper ability, looking at the dangerous world around us, to secure its interests.
To those previously unaware of them, the nature of Russian intentions was made known at Christmas by the tanks at Kabul. Unfortunately, the nature and resolve of America are uncertain and must for some time remain uncertain after the traumas inflicted on that country by Vietnam and Watergate. But what is 1437 the nature of Europe, the cradle of our modern civilisation?
Western Europe, above all, both as an entity and as a collection of individual nations, has a vital and unfulfilled role to play in maintaining world peace and stability, in maintaining the viability and independence of the Third world, and in maintaining the overseas markets and raw material resources, including oil, on which the future well-being of our people is utterly dependent.
How can we concentrate on these issues when our energies and activities are commanded entirely within Europe by the common agricultural policy—the most disastrous historic accident since the conception of Karl Marx. Vulgar it may be; universally acceptable it certainly is not. "Agricultural"? Does it solve the social problems of the richer nations of Europe? Certainly not. "Policy"? Rather, it is a blind and clumsy juggernaut powered by vested interests, clambering over and flattening all other sensible European initiatives.
If, from today, there were to be a new association of the nations of Western Europe, if all the prime ministers, chancellors and presidents were to get together in a large room in a sumptuous palace to discuss those matters of common interest and concern, those areas where they felt forced to co-operate and where Europe should devise common policies to meet common needs, does anyone for one moment think that a common agricultural policy would be at the top of, or even on, that list? This absurd instrument does not unite, it divides. If it is not destroyed it will destroy the community that it pretends to serve.
Whatever Governments from either side of the House may say, there is no way in which this country will or can continue to remain for long in the European Community while its blood is sucked by a budget forced to feed the appetite of this voracious monster.
Lest we be accused of whingeing, complaining after the event, and wanting to break the rules after having accepted them, it must be borne in mind that when we joined the Community the common agricultural policy accounted for 60 per cent. of the European budget and plans had been advanced to reduce it to 40 1438 per cent. That did not happen, and it now takes three-quarters of the European budget. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said, since 1973 the cost of the common agricultural policy has trebled.
It may well be that in certain regions and territories this policy is of benefit. Fine—let those territories have it and let them pay for it. Let it be a burden on the national exchequer and let European funds be spent, instead, in areas that unite and strengthen us all and serve our common interests.
If the CAP were debudgetised the agricultural levies would go to those countries that imported the goods. If we raised Europe's money through customs duties only we would not need customs duties and VAT to cover the current expenditure, and there would be a saving for this country of £800 million. If we raised the money on a pro rata basis through VAT there would be a saving for this country of £1,100 million.
As I have said, Europe—itbecomes daily more obvious—has a vital world role to play. It can hardly play such a role without the participation of a worldly Britain. It would be a much poorer Europe without our markets. Europe's food mountains would get lost in the snow without our consumers. What use to Europe is an impoverished Britain, an overtaxed Britain, a Britain unable to invest, a weakened Britain unable to contribute, a surly and unfairly treated Britain, unwilling to co-operate?
How can we remain in Europe under present conditions? How can it be possible for us, on Europe's behalf, to justify a policy whereby food in Britain costs an extra £35 per head per year—£1,800 million a year to be added to the £1,200 million for the budget; an annual cost to this country of £3,000 million?
How can it be possible to justify a budget that costs every British family of four £90 a year while benefiting every wealthy Danish family by £200?
How can it be possible to justify a policy that imposes costs on every household in strife-torn Northern Ireland while at the same time every man, woman and child in the Republic—a place that, rightly or wrongly, many see as the source of their troubles—is in receipt of £2.50 a week? The French no doubt will try, 1439 but the French, after their military disasters of the past 100 years, will no doubt try to justify anything. They have yet to forget Agincourt.
How can we solve this problem? It is we here who must solve it. In any other Assembly concerned with this issue Britain is in a minority, and Britain will lose. We shall lose unless and until we can persuade our partners of the seriousness of our case and the utter commitment
§ of our intention, and that their interests will be served by a resolution of the difficulties and damaged by their continuance.
§ I ask the House to support this measure as a means both of sustaining our negotiations and of making plain the determination of the British people.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 170, Noes 47.1441
|Division No. 134]||AYES||[3.50 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Allaun, Frank||Fry, Peter||Park, George|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||George, Bruce||Parris, Matthew|
|Ashton, Joe||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Parry, Robert|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Hardy, Peter||Pendry, Tom|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Hawksley, Warren||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Haynes, Frank||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)|
|Bell, Sir Ronald||Heffer, Eric S.||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||Race, Reg|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Home Robertson, John||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Homewood, William||Richardson, Jo|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hooley, Frank||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)|
|Brotherton, Michael||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Rooker, J.W.|
|Buchan, Norman||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)|
|Budgen, Nick||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Sever, John|
|Canavan, Dennis||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)|
|Cant, R. B.||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Kerr, Russell||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Cartwright, John||Kilfedder, James A.||Silverman, Julius|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Snape, Peter|
|Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Kinnock, Neil||Soley, Clive|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Lamble, David||Spearing, Nigel|
|Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.||Lamond, James||Speller, Tony|
|Cook, Robin F.||Leadbitter, Ted||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Cowans, Harry||Leighton, Ronald||Stallard, A. W.|
|Crowther, J. S.||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)|
|Cryer, Bob||Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)||Stoddart, David|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Straw, Jack|
|Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)||Litherland, Robert||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||McCartney, Hugh||Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||McCusker, H.||Thorne, Stan (Preston South)|
|Dixon, Donald||McWilliam, John||Tllley, John|
|Dormand, Jack||Major, John||Tinn, James|
|Douglas, Dick||Marlow, Tony||Torney, Tom|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)||Urwin, Rt Hon Tom|
|Dubs, Alfred||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Eadie, Alex||Maxton, John||Waller, Gary|
|Eastham, Ken||Maynard, Miss Joan||Watson, John|
|Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||Mikardo, Ian||Welsh, Michael|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||Millan Rt Hon Bruce||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)|
|Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Evans, John (Newton)||Molyneaux, James||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Fell, Anthony||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)|
|Field, Frank||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)||Winnick, David|
|Fitt, Gerard||Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Flannery, Martin||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland||Wright, Sheila|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Newens, Stanley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Forrester, John||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Mr. Christopher Murphy and|
|Foster, Derek||O'Halloran, Michael||Mr. Jocelyn Cadbury.|
|Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)||O'Neill, Martin|
|Alton, David||Belth, A.. J.||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Ancram, Michael||Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Cormack, Patrick|
|Anderson, Donald||Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)||Costain, A. P.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lawrence, Ivan||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Dorrell, Stephen||McCrindle, Robert||Sandelson, Neville|
|Durant, Tony||McOuarrie, Albert||Scott, Nicholas|
|Dykes, Hugh||Mates, Michael||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)|
|Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Freud, Clement||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Ginsberg, David||Myles, David||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||Needham, Richard||Thompson, Donald|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Hicks, Robert||Rees-Davies, W. R.||TFXLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Howells, Geraint||Rhodes James, Robert||Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse and|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Mr. Allen Mckay.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Tony Marlow, Sir Bernard Braine, Sir Ronald Bell, Mr. Peter Mills, Mr. Peter Fry, Mr. Ivan Lawrence, Mr. Peter Lloyd, Mr. John Major, Mr. John Watson, Mr. Richard Alexander and Mr. Gary Waller.