§ 3.33 p.m.
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time. Our debate to-day marks the final stage of the proceedings in Parliament on this Bill and indeed the final stage of consideration by the British Parliament of the large question of the accession of this country to the European Communities.
It is a debate not without significance for us all. And I do not hide the fact that it is not without a certain significance for me personally. I have no intention this afternoon, and it may be that most noble Lords on both sides of your Lordships' House have little intention, of re-opening all the great issues which we have examined on the numerous occasions when we have discussed in this House the principle of accession to the Communities.
That being so, I wish to content myself at the outset with a simple profession of my own beliefs on these great issues. It was in the immediate post-war years, in the period when our country was faced with all the problems of adjustment to a strange fast-moving world, that I, as a young diplomatist first tried to answer to my satisfaction the question of what the right and proper role for our country was in our strange new world. It was only in the 1950s, but increasingly through 1135 the 1950s, that I came to the conviction that the key to that role lay in our close, intimate and organic involvement in the new Europe that was being created close to us across the Channel. And it was only in the 1960s, but increasingly through the 1960s, that it became clear to me at least that that involvement must, if possible, take the form of our full membership of the European Communities. That has remained my personal steady and sincere conviction now for a good deal more than a decade. That is why, my Lords, I supported our first application. That is why I supported the reapplication made by the last Labour Administration, but in the name of Britain. That is why I was glad that this Administration picked up the hand which the last Administration were about to play in Europe. That is why I am glad that this principle of accession quite clearly commands the assent of the overwhelming majority of your Lordships' House—as indeed do the terms that this Government have negotiated, as indeed does the translation of those terms into the Bill now before your Lordships' House. It is because of that deep conviction that I have been glad to have had a certain responsibility for the passage of this legislation through your Lordships' House.
My Lords, I gladly acknowledge my responsibility. I have, I hope, been equally conscious that, as the present Leader of your Lordships, it was my duty to do what I could to ensure that this legislation—so powerfully endorsed by an authoritative majority of Peers—was handled here in a way worthy of your Lordships' House. With this in mind, it was my hope that our debates on this Bill should be equal to its importance. I think I can claim that on the whole they have been, and I am grateful to the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition whose task has not been an easy one—and perhaps mine has not been easy—and his colleagues, for the courtesy which they have shown throughout the passage of the Bill. And I am equally grateful to that minute minority of my noble friends, and notably to my noble friend Lord Lauderdale, for the way in which they have expressed their opposition to the Bill.
With this in mind, I was equally anxious that we should give, and not only 1136 give, but also be seen to be giving, adequate time for the consideration of this Bill. Along with every other Member of your Lordships' House, I would have wished that we could have received it earlier from another place; I would have wished that it would not have been necessary for us to come back for its remaining stages in these sunny September days, and I would have wished that our present programme was not so crowded and indeed unbalanced.
I recognise that your Lordships have felt deep concern this year—a concern which I share—that we have been faced with a number of important Bills late in the Session, but this problem is not, of course, special to the European Bill. It has been by any standards an exceptional Parliamentary year for legislation. I personally have no desire to swallow in another year a further dose of legislative medicine which we have absorbed during these past two years. Indeed, I have already expressed to your Lordships my hope—indeed my determination—that during the next Session we shall be able so to arrange matters that the pressure of legislation on this House at the end of this year is reduced, and that the incidence of legislation between the two Houses is better balanced.
However, given the circumstances with which we were faced—and I am casting no stones—I thought it right to do what I could to accommodate the preference of noble Lords opposite for a Sitting in August confining it to the first two weeks if possible and for a renewed Sitting in September, which we are now two-thirds of the way through. In any event, I would submit that the programme on which we embarked and to which we have managed to adhere—and I acknowledge the restraint shown by noble Lords in all quarters of the House—has meant that your Lordships at Second Reading, during our Committee stage, at Report, and again now, have had all the time that we require fully to explore all the nooks and crannies of this Bill.
Again, I am glad that this was the case, since I would be the last to pretend that this is in all respects an entirely easy Bill to comprehend. It could not be so, my Lords, because it needed to grasp for the purposes of our domestic law, the cumulative history and the diverse future 1137 of a highly complex and sophisticated international economic community. In my view, it has been eminently worth while for us to have been able to come back for a second or third bite on some of the main issues raised by the Bill in order to see more clearly what is involved. That is why I believe—whatever some noble Lords have been inclined to say or may be inclined to say—that our discussion of this Bill has not been a charade, has not been a pro forma exercise; above all, has not been an abuse of your Lordships' time or a disregard of the functions of this House.
Here again, I would make a simple claim. It is my claim that, whatever some noble Lords opposite may be inclined to assert, they and the House as a whole have had notably full explanations from noble Lords speaking from this Front Bench on all the major aspects of this legislation. I hold that the explanation given by my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir on the nature of the Community Treaties were of considerable value to us and through us to the country, in helping us to understand Clause 1. I hold, and hold strongly, that the words which have fallen from my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor on the ultimate sovereignty of Parliament, on the principle of directly applicable law, and on the operation of the European Court in civil matters, will be an invaluable quarry for those who wish in future to dig into the legal and constitutional implications of this Bill. And what my noble and learned friend has said in these contexts has been powerfully and succinctly reinforced by a series of notable interventions by my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross. My Lords, I believe, too, that the explanations given by my noble friends on certain other important matters—the effect on New Zealand of our accession, the impact on the developing countries, sugar, agriculture, statistics and so on—the area covered by Part II of the Bill—were both full and valuable. I also express the hope that our discussions on the vital issues of Parliamentary control, to which I shall revert briefly in a moment, and on regional policy—a matter of crucial concern to this country—have also been of real value.
All this being so, it really is a misuse of language to describe the way in which 1138 this Bill has been handled in your Lordships' House as a misuse of the House's time, or as an abuse of its role. It is simply not the case that, simply because Amendments were not accepted, the debates themselves served no useful purpose. To assert this, parrot-wise, is unduly to deprecate the role of this House in clarifying both for Parliament and for a wider audience outside some of the most important issues involved in our entry into the Communities. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the spotlight which our debates and discussions have projected on the great issue of the involvement of our Parliament in the processes of Community decision-making. My Lords, I was glad to note the way in which during the various stages of our discussions we came somewhat closer together, both on what was and what was not appropriate for embodiment in the Bill and also on the greater question of the task which will confront Parliament when we become members of the Community in 14 weeks' time. We for our part have criticised the Opposition's persistent refusal hitherto to come together with us and with the Liberal Party in the ad hoc committee proposed by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and I should like to take this final opportunity to urge noble Lords opposite to use their influence within their Party to try to ensure that these essential discussions can be got going without further delay. This is something on whatever side of the fence we may come down, which, as Parliamentarians, we must all know in our heart of hearts we shall do far better if we can do it together. Essentially it is not a Party matter, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has indicated. It is above all a matter for Parliament. Surely those of the noble Lord's colleagues who are against entry should be just as keen —logically they should, if anything, be keener—than the rest of us to devise effective procedures and mechanisms by which we in Parliament can exert a real influence on decisions in the Community.
There is little I wish now to add to the substance of the matter at this stage, but there is one aspect of the involvement of Parliament in Community affairs that I should like to dwell on, and very briefly I shall do so. Even had we amended the Bill and laid a statutory requirement on the Government to publish and lay 1139 drafts and reports and so on; even if we go on, as part of our parliamentary procedure to set up new mechanisms for scrutiny and examination, Parliament's influence, if it is disposed to exercise that influence, will not come primarily from formal arrangements of any kind or from the mere flow of information which will in any event be available. In the end, Parliament will exercise an influence only if the information we are able to obtain is fashioned into penetrating and effective debate. If it so wills, Parliament has all the means of making clear to the Government of the day what it can and what it cannot proceed with. I have no doubt myself that this will apply as much to what Ministers do in Brussels as to what they do in Whitehall or Westminster. If Parliament chooses not to exercise its influence in this way it will, I believe, be neglecting a vital responsibility. In the short term, that could, I suppose, make life easier for the Executive of the day, but in the long term this will damage democracy. But, my Lords, if we have the will, if together we can work out sensible mechanisms and procedures, not only will this in my view enable Parliament to exert that influence in and on Brussels, which it requires to exert; it could also, I believe, lead to important and potentially important developments in the whole way we order things here at Westminster, and so far I have concentrated on Westminster.
I should like to add that I attach great importance to the evolution of the European Parliament. I attach great importance to the part that Parliamentarians from this country can play in that Parliament and I attach very considerable importance, too, to the part which Members of your Lordships' House can play in our delegation to that Parliament.
My Lords, I hope that I have said enough to indicate that I reject the simpliste view that we should measure the value of our examination of Bills by some arithmetical yardstick of the number of textural changes which this House makes to them. But it does not follow necessarily that if this House decides that Amendments to a Bill are unnecessary or undesirable the consideration of that Bill by this House has been a waste of time. 1140 I do not accept the view that if one makes 20 Amendments to a Bill this House is doing its job better than if it makes 10 Amendments to a Bill. I value just as much as any noble Lord in this House the revisionary function of this House, but I would submit, my Lords, that in certain circumstances your Lordships' House can best fulfil its function as a Chamber of review by probing, by seeking information from Ministers, by clarifying the functions behind provisions in legislation and by obtaining assurances about the way in which the powers proposed are intended to be used—in short, my Lords, just the process to which this Bill has been exposed.
In any event, my Lords, there are a number of special considerations which made it natural that few, if any, Amendments to this Bill would be required. In the first place, it has the precise and limited purpose of making the changes in our domestic law which we need to make in order to ratify the Treaty of Accession. It seeks to do no more, and it could certainly do no less. To that extent it is circumscribed by the Treaty of Accession and by the historic Treaties of the European Communities to which we shall accede. Secondly, the principle of accession and all the major issues involved in the terms of our accession have been exhaustively debated and massively endorsed by both Houses of Parliament.
Nevertheless, noble Lords opposite have levelled the accusation against us that I, as a Minister in charge of this Bill, and my noble friends on the Front Bench were acting under some sort of mandate to reject each and every Amendment to this Bill. This has become something of an idée fixe amongst noble Lords opposite and I feel that I must unfix this idée. I recall, during our Report stage, last week, that the noble Lord, Lord Slater, asked me point blank whether I was—and I am paraphrasing his question—trussed in this way in a straitjacket presented to me by the Cabinet or by No. 10. I should like to give him, point blank, the answer to his question. I can give him a two-letter word in reply. That two-letter word, my Lords, is "No". Never at any time have I or my noble friends been acting under a mandate on no account to accept any Amendment to this Bill.
1141 I acknowledge, and I acknowledge freely, that Amendments would not have been particularly welcome to the Government. I have never hidden the fact that we attach importance in the national interest to reaching as quickly as possible and as cleanly as possible a clear decision on entry—the clear decision which the passage of this Bill this evening will provide. Yet, my Lords, I have made it clear before, and I am prepared to repeat ad nauseam, that if noble Lords opposite or noble Lords in any quarter of the House had been able successfully to demonstrate that there was something really wrong with this Bill, gaps that needed plugging or warts that needed removing, if they had been able to demonstrate that the Bill in any material sense was not compatible with the obligations which we shall assume on accession, then I for my part would have been very willing—indeed it would have been a dereliction of my constitutional duty if I had not been willing—to see that the necessary changes in the Bill were made.
My Lords, I was quite prepared to leave this matter to the judgment of the House. Once again I remind your Lordships that there has been every opportunity to prove and to test this Bill, its substance and its drafting. The plain fact is that it has stood up to this searching test, and no-one has shown that it does not do all that is necessary to comply with our obligations under the Treaty of Accession or that it contains anything inconsistent with those obligations.
I assume, despite what I have said, that the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition will nevertheless insist on moving the Amendment which stands in his name on the Order Paper. I must say, quite frankly, that I am rather sorry he has dredged up that rather threadbare phrase about the Government's built-in majority in this House. I must inform my noble friends that I have never been 1142 so rash as to think of them as a built-in majority, and events on another Bill now before us demonstrate the wisdom of my caution. But I must tell noble Lords opposite that the built-in majority here (if they insist on using that phrase) is a built-in majority in your Lordships' House for accession to the European Communities. The plain facts are that the vast majority in this House believe in our entry into Europe; the vast majority in your Lordships' House believe in the terms which the Government have negotiated, and the vast majority in your Lordships' House believe, too, that this Bill faithfully translates those terms and our obligations into legislation.
I happen, as your Lordships know, to be one of those who believe in the reform of your Lordships' House, but it is my duty to lead this House as it is composed at present. What do noble Lords suggest that I should have done? Do they suggest that I should have asked my noble friends deliberately to absent themselves or deliberately to abstain when a Bill in which they believe has been under attack from noble Lords opposite? To ask this question is to answer it. In my view, it is hardly surprising—indeed it would have been surprising and unworthy if it had been otherwise—that my noble friends, and indeed the noble Lords on the Liberal Benches and the great majority of those Cross-Benchers who have attended our debates, have come down here to your Lordships' House day after day, time after time, Amendment after Amendment, to support the Government, after listening to the arguments on both sides, in their resistance to those Amendments and to confirm by their votes their intense conviction on this great issue of policy.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Earl, I certainly accept that it would be unreasonable to ask his noble friends to vote against the Bill. But could he tell us what he did ask them to do? We have had some account of this.
My Lords, I asked them to come and support us if they felt like so doing; but above all I asked them to come and attend these great debates. Indeed there are those of my noble friends who are opposed to this Bill, and I have sought in no wise—and I am sure my 1143 noble friend Lord Lauderdale will confirm this—to try to over-persuade them in any way.
Speaking as objectively and moderately as I can, I would suggest to the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, that a certain presumptuousness underlies the Amendment which stands in his name. It suggests with a certain arrogance that, despite the persuasiveness of the siren song sung by him and his noble friends, your Lordships would have seen merit in the Amendments moved by noble Lords opposite had it not been for the power, the cutting edge, of my noble friend Lord Denham's Whip.
My Lords, I have already suggested that my noble friends do not respond to the Whip when they do not like the course they see ahead of them. They tend to run out on those occasions. But the cold hard statistics of the Division Lists disprove the noble Lord's assumption. I cite only three examples. They demonstrate how independent opinion in your Lordships' House—that Cross-Bench opinion which both the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, and I are agreed, I believe, in regarding as one of the most valuable characteristics of your Lordships' House—reacted to those Amendments. They show that time and time again the great majority of Cross-Bench Members present voted against Amendments moved to this Bill. They show that on many occasions the Cross-Benchers voted unanimously to reject the Amendments. They also show how Cross-Bench opinion reacted to the Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, moved so eloquently and moderately— the Amendment which would have made it a statutory requirement for an annual report to be submitted to Parliament on the workings of the Community. This was an Amendment which I think the noble Lord sought to persuade your Lordships was in every way acceptable. But even here the independents, the Cross-Benchers in your Lordships' House, voted 10 to 5 to reject that Amendment, a majority of two to one. This was by far the greatest score that noble Lords opposite managed to tot up from the Cross-Benches in favour of their Amendments. The conclusion I draw is that noble Lords opposite have no justification for assuming that their 1144 Amendments have been rejected other than on their strict merits.
My Lords, having said something by implication about an Amendment which has still to be moved, may I congratulate the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition on the tactical resourcefulness which lies behind not only this Amendment but also his handling of his own noble friends. But, my Lords, the time for debate, the time for tactical manoeuvrings, the time for political gimmickry is over.
We shall at the end of this evening not merely be at the end of our Parliamentary discussion of this Bill, we shall be at the end of more than ten years of debate about our whole future as a nation in the world. Our course will be decisively set by your Lordships' vote this evening. We are both in Europe and of Europe, and our vote this evening will, I hope, indeed I am convinced, demonstrate this. It will also, I hope, demonstrate that we are going into Europe not like Boadicea leading her ancient Britons to subjugation by the Romans but as free and willing partners in a great common enterprise.
We shall have much to contribute and much to gain. We shall bring into Europe our capacity for invention and our technical skills. We shall be presented with a home market of unparalleled size and wealth. We shall bring into Europe our mature experience of Parliamentary democracy. We shall be expected, in due course, to put that experience to good effect in the common cause. Not least we shall bring into Europe five centuries of involvement with affairs on a world scale. Progressively, I believe, the Community, acting together, has the capacity to deploy a powerful, civilising and moderating force in world affairs.
My Lords, these are high purposes which match our past as a nation and our potential for the future. It is my belief that these purposes will in fact stretch our national energies and evoke an imaginative and sustained response from our nation. I am confident that your Lordships will show by your vote, or if need be by your votes, this evening that you believe, with me, that this is the right course for our country now to steer. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(Earl Jellicoe.)1145
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON moved, as an Amendment to the Motion, That the Bill be now read 3a, to add: "but this House deplores the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the merits of Amendments proposed and deprecates the reliance of Her Majesty's Government upon their built-in majority in this House to achieve their purpose."
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move this Amendment. I had intended in my opening remarks to say that I intended to be brief, but my noble friend Lord Beswick regarded this as such an ominous statement and one not likely to encourage the brevity which, in regard to a subject which has been debated at such great length, I think we should all welcome. Nor am I entirely sure that I take as a compliment the noble Earl's reference to my tactical skill. I must tell him, and I ask him to believe me, that I am entirely serious, as indeed my noble friends are, in regard to the views expressed in this Amendment.
Since some noble Lords opposite have perhaps almost given up attempting to read anything about this Bill because of its total unintelligibility, they may have assumed that this Amendment was not intelligible. It is in fact very clear, because it states that we deplore:
the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the merits of amendments proposed"—
and may I say to the noble Earl that there is no arithmetic in this—
and deprecate the reliance of Her Majesty's Government upon their built-in majority in this House to achieve their purpose.
May I say that the word "deprecates" has both an archaic and a contemporary meaning. It is to "express disapproval of" their built-in majority, or equally, it is to "pray for deliverance from" the built-in majority. I think it is not inconceivable that noble Lords opposite, by the tactics that the Government have pursued, have in fact hastened the day when this prayer may be answered.
§ Traditionally in this House, when an Amendment is moved, the debate continues both on the main question and on the Amendment. Others of my noble friends will deal later not only with the 1146 Amendment but also with their fundamental objections to entry—indeed, there may be some with their fundamental reasons for supporting entry—and they will turn to the Bill before us. When it comes to the vote, we shall certainly ask as many of my noble friends as possible to support the Amendment, for reasons which I shall seek to explain.
§ Neither I nor many of my noble friends, whatever our views on this matter, on grounds which are well known, take the view that this House should seek to reject totally a Bill passed by an elected Chamber. I do not think that we necessarily go so far as the noble Earl in sketching out our responsibility, which is to discuss, clarify and inform, regardless of whether we amend. We have taken the view that it is the duty of your Lordships' House to revise and, where appropriate, amend the Bill and to send it back to another place and allow them to consider our views. We have taken the view—I do so myself, and others do, too, though perhaps not all—that we do not have the right to reject out of hand measures passed in that Chamber. This is sometimes called the "constitutional convention"; and it is gradually evolving into our Constitution. Our reason is the one-sided (and the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, acknowledges this) and unrepresentative nature of the House. It is certainly no fault of your Lordships' House, or of the noble Earl himself, that we are un-reformed; but this is a fact.
§ Those who support entry into Europe do so for many reasons, which I will not attempt to detail. But I must make one point abundantly clear; I have never thought that entry into Europe, as the Government at times have shown signs of believing, provides any solution to our short-term problems. Indeed, the price we shall initially have to pay could be heavy. My view has been that it has been our duty to go into Europe. Many of my noble friends, and some noble Lords on the other side, will not agree with this view. I should like to spell this out in one regard, and it is an area where I believe that the conduct of the Government over this Bill has weakened our moral position in regard to the contribution we can make in Europe.
§ My Lords, there may still be much that is wrong with our Parliamentary 1147 institutions. They may need to evolve. It may well be that Europe will compel us to evolve a bit more. But we are very proud of our Parliamentary democracy, and we regard it as at the heart of our freedoms. Those who support entry have felt that with our long traditions and experience we shall be able to strengthen and encourage democracy in Europe, and in particular in the institutions of the Community. But some of the Amendments that we moved were similar to those moved in other countries—and other countries on which sometimes in the past we have looked with some patronising superiority—where the Governments have been compelled to accept Amendments of the kind which our own Government are unwilling to accept.
§ I am not going to dodge the issue on this matter, because we all know perfectly well what the factors are, and we may as well be very frank with one another about it. In the course of the debate we have repeatedly been assured that the sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament remains unimpaired. We have had authoritative statements from the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack—which I have accepted, and I hope that I am interpreting him correctly in this matter—that any safeguards that my honourable friends in another place, or my noble friends here, have sought to build into the legislation in this respect were unnecessary. The Government have maintained that position, notwithstanding doubts expressed by distinguished lawyers as to the attitude the courts would take if subsequent legislation were to conflict with an enforceable Community obligation. The Government, for reasons which they explained, said that these safeguards were unnecessary, and indeed that it would be dishonourable to build something in which expressly, in advance, disowned an obligation.
We did not go on. The noble Earl says that the role of the House of Lords, if not as a revising Chamber but as a kind of place where we have a teach-in, is valuable. However, there were further Amendments to the latter part of the Bill that we could have moved. When we sought to clarify this point of sovereignty we were told that it was not necessary and that we really could not do it and enter the Community. Yet
when we look at Clause 10, dealing with restrictive trade practices—and I must confess that this is one of the clauses for which an amending Act to clarify it will be necessary, so my legal friends tell me —we find it expressly stated:
the Restrictive Trade Practices Act—
may be void by reason of any directly applicable Community provision, or is expressly authorised by or under any such provision; but the Restrictive Practices Court may decline or postpone the exercise of its jurisdiction…
I will not go into the point at any great length. This is an example of a clause which flatly contradicts something in the earlier part of the Bill, and anyhow leads to obscurity.
§ Not the least of our difficulties in discussing this Bill has been the exceptional tightness and complexity of the drafting. The economy which may have shortened the Bill has immeasurably increased its unintelligibility. I am prepared to say— and if there are more than a dozen noble Lords on the other side of the House, perhaps they ought to stand up to say so—that even now I doubt whether more than a dozen noble Lords understand some of the sentences in the first three clauses. I must say that I pay tribute to a number of noble Lords on both sides who have sat faithfully through the debates during the days here, and I hope they have profited from it. Those of us who have worked on the Bill through all its stages perhaps now feel that we understand most of it, thanks to the efforts of noble Lords opposite. We acknowledge the patience which they have shown, at least for the most part.
§ My first complaint is that the Government have a Bill of such brilliant ingenuity—and I ignore the brilliance of the drafting—that they have become obsessed with its beauty. In their characteristic, authoritarian way, such as one finds among artists when they look at a work of art, they have refused to make any concession to make this work of art generally intelligible to the ordinary public, let alone to Parliament. Anyone who listened to the exchanges, particularly between my noble friend Lord Stow Hill and the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, could reasonably have assumed that this was a matter that was suitable to lawyers but could 1149 not really have much to do with the ordinary life of the British citizen. They were very brilliant and their exchanges were very impressive, and at moments one thought one followed the argument. But it is a great pity that one of the greatest and most important Statutes that has come before Parliament is so unintelligible to ordinary people; again, in contradistinction to the legislation of other countries. I agreed with what was said on this point by the noble and learned Lord who, on the whole, produces legislation which is rather more intelligible.
§ Let us for the moment accept that, technically, the Bill achieves all that the Government require of it, although I am quite certain that amending legislation will be needed later. We turned our attention to clarifying the position of Parliamentary control. The noble Earl explained at length, in weighty words which he had carefully chosen, that the Government had not closed their minds to the possibility of making Amendments in certain conditions if they were shown to be essential—I think he said "in any material respect"—and he went on to say "or desirable". It is here that we really must part company with the Government. Let us take one almost ridiculous example. The Amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale—I do not want to make too much out of this —to insert the word "that" in Clause 8 really was desirable. Noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite, supported by their Back-Benchers, put up a spirited defence and said that what was in the Bill was splendid English and was intelligible. I agree that it was one of the more intelligible parts of the Bill, but it was not very good English. I really cannot believe that any noble Lords opposite would not have expected the Government to accept that Amendment. A number of them were very shocked by the Government's attitude and, like the Liberals who also voted on several Amendments on Report stage, came into the Lobby. The reason why the Government did not want the Amendment was that they did not want the Bill to go back to the Commons.
§ I will now turn to some of the more substantial arguments. We thought it essential to write into the Bill the sort 1150 of Parliamentary safeguards which the Government themselves favour, which I know the noble Earl favours, and which they say they will seek to provide as soon as the Opposition will enter into talks with them. Here, again, we have the evidence of the admirable Committee of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, to which the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and others paid such tribute. There is an important point here. It is for Parliament that we are legislating in this respect; it is not just for this Government. I would accept the assurances of this Government, or perhaps of the next Government, but we are legislating for future generations and it has never been accepted—and I defy noble Lords to find any evidence to contradict this—by any serious Parliamentarian that, strong though our unwritten constitutional conventions may be, Parliament ought not to insert into its Acts safeguards which will provide some barrier and some protection, within the limitations of the Constitution, against arbitrary action.
§ However much this Government may be imbued with Parliamentary feeling and tradition, a great deal of effort is always put in by Parliament, particularly by Opposition Parties—because this is a classic role for Opposition Parties whatever Parties they may be—to establish the right degree of Parliamentary control; and we know that Parliamentary control is being eroded in other respects, not deliberately, in favour of the Executive because of the increasing complexity of administration. I wonder how many of your Lordships realise how much this legislation breaks with tradition. Let me take as another example the fact that this Bill takes power to amend existing laws simply by Statutory Instrument. As a general principle, though there are exceptions, this is wholly contrary to our Parliamentary tradition and, although we have assurances from the Government, and accept that they mean them, that major developments will be dealt with by Act of Parliament, the constraints in the Bill, even those in Schedule 2 which we have scarcely discussed, are small in comparison to the great extent—and I stress this point to noble Lords—of the powers which some future unknown Government may wish to exercise as a result of obligations entered into at the 1151 European Council. At an early stage, therefore, we sought to provide that proposals should come before Parliament and should be considered by Select Committees. We were persuaded by the noble and learned Lord that it would be inappropriate to lay down the precise procedure. We accepted that notwithstanding the fact, as my noble friend Lord Stow Hill pointed out, that the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 goes into a great deal of Parliamentary procedure, but certainly does not deal with Committees.
§ We therefore moved Amendments which merely provided that Parliament should be informed in advance on proposals before the Council had taken decisions, so that, as is agreed by the Government, Parliament can influence Ministers and others. We were told that these arguments were feeble and dim, and that it was pure self-deception— phrases which the Opposition have not used in the course of these debates and which I find offensive in debates which have generally been conducted with the dignity which the noble Earl mentioned. I shall not apply those phrases to the arguments in regard to some of the Amendments which Government speakers used. But it was interesting to note the almost schizophrenic contrast between the speeches which came from the noble Earl and those which came from the noble and learned Lord. Looking back at the arguments which the Government have used, I am bound to say that noble Lords will be able to comfort themselves only by saying that they did the best that they could do. But they have rejected Amendments which were reasonable and they have rejected them for one reason only: that they did not wish this Bill to go back to another place.
§ There are other examples which I shall hurry through. We were told, when we sought to write principles into the Bill, that one never wrote principles into a Bill, notwithstanding the fact that almost similar principles have been written into the Industrial Relations Act in a different context. The fact is that there were no Amendments which were appropriate to this Bill, because of the position that the Government were in. They had grave difficulty in getting the Bill through another place. That is why, for instance, 1152 they rejected a Liberal Amendment about reporting to Parliament those who would go to the European Parliament. They relied on tactics designed to ensure that there would be no Report stage. I shall not comment on that, because it is not for me to criticise Government or Opposition in another place. But when the Bill came to this House those arguments no longer applied. The kind of Amendments which we sought to have carried, especially those in the latter stages, would not have impeded the progress of the Bill. I should like to give my reasons for saying that, because I believe many noble Lords opposite genuinely believe that an Amendment would be damaging to a cause (and I fully acknowledge their sincerity) in which they believe: namely, entry into Europe by a certain date. The possibilities of a serious delay over a Lords Amendment going to another place are very restricted. Two or three Amendments might have taken a couple of days. But the Government were not prepared to allow this.
§ We understood—and let us again be frank—that the Government wanted to complete the Bill before the end of this month, before the Party Conferences and before the Referenda in Denmark and Norway. If they are so keen on this, why do they not recall the Commons so that the Bill can receive the Royal Assent at once? We have had to come back. For without that Royal Assent this Bill will not become an Act until the middle of October. The truth -of the matter is that the Government are either afraid or cannot be bothered. There was a very revealing remark from, I think, the noble Earl about what would happen if Mr. Michael Foot was chairman of a Committee—a rather unfortunate remark. It may not have been the noble Earl, but I think he said he was speaking with his tongue in his cheek at the time. The Government are rather scared. They want to learn their Parliamentary procedure. If this Bill went back to another place with the sort of Amendments we had proposed to put in, it would not have taken more than two or three days. Furthermore, it would have done something to remove some of the anxieties both of pro-Marketeers and, even more, of anti-Marketeers.
§ The fact is—the noble Earl has been exceedingly frank, and I attach very little 1153 blame to him except that he is a member of this Government—that the Government have made the most imperial hash (I will find the right word) of their legislative programme. I doubt whether there has been an occasion in modern times, if ever before, on which a Government have made such a mess of their Parliamentary programme. Main legislation, whether it be the Housing Finance Bill or the Local Government Bill—and we are still wrestling with the Local Government Bill and are not doing justice to it—reached us all too late. This Bill— and everybody, I think would agree with this—is perhaps the most important Bill that has come before Parliament. Yet the Government were not prepared to sacrifice their less essential measures in order to ensure that it was properly debated by Parliament. It is no good the Government saying that if the Opposition had co-operated so much more could have been achieved. I may regret it, but in fact the Opposition in another place are not in favour of this Bill, and the majority of the Opposition are not in favour of it. And when have the Conservative Party ever co-operated over contentious legislation in another place, and made the guillotine unnecessary? The simple fact is—and it is not wickedness or original sin, as some people are apt to think— that a large number of people in the Labour Party and some in other Parties are passionately and sincerely opposed to this legislation, in the same way as the Conservative Party have been equally passionately opposed to other, less contentious matters. That is a fact of life. The truth is that this is a missed opportunity, and there are, I know, some noble Lords, anyway, on the other side (I will not embarrass them by quoting what they said) who are concerned; and some of them, as I say, came into our Lobby and into other Lobbies in support of Amendments.
§ The fact is—and let me now turn to the last part of the Amendment—that the Government's built-in majority was too great. Let me say this straightaway to noble Lords opposite—and what I am saying is, I ask them to believe, sincerely meant. Many of them have sat long hours, and they have faithfully supported what they believe to be in the public interest. I give full acknowledgment to that. Practically never has their majority 1154 dropped below 100. I do not know whether to give credit to the Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, or how this was achieved, but I certainly give credit to noble Lords opposite. But I ask them to look at this matter from our side. I used to sit in this House when we were very much thinner in number and we know that it is only by a fluke, when we are in Opposition, that we can win a Division. We can win it, perhaps, on a conservation issue. There are particular matters on which we can win; but the sheer weight of opposing numbers is, I know from the genuine feelings of my noble friends, something of an offence to us. I say this not to offend noble Lords opposite, but such is the feeling when one is in this unbalanced situation.
§ When we were in Government, the Conservative Party, under the leadership of Lord Carrington, played the game: and then came the issue on which they would not play—the disastrous Rhodesia Order. We have no weapons at our disposal in this House except one. On some of our other legislation we have been lectured in relation to the time taken over the Housing Finance Bill and the Industrial Relations Bill, that too much argument was inappropriate to your Lordships' House. On those subjects, the Government bent over backwards, so far as they were allowed to, to meet us. We re-wrote one line in three of the Industrial Relations Bill; there were over 100 Amendments, including many concessions on housing and finance; and we sat very long hours. On this Bill—and I echo the tribute of the noble Earl to my noble friend Lord Beswick—we have played the game absolutely with the House. The debates have been conducted with dignity; we have argued reasonably; we have not sat late: we have completed the proceedings within a reasonable time—and our reward is absolutely nothing.
§ When one says anything critical of the position of the Conservative Party in this House, one sometimes sees a bristling, to the effect that the Conservative Party in the House of Lords never pays any attention to threats. They said this over the Rhodesia Order. But once again, I would submit that the House of Lords has missed a great opportunity, just when its reputation in other areas has been rising so much and when I believe that we have 1155 all done a good job. We have failed to make Amendments, including some which, even if they were not essential in some material respect, were highly desirable. The acceptance of these Amendments would have gone some way to easing the anxieties of pro- and anti-Marketeers, and would have set a better example to the Europe which we are going to join. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, as an Amendment to the Motion, "That the Bill be now read 3a," at end insert: "but this House deplores the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the Amendments proposed and deprecates the reliance of Her Majesty's Government upon their built-in majority in this House to achieve their purpose."—(Lord Shackleton.)
§ 4.29 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, at long last we have come to the end of the road or rather to that point on the road at which we have reached and have chosen the turning labelled "Europe". The course which the Liberal Party, and indeed I myself have so long believed we must select has been selected and it is natural that not only I, but also the Liberal Party, which was in many respects more far-sighted than I was, should regard this day. September 20, as a red-letter day, for I naturally assume that the Third Reading of this Bill will to-night be voted. The only pity is that as a nation we did not see the light in 1956 and 1957, or even in 1950 when we rejected the European Coal and Steel Authority. If we had, the road labelled "Europe" would have been considerably less strait [sic] and narrow. It is, I believe, a tragedy—I can only describe it as such—that what may even be a majority of the Labour Party (and we shall know shortly from their Conference whether it is a majority or not) should now, flatly contrary to everything its leaders were saying only a couple of years ago, assert that the turning labelled "Europe" is the wrong turning and one which would lead to the ruin of the country and deprive it of its whole personality and raison d'être. As an Opposition it was no doubt their duty to criticise the terms of entry and to say, "If we had been in power the terms would have been 1156 better", and to maintain this even in the face of their own negotiators and of ex-Foreign Secretaries, all of whom said that the terms were quite satisfactory. But to say that it would be better not to join the European Community than to accept the so-called Tory terms is only compatible with the assertion that in no circumstances should we join it at all.
It is towards this attitude that the Labour Party now seems—I may be wrong—to be tending as a result chiefly of purely Party political pressures the nature of which it is all too easy to understand. The chief bogey which at the moment is being agitated by those exercising such pressure is, as we all know, that of the alleged loss of "sovereignty". The result of what sometimes seems to be a rather unscrupulous campaign is that many of our compatriots now seem to believe that by joining the European Economic Community they would in some way be emasculated. Indeed, just before the debate I received a telegram from a gentleman in Dorset saying:As the custodian of our law do not castrate British sovereignty.That is now, as a result of the propaganda campaign, the genuine opinion of a good many of our fellow citizens.
§ LORD GLADWYN
I am afraid I did not catch the noble Lord's words. My Lords, it is probably only by a few years' experience of membership that this rather primitive fear might be overcome. To the citizens of any country of the existing Community it can only be regarded as a very strange neurosis. The danger is not that we shall lose our famous "sovereignty"—a part of which will not be lost but simply pooled—but rather that the enlarged Community will be unable to function owing to all concerned regarding common problems from the point of view of their own parish pump rather than from that of the group as a whole. If this tendency prevails—and it may do so—it is clear that the whole experiment will founder and that all members of the enlarged Community will after a time, including ourselves, go their several ways. Most of us know in 1157 our bones what the result of such a general collapse would be. Our several free economies, not being able to withstand the external pressures of the modern world, would be "directed"—I think that is the phrase—by somebody or other. With luck, I suppose that we might in this country become as efficient as (shall we say?) the Eastern German Republic—though this is perhaps unlikely since in time of peace we do not work as hard as the Germans; but freedom would die.
My Lords, the chief way to prevent such a collapse and thus to preserve the priceless heritage of our free society, is to insist on the institutions of the Community working and notably to insist on the early constitution of a valid European Parliament. It must be evident that if we—and, as we may still hope, the Norwegians and the Danes—are members of the European Economic Community, we can work for this development with some hopes of success; but if we are not in we can do nothing of the kind. If we really are, as we say we are, democrats, the overriding object must surely be to form a genuine democracy in Western Europe. And it is probably only by so doing that we shall be able to prevent the gradual extinction of democracy all over the world.
I should therefore, if I may be allowed to do so, appeal to the opposition to our joining the Communities—most of which, though not all, seems now to be among the members in the ranks of the Labour Party—not to cut off their nose to spite their face but rather, once we are in the Communities, to join in the great movement designed to transform them into a living political reality; to recognise also that if this movement should fail—and it may do so—it will not be a question of our seceding from the Communities in two or three years' time (we can forget about that) but of the actual dissolution of the Communities; to consider also whether anybody in Western Europe would gain from this or whether we should, as I believe, be at the mercy in such circumstances of one or the other of the super-Powers or perhaps of both; and, having reflected on all these issues, to take the Governments—all of them—at their word when they speak of direct elections to the European Parliament; to insist that they 1158 send suitable Members of Parliament to Strasbourg to produce an agreed plan to this end; to bring every pressure on all the Governments to accept it; and, this having been done, to grant greater freedom of action to the Commission and to take decisions in certain limited spheres by a qualified majority vote.
My Lords, in conclusion, as regards the Amendment so eloquently moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, although I may be wrong I suspect that if the Labour Party had not been defeated at the last Election, and had negotiated, as they would have done, much the same terms as the Tories, they would have taken it very ill if the built-in Tory majority in this House had insisted on any substantial Amendments to the Bill approved by the House of Commons. But be that as it may, and I do not insist on it, I myself formed the view, rightly or wrongly, during our long debates that the bulk of the Amendments were advanced with the clear object of returning the Bill to the Commons in the hope that something would happen in the interval or even during the new long debate in another place which would result in its defeat. The Amendments (other than wrecking Amendments, which were clearly observable) or some of them, not advanced with this intention, and no doubt there were many, were in some cases harmless and some of them might have been accepted if drafting were the only issue. Indeed the Liberals, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has said, voted for some. But none of them—and this is the point—if approved would have substantially altered the Bill and it was therefore not unnatural, as I think, that the Government should reject them. These are admittedly my own views which are not shared by all of my Liberal colleagues; but I myself would stoutly I maintain that the Government were constitutionally entitled to act as they did and for my part I am glad that they did; so. I shall personally therefore vote against this Amendment.
My Lords, that is all I have to say. I do not think we ought to greet the new period of our history which undoubtedly will start on January 1 in any exalted mood; certainly not in the belief that we are entering a sort of promised land— we shall continue to have our difficulties and disappointments—but rather in a 1159 spirit of sober determination to save Europe and ourselves for freedom, not, as previously, by our example but rather by our joint exertions.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ LORD ROBBINS
My Lords, there are many names on the list of speakers of people more entitled to take the time of your Lordships' House than I am. I promise, therefore, that I will be very brief. I address myself to the Amendment. My Lords, there can be no doubt that the Amendment, which has been moved with such debating force and with such eloquence by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, is, in effect, a censure on Her Majesty's Government and on the Leader of the House. I am sure that the noble Earl, the Leader of the House, is capable of defending himself in that respect; and, if I may say so, I thought that in the speech which he made, one of the most eloquent I have heard him make in this House, he anticipated a good many of the points which have been made against him. But perhaps it may be in order (perhaps that may be the reason why a Cross-Bencher is allowed to speak next on the list) for one who is not a Government supporter, for one who was certainly not tied to the mast with his ears filled with wax while the sirens on the Opposition Bench were deploying their blandishments—it might be as well for such a one, as it were, to give an unbiased account to the House of his own behaviour and the reasons therefor.
My Lords, I voted consistently in favour of the Bill. I did not vote in every Division because I was not always present in the House, but whenever I was present and had heard the arguments on both sides I went into the Lobbies with the Government. And therefore, confronted by the Amendment put down by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition I am led to ask myself the question, "Why?". Why did I do this thing? I will not conceal from your Lordships that which I have not concealed in earlier debates: that I am very strongly in favour of our entry into Europe and I am therefore very strongly in favour of the passage of this Bill. I will also say, candidly, that I certainly do not find myself wildly enthusiastic at the thought of the debate being reopened in another 1160 place over such matters as the insertion of the word "that" or on much more important matters. I do not think that such a reopening would necessarily be conducive to further public enlightenment.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, may I say that it is exceedingly difficult to move an Amendment to the word "that".
§ LORD ROBBINS
Indeed, my Lords, but it is possible to move its insertion or its omission. To the extent that that indicates my fundamental attitude I must acknowledge to myself that it may be that my action in the last few debates has been animated to some extent by an unconscious bias; but I do not think so. There was no compelling motive to vote for a specific clause. If the reasons advanced by the other side had been sufficiently cogent it would have been possible, for me at any rate, as a Cross-Bencher, to have refrained from voting if I had thought that the Government were being unreasonable. But I did not. Why?
In the first place, my Lords, although I speak as a fool in matters of legalistic science, it seems to me that this is a good Bill, superbly drafted according to the language of the mystery essentially involved. And I must say that when there has been argument on the more obscure parts of the Bill—and no one would contend for a moment that the tight legal drafting always had an interpretation which leapt immediately to the eye—when there have been exchanges of view on these matters, I confess that I have always thought that the elucidations furnished, in moderation and good will, from the Government Bench were satisfactory; although I also often felt extremely glad that the questions had been asked. But beyond that, my Lords, I am conscious that in regard to many other Amendments I had the feeling that they were prompted by negative impulses. They were prompted by a spirit of apprehension. They were prompted by a desire to lay down in advance limitations on what our representatives could do in this respect or in that respect; or the way in which difficult constitutional questions which, in my judgment, can be handled only as they gradually evolve, should be handled.
1161 I have great respect for some, at least, of those who are fearful of the future. I have some respect, although this is not comprehensive, for those who oppose the principle of entry. I recognise the deep-seated feelings which are aroused by this great historic issue. I recognise, too, that we are entering on a most hazardous experiment. We are entering on a constitutional development which may quite easily go sour. My Lords, in history, confederations, even of this limited sort—and this is not a full staatenbund—are notoriously unstable. I happen to think that this particular semi-confederation is going to be exposed to quite peculiar and unique dangers; dangers arising from differences in language, from differences in law, from difficulties in political and social conditions. Seldom in human history have confederations proved stable. But, my Lords, I am sure that this one, on which so much depends, on which many of us think that the future of our children and our grandchildren depends—this one will certainly fail if we go into it in a spirit of fear, believing that the slightest innovation will break down. Rather, surely, we should be prepared to give our representatives the utmost elbow-room compatible with good sense. My Lords, I do not think that this nation has a monopoly of creative imagination or even of Parliamentary wisdom, but I do believe that we have a good share of it. I do believe that we have a great deal to contribute to the association into which it is proposed that we should enter. We should not cramp our style in advance in respect of the exercise of those qualities. Therefore, I find myself completely out of sympathy with those Amendments which seem to me to be prompted by a spirit of apprehension.
I confess that I was most troubled by the arguments deployed and the Amendments moved by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, and by his attempts to insert in the Bill provisions which would bring about adequate Parliamentary involvement. For I believe that if this hazardous experiment is to succeed it is quite essential that Parliament should feel itself involved; and that Parliament should be involved, not merely on these grand occasions when here or in another place we allow our- 1162 selves to blow off steam on matters of stratospheric principle, but in the day-today problems which will necessarily arise as we become more and more involved in this enterprise.
My feeling in this respect, with every sympathy in the world for the spirit inspiring Lord Shackleton's Amendments, was that they did not really meet the case. Even so, I think I should have abstained from voting against them if the noble Earl the Leader of the House had not met my requirement by his proposal that there should be all-Party discussions concerning the most expedient way in which Parliamentary control can be maintained. That, I am sure, is the right way to do it. I am also sure, if he will permit me to say so, that if the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, brings his superb knowledge of the potentialities of procedure to bear on the common deliberations envisaged from that side, as a result of his influence something good will emerge.
Finally, my Lords, may I say that I should be extremely sorry if many of us went away with the impression that all the hours that we have devoted to this question in the last few weeks were a charade, and that all that had been said was just sound and fury, signifying nothing. That is certainly not my view. I concur in what was said by the noble Earl the Leader of the House: that the discussions have been discussions of great practical usefulness in elucidating what had not been elucidated before in regard to obscure points, and in laying down interpretations which had not previously been promulgated. And, if I may say so humbly, it has seemed to me that some of the exchanges in the course of the debates have been of supreme intellectual interest. I hope it will not be thought invidious if I name in that respect contributions made from the Opposition Benches by the noble Lords, Lord Shackleton and Lord Stow Hill, and the contributions made by the noble and; learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack and the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross. I am sure that when the historian of the future comes to read our debates he will come to the conclusion that the highest standards of our Parliamentary traditions have been maintained.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ LORD BLYTON
My Lords, I rise to address your Lordships' House as an unrepentant anti-Common Marketeer. On the Second Reading of the Bill I commented that in another place no Amendments had been accepted, and I feared that it would happen in your Lordships' House, because the Government had made up their mind. I said in my Second Reading speech that if that happened it would make a mockery of this House. As we have witnessed, this has happened. Amendments that did not affect the principle of going into the Common Market and were intended only to give our Parliament some control against the E.E.C. Commission were dismissed out of hand. Even an Amendment to give us some measure of control of our regional policies on the chronic unemployment that exists was turned down. And the alibi of the Government, when charged that they did not intend to look at any of the Amendments, was to deny it and to say that the Amendments had no merits. And we have heard that repeated to-day.
Time has proved that this Bill is now getting its Third Reading with no Amendment to it: giving away the sovereignty of Britain and Parliament's control over its economy to faceless men on the Continent who in the years ahead will tell us what we have to do. We have to sit back and swallow it all, as we shall have no power residing in this country to counter any proposal that is detrimental to our economy. We have to swallow two volumes of Treaties, 43 volumes of Community law and eight volumes of subordinate treaties, in none of which have we had a voice and which were made to suit the Six on the Continent and their economy.
But the most important factor, more important than the treaties, is the fact that the British people now recognise that the broad effect of the treaty arrangements is damaging to us, and that the enterprise is going wrong even before we get in. That is the feeling of the people outside. The people have been told for years now that a large European Market would see growth in the economy, and that wonderful things would be theirs when this happened. What the people see to-day is that British industry is showing no signs of imminent revival. On the contrary, since the period of negotiations was com- 1164 pleted British industry has become gloomier in its view of future prospects. What has happened to the glorious pictures of economic growth that were given to us by big business and by the Government a year ago? Far from backing its words with its money, British industry has greeted our entry with the biggest collapse in investment for more than 20 years. As the confidence of industry has weakened, so has our surplus in the balance of payments. In June, the Government were forced to float the pound, and no one now denies that this was devaluation.
Our payments to Europe, the subscriptions that we must make, have yet to begin. Next January, according to the Government, our first annual payment of £120 million net is due—I think the figure will be much higher. Nevertheless, taking the figures the Government gave us in 1971, by 1977 no less than £750 million will have been paid into the E.E.C, and double that amount will have to be paid in the five years following 1977. Next January, as people know, involved as they are in the fight against inflation—inflation far worse than anything we have seen in peace or war—a new factor that will force up prices is to be injected into our economy. We shall be forced to adjust the prices of our food and other essentials of life to bring our nation into line with those on the Continent and to accept the value added tax.
There are times in the life of a nation when one has to pay an economic cost to preserve political freedom and the right to control one's own economic destiny. But this Bill reverses that process. We are to pay a heavy price over the exchange system to the E.E.C., and at the same time hand over to a Commission abroad the power to control our economy, to impose taxation without the consent of Parliament and to give them power also to make laws to which we shall have to conform. All this is being done without asking the people whether they will agree to all these powers and some of their liberties being handed over to others. To my mind, we are witnessing the British élite handing over powers belonging to the people without the consent of the people.
Another truth about joining is that the negotiations took place under the threat 1165 of a third French veto, and we were only allowed in because the Prime Minister was prepared to abandon every British major interest involved and pledge himself at the Elysé Palace to support what is essentially a French design for Europe. Yet all this has won him very little consideration in France. There have been numerous occasions during these last 12 months when the Government have been subjected to what I consider to be humiliation at the hands of the French. As to the question of the Summit Conference this autumn, this seems to depend on the French President receiving sufficient guarantees in advance that he gets his own way with those joining the Community. We had from the French President recently the clear threat of our exclusion from the E.E.C. in spite of the Treaty of Accession—the threat that if we did not stop the floating of the pound by January 1, 1973, we should not be allowed in. And following a meeting with the German Chancellor the French President said:European economic and monetary union is our fundamental aim.I have often said in this House over the past two years what this will mean to us. It will mean great danger to us in the years ahead.
The President of France has said on the question of the return to a fixed parity that it was an essential and indispensable basis for European economic and monetary union, and that this basis must exist before it comes to the point of expanding the Community. There is no doubt at all that we shall have to do as we are told by them. M. Giscard D'Estaing, when speaking to the National Assembly on June 29, said that the return of the pound to a fixed parity was a necessary accompaniment for Britain's entry into the Common Market next January. I do not know whether the Government are going to accept these dictates, but my guess is that they will return the pound to a fixed parity before this year is out, in accordance with the instructions that, as I have outlined, we are getting from France. In fact at the meeting last week of the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer it appears that we have again capitulated to French dictates.
1166 What a humiliating position this is for a great country like ours. Independence has flown out of the window so far as Britain is concerned and in the light of the evidence it seems that France is not all that friendly towards us. Whatever the right description of our relations with France, we should be very unwise to expect consideration and generosity. All the more significant is the fact that in his Budget Speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer went out of his way to say that the Government would not be bound by being forbidden growth of the economy because of alleged allegiance to a fixed parity rate. This was acclaimed as a declaration of great importance and presented to us as a great feat. The Government know what the French are saying: they say it in public. This is what the President said on July 4, 1972:Our basic aim remains a European economic and currency union and the doctrine of this was established in the agreement of March 21, 1972. That naturally meant that fixed exchange rates must be maintained and those countries which have departed from fixed exchange rates must return to them.He went on:This is the indispensable basis for the establishment of the economic and currency union, and this basis must be created before the enlargement of the Community can take place.He was followed by Dr. Mansholt, who said that we must go back to a fixed parity of the pound on January I. I ask myself: do the British Government want to stand up for British interests? On all the evidence we have, we have given way all along the line to the Six. Only a short while ago the Government were saying that to float the pound was a great achievement, and that they did not have a fixed parity rate. Surely they cannot; say it now. They are determined to return to a normal situation by January 1, 1973. Surely they cannot say these two things at the same time.
There is no doubt that we face a situation in which the Government have to accept President Pompidou's dictates, or they will have difficulty in getting into the Market. In the light of what we have given away by our acceptance of the terms, it is not surprising that we find ourselves in this terrible position. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also said that the Government put both happiness and full employment of our people above the value of the rate of exchange. 1167 My Lords, that assertion has been challenged. A challenge has been made to the whole of Parliament by the French President. The history of our Parliament over hundreds of years has shown the way in which the people of this country have been able to participate in the exercise of power. This right has been fought for by the people in the last century. But this Bill is taking us into Europe and transferring power to people in Brussels. We shall not see something which is alien, but we shall see a true alienation of the British people from the Government and the control of their own interests. This Bill puts us into a system which is undemocratic, élitist and not in the interests of our people.
It is dangerous, as the Bill proposes, to set the cause of Europe against the cause of Parliament in every clause and every subsection. We have to choose between entering into Europe on terms which, to say the least, are very harsh and expensive against the claims of our Parliamentary freedoms and democratic rights. As all history tells us, this is a very dangerous course. What has emerged from the debates in both Houses with great clarity is the reality of the cessation of the basic characteristics of Parliamentary government in this country, the reality of the transfer of the supreme power to legislate, the supreme power to tax, and the overriding ultimate power of the courts in this country in all matters in all causes.
The area over which under the treaties European institutions will be able to make our future laws is largely undefined and is certain to grow. It already includes not only a general capacity to make laws, but a substantial capacity to raise taxes. In fact, for the first time since the Stuarts we are to be taxed without the consent of Parliament and, what is more, we have no right of appeal to change or to amend the laws to which we are to be subjected—no right unless we breach the treaty itself. From the moment that it takes effect the Bill will create a large "No-go" area for British democracy, an area in which Community jurisdiction will apply and Community laws will have to be obeyed.
Over the past 20 years that I have been opposing our entry into the 1168 Common Market I have listened to many arguments to justify all this, and the one that disturbs me most is that put forward by those who have convinced themselves that Parliamentary democracy here is a charade, that Parliament does not control the Government, that the people do not control Parliament and that Britain no longer controls its own fortunes in the world. To people who think like this, there is of course neither democracy nor sovereignty to abandon. Are we to believe that the British people, with a high standard of living and great national wealth, still with great power and much greater influence in the world, had nothing further to gain from the exercise of the rights of self-government? If this is so, then it is rather astonishing that over 80 States in the world, all much poorer, weaker and facing more serious problems than we do ourselves in relation to their resources, insist on maintaining their self-government and their freedom of action—things which some people on both sides of this House have come to believe are no longer of any value to ourselves.
If this is the correct view, it has not been put to the British people, and much less have the British people been persuaded by it. What happened was that the Prime Minister and the Government thought that by propaganda in favour of the Market they would get the full-hearted consent of Parliament and the people. They have not got this consent, and this is the heart of the matter. The Government thought that the people, in spite of their doubts, would be won over. This has failed, and because they know the people will not have this, the Bill has been bulldozed through both Houses of Parliament and the people have been ignored.
The Prime Minister will go to the Summit conference this autumn, if President Pompidou consents, in a very difficult position. He will go knowing that he does not represent the wishes of the British people in this enterprise. And, just as important, the other European leaders know this. The European leaders will know that the Solicitor General has said,The position is that the ultimate supremacy of Parliament will not be affected.1169 They also know the words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, who on December 1 last year said,If the Queen in Parliament were to make laws which were in conflict with this country's obligations under the Treaty of Rome, those laws and not the conflicting provisions of the Treaty would be given effect to as the domestic law of the united Kingdom.There can be no doubt at all that the next Parliament will have the right to take back what this Parliament is ceding to the Europeans.
The Labour Party have pledged themselves at the end of any further negotiations to consult the British people to enable them to make a final decision on entry. They have also said if the negotiations are not satisfactory they will ask the people to come out, even though they would be in breach of the Treaty of Rome. There is also the possibility that the Labour Party Conference next week will come down on the side of the principle of coming out, regardless of any terms. We reject the Treaty of Luxembourg which gives authority for taxation and expenditure of the Communities, and we make clear our opposition to the Common Agricultural Policy. I know that Dr. Mansholt will be crying again that the Six will not negotiate, but he will have to face the reaction of this country when they get a chance to decide on the matter. The Trades Union Congress have now gone in principle against the Common Market and also have supported the renegotiation of the terms. They too say that it must be subject to the people's decision; and the T.U.C. represents quite a large slice of the people. My opinion is that the British people will insist that another Parliament undoes what has been achieved in this Bill and will take back into British hands the powers to make the law and shape of the policies of this nation. The Six should know all this before they ratify, in their turn, the Treaty of Accession and it would be better if the Governments of Europe were to agree to postpone our date of entry until the people of Britain have had a say in the matter.
My Lords, there will come the time when this Government will meet its maker, and its maker is the people. There comes a time in life when Governments are made and Governments are unmade. Although this House will take the step 1170 of giving this Bill a Third Reading, we shall have lost the power to reassert our faith in the legislative supremacy of Parliament and the sovereignty of the electorate of this country. Yet that power still resides with the people. They have it still, they can use it still, and I am sure they will; and the Government will not get the answer they expect.
In conclusion, I say that in this Bill we are throwing over the Commonwealth and are likely to wreck the economy of New Zealand. We are repudiating the principles of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement without any regard of the effect it will have on the sugar-producing countries. We are ignoring and putting into jeopardy 120,000 of our people who are dependent on the fishing industry of the nation. The first step has been taken to-day, according to the Press. This is the beginning of the disintegration of the Commonwealth. Australia has announced that as from February 1 next year the preference we have on trade between this country and Australia has to end. Even in England our fruit growers will not be able to sell their crops when we join the Market, and the Government are now urging them to dig up their orchards. Already 875 farmers have agreed to take £300,000 in grants to destroy 6,150 acres of apple and pear trees. The Minister of Agriculture wants a further 9,000 acres cleared before the end of next March. This will eliminate from England many of the old and tasty varieties and destroy much of our horticultural industry. In the last five years 2,500,000 tons of top-grade fruit has been destroyed in the Common Market countries, and in the future this surplus will be unburdened on this country. I can see no sense at all in putting our people out of business to let the Europeans take over. The Government have suggested a temporary levy of just over 2½p per pound on European apples, but we have had no word yet whether the Europeans will accept it. It was most certainly suggested to try to soften this blow.
Our people have a right to ask the Government why our orchards have to be sacrificed for the sake of a political treaty and why we are destroying English orchards in preparation for giving European growers a clear field for their produce. When we go into the Common Market, if the cost of living rises and 1171 trade unrest to get higher wages mounts, so will the British people then rise and demand a change. They will demand that we trade with the world; that we recover our independence, and legislate for ourselves. Tonight, my Lords, I shall vote for the Amendment and against the Third Reading.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Blyton, and I have been exchanging views on this fascinating and important topic for the past 12 years, both in this noble House and in the other place, and I do not think our points of view have come any nearer together. But I was much interested to hear his cogent deployment of the economic and political arguments as he sees them. The only comment I would make would be that I hope very much that the Labour Party at its Conference next week will not commit itself irretrievably to any step of the kind he indicated.
May I turn to the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, with his characteristic skill. We are all aware that the noble Lord has problems of Party unity which are not inconsiderable. I must say I admired very much the force of the dialectic attack with which he attacked us on this side. I was frankly a little surprised that he put down the Amendment in the form that he did, first of all on the grounds of his complaint (which he reiterated in his speech) that our large majority, which I will certainly concede, offends him. After all, if the noble Lord and his Government had persevered with their legislation they could have changed our Constitution, certainly with my support and the support of the majority of noble Lords on this side. Therefore, if we continue as we are with this large Conservative majority here, and the existing Constitution, the noble Lord has only his own Government to blame.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, we clearly do not want to return to an argument on this issue. I will admit to the responsibility of my own Party and Government, but I am bound to say to the noble Lord that the official Opposition in the other place gave absolutely no help, or only very little help. Let us 1172 just leave it that it all took place in another place.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, I am very happy to leave it there. The noble Lord will have to have it left with him, however, that it was his Government. Therefore, I do not think it lies in his mouth to complain that we have an over-large majority to-day. I dare say there could be some personal consolation to the noble Lord, who I am very glad to recognise as a warm and constant supporter of entry into the Common Market, that, whatever happens on any Amendment that he supports over there, nevertheless the Bill is quite safe. The other point I should like to make about the Amendment concerns the implication that our majority is automatic and monolithic. This was referred to by my noble friend Lord Jellicoe. No one demonstrated that assertion more dramatically to be untrue than the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, himself. I very much enjoyed watching him at work, with all the arts of Parliamentary skill and a good many others as well, moving an Amendment in the middle of a debate: with enormous skill he was able to persuade a large number of my noble friends to vote with him on this very important issue of local government. This demontrates clearly that my noble friends here on this side preserve their traditional independence. If the cause is good enough and the advocacy is strong enough, my noble friends' votes can be won—and the great cause of whether Lymington should be in Dorset or Hampshire is something that is likely to move the hearts of all men. So the noble Lord has really got it wrong. We have continued to vote as we have because we just have not been persuaded, even by the admirable debating power of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, and the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, that their points were good enough to put in the Bill.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, but it was of course a Conservative Amendment to which I gave merely a minor redraft.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, the noble Lord is too modest altogether. It was a complete new piece of architecture. We will let it pass but I think it is a good point.
1173 I am also going to refer to a point my noble friend Lord Jellicoe made, because it is a fair one, on the merits of Amendments to this Bill, which were interesting Amendments. I listened to the discussion on most of them, and I read it on those I did not listen to, and a number of important points were put before the House and they undoubtedly required my noble friends on the Front Bench to give us much valuable exposition on legal and other points. But we felt one way about it; noble Lords on the other side felt the other, and we voted accordingly. But it is fair and cogent to refer to the voting pattern of noble Lords on the Cross Benches and on the Liberal Benches. I think that invariably on these votes they were in the majority and in favour of the Government side. Nobody could have expressed this point of view more cogently than the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, did in his interesting speech.
My noble friend Lord Jellicoe stated again to-day, quite unequivocally, that he was free to accept any Amendment that he thought was necessary and desirable in the Bill, and that in the course of these lengthy debates he was not persuaded, and nor were we, that any one should be made. In the light of the voting pattern of the Labour Party in Opposition and in Government on this issue, it does not seem to me to lie in the mouth of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, to attack the Government for their (let us put it this way) restraint about returning this Bill to the House of Commons for fear of how the vote might go there. It really does not. No Party has ever committed itself to such a somersault as the Labour Party has in the last couple of years. The fact is, as we all well recognise, that this Bill has been drafted with immense care to give effect to our obligations under the Treaty of Accession. The fact is that there are no defects in it; it would have been very surprising if there were.
The issue of the sovereignty of Parliament, which was one of the principal issues which was developed on a number of occasions—it has been developed again to-day by the noble Lord, Lord Blyton, and was developed on a number of occasions by the noble Lord, Lord Beswick—is of course a matter of enormous importance to us; and of course 1174 there are anxieties relating to it. We are all quite clear that, by signing the Treaty of Accession, we bind ourselves to a number of legal commitments. But today, and indeed in 1967 when the Labour Government were considering this issue, the best view that could be taken by those who had all the facts before them was that, on balance, this was worth doing.
I think it is fair to record that in all the history of the Six the Commission has been most careful to avoid any action which was likely to be offensive to any of its members. And for the future—well, Great Britain will be there at the conference table able to take part in the discussions beforehand and at the point of decision, and this, surely, will give us the best possible prospect of seeing that our interests are not damaged. I should have thought it was far better, as now, when decisions are being taken about the future of Europe when we are not there, that we should be there at the table.
In my view, in joining the Community we are no more than ceding the shadow of sovereignty in order to preserve the substance of Parliamentary control. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, in his interesting speech, that Parliamentary control is something that worries us all and none of us can see quite clearly how it will work out. Noble Lords opposite made some play with putting additional procedure safeguards into the Bill, but we all know perfectly well that they would have been completely inadequate, because we are going into a situation that at present we cannot measure in this respect. Therefore I am sure that the right procedure is the one that was offered by my noble friend and which has been offered again to-day; that all Parties should join the ad hoc committee, which will then proceed to study this matter in order to see how to handle the mass of information coming out of the Community in order to sort out the important from the unimportant and in order to put us in a position to take decisions, and to influence the taking of decisions in Brussels before eventually decisions are made. Therefore I very much hope that noble Lords opposite, once the decision is taken and this 1175 becomes the law of the land, will join in this essential exercise.
So much for the Opposition Amendment—and I pay tribute to the skilful drafting of it by noble Lords in terms of their Party unity. But I suggest that in the light of even the arguments that we have had to date, on examination they really dissolve into thin air. There is no justification for the allegation that their Amendments were not given proper consideration and that Parliamentary procedures here were not adequate. They certainly were adequate.
In conclusion, I should like to make a few remarks about the Third Reading of the Bill. This is the most important step we have ever taken in peace time and we all know that there are risks, both economic and political. Those risks have all been discussed in this House and in the other House over the past 12 years, and by some people even before that. Since the beginning of last year there have been no less than 43 days of debate in the other House and 30 days on the Bill itself. The fact is that there is no aspect of this momentous proposition which has not been fully debated over the last 12 years. The country is fully seized of what is involved, and I would suggest that the best indication of Parliamentary opinion was the free vote last October which resulted in a majority of 112—a very large majority—in favour of entry. There is not time to-day for me to go into the pros and cons of the economic and political aspects of the Bill. Of course there are pros as well as cons; of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Blyton, was saying, the cost of our contribution to the Community starting next year at £100 million a year and rising in four years to £200 million a year is substantial, and there will probably be another £50 million a year in extra food costs.
Also, of course, the agricultural structure is far from perfect but we hope that when we are in we shall be able to use our influence to modify it and to make it more acceptable. The massive advantage of free and permanent access to this huge market in Western Europe, which will in total be 300 million people, is a trading advantage which will surely outweigh the initial cost of joining the club. 1176 This is the balance of the economic argument. Those of us who are in favour believe that the opportunity will be there, that we shall be able to take advantage of it and we shall gain in our balance of trade and the general boost to our economy. Certainly we can look around in Europe and see the really dramatic improvement which has occurred in the countries of the Six during the last ten years.
On the political side I have already touched on one or two internal liabilities of procedure. But in the international sphere the advantage of our joining with these other countries of the old world —all part of the same Roman Christian civilisation as ourselves—into one unit, already one in defence in NATO, with the prospect of becoming progressively closer in our political institutions so that we can progressively speak with one voice about interests which have so much in common —a way of life which has so much in common in terms of personal liberty and order and parliamentary institutions—must be of tremendous value, not only to ourselves, not only to Europe, but indeed to the rest of the world, if at that time we put ourselves into the "big league" where we are able to talk as equals with the United States of America, the U.S.S.SR. and even with China. So I feel that, on balance, on both sides these are advantages which are so great that they are worth striving for.
I should like to congratulate my noble friend the Leader of the House on his admirable leadership in handling these extremely difficult and important debates, and above all I should like to congratulate my right honourable friend the Prime Minister on his fantastic tenacity, I vigour and determination, in persevering with this tremendous issue over the past twelve years. How much we owe to his leadership in carrying us in it would be quite beyond my powers of description to explain. But I feel that he deserves the warmest tribute for leading this nation into something that I believe will be of very great benefit to us.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ LORD BALOGH
My Lords, we have I had a long, exhausting and, in my humble opinion, a completely futile debate. No one has changed his mind; no one has; been seen to change his mind on the 1177 argument, and I must say that the statistics produced by the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, like so many other statistics, do not impress me at all. I must ask him to look at Hansard for last Thursday, at the Question asked by the noble Earl, Lord Albemarle, and the Answer to it, which does not show that our presence in Brussels protects the interests which we all have in mind. I am referring to the Question about heavy lorries.
The noble Lord, Lord Nugent, castigated the Opposition for inconsistency and went on to say that the country is fully seized of all the arguments about this very complicated matter. He then said that the whole thing is unknowable because we are venturing on seas which are uncharted, and therefore we do not, and cannot, know anything about it. For an exercise in consistency I think I have heard few arguments that are less convincing.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to interrupt? The point I was on in regard to the impossibility of perceiving the future was the procedural problems in Parliament. On the broad prospect of the political and economic future I think we can see what the prospects are.
§ LORD BALOGH
My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me, I must point out that if you cannot foresee then obviously you cannot be fully seized, whether it is procedural or factual. So I must at any rate take note of this inconsistency. The rate of development in those countries, both before and after they joined together, was more or less the same. The really big leader from the development point of view has been Japan which, so far as I know, has not yet joined the Community. Indeed, an aspect in respect to which the E.E.C. might at some stage become important is that of Japanese competition. But that is another story and I will not go into it now.
I must protest at the way in which several noble Lords have castigated the Opposition for changing their mind. The first question to ask is whether it is so terrible to change one's mind. After all, the Conservatives have changed their mind. For example, the conditions which 1178 have been negotiated are completely different now from the conditions which prevailed when we first applied to enter. At the time of our first application it was made clear that the entire agricultural finance and the whole issue of regional policy would have to be renegotiated. There has grown up a legend (much of this has arisen from what has been written in the Economist, a publication that is not always consistent with fact) which has itself become a fact. It disregards all the conditions and important qualifications of entry and subordinates them simply to accusing us of somersaulting and goodness knows! what else.
I regret to say—I say it humbly and with respect—that as these debates have proceeded and as more assurances have I been given, for instance, on the question of regional policy, the less it appears to be compatible with fact. I refer to the facts as I know them and as quite a number of others know them. For example, the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, referred to the Italian regional policy possibilities without appearing to know that those details are laid down in a special protocol. A few other noble Lords followed the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, in that interesting excursion into the dream world. If one can define "propaganda" as the art of misleading oneself and not deceiving the enemy, we have seen that exercise conducted in a marvellous way on this issue.
I accept the noble Earl's claim that an overwhelming proportion of this House is in favour of this Bill. I do not doubt that. The pleasant way in which the noble Earl made this telling point obviously impresses one. It certainly impressed me, as I am always impressed by his speeches. But then the Establishment has been in favour of many things, which have not turned out all that well. Indeed, the more overwhelming in favouring something is the Establishment as it runs into battle for a lost or false cause, the more suspicious I get. Roosevelt said once, the best people seem always the worst advised. I agree.
There is certainly no reason for complacency here. The last fifty or so years have seen a continuing weakening in Britain's economic power and strength, and this has been a development which I have greatly regretted. It could not have 1179 been fortuitous because it has been continuous, and with each crisis something worse has happened. We have now reached the position when Lord Nugent of Guildford, the Government, the Foreign Office, that Department's representatives in this House, and other noble Lords, consider that we must enter the Community in order that we may talk to America on equal terms. I should like to know to whom they are referring when they use the word "we" in that context. Is "we" Britain or is it the Community? Do they consider that Britain will be a leader in the Community?
I recall that when the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, was the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs he talked on one occasion with one of the German Ministers (I cannot recall his name, but it was at the time of the régime which preceded the one that is now in office) and told him, "General de Gaulle does not want us in the Market because he cannot tolerate two cocks on one dung heap." The German Minister modestly remarked, "Or perhaps three." This point should be borne in mind by the Foreign Office in its enthusiasms, as well as by the Government and noble Lords who are so much in favour of Britain entering the Community.
One cannot blame British weakness in this context, though I regret it enormously, because in what is, after all, an imperfect world—Britain has been a pleasant and tolerant land to live in, and when bad things happen or bad acts are committed in her name one can always make a row about them—we have not done too badly. Much of the difficulty has arisen because of the prevalence of financial influences in our affairs, beginning with our restoring the gold standard. There was no resistance in the bureaucracy to these influences and they have found their way into various policies, including foreign affairs.
In this connection, I beseech the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, who I regret is not in his place, to accept that he may be wrong. He often has been wrong and he has courageously said so. I hope that I will say the same thing when I am wrong. Indeed, I refuse to be dogmatic about this problem. I agree with the 1180 noble Lord, Lord Nugent, that we are entering uncharted waters and I hope that I shall be shown to be wrong. If I am, I shall be the first to admit it. However, it seems that what we are expecting from the entry is a push for higher dynamism in what may not be a very dynamic situation. It is possible that if we are competitive and have greater social equilibrium here than exists elsewhere, so that our costs are kept in order, this increase in dynamism may occur. But is this likely? One of the most impressive speeches from a noble Lord who has made many impressive speeches, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, dealt with regional matters. In those remarks he warned that we may be wrong and that things may turn out to be quite bad. My Lords, his remarks should be remembered.
After the Act of Union, Scotland and Ireland did not do well: Ireland tragically so and Scotland only a little less so. Nor did Naples do well in the Italian Union. On the other hand, I agree that nothing as catastrophic has happened in Belgium, certainly up to the moment, althogh it is true to say that the Italian situation improved mainly because two million people emigrated from South Italy, which is not the sort of solution for which we should strive. Officials and official papers from Con O'Neil and Eric Roll onwards have assumed that we would enter the Common Market only from strength. Are we entering from strength? The present Prime Minister said that we had to increase our investments in order to be strong enough and prove our strength. It would be a heavy battle in the Common Market if we were to survive, we were told. However, our investments are lower now than they have been for a long time and they are certainly insufficient for that purpose.
Another point to remember is that England has been such a nice country largely because we have not been very materialistic. Our growth has not been particularly great, but it has been pleasant growth. Consider, on the other hand, the atmosphere in North Italy and the Ruhr. They are laden with smog. In Lombardy even in the height of summer, one cannot see the peaks of the Alps. Certainly the non-urban and therefore non-cultural values to be visited in Italy have disappeared under the cloud of smog. If one looks at the sewer into which the Adriatic 1181 has been transformed and if one sees how the Rhine has also been so transformed, one realises that we are very much threatened because modern development is increasing differences between social and private costs. Of course, in international competition it is the private costs which matter. The greater the pollution, the lower the private costs. No one has really dealt with that. I sort of squeaked and squawked about this in one of these debates, but there was absolutely no response.
Integration under the ground rules of the Rome Treaty will of course favour the least socially-minded country. That is obvious. Maybe we can change the whole thing and change the Treaty of Rome—I do not know; I hope so. I hope that our diplomats—I referred to this last Thursday—will turn out to be vastly superior to those of the French, but I have yet to see that. I do not think they are at the moment. In this affair over lorries my case is completely supported. The great problem in the regional policy is that we as a whole country are peripheral to the Community and our transport costs by necessity will be very much higher than theirs because they can communicate with more people directly than we can, and without sea transport interruption. One may say this is very unimportant, but we have yet to hear a concrete argument that this problem has been investigated, dealt with and mentioned and that we shall be able, for instance, to have a counteracting subsidy, as we had, for instance, for Northern Ireland when we wanted to establish industry there and had to compensate them for the extra burden of the extra sea transport. There has not been a whimper in all these debates about that.
Then we are running into this integration monetarily and otherwise. If costs per unit of output do not grow in this country faster than elsewhere that will be all right. But is that likely? Is the temper of the trade unions and the handling of the trade unions by the Government such as to encourage any great hopes in this respect? I humbly suggest that they are not. Even the partial introduction of monetary integration which was agreed last spring—the "snake in the tunnel", so-called—has been abandoned within weeks. It was almost as blatant a failure as Lord Dalton's 1182 failure when he had to retract on convertibility in August, 1947, because he had lost the whole of the American loan which was to have been satisfactory and sufficient for a three-year transitional period in a matter of days. If we look at the record of this Government, with due respect, it cannot show very great signs of victory or prescience in its handling of the incomes policy and the winding-up of the Incomes Board and on monetary policy—the to-ing and fro-ing in the gilt-edged market—which I am sure noble Lords opposite know far better than I do, but they "keep mum", and because between pals they have to be loyal.
Then there is the problem of fiscal policy and how it is integrated into incomes policy, because obviously what we are interested in is not merely incomes before but also after tax. At the moment, after having 100 per cent, increases in top salaries after tax (so-called take-home pay: but they do not take it home; they put it in the bank by cheque) obviously it is very difficult to counter the arguments of the miner or the electrical worker when they want a 30 per cent, increase. Then there are industrial incentives of to-ing and fro-ing about grants. Off we go from grants to tax allowances and back to grants from tax allowances. There is the industrial reorganisation policy, off with the head of I.R.C. and on with the head of some other I.R.C. And on industrial relations the least said the better.
I fear, my Lords, that this country is going into a very turbulent airspace. We are going into that with a fractured national unity when we want unity more than anything else. The Establishment is now ringing the bells—we have heard some little bells ringing on the other side of the House already—and it is persuading local authorities and others to do likewise. As I said, I do not want to be dogmatic and I sincerely hope that I am wrong. I sincerely hope that they will not be wringing my hands and theirs when the test comes.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, we have now arrived at what is likely to be the last Parliamentary debate on the question of our entry into Europe before this historic Bill becomes law. Arrangements were made for Parliament to discuss and vote 1183 on this question at each stage, exhaustively, in a manner unprecedented in my experience. I am glad that that was so. Having spoken on several occasions, I do not propose to pay a valedictory to the Bill or to the era which it brings to an end, or even to pay an elaborate welcome to the new one which is approaching. I propose instead to take up the moderate amount of time which I require in paying some attention to the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton.
I think we can be grateful to the Opposition for putting down this Amendment, for all it seeks to do is to concentrate the protest which has run like a refrain through the utterances of noble Lords opposite during Committee and Report stages of this Bill. And an opponent whose fire is concentrated is easier to meet than an opponent whose strength is diffused. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Foot, to whom the credit belongs of being the first to introduce the notion that it was something like a scandal that the Government were accepting no Amendments. He challenged the Government to deny that they were systematically refusing Amendments, junior Ministers on the instruction of senior Ministers, and so on; and I recall the gesture with which he smacked the papers he had in his hand back onto the Bench and declared that if that were the case we might as well all pack up and go home. Since that moment, in substance the same complaint has been made by all the principal speakers among noble Lords opposite.
Now the first thing to be said is that the Government do not, and cannot, and would never dare to instruct noble Lords on this side of the House on how they should vote in a Division. Noble Lords opposite know quite well the freedom to vote against one's own Party is very much a cherished and living tradition in this House. For one thing, the Party has no sanction to apply; there are no Whips to be withdrawn and no constituency associations to withdraw support from their members. In refusing to accept an Amendment that the Opposition declare their intention of pushing to a Division, the Government gambles every time on their assessment of the wishes of the House as a whole. In this instance they never once came near to making a mis- 1184 take. If there are some noble Lords opposite who are so stimulated by resentment at the experiences they have suffered on this Bill, that they forget that there have been other instances than those already mentioned this afternoon when this Government failed to hold their inherent majority intact, then I would give them the instance of the Trade Descriptions Bill as an occasion when the Government, contrary to a strong recommendation they made to the House, were defeated on an Amendment; and I instance the Immigration Bill as an occasion when the Government accepted Amendments because, and only because, they anticipated defeat unless they did so.
Noble Lords must therefore find the reason, if they wish to be satisfied on this question, not why the Government have not accepted any Amendments but why the House has not accepted any Amendments. I really do not think this is very difficult. Noble Lords, as is customary in all cases, had to weigh the consequences of one action with the consequences of another. They had to weigh the advantage of incorporating any specific Amendment into the Bill against the general disadvantage of sending this Bill, its final terms still unresolved, on another Parliamentary circuit, with all the excitement this would have provoked among those whose principal duty, as they conceive it, is to reverse a decision that has already been taken, and with all the uncertainty and confusion this would in turn have revived among elements here and abroad who should by now have accepted the decision as final and who should be preparing without interruption or hesitation for the moment when this country joins the Community at the end of the year.
It is not only the Government who had every reason to wish for this Bill to become law as soon as possible. Let us remember some of the speeches made in this House on Second reading. Let me quote from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, from Hansard of July 25, at col. 1269:I do so agree with the noble Lord, Lord Alport, that the sooner this Statute, whatever its final form, is on the Statute Book the better. It will remove much uncertainty and I hope it will assist to promote the flow of industrial investment and help to get our unemployment figures down and also enable our economy to expand.1185 Or this from the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, at col. 1298:I for one shall certainly not seek to amend this legislation. We are already causing enough doubts in Europe about our conviction and commitment to the European cause, and about our determination to engage in a constructive and meaningful partnership. Now is the time to raise our eyes from matters of detail and legality …Or from the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, at col. 1248:… it must be clear that with all the present clouds on the horizon, the Government are absolutely right to want to get it on the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment.I was pleased to hear the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, express similar sentiments this afternoon. I could give other quotations in a similar sense but I have said enough to make it plain that noble Lords whose interest was as far removed as possible from one of sparing the Government embarrassment, least of all in any situation where there might be a question of provoking an abuse of the tradition of this House, nevertheless could hold the view that to pass this Bill into law was in the profoundest interest of this country.
Now perhaps we should have reminded ourselves more frequently what the purpose of this Bill was. The purpose of this Bill, as the noble Earl has explained to us this afternoon, was simply to enable us to comply with the obligations entailed by membership of the Communities; and nothing more. If this Bill had needed amendment before it could do that, perhaps because of faults in draftsmanship, or if it had needed amendment because of any other errors or omissions in conception or execution related to this purpose, of course we should have been obliged to amend it, notwithstanding any other considerations. But such a need was never demonstrated—not here, not in another place, and not in national discussion, into which, incidentally, the idea of a scandalous obstinacy on the part of the Government in refusing all Amendments has certainly not penetrated. Such a need was never demonstrated because, I believe, it did not exist. But, having discovered, as they must have discovered, that it did not exist, what did the Opposition try to do? They tried to do two things: they tried to introduce into the Bill something that 1186 dealt with the question of Parliament's relationship to the process of policy formulation within the Community, believing this to be an area of concern; and they tried to get acceptance for Amendments on grounds that they were harmless. They even did both those things at the same time.
So far as Parliament's relationship to the Community is concerned, as both the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, and, I think, the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, made plain this afternoon, this area certainly must be a matter of great importance. It would be inconceivable that it should not attract prolonged and devoted attention. But to expect to be able to link national political institutions to the institutions and processes of the Community, when these are themselves quite undeveloped, by means of an Amendment to a Bill which has an entirely different purpose, is unrealistic. The way towards that problem and its solution is quite a different one, and the Opposition need to accept the responsibility that they undoubtedly have to enter into national discussions on this question.
So far as seeking to persuade the Government and the House of the harmlessness of Amendments they were introducing is concerned, noble Lords opposite may have at times felt that they succeeded in making their case. Nor should I be surprised if noble Lords on this side sometimes came to that conclusion. It would be astonishing if the combined experience and talents of such noble Lords as Lord Shackleton, Lord Beswick, and Lord Greenwood of Rossendale were insufficient to devise an Amendment that was harmless to any Bill that came before Parliament. But most wisely and constantly the House decided that harmless-ness or trivial improvement was inadequate justification for reviving uncertainties and commotions which would have been the consequence of perpetuating the consideration of this Bill.
So I find unconvincing the claim by the Opposition that the traditional Parliamentary function of revision which is accorded to this Chamber has been outraged by the intransigence of the Government. I acknowledge—and the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton made this point—that the limits to Opposition which Oppositions impose on themselves in this House, and the valuable co-operation they 1187 bring to the management of business, the style of debate, and so on, depends on a spirit of give-and-take in which the acceptance by Governments of Amendments they do not intensely dislike plays a part. The frustrations of Opposition I can well imagine may have been more sharply felt without this compensation.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, made the point that we should be frank in this discussion. If we are to bring into this discussion the question of services rendered by one side to the other—and it may be noted that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, did put forward the view (I paraphrase it) that the Opposition had behaved impeccably but their reward had been nothing—then the Opposition in turn must recognise that they enjoyed a very considerable immunity from attack or pressure with regard to the ambiguities in the official position of their Party, notwithstanding the importance of this question to the future of the nation. They know quite well that they could not have expected certain uncomfortable aspects of the situation—and I mean uncomfortable from the point of view of their Party as a whole—to be ignored, as they have been ignored in debates in this House, in any other forum in which this subject might have been debated.
But the basic reason why their charge of constitutional misconduct is unconvincing is because this is an exceptional Bill. By common consent we have not taken so important a decision as that to which this Bill gives effect for 33 years. To suggest that damaging precedents have been set is as unrealistic as it would have been to argue in 1940 that the fact that we were to have no General Election in that year marked the end of Parliamentary democracy in Britain; or to have argued in 1832 that from then on any resistance by this House to proposals originating in another place would have provoked the threat of revolution. I do not believe our traditions have been affected one way or the other for all ordinary circumstances by what has happened, and the arguments put forward to suggest they have are to some extent disingenuous and entirely misconceived. In so far as a precedent may have been set for exceptional cases, I can only hope that the sense of proportion shown by this House on this occasion will be 1188 remembered as an example when the need again arises.
My Lords, having spoken exclusively to the Opposition's Amendment, I should like to say just a few words on the substance of the Bill. I believe our entry into Europe will end an era in foreign policy which has been characterised by two parallel frustrations, the frustration that we as a nation have experienced in finding a direction and the frustration that Europe has experienced in its search for unity. In our task ahead, British talents and British traditions will be of the utmost value to ourselves and to Europe. Much of that talent is possessed by those who, with a varying measure of dislike, have not found it possible to approve of the decision that has been taken. It stands to reason that those same elements are deeply attached to British tradition, for it is this attachment that has made acceptance of the decision for them difficult or impossible. It is much to be hoped that their talents and their scrupulous awareness of history will be made available in the building of Europe with the same energy and in the same liberal measure as in the past they were devoted to the creation of our national achievements.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ LORD GREENWOOD OF ROSSENDALE
My Lords, it is tempting at this stage to throw in one's hand, but, like my noble friend Lord Blyton, I want to make just one last attempt to record why so many of us, indeed, the great majority of Her Majesty's subjects, regard the Bill which has been presented to your Lordships' House as disastrous and against the true interests of our country. The Government, of course, have won a great victory in this House. But it has not been a victory for either sentiment or reason; it has been a victory of votes, and a victory of votes without voices.
During the whole Report stage only a sprinkling of noble Lords opposite intervened, and some of them merely to interject. The rest of the 150 silent but voting Peers manfully choked back the eloquent speeches that we saw trembling on their lips, swallowed bravely the closely reasoned arguments they did not feel it proper to deploy, and kept under 1189 firm control the high ideals which made them turn their backs on the past and tramp like Trappists into the Government Lobby. And with creditable self-discipline they succeeded in absenting themselves from the Chamber while the rest of us carried on what has been wittily called "the great debate". It was clear that the Acting Chief Whip, the Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, had cast himself in the role of the Red Queen who shouted to Alice: "Faster! Don't try to talk." The Lord Privy Seal, on the other hand, assumed the role of the White Queen, who, your Lordships will recall, told Alice that she should try to believe six impossible things before breakfast.
My own view is that the Government have asked us, and the people outside, to believe far too many unbelievable things. Their speeches in your Lordships' House have been notably courteous in their tone; indeed, I think it is a great tribute to this House that on a subject which arouses some strong emotion our debates should have been carried on with so much good humour. But although their speeches have been courteous, they have, I think, done little to allay the anxieties that are so widely felt throughout the Kingdom. It would be vain at this stage to rehearse those anxieties all over again, and I simply want to summarise why I, and indeed millions like me, regard the terms of entry as unacceptable. They involve an erosion of sovereignty of a kind which strikes at the very basis of our rights and freedoms and means that we must submit to legislation we have had no chance to amend. They put at risk our competence to give aid, at our own expense and by our own democratic processes, to parts of the country which have fallen on hard times. They involve breaking faith with those peoples of the Commonwealth who have been so steadfast in the trust they placed in us and in the affection they bore us, and for those of our friends it will be, "never glad confident morning again".
The Government, furthermore, cannot refute our claim that the terms they have negotiated will interfere with our liberties, that a damaging economic and monetary policy may be forced upon us in the very near future, and that our people can be fined or sent to prison for offences defined in Brussels. A topical example 1190 of this interference is to be found in the current controversy over heavy lorries. Mr. Phil Drackett, speaking at Plymouth yesterday for the R.A.C., emphasised that even the compromise proposal put forward by the Community in respect of these lorries would involved expenditure of £200 million on strengthening our roads to take the heavier weights, and in any event would not come into force until 1980. This means, he said, thatfor the next eight years, Dutch 50-tonners, for example, can come and go freely. At what cost to this country? Some of you may not have heard the names Ticehurst, Hailsham, Bridge, Uckfield, Palmer, Ringmer … you might call them a roll call of the fallen.Lèse majesté could hardly go further. But Mr. Drackett went on to emphasise that this was not a personal attack:These are just a few of the villages which are being shaken to pieces by heavy container lorries, mainly of Continental origin.And what a mockery this so-called harmonisation makes of all the Govern ment's protestations—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but since he mentioned Hailsham he must know that it has been by-passed for more than 20 years.
§ LORD GREENWOOD OF ROSSENDALE
My Lords, I am not really quite sure to which of the Hailshams the noble and learned Lord is referring. Although the noble and learned Lord did spend a certain amount of time in limbo, I certainly always had confidence that he would emerge in spite of all the failures of his colleagues to appreciate his true worth.
As I was saying, I think that this makes something of a mockery of the Government's protestations about the environment. My noble friend Lord Balogh was absolutely right in reminding your Lordships that the countries of the Common Market have very little to teach us about protecting the environment. The Government cannot deny that a heavy price will be exacted in taxation and in balance of payments terms. They cannot deny that the Common Agricultural Policy will be an appalling burden for us to sustain, or that we shall lose a great deal from the ending of Commonwealth preferences, and I am glad that my noble friend Lord Blyton 1191 reminded us of the news in the Financial Times this morning that Australia plans a rapid end to United Kingdom preferences.
Finally, the Government cannot deny convincingly—even with the valiant help of the noble Lord who spoke just before me, who has had such a hard, arduous and long passage to that seat in which he rests so comfortably three rows behind the Government Front Bench—that this legislation which they have forced through this House without a single Amendment was a piece of legislation for which they had not a single shred of a mandate from the electorate of this country.
It is because our people share my own incredulity about the rosy picture the Government have painted that they have withheld their support for entry. In spite of expensive, extensive, and lavish hospitality and propaganda, dolloped out almost indiscriminately, in spite of a notable lack of Press opposition to the Market, the public have remained consistently averse to it. That, I believe, is the most serious feature of this sorry tale. There can be little doubt that the Government's conduct over this Bill, and their blatant resolve to take us into the Community whether the electors wanted it or not, will have weakened many people's adherence to our traditional forms of political expression. When the effects of entry are fully felt, the present Government will have to accept the responsibility for whatever form the public's revulsion and frustration takes.
To me, my Lords, the future has become much more disturbing in face of the possibility that we shall go into the Market without Norway and Denmark. If they vote "No" the whole balance of the Community will have been changed. Those whose traditions and sense of values most closely resemble our own, those who are the most politically stable States in Europe, will be left outside. I find the thought of entry without them even less attractive than I did before, and I am sure that Mr. Neil Marten, who has fought so bravely in another place, was right in the Financial Times yesterday to emphasise that Norway and Denmark's refusal would change the whole situation.
1192 The aspect of the pro-Market campaign which I personally have found most distasteful has been the attempt to brand those of us who oppose entry on the present terms as being somehow "anti-Europe". To do so is both vulgar and dishonest. One can no more be "anti-Europe" than one can be "anti the North Pole" or "anti the Gulf Stream"; they are all facts with which we cannot argue, and my own love for the open seas and the Commonwealth, my wish to consolidate our traditional friendship with Scandinavia and the United States do not make me wish anything but good for all the countries of Western Europe.
No, my Lords, my objection is certainly not to the principle of greater European unity. My objection is to what is a rather restricted, inward looking Community in which the real power lies with France and Germany, both of them at present politically unstable countries who have not been noticeably well-disposed to us in the past. Belgium has problems of national unity; and in Holland yesterday the Queen of The Netherlands told Parliament that:Our country is passing through difficult times. In the political sphere dissension and uncertainty impede the forming of stable majorities. Our national economy is suffering from persistent inflation and excessive unemployment.Yet Holland, my Lords, is one of the more stable countries of the Six.
But I ask your Lordships to look especially at those three other powerful potential partners from whom, in some undefined way, we are going to gain strength—in spite of their chronic economic and political malaise. In France there are serious accusations of corruption in the Government, and deep-seated political unrest, with a general election imminent. In Germany, Ministers themselves have confessed to corrupt practices which, coupled with defections from the Government, have produced a crisis of confidence from which I very much fear that Willi Brandt, Europe's one outstanding leader, will not emerge in triumph when he faces the electorate in a few weeks' time. And Italy, my Lords, is rent assunder on the vital issue of what type of colour television the impoverished peasants of the South are going to be privileged to watch. We 1193 are indeed "entering Europe" at a most ill-judged moment of time.
Whatever the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, thinks about our motives—and I am one who has the highest respect and regard for him—I assure the noble Lord that my attitude is not dictated by fear, nor by lack of confidence in our country. I am not afraid of the competition that we shall have to face. I have no doubt that we can comport ourselves with dignity and fight our way through, in spite of the fact that so many of the cards have been, stacked against us. Indeed, if your Lordships will allow me to say so, I share the confidence of Disraeli:I think England is safe in the race of men who inhabit her; that she is safe in something much more precious than her accumulated capital—her accumulated experience; she is safe in her national character, in her fame, in the traditions of a thousand years …What I do anticipate, and what does give me some grounds for anxiety, is that within the next decade this ramshackle structure, built on shifting sands, may well collapse about our ears, leaving us unprotected, with an ill-adjusted and unbalanced economy—and with no claim on the help and friendship of the Commonwealth, Scandinavia and the United States, upon all of whom we were prepared to turn our backs when we believed that material self-interest made it rewarding to do so.
Nevertheless, unless any defection by Norway or Denmark stops the Government dead in their tracks, or unless the French—as may well happen—think up some last-minute pretext for excluding us, we are going in. In accordance with the conventions of the House, and conventions respected by my own Party, I shall not vote to-night in the Division on Third Reading, but I will say that, however reluctantly I go in, we must go in without expecting to have everything our own way, or threatening to walk out, or applying the veto left, right, and centre. If we did any of these things we should get the worst of all worlds. No, we must go in determined to use our influence for the things that are right, to throw our weight behind progressive economic and social policies, and to use our great experience and our skills for the general good.
1194 The Government, as I have said, have had in this House a great victory—a great victory over the people. I hope they enjoy the flush of triumph that they feel to-night. But, if I may quote Disraeli once more:It may be vain now, in the midnight of their intoxication, to tell them that there will be an awakening of bitterness.Nevertheless, if I am certain of one thing, I it is that the awakening of bitterness will come. I only hope that when that time arrives the damage we have inflicted upon ourselves will not prove to be beyond repair.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down may I ask this question because it puzzles me? If, in his opinion entry into the Common Market would have such uniquely catastrophic effects, why was it that Mr. Wilson applied for membership?
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLES
My Lords, before addressing myself to the Motion that is the subject of this debate, which one or two recent speakers seem to have failed to do, may I say that I do not wish to enter into any anti-Market "hither and thither" between both sides of the House, which I think would be a waste of our time, but I must take up the point of the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, which cannot lie without being answered, that the majority of the British people do not wish to enter the Common Market. First, I should like proof of that statement. Secondly, if the noble Lord is relying on the proof of the opinion polls, I should have thought his would be the last Party from which such a statement should come, as he will know if he returns his mind to June, 1970.
I should now like to say a few words on the terms of the Amendment before us. To those of us who have always firmly believed that the future and interests of the United Kingdom lie in our joining the European Economic Communities; to those of us on all sides of this House who have also firmly believed that we would eventually go into the Economic Communities regardless of the Government which was leading us; and to those noble Lords on all sides who showed by an overwhelming majority at the Vote in October last year that they 1195 were in favour of entry—I think the figures were something like 451 to 58—this Amendment before your Lordships' House, which slates that the Government are relying on the built-in majority on this side of the House, seems to be utterly without foundation. On the contrary, I would rather think that the reverse is true. The entry of our country into the European Economic Communities should have been far too great and important an issue for the present and future well-being of our country to be turned into a squalid Party political scrap.
I have always understood that in our Party we have always been able to vote whichever way we wanted, both in this House—where we have had plenty of proof of that—and in the other House. Whether it was convenient or not, the Members of our Party were entitled to vote freely on any issue. I do not think enough tribute has ever been paid to the colleagues who are members of the Party opposite in this House, who have stood with me on platforms during the last year or two, speaking with great conviction on the entry of this country into the European Communities at personal risk of being discredited by their own Party. Many of them, very humble people, put their careers and ambitions at risk in acting according to their beliefs. I should like to pay tribute to those people whom I have regarded as friends, although now that we are going into the Communities we shall have different views and ideas. But they, like us, have had the courage of their convictions and it should be remembered that they will be respected by their colleagues in Europe. We sometimes look at this matter from our own point of view, but we have to remember that we shall be working with colleagues in other European countries and we shall be judged by our attitude over the last years before entry. It might be worth bearing that fact in mind when we hear the comments of our European colleagues.
As regards the kind of Amendments which have been put before your Lordships' House, we were perfectly free to say, if we so wished, "We want to go into the Communities but this is a bad Bill; we must improve it." But I would question very much which Amendments 1196 have in any way been addressed to the improving of the Bill. May I take the very first Amendment which appeared on the Marshalled List? It was to the effect that the word "and" should replace the words "taken with". Can that be a serious improvement? If I may humbly say so, it was most admirably and brilliantly argued by the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, and I sat in admiration before his forensic skill. But could it really be taken as a serious improvement to a Bill of this importance? My noble friend the Lord Privy Seal was able, very skilfully, to show that not only was it not an improvement but it was a "disimprovement".
Then, when we were discussing Parliamentary control, one of the more dramatic Amendments was about the idea of having an annual report. We were told that we should have an annual report, because they have it in West Germany. If the Government had put forward the argument that we should have an annual report because they have it in West Germany, we should rightly have been treated with howling derision. Why should we in our Parliament, with our tradition and our historical Constitution, have to follow what happens in the West German Parliament, apart from the fact that their set-up is completely different from ours and they have to inform their people in other ways? When one asks a Parliamentarian from Germany how often they discuss the Common Market, one gets the reply, "Very seldom; only when we have an annual report". But we can discuss the Common Market at any time in the Parliamentary Session if we so wish. Therefore, the kind of arguments which have been put forward on the Amendments have been entirely without foundation. It is a pity that when in future we look back at the historic fact of the United Kingdom having taken this bold and adventurous step, having decided that it was time to extend the frontiers of the mind over and above the English Channel, we in your Lordships' House will see the names of those who opposed this Motion as well as the names of those who voted in favour of it.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ BARONESS BURTON OF COVENTRY
My Lords, I shall be as brief as the noble Baroness who preceded me. The 1197 House knows my views on joining the E.E.C., as I said in the Second Reading debate in October last year what I felt I had to say. Since then I have taken no part in the Bill because, so far as I was concerned, there was really nothing more to say. However, this Amendment has placed me in a quandary—and, probably, I am not alone in this. It seems to be such a reasonable Amendment. For me there was the added problem that it was moved by my noble friend Lord Shackleton, for whom I have much regard and who I know is in favour of our joining the E.E.C.
Where then is the quandary? I think that any outsider, knowing nothing of the background to the discussions of this Bill in another place or here, would agree that such a request as is contained in the Amendment is a reasonable request. I think he would say that any Government must surely realise that in a Bill of such magnitude and such importance everything cannot be perfect; and, furthermore, that the collective wisdom of Parliament must have some constructive Amendments to offer. That is obviously so and, taking into account the political facts of life, probably nobody would deny it. Obviously, I am speaking only for myself, as everybody else must do from the Back Benches, but had the background been different, had the Opposition in another place approved our application to join the E.E.C., then I think all parts in both Houses would have had an opportunity not only to put forward Amendments but to have them accepted. I listened to my noble friend Lord Shackleton to-day and I thought, "If only this atmosphere had obtained in another place the whole position would have been different!"
This has been a very distressing time for many of us. I have no desire to rake up the past, but I feel that on this matter the record of the official Opposition in another place has brought credit neither on them nor on Parliament. I have said that before and I am afraid that I still think so. We have seen there the depletion of the Opposition Front Bench by some of its most capable members. I think we all know that they have had to go simply because they believed in Opposition what they believed in Government. Now in this House, as other speakers have said to-day, we have had none of 1198 this intolerance or this bitterness. I often think, not only on this issue but on others, that Members of another place have no idea how privileged we in this House are. And I am quite sure, speaking for myself, that we would not change our House for theirs. But, my Lords, in another place the whole passage of this Bill was I think dragged out for as long as possible, with the result that the atmosphere gave rise to only one aim, and that aim was to delay or to destroy the Bill. It seems to me that this was carried on to such an extent it became obvious that the Government, wanting this Bill, could risk neither further delay nor further amendment. I am sure that, had the positions been reversed, we should have done exactly the same; and therefore I cannot in all honesty deplore what the Government have done, because I think it was forced upon them by the attitude of the Opposition.
Concerning the arithmetic of the built-in majority, I am not sure how correct this is. I do not know. But I am quite sure that I am not the only Member on this side of the House who supports the application to join Europe. I do not know how many we are, but I am not quite convinced that the result would have been different if the House had been reformed. Anyway, my Lords, this has been a very difficult time for many of us, wherever we sit and whatever our views—and I, for one, hope now that it is finished. Personally, it would seem to me utterly wrong to try to perpetuate either this fight or this ill-feeling. The Opposition have done their best to delay or to destroy this Bill, and they have not succeeded. Surely now, in both Houses, we can co-operate in maximising the contribution we can make to Europe. For myself, I shall abstain on the Amendment to-night because the Amendment accepts the Third Reading. If we have a vote on the substantive Motion, I shall support it; and, as I think the House knows, I hope that the Bill will have a massive majority.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
My Lords, it is always a pleasure to listen to the noble Baroness who has just sat down. We are, of course, familiar with her interest in London Airport, and we have watched with fascination her jousts with our Front Bench about it. May I straight away say how much I sympathise with 1199 what she has just said about the distressing time that this debate has meant to many of us? To be at odds with one's own Party is never agreeable. My Lords, I should like to begin by expressing my personal thanks, particularly to my noble friends on this side of the House, for their most kindly courtesy, patience and indulgence with myself; and to my noble friend Lord Jellicoe for his very special kindness to me at every point. May I quickly, gladly and openly confess that neither he nor any other sought in any way to over-persuade me at any point. May I also make an apology, again primarily to my noble friends in this side of the House, because in the heat of the Committee stage late one evening I made a speech in which I used arguments about the voting pattern that I now consider were not worthy arguments and were unfair. The only solace that I get from the line that I now feel in conscience bound to take is that on all the big political judgments that I ever made in my life I have been absolutely wrong.
It is plain that noble Lords on this side, noble Lords on the Cross-Benches, noble Lords on the Liberal Benches and many noble Lords on the Labour Benches opposite support both the Treaty of Rome and, substantially, this Bill. For such, this night will doubtless be a night of song and celebration. It will also be plain by now that I am disappointed by the Bill; that I am disappointed by the Government's handling of Parliament; that I am disappointed by their treatment of this House, both in Committee and in Report. For me, then, this night is a night of black benediction, even though I am resolved that when we do go in I for one will not withhold my support from any endeavours to make our contribution as useful as possible.
When the fabric of national States is plainly in fragmentation—Britain is no exception—this is surely a strange time to pick for building the super-State. The time is stranger still when this pooled sovereignty, an illusion unless protected, is matched by deep schisms on its very defence. The two Germanies are like the two parts of an A-bomb: when they come together it goes off. France no longer acts in NATO. My Lords, to the problem of West European unity the prophets of our day bring the antiquated 1200 engine of federal or con-federal government, as if, in 1972, we were in again at the founding of Canada, Australia or the United States. It is as if Queen Victoria were still alive or Montesquieu but lately dead.
My Lords, there be many that say, "Show us your alternative". It is the Industrial Free Trade Area, to which Mr. Macmillan first set his hand and which the EFTA non-applicants have indeed secured. Such would have left Parliament unscathed; such would have left our self-government intact; such would have left our housewives free of food levies to the farmers of Gaul; such could have given us monetary cooperation on the lines of the old European Payments Union; such, I believe, would better suit the natural growth of industrial trade in the West; and above all, I believe, such would best befit our geographical opportunity, as an island athwart the Baltic mouth and the Rhine delta, to develop the West-East "Ocean-span" pattern of our deep-water assets and set about intercepting Europe's inward movement of raw materials, and then speed them on part-processed as they go. It is true that a Free Trade Area would deny us participation in Community decisions; but even Commission sources admit to a quarter and maybe nearly a half being dishonoured, anyway.
How will the United Kingdom fare? Shall we rue the day? How will the Union with Scotland fare in the face of the capital pull of this new and powerful confederation? Shall we rue the day? There are voices already heard to say that maybe Irish unity can best be found outwith the United Kingdom but inside the Community. I say: shall we rue the day? My Lords, inside Britain our social sickness is plain. It is plain as the foreign tribes build up their pressure to pour in upon us. Does it not irresistibly recall that eve of the Dark Ages when the rulers of Rome so softened the moral shell protecting society that the shell could save it no longer?
Such doubts make the context of this Executive's treatment of this Parliament—almost a lone lighthouse of trust and respect amid widespread public disillusion about everything that goes on. Here, then, is the context for bearing aloft the torch of the double standard. I listened a 1201 little puzzled when my noble friend Lord Jellicoe assured us that both Houses had massively endorsed this—but they surely did not massively endorse this Bill. Indeed, without even a voting majority of all Members in another place, the Bill passed through their hands. Unchanged it left them; unchanged it leaves your Lordships.
Nobody, and certainly not I, would question the sincerity or integrity of purpose of my noble friend Lord Jellicoe. Indeed, to his abundant courtesy and unfailing charity we are all in debt. But on the Government's behalf, did he not tell us, on Second Reading, that he would argue Amendments on their merits—simpliciter? Yet four Committee days later, that pledge was qualified—and I quote from column 1399 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for August 10, 1972:… if it can be proved to my satisfaction and to the satisfaction of my colleagues that this Bill … is defective in any material sense … or if it is incompatible with the serious obligations that we are assuming, then any … Amendment will be looked at on its merits.He added—and I re-quote:… if I were open to doubt, the way in which some of your Lordships have supported this Amendment would allay any doubts that I might have.So it would seem that the merit of the argument had now become subordinate to the manner of its presentation. Not only have we listened to what some of us believe to have been inadequate replies; not only have Ministers given assurance after assurance but declined to put them in Statute; not only have questions on points of fact been ignored, but the drafting has at points been laid bare, and technically acceptable proposals, in no way compromising the Treaty proposals, simply designed to ensure regular Parliamentary review, have been rejected on political grounds alone.
My Lords, it has been said:The deterioration of a Government nearly always starts with the decay of its principles.On the Benches opposite, my Party pledged to respect legislation based on popular mandate but reserved its stand on revolutionary changes lacking such warrant. There is no electoral mandate for a constitutional change of this order. The electoral pledge was "to negotiate, no more, no less". On the Benches 1202 opposite, my Party rested—we rested—our case for the Second Chamber on the need to be able not only to probe but to amend and to delay. On these Benches the pledge to take Amendments on their merits has worked out in the way that we have seen. They may argue that the end justifies the means, but I ask: would this Executive have dared to treat this House in this fashion if their cherished reform had survived?
III can he rule the great"—wrote Spenser—that cannot reach the small.Parliament is the channel. When authority is under challenge, beleaguered government needs public support—to be had through Parliament. The manner of a Government's behaviour is a measure of its awareness of accountability, through Parliament, to the people.
My Lords, honesty and respect for your Lordships' House bade me declare a stance at odds with that of nearly all my political friends. It has been to me no pleasure to see wide and grave considerations, albeit poorly advanced, find little acceptance by persons whom I hold in such personal regard. I mentioned once or twice in Committee and on the Report stage that it seemed that between me and my Front Bench there was a total difference of language. Therefore I will take leave to jump the gun and quote to the Front Bench what, if they had thought of it soon enough, I am sure they would have been well justified in quoting at myself: and that is the outburst of a frustrated Dr. Johnson:Sir, I can give you an argument; only God can give you understanding.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, we have just listened to two brave speeches from my noble friend and from the noble Baroness, speaking against the official lines of their Parties. Never having been a Whip myself, I can truly I say that in my opinion such speeches and attitudes enrich the debating qualities of this House and enhance its reputation as an essential part of Parliament. My noble friend has just mentioned Dr. Johnson. I doubt whether, on the subject of this Bill, even Dr. Johnson could at this stage find something to say that was both new and telling. I will not therefore attempt it. 1203 Fortunately, we are now on the Amendment and so I shall be wholly in order in directing my few words to that.
The Amendment was moved by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition. I feel unhappy about attacking it because of the extraordinarily kind things that he has said to-day and on previous occasions about the quality of the Report of the Joint Select Committee on Delegated Legislation with which I had something to do. I know that his words, and those of others, will be tremendously appreciated by my colleagues on that Committee and I should just like to make the point that it is they who deserve the credit, they and the admirable Clerks that we had.
This Amendment has two parts, or—shall I say?—two barrels with which to shoot down the Government. First, it accuses the Government of paying too little regard to the merits of Amendments moved to the Bill both in Committee and on Report. Secondly, it accuses the Government of using what is called their "built-in majority" to carry through this purpose. May I say a word about the second barrel first? This "built-in majority", as my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford has reminded us, would not exist to-day if the scheme for the reform of the House of Lords agreed by the Leaders of all three Parties in both Houses had by now been put on the Statute Book. The reason it is not there is because the Labour Government were unable to carry it through and had to abandon it in face of the implacable opposition of a group of Members of another place who are distinguished likewise by being implacable opponents of this Bill. If their influence on the Parliament Bill three or four years ago was baneful and their attitude mistaken, it seems to me conceivable that their attitude of implacable opposition to this Bill may be mistaken too.
As to the first part of the Amendment, I suspect that during the years when I was in the Government, between 1954 and 1964. I carried through Standing Committees in another place as many Bills as any other Minister had done in a period of ten years. Constantly in my experience I would be advised by 1204 Parliamentary Counsel that an Amendment tabled to a Bill was not necessary and would not improve the Bill. But the advice might continue to the effect that if I were hard pressed I might accept the Amendment for though it would not improve the Bill it would not do much harm. I have seen none of the briefs that Ministers in charge of this Bill have received from their advisers, but I cannot help guessing that frequently they have repeated that experience; and they did as I should have done had I ever been in charge of so important a Bill as this. They set more store by getting the Bill on to the Statute Book in the best form possible, than on buying off the transitional difficulties of getting it through Parliament; and I believe that that is right.
My Lords, I specially remember a case where I made a bad mistake. I helped to put on the Statute Book a provision in a Bill which was too specific and too restrictive, I thought I was acting rightly, but experience proved that I was not, and within a year or two it became apparent that the Bill, which was now an Act, required something to be done in a way that was by no means the best way. In fact, one of my successors, who cannot have been in the least grateful to me, had to bring forward legislation to amend that provision and widen it. My Lords, I frequently had that experience in mind when listening to the debates on this Bill in Committee and on Report. Amendments were put up by the Opposition which on their face seemed wholly reasonable— "reasonable" I think is the right word to use. Yet I could foresee that there was a material chance that, if that Amendment were written into the Bill and reached the Statute Book, it might bind future Governments to do things in ways which experience by then would have shown were not the best ways. Clearly, that was not going to improve the real quality of the legislation, and I felt no hesitation whatever in supporting the Government when they urged the House not to tie the hands of future Governments by legislation of too specific or restrictive a character.
My Lords, another point which one could not help noticing during the proceedings in Committee and on Report was that the majority support of the 1205 Cross-Benchers was in every single case with the Government. If, as this Amendment suggests, the allegation were true that all Amendments in Committee and on Report were turned down by Tory reliance on a built-in majority, it is strange indeed that the Cross-Bench Peers, over whom the Government Whips could exercise no influence at all (it is clear that they could exercise only limited influence over some of their own supporters), decided, using their own judgment, that the Government were right in rejecting these Amendments, and voted accordingly. That fact alone seems to me to undermine the strength of the second part of this Amendment that we are about to vote upon this evening.
I cannot but be conscious of the antithesis between the keenness of the Opposition to give most sedulous care to all the wording of this Bill and its, to my mind, culpable neglect of the essential task of helping Parliament so to shape its arrangements as to influence to the greatest possible extent the proceedings of the Council of Ministers, when we are part of the Community. My Lords, I became acutely conscious of this when we were holding meetings of the Joint Select Committee. Indeed, quite independently, the Procedure Committee of another place has presented to that House a short but powerful report on this very subject. How we handle the delegated legislation that will emanate from joining Europe is a matter relatively unimportant compared to the extreme importance of shaping our Parliamentary arrangements so that this Parliament at Westminster will be able, through Ministers, to exert influence and power upon the Council of Ministers before the Council's decisions are finally taken. And yet, up to now, owing, I am sorry to say, to the attitude of the Labour Opposition, it has not been possible to make any all-Party progress towards that end.
My Lords, I cannot too strongly emphasise the urgency of our looking ahead to these tasks and problems before we join the Community, and there is not much time left. I do most sincerely hope that as soon as this Bill is put beyond the range of any further Amendment, and its reaching of the Statute Book is accepted by all, there will be an enthusiastic all-Party attempt to work out how Parliament can best play its 1206 part in the new world of legislation which we shall be entering when we join the Community. That is all I have to say.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ LORD SHINWELL
My Lords, although when we were Members in the other place I frequently found myself in disagreement with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, I always enjoyed his clarity and sound common sense. It may come as a surprise to the noble Lord to know that with part of the speech to which we have just listened I found myself in considerable sympathy. I refer to the part dealing with the Amendment on the Order Paper moved by my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition. When we were engaged in the Committee stage of the Bill, and Amendments were moved, I supported them in the Division Lobbies on principle, that being my opposition to the Government. Because, when one is in Opposition, unless the Government can prove conclusively and beyond question that their policy is impeccable, one is justified in voting against them. The Amendments to which I have just referred, though in general form, purported either to improve the legislation before the House—then before the Committee—or criticise the Government for some political manoeuvre or misdeameanour. I take a quite different stand in this matter. I am against the Bill, root and branch, hook, line and sinker. And I claim for my views, if I may say so, the sincerity which noble Lords on the other side claim for those who support the legislation.
I listened with great interest to the noble Earl the Leader of the House, who outlined the Government's position: much of the language was familiar. I appreciated his sincerity. But I am bound to observe that when he sought to excuse the Government for refusing to accept Amendments on the ground that they contained nothing of merit, it was, if he will forgive me for putting it in this way, somewhat remote from the facts. The facts are—and this is indisputable— that the Government wanted the Bill through the Committee stage in your Lordships' House; and they want a Division to-night with an overwhelming majority because they dislike the idea of the Bill returning to the other place, thus 1207 causing subsequent delay. That is the position. Why not admit it? I understand it. A Government either want their legislation through in the form in which it is originally introduced, or are content to accept Amendments of a minor character, which are perhaps innocuous so far as the substance of the legislation is concerned. I accept that.
I have listened to many of the speeches in the course of the debate this afternoon, and I have noted that most of the euphoria that manifested itself some months ago, if it has not entirely vanished, is somewhat weaker. I take two examples. There was the example of the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, for whose intellectual capacity we all have a high regard—and I in particular, because I am completely lacking in intellectual capacity and recognise my inferiority—and that of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn. Both noble Lords spoke with reservations. The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, spoke as if we were about to make a leap in the dark. What was going to happen? He hoped for the best, and no doubt he is prepared for the worst. Does the noble Lord seek to interrupt?
§ LORD ROBBINS
My Lords, if the noble Lord will permit me I should like to say that if he will read the report of the speech which I made originally on this particular problem he will find exactly the same reservations.
§ LORD SHINWELL
My Lords, that fortifies my contention. The noble Lord, because of his intellectual standing, is somewhat philosophical. He does not come down too sturdily on one side of the fence or the other. Precisely the same thing applies to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, who has qualifications, reservations and doubts. Unless we go in with all our strength, influence, will and dynamic, and in particular in order to succeed in promoting a political federation, he expressed doubts whether economic integration will prove successful. This I can understand. I have had doubts and reservations from the beginning, going back nearly twenty years.
I make a confession to your Lordships: that immediately after the Second World 1208 War, because of the situation in Europe—the chaos in France; the situation particularly in Germany and in Italy, apart from what was happening in the Balkans; and the situation of the so-called Iron Curtain countries, under the supervision of the U.S.S.R.—I, along with many others in the other place and some Members of your Lordships' House at the time, promoted the idea of European co-operation, but on a vaster and grander scale. We were concerned about possible aggression—another war—and because we sought to avoid it, owing to our apprehensions, we conceived the notion that by some kind of understanding, the promotion of political and moral integration, we might prevent another holocaust. That is what we thought. But at no time did we conceive the notion of a limited association of the countries of the Six.
I do not want to argue this subject at length. But in contrast to those noble Lords on the other side, speaking undoubtedly with sincerity and goodwill and without any malice, who support the Government's legislation who say that association with the countries of the Six is bound to prove successful. I take the opposite view, and predict failure. I will not trouble the House by talking about rising prices. I never believed in that argument at any time, because I was aware that prices would rise in our own country. So far as inflation is concerned, it was obvious several years ago that we were on the fringe of excessive inflation. These are minor arguments that have been adduced from time to time in the course of our debates on this legislation, and I pay little attention to them.
What I am concerned about is this. Federations, wherever initiated, have usually proved a failure. Take the case of the Central African Federation, the Federation which was to bring Southern Rhodesia into a bloc with other African countries; take the Federations of the Balkan States. Every one of the countries in the Six finds it impossible to divorce itself from its natural characteristics, and they will remain. Take another example, that of the U.S.S.R. and the Iron Curtain countries—Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, East Germany and all the rest—under the surveillance of the U.S.S.R., but nevertheless striving to regain independence. 1209 National characteristics will always find a way out, and that is precisely what is going to happen in the European sphere.
I admit at once that it is possible to have some kind of economic understanding to deal with problems of reciprocal trade, or have an understanding about European transport. There are a variety of topics of interest involved—trading interests and in particular cultural interests—upon which we can agree and work together in harmony. That is something I recognise and would welcome. It has been in operation in a limited form for many years and it ought to be encouraged. But whether we like it or not, and in spite of all the legal jargon that is being used in these debates —there has been far too much of it, as we shall discover in the course of time when the lawyers get their teeth into it—we shall discover that it is impossible to unite with those countries in the form envisaged, and certainly never politically. So much for that, which is perhaps my main reason for being in opposition to this legislation.
Take the matter of this legal jargon. I am sorry that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor is not present, because I dislike saying anything behind anybody's back. The noble Lord was at great pains to explain the legal arguments to us and to analyse many of the provisions of the Bill which were of a legal character. I confess that at the end of the day I knew as little about the subject as at the beginning. It was probably my fault, but I should not be at all surprised to learn that many other Members of your Lordships' House were in the same mental situation. The same thing applies to the efforts—the very gallant and able efforts—which were made by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville. He explained in reply to my old friend the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, what the situation would be like in the future. How did he know? How could he possibly know?
Indeed, what has happened in the course of these debates has been a confession of faith on the part of those who are in favour of entering the Common Market, whether because of social possibilities, cultural or industrial possibilities, profit-making possibilities, or political possibilities, if you like—whatever 1210 it may be. It has been said that these possibilities were something that would come about. All we had to do was to say that this would come about and it was bound to happen. There have been more astrologers operating in the course of these debates than I have ever experienced before. Whether their forecasts were made on the basis of Mercury, Libra or whatever it may be, they were remarkable. They all saw in detail how things were going to work out. I want to tell them this: they know no more about what is going to happen in the next four or five years than I do, but what I think is that we are heading for lots of trouble.
Finally, I should like to say that I have a great respect for my noble friend Lady Burton. We were old colleagues in the other place, but I was very much disturbed by her criticism of my colleagues in the other place because of their attitude and behaviour on this legislation. May I say this to her and to Members of your Lordships' House: "You are either for or against." It is no use acting like "mugwumps". You know what mugwumps are—those who sit on the fence, with their mugs on one side and their wumps on the other. It is far better to make your position clear beyond any possibility of doubt and then everybody knows where you are. My colleagues in the other place have been at sixes and sevens—but they have been at sixes and sevens ever since I have been associated with them, and that goes back to the year 1903. It is a long time. There always have been differences of opinion. This is inevitable in a progressive and democratic Party. That is the reason for the progress we have made. Indeed, it was when we began to agree that we lost Elections. When my friend, Hugh Gaitskell—who was once my Parliamentary Secretary, who then became Chancellor of the Exchequer and I became a Back-Bencher, though I am not complaining about that—decided at the end of an Election to unite the Party by assuring the electors that taxation would be reduced, this was agreed and we lost the Election. The same thing applied to my old friend, Mr. Harold Wilson, over the last Election. He was so much in agreement with the national opinion polls that he did not think it was necessary to do anything, and he lost 1211 the Election. It is only when we differ, I would say to my old friend Baroness Burton, that we make any kind of progress.
Now what shall we, do about this Amendment? I am going to vote for it, strangely enough—but, as I say, on principle—and all the more because I know the Government do not like it. They would like to get away without making any Amendment so that the Press would say, "Look at the unanimity in the House of Lords!" In fact they have been talking about this for several days. I have read it in The Times—and of course The Times is an organ of unimpeachable veracity, so it must be true. I have also read it in the Telegraph. I will not mention the names of the other papers.
One more comment, and with this I sit down. It is not a challenge or a threat. The noble Lord the Leader of the House to-day made a speech which was a confession of faith. I am going to say that I shall be voting for the Amendment—and damn the consequences!—but I shall also vote against the Bill. I am sorry if this should disturb my noble friend Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, who said that he wanted to make the best of this Bill. I want to make the worst of it. If I liked the Bill I would agree with it and then work hard in the manner described by the noble Lord who suggested having a Committee of all Parties so that we could get together and co-operate in order to make this Bill work in a satisfactory fashion. If I liked this Bill I would accept that; but because I am against it—oh no!
I cannot understand some of my friends—they are still my friends, but perhaps after this speech they will no longer be my friends. Are they for the Bill or against it? Indeed, I sometimes cannot understand my Party—of course they cannot understand me either. So I want to make it clear. I have no constituents to worry about, any more than any other Members of your Lordships' House have, because we represent ourselves. However, there is something I want to say; and I must say this. It is a question, and I wonder whether somebody can answer it. It is a pity that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor is not here, because with all the legal knowledge, 1212 medical knowledge and jurisprudence that he has he can answer anything, in his own fashion. The question is: what is going to happen to this Assembly when we enter the Common Market? There will be nothing for us to do. After all, there will not be a lot of legislation coming from the other place, and if there is it will be of a minor character. That will reduce us to the situation of meeting only one day a week, and that will not be worth while. Will it be an institution like the British Association for the Advancement of Science, where you have a pleasant, harmonious debate on some topic or the other? I should like an answer to the question of what is going to happen to this Assembly when we enter the Common Market? I think it is going to be the end of it. There was some talk about the reform of this House—it will be reformed if we enter the Common Market, there will be nothing for us to do.
So I say to the Members of your Lordships' House—and forgive me for saying so—that I dislike this Bill. I believe that the implementation of this Bill, if ever it is substantially implemented, will prove disastrous for this country. I am going to use a cliché something which I has been said ad nauseam: I believe in Britain. Of course we are in a grave situation: inflation, industrial strife and all the rest. Anybody understands that. But we have been through the mill before. I see the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, in his place, and I understand I that he is going to follow me. I have to be careful because I do not know what he is going to say. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer and he resigned from the Treasury because he could not face up to his responsibilities—that is not what I say; it is what Harold Macmillan says in one of his books. We are in a grave situation, but we can recover if we have the will to trade and work with other countries and pool our brains for peace and prosperity. But, for heavens sake! let us stand firm on our own feet and be independent.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
My Lords, I have had the pleasure of knowing the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, for over 25 years. I know him, and we all know him, as one who holds his views with 1213 the deepest sincerity and as a lover of his country. I admire more than I can say the debating skill of the noble Lord, for it is a pleasure to listen to him. Once I tried to copy him and his style, but for some reason it did not work; it was a complete flop with me. One thing I have learned to do is never to interrupt the noble Lord, because whatever the interruption is, his response is: "The noble Lord's interruption has fortified my submission." I am not going to follow the noble Lord because I have only very limited confidence in my powers of persuasion. Fully to convert the noble Lord in the time at my disposal is something which is beyond me. I fear also that we might find ourselves at sixes and sevens and then from what the noble Lord has said I might receive an invitation to go over and join him on the Benches on which he now sits.
I suppose that I am one of the Trappist monks to whom the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, referred who suddenly miraculously recovered the powers of speech, because I find that during the discussions on this Bill I have made only one intervention which lasted for about 2¼ minutes. For a few minutes this evening I want to consume what I might call my "unexpended ration of time" at your Lordships' expense. Brevity will be my aim. I should like to start by paying a tribute, as one or two noble Lords have already done, to the courtesy and patience that my noble friend Lord Jellicoe as Leader of the House has shown us throughout these debates. I should also like to echo, too, the compliments that have been paid to the courtesy and good temper of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, in the important part that he has also played in oar debates.
I can sum up in four sentences the reasons why I consider our entry into the European Community is of vital importance. Twice in my lifetime we have become involved in world wars that have started in Europe. We delude ourselves if we pretend that because we are an island we can insulate ourselves from the rest of Europe. We must therefore participate fully in the decision-making of Europe continuously and not merely when war is upon us. To do this I am personally fully prepared to pool some of our national sovereignty—and perhaps 1214 an increasing amount if the Community develops as I hope it will in the future. Those reasons for me are utterly convincing and take precedence over the economic arguments, important as they are in themselves in the longer term.
Now may I turn for a few minutes to the Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, moved earlier this afternoon in moderate and good-tempered words, as is his custom. We understand the position in which noble Lords find themselves, and in such a dilemma an Amendment of this kind provides a rallying point by which a measure of solidarity can be recorded. That is a respectable and well-tried Parliamentary expedient to divert attention from the substance of the Bill to the procedure adopted. I hasten to say that there is nothing dishonourable in such tactics at all.
The Amendment contains two criticisms and let us consider each of those separately. First of all, that no Amendments have been accepted. There is one relevant factor to be considered here—it has been brought out already in some of the speeches—and that is the nature of this particular Bill. It is not a comprehensive Bill covering all the arrangements in detail that Parliament will need to make to deal with all matters that will be affected by our entry into Europe. As my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor pointed out the other day, these range over the whole spectrum of our national life.
This is a limited Bill, as I understand it, to give authority for the fulfilment of the essential obligations involved in our initial membership of the Community, and we can be sure that in due course many further legislative arrangements will need to be made by Parliament to ensure a proper and full discharge of our Parliamentary responsibilities in future circumstances. That is why once again I should like to support the plea that has been made by several noble Lords already that noble Lords opposite should think again and accept the invitation of the Government to come into and enter into discussions now with them on these very important matters that are likely to affect future legislations.
Some noble Lords may say, "Well, if all these things are not done now, surely they will be too late." My answer would 1215 be that, in the kind of matters I am thinking of, I do not think so. We are not joining a static organisation; we are joining an organisation which will be changing continuously. National influences are clearly going to continue to exercise profound effects on the way the Community develops. We shall have a powerful voice in those matters. In those circumstances this measure we have here, though basically important because it deals with the essential obligations of our entering the Community, is not the only measure of importance we are going to have to consider in the years ahead.
As regards the actual Amendments put down by noble Lords opposite in this House, Parliamentary Amendments may be of two kinds, both legitimate: those advocated by violent opponents designed to weaken or emasculate the intentions of the particular Bill, and those designed to modify and improve it without destroying the main intention of the Bill. The first kind one would expect any Government to oppose by every legitimate Parliamentary means. But I readily admit that there have been some Amendments in your Lordships' House of the second kind, and on those we had some useful and excellent discussions. Most of them were not adopted, not because they were unreasonable in themselves but because they seemed inappropriate for inclusion in this particular Bill because of its character. Some of those suggestions dealing with Parliamentary control, it seems to me, might fit in admirably and appropriately in the future legislation that must come along. Therefore, those debates will not be wasted effort.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, referred to the dazzling exchanges which took place between my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill. The intellectual pressure was terrific at that time. As a layman I listened in awe and wonder—and I must say that I have not the slightest idea where right lay. If I may paraphrase two well-known lines:And thus they spoke, and still the wonder grewThat two small heads could carry all they knew.My noble friend Lord Jellicoe gave an assurance to the House that if the House considered a particular Amendment 1216 fundamentally desirable he would put no obstruction in the way of its being incorporated in the Bill and sent to another place. This House, I am sure, knowing the character of my noble friend, will know that that assurance was not; given lightheartedly and would have been made good if the need had arisen.
In general, I suppose I have—I do not know whether it is a lack of bellicosity or just weak mindedness, but I often have an instinctive inclination to look sympathetically at Amendments which are sincerely advocated. For instance, last year we had before us the Industrial Relations Bill. It was a Bill which dealt comprehensively and in great detail with a large number of problems. In that case I thought that perhaps the Government might have been a little more accommodating than they were in regard to certain Amendments. I will own, if your Lordships press me, that they would probably be the Amendments I myself favoured. But, thinking over the Amendments that have been proposed to the Bill now before us, when I looked through them all again I was not left with the same impression. In view of the particular nature of this Bill, I cannot feel that this complaint of noble Lords opposite has substance.
As regards the second complaint, our built-in majority of noble Lords on this side of the House, I always feel sensitive about this, because a permanent built-in majority is a bad thing. That is why I was among the majority of noble Lords on this side of the House who voted in favour of reform. But the point we have to consider is not the existence of the built-in majority but whether it has been abused in this case. If we consider that, I think there are two things to be said. The first is that support in this House for entry, judging by the speeches made during the course of this debate, is absolutely overwhelming. Secondly, analysis of the Division Lists, I think, and particularly i a look at how Cross-Benchers voted, will not confirm that this result has been brought about by the votes of Tory backwoodsmen, called up to force this measure through. I will not dwell on the Tory backwoodsmen because my noble friend the Leader of the House has already told us of the difficulty he sometimes has in getting us to heel. I need not stress that point any more. I do not want to 1217 frighten my noble friend by making any threats about my behaviour in the future—
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, may I say that if the noble Earl had to deal with the Labour Party it might be even more frightening.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
Well, my Lords, we will leave things just as they are, if that is all right. The Government naturally persuade their supporters of the importance of a measure they consider vital for the future of our country, but in this case it cannot be maintained that the strength of the support the Government have received has done other than represent the genuine confidence felt by individual noble Lords concerned that this is the right course for our country to pursue. No, my Lords; I understand why noble Lords opposite put down this Amendment—and in their position I am inclined to think I might have done the same. I cannot say that I think the Amendment in the circumstances carries much weight. It does not make me either tremble or feel guilty in this respect. I have no doubt that it will have answered its tactical purposes in helping to ease some noble Lords opposite off an awkward political hook. So I hope the House, after dealing with this Amendment, will then proceed, with tranquil minds and as near unanimity as we can, to give this historic Bill our resounding approval.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I am pleased to be following the noble Viscount, Lord Amory. My noble friend Lord Shinwell and I were in another place together for quite a long period and are familiar with our confronting views. He may be a little surprised as I speak to find at the beginning of my remarks that I am in considerable agreement with what he said. But I can assure him that before I conclude my speech he will be in very deep disagreement indeed with me.
My Lords, this Bill represents the biggest constitutional change in this coun- 1218 try since the Act of Union with Scotland, 265 years ago. It is now generally recognised that it will seriously limit national sovereignty. I do not object to that in principle. I think that in this interlocked and smaller world national sovereignties must be modified, and I believe that we are at the beginning of an era in which national States will become subordinate to great international units. But that process of change has not ended yet. Nationalism is extraordinarily emotive all over the world, and it is immensely important how the relationship between nations and wider institutions are changed during this period. This Bill raises the very sensitive problem of the relationship between a distant Government and the conscious participation of the peoples.
We have not yet solved this problem in the relation of peoples to national Governments. I appreciate what my right honourable friend Mr. Wedgwood Benn is saying in emphasising the importance of this issue. We have not solved this problem in the relationship of people even to local government; and the local Government Bill which is now before the House will probably, because of its larger areas, make the identification of people with local government even more difficult. Quite certainly this Bill for the establishment of a European Community which includes the United Kingdom does not create a democratic balance between European institutions and our own Parliament and people. The debates during the Committee and Report stages have shown how rights which should belong to our Parliament in any balanced relationship have been removed. I take the view that this is very dangerous. The absence of identity by peoples with Administrations will lead to frustrations that are likely to increase violence in the coming years.
Having said that, I must say that I am a confirmed European. Ever since the beginning of Greek culture, strengthened later by Roman and by the Christian era—though not before; it then came from the East—Europe has given the most enlightenment to the world, and each one of us who belongs to a nation of Europe must feel that loyalty towards it. But there have always been blots and crimes: imperialism riding roughshod over Asia 1219 and Africa; the economic exploitation as the Industrial Revolution occurred and capitalism grew; exploitation of the masses of people in Europe and of the masses of people in Asia and Africa. And, my Lords, that period has not yet ended. Look at wealth distribution in Europe—luxury often for those who contribute nothing to society, and poverty for those who work hardest and have the most disagreeable service. In Asia and Africa, while political imperialism is ending, economic imperialism is becoming stronger; and this is inevitable so long as the capitalist system in Europe remains. I do not want to see the capitalist system of Europe strengthened. A participating Europe, with the people involved, does not depend on Parliament and Government. Indeed, real power now in Europe is passing to the masters of the economic system.
I was delighted to read the article which Peter Hain, the Chairman of the Young Liberals, contributed to The Times last week. The Young Liberals were the first political organisation I ever joined. I should be inclined to join them again, if it were not for the elders of the Liberal Party.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord I should like to say that I should be delighted to recruit him to the Liberal Party.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I am not prepared to join it while we have such leadership of it as we have in another place and in this House. What Peter Hain said was this:Our elders have refused to face up to the unpalatable reality that power does not lie in Parliament. Rather it is vested in the hands of capitalists, bureaucrats and technocrats.Can there be any doubt that he is speaking truly? Look at the Governments of Europe: at their utter incapacity to deal with unemployment, to deal with rising prices, to deal with our social and economic difficulties. Those difficulties are an expression of the economic system of capitalism, and to-day the real masters of our lives are the great multi-national companies which now dominate Europe and dominate what were formerly the colonial countries. They form the European Community which we are asked to join.
1220 I do not want to be a part of that Europe; I do not want to be bound to it. I want to be part of a Socialist Europe; a Socialist Europe which is not only a Europe of the West but a Europe that extends over the Iron Curtain. That will come in time, as Communist countries are liberalised and as Western capitalist countries are socialised. When we have reached that stage then I shall be in favour of going in. I respect the argument that within Europe there will be a greater opportunity of achieving Socialism by common action with Socialist Parties, but the truth of the matter is that the present programmes of these Parties give no promise of a transformation to Socialism. Elements within them, yes—and with those elements all of us who are Socialist will work. But that cannot happen yet. I shall vote against this Bill. The European Community as it is, no. The European Community as it will be in the future, yes.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ LORD GRANVILLE OF EYE
My Lords, I trust that my noble friend Lord Brockway will forgive me if I do not deal with many of the issues which he raised. His speech will make extremely-interesting reading and I am sure that the Minister will wish to comment on his remarks when he replies to the debate.
I imagine that at this stage just about everything that can be said on this subject has been said, and that on January 1 we shall be going in—that is, unless, as my noble friend Lord Greenwood said, something of a crisis happens or there is a Summit upset. As one critic has said, the Mother of Parliaments is to become the stepdaughter of Europe. On February 1 our long-standing Imperial Preference with Australia will, alas! come to an end. The debate on this Bill has become known as the "no-go" Amendment debate or the rubber-stamp debate. The Government Front Bench have been extremely skilful in getting the Bill to this stage unamended. I imagine that this is giving them good training for the part we shall play later on, as my noble friend Lord Shinwell pointed out when speaking of the eventual purposes of this Chamber.
The Government's great blunder was their refusal, unlike the present attitude of Norway and Denmark, to consult the people. I am sure that if the electorate 1221 of Britain had been consulted they would have turned down our entry into the E.E.C. Public opinion would have been right, as it always is on any great issue that is put to it. This will be shown to have been the Government's major mistake, simply because they were afraid to trust the electorate. Considering what has happened in the last two years—the lack of success the Government have had with their policies and legislation—this would have given them a chance to escape from their "egg-heads" who have been as busy as the bees. After we enter, the first "crunch" will come on the issue of the United Kingdom home market. For whatever may have been said in this long-drawn-out debate, the great prize in Europe is not France, Italy or Germany, but the high purchasing power of the United Kingdom consumers' market, and we have given this great prize to them on a plate. Their Continental containers already have a head start. One need only look at the roads or at the goods in the shops to see the head start we have given them. When V.A.T. comes into operation on April 1, prices will rise and, despite everything that has been said by Government spokesmen, confusion will be worse confounded.
I oppose our entry principally because this country's commercial, industrial and merchant record is great in the wider markets of the world. We are good at those activities. In the great markets— for motor cars in the United States or commodities elsewhere, including the Gulf—we know what we are doing. This is our heritage. We have the know-how and technique. But we are not good in the Continental marketplace. That is second nature to the Continentals because when they design a product and produce the prototype they first of all ask. "Where shall we export it to?" They have the sort of know-how in that context that we do not have.
I do not believe that the vast majority of industrialists in Britain have even done their homework on this matter: it is Chinese to them. All they know is that we must try to compete; but they have had no previous experience of these activities, and I fear that they have a big shock coming. Having listened to these debates I suggest that all we have had from the Government is an act of faith and the veiled suggestion that if 1222 only we work harder all will be well. We are told that we must be more competitive, more efficient, have better supervision and the rest. What a gamble! For what will happen if we are unable to compete? As my noble friend Lord Greenwood said, we must, because we are going in, try to make it work. Certainly we must try to obtain better terms than we have at present, but it is clear that this is going to take time, and a great deal of time.
History will say that this all began when the Conservatives lost the idea of Commonwealth, following the end of the Empire, and did not face up to modern implications in the way that New Zealand, Australia and Canada are facing up to them. Having lost the idea of the Commonwealth, the tailored technocrats sold them a bill of goods and left the unemployed to carry the can, migrate to Europe or pay the price. Eventually, however, the British people will be consulted and I suggest that that time will come sooner rather than later, and perhaps in terms of electoral time it is already much later than we think.
§ 8.10 p.m.
My Lords, I shall not follow the noble Lord, Lord Granville of Eye, in his last speculation. My opposition to our joining the Community is a recorded fact: I voted against the principle of entry. If the House divides, as I assume it will, on Third Reading this evening, I will vote against the Bill. As to the Amendment, while sympathising to some extent with what the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition said, in terms of my vote I fear that in part the wording of his Amendment is to me counter-productive and I shall abstain. I will add only that neither with Whip nor word have I ever been urged to do anything other than to follow my known inclinations.
I concur with noble Lords who have expressed the opinion that this occasion is not one for lengthy restatement or examination of the arguments of the many months of debate. I shall try to be brief and I feel that brevity may serve me best, for I fear that I lack the eloquence to do justice to my feelings to-day or on this issue. In an attempt to honour my pledge of brevity, economic aspects that trouble me I shall leave untouched, 1223 although the views that I encounter daily in Scotland indicate fears on economic aspects and do not show anything approaching support for the Government —nothing certainly that could amount to a mandate.
I have certain real fears for the quality of government that will result with Community development. This is a speculative point and I shall rest this evening on simply stating that my real and sincere belief is that what will evolve will be the antithesis of the strong Parliamentary government in which we believe, and our centuries-long struggle to obtain and maintain a proper balance between Legislature and Executive will be lost, finally and forever, and with it much that we value and which is valuable in the form of democracy which we practise.
The only one of my sticking-points that makes the bargain that this Bill will seal unacceptable to me on which I will enlarge to-night is this. I believe that one net effect of this Bill is to surrender for all time the United Kingdom's ultimate freedom of action. I have deliberately eschewed the use of the emotional word "sovereignty", since it means so many different things to so many different people. It has been fairly argued that many factors already inhibit it; but in the final analysis it still rests with the people of the United Kingdom and their Parliament to act as they, and they alone, see fit. I cannot believe, despite assurances, that this freedom, which surely stands at the pinnacle of our traditions, will not now wither and die—a prospect which, even if some can contemplate it as a realistic and inevitable consequence of the evolution of power patterns in these late years of the 20th century remains for me unacceptable, the more so by virtue of justifiable uncertainty and concern as to the international attitudes and possible future attitudes and politics of our designated partners.
It has been suggested that we could suddenly, Gulliver-like, burst the threads that tied us to Europe and renounce the Treaty. Possible yes, but surely unlikely, and as time passed highly improbable, I would assert. Certainly once the process of integration had reached the point when the economic political lifeblood of the Community was so fully mixed with ours 1224 it would surely defy practical and political surgery.
Before I leave this subject, may I ask a question of my noble and learned friend who is to reply to the debate? It has nothing to do with my opposition to the Bill, but it relates to procedure. It is that since a Bill of this import and complexity must inevitably touch upon the Royal Prerogative, how is it that, so far as I can recollect or ascertain from research, no announcement concerning this matter has been made in this House?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD HAILSHAM OF SAINT MARYLEBONE)
My Lords, may I deal with that point now? An announcement will be made at the appropriate time.
My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for answering me now. I am no expert on procedure, but I had understood that it would have to come at an early stage in the proceedings on the Bill.
§ LORD GREENWOOD OF ROSSEN-DALE
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Gray, will forgive me for saying that it would be of great help if the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack would tell us when "the appropriate time" actually is.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Yes, my Lords. If the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, will look at Standing Orders, he will see that it is before the Bill is read the third time.
I am grateful to my noble and learned friend. My Lords, for me as for my noble friend Lord Lauderdale, the omens suggest that this will be a sad evening. I do not think it can be denied that if and as we pass this Bill we close one great volume of our island story. Let it be hoped that in the next, to be opened 14 weeks hence, happiness and prosperity will be writ large on every page, and that the doubts, fears, unhappiness and bitterness indubitably engendered by the long, long, entry debate will fade and be overtaken by unity of effort by people and Parliament in facing up to the undoubted difficulties and immense tasks of the new adventure.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ LORD AUCKLAND
My Lords, the final stages of perhaps one of the most important pieces of legislation in this century or any other century are now upon us. Since, I think, 1949, this matter has been before Parliament and, I would suggest, before the electorate of this country; and it has always been apparent to me, and I think to most of your Lordships, that there are three categories of opinion in this country concerning entry into Europe. First, there are those who would enter Europe at virtually any price; secondly, there are those who regard entry into Europe as necessary although they still have a number of reservations; and, thirdly, there are others who are and always will be implacably opposed to such a venture. All three views are sincerely held. I am in the second category and I think the vast majority of Parliamentarians in this country and indeed many of the electorate in business, commerce, industry and elsewhere hold this view.
My Lords, this is not an occasion, as has been said before, to rehearse the arguments which have been gone over over the years. I have listened to debates on the Common Market in this House— indeed many of your Lordships have— for some years. Many have been here much longer than I have and have listened to them and indeed taken part in them from the start. I really began speaking on this subject only after visiting New Zealand and later Fiji because I felt that at least until I had been to one of the Commonwealth countries I was not at all fitted to speak on such a vital subject.
I speak in one sense as a businessman, as indeed most of us are in this House, and the small company with which I am associated has worked both in the E.E.C. and in the European Free Trade countries. I have said before in your Lordships' House, and I say again, that I believe that the EFTA partnership—and let us hope and pray that it comes off—is all-vital. I am what is perhaps in vulgar English known as a "Scandinaviaphobe". I have been to only two of their countries: I have been to Finland and to Denmark, two of the loveliest countries in Europe and certainly two of the friendliest.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? I thought he said "phobe". Did he mean "phile"?
§ LORD AUCKLAND
My Lords, I thank my noble friend; I probably got my English wrong. Let me put it simply that I admire these countries rather than otherwise. I sincerely hope that the plebiscites, as one might call them, in Denmark and in Norway, go in favour of entry into Europe. I have many Danish friends. I was speaking to a fairly prominent Danish businessman only a few days ago and we were discussing this matter. He feels optimistic despite certain unfavourable comments recently that this will happen; and I believe it to be very important for our partnership in Europe that we have a strong European Free Trade partnership, because while the wealth may be vested in Germany, Holland and the E.E.C. countries, I believe that the bonds of friendship and indeed opportunities for business are going to lie very much in the future in the European Free Trade countries, especially Scandinavia. That is why, as I say, it is very important from our point of view that the referendum goes favourably. But of course that is not in our hands and we must await results.
My Lords, my own voting record on this Bill has been perhaps a rather curious one. I have supported at least one Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, and I abstained on another. Since then I have read very carefully what was said. I did not take part in those proceedings largely because I was not able to be in my place the whole time the proceedings continued. But today we are discussing the Bill as a whole. There are still worries, worries which are held not so much by those who have had great experience in Parliament—and, unlike myself, many noble Lords who have spoken to-day have held distinguished office in Cabinet, in junior Ministry, in this House and in another place. They have been involved in high-level negotiation. I and other noble Lords who have not reached those pinnacles have not had that experience, so we can talk only from what we read in the newspapers, watch on television, listen to on the radio or, above all, from talking to people from these countries or, if we are fortunate, visiting them. It is quite clear 1227 now, to me at any rate, on reflection and from doing a good deal of study in the last few days, that everything will depend on good will between ourselves and our European partners when we finally officially sign the Treaty of Rome. In this connection, it is essential that we hold to positions and work in an executive sense on the various large committees within the Community; and it seems to me that until we are in the Community that will not happen.
So far as the Amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, is concerned, there is some of it with which I am not wholly out of sympathy. I have felt that at times in another place there was not sufficient discussion, despite the fact that a generous timetable was allowed. After all, this is a measure which will affect not so much our generation—and I speak of my own generation —but the generation succeeding us, and indeed the generation succeeding them. That is a point which all Governments and all Front Benches ought to bear in mind more and more.
But the Amendment itself goes too far. I will not dwell on the talks which have been proposed, and rejected, between Government and Opposition on this matter. That has been dealt with, although quite clearly it would have been a great help to have these mutual talks before the real technicalities of the legislation arose. I believe that in your Lordships' House there has been ample discussion, and we have had very full and frank answers from our own Front Bench. I do not think anyone can complain about that—not even those who, like myself, as I have said, are not committed pro-Marketeers.
The Front Bench opposite have also conducted these debates with complete decorum, and anybody who is at all sceptical of the way in which this House works will recognise the extremely hard work which it has put in on this Bill, whether Amendments should have been accepted or not—and I do not think at this hour certainly it is for me to go into the merits of that point. But on the subject of consultation I would say this. Since 1949 there have been a number of General Elections; in several of them I have addressed meetings on behalf of colleagues in another place, and I have 1228 never failed at least to mention the issue of the Common Market, even though I have not necessarily dwelt on it in any detail, because it is not the province, I think, of a noble Lord in a campaign to do that. But I have at least tried to make my own views known. I think that as a whole we are a nation in which, when a momentous decision comes before us, there is at least some initial scepticism, a fear of the unknown, if one likes to put it that way.
But as my final words I come back to an argument which I have advanced before. If we do not go in, what then? Can we really stay outside the entire block, not now, not next year, but in 10 years' time? In this country we have a record of leadership, of the Commonwealth and of the world as a whole. Various criticisms have been made of the standard of leadership of recent years. But of course that is true in countries other than our own. I believe that, with all the reservations one must have on an important measure of this kind, the test is: as a nation can we improve our own standing with our own people and in the world as a whole? My Lords, I believe, on balance, that entry into this great: European partnership will achieve this.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ LORD WIGG
My Lords, I suppose that to-night we reach the inevitable conclusion of events which, to my mind, started on November 10 in another place when Mr. Harold Wilson, then Prime Minister, announced his intention to visit the capital cities of the Six. At that moment the Labour Party was in fact committed—committed because, whatever happened in those discussions, when he arrived back in this country that section of the Labour Party who saw the salvation of this country, the political and perhaps it is fair to say the economic salvation of this country, in terms of our joining the Common Market received a I great impetus. Then we had the result of the General Election, and from that; time onwards to-night became absolutely certain. A current was set moving at such a pace that there was nothing that could be done by any section of opinion, even if it was given a chance to express itself, that would stop our entering the Common Market. There was an inevitability about it. I would say to those 1229 of your Lordships who support our entry that I hope very sincerely that you are right, and if you are right all the millions of words which have been spoken and written will be forgotten. The Conservative Party and that section of the Labour Party which has never disguised its views will be the inheritors of a tremendous political triumph. That seems to me to be quite certain.
But I am one of those who, while accepting the inevitability, are not at all sure that there are many people in this country who are certain about what really is going to happen. As my noble friend Lord Shinwell said, sometimes the band gets a little muted, and for those who were enthusiastic—perhaps like the swimmer who sets out on a warm day to swim, but the nearer he gets to the water the colder it gets—there is now a little less certainty about what is going to happen. In my judgment, we are doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way and without adequate preparation. According to this morning's Financial Times, without any warning the Commission sitting in Brussels has withdrawn subsidies, which puts the grain market in this country in confusion. Ten days ago the quality of our beer was to be altered. Of course, when it comes to the roast beef of old England, that is going to vanish, except for those who have recently engaged in some merger operation and are the inheritors of a vast fortune; but for the ordinary man a steak at £3 becomes something in the past.
But my case is not on economic grounds. I share the views of Lord Shinwell. I was his Parliamentary Private Secretary in those momentous days in 1950 when on the morrow of the Korean invasion he tried to launch some measure of European defence. What was perfectly clear in 1950 was that the French were going to put their spoke in the wheel, whatever happened. Only a couple of days ago I read a book, one of the co-authors of which was a distinguished member of the Foreign Service. His capacity for inaccuracy makes it quite understandable why he rose to a position of high influence. One of the things that he said was that we were against the Americans on the issue of the Pleven plan. That is not true. The Americans and ourselves were equally concerned with those 1230 first efforts to get some measure of European defence. We have not got it to-day; we are miles away from any effective European defence.
I heard the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, say that we must take our place in the councils of Europe where decisions I are made. There is no more important decision to the lives of any of us or of our children than on the question of the integrity of these shores. But to-day we have not got an atomic tactical weapon in the British Army of the Rhine. What we have got is the "clapped out" Honest John and the "clapped out" ancient howitzer. What of modern weapons? The Germans have got them, under American control, but we have not got them. It seems to me—without going back to Joseph Stalin's comments during the war, when he was reminded of the power and influence of the Pope and asked, "How many divisions has he got?" —that in the world in which we live our capacity to defend ourselves is part of the price we have to pay if we are going to be effective members of the European Community; and we certainly lack that capacity to-day.
I am a passionate believer in the capacity of my fellow countrymen to meet challenges when they come and when they have been told the truth; down the ages they have never failed. They met the wrath of Napoleon singlehanded, and the German hordes in the First World War; and we stood alone again in the last war. Indeed, it can be said that our weakness stems from no dishonourable cause but from our ability and willingness to stand alone; and perhaps by standing alone we saved democracy for the world. These are bitter words and bitter thoughts, but to-day, in my judgment, I believe that we are a defeated country. We are accepting the terms of surrender, and terms of surrender no less obvious because they are not dictated in a train. This time they are dictated across the Telex from Brussels. It is grain to-day; it was beer yesterday; it is lorries the day after.
I do not want to detain the House too long. I regret that my colleagues in the Labour Party, whose ranks I shall shortly rejoin, have not the guts to-night to stand up and be counted in opposing this Bill on Third Reading. This gutless collection of words is put on the Order Paper in order to get a few more into 1231 the Lobby. What is it? It is just a device. It is a device that deceives nobody. It is just hoping, of course, that if things go wrong those who vote for the Amendment will be able to climb on the bandwagon and say, "We voted against it on the Amendment". Events will move too fast for that.
I want to make a little prophecy, and if any of your Lordships are betting men I am always willing to back my opinion without registering as a bookmaker or paying the betting tax. I do not believe that Her Majesty's Government have given any detailed thought to a policy on the movement of labour. Mr. Enoch Powell was my neighbour in Wolverhampton when I sat for Dudley, and I remember that his voice was muted when we had riots in Dudley. There was not a word from Enoch. It was not the popular subject that he thinks it is to-day.
§ A NOBLE LORD: No.
§ LORD WIGG
That is true, my Lords; not a single word came from Mr. Enoch Powell. I wish noble Lords would go back and read his first speech in the House of Commons, when he advocated the establishment of a colonial army. I do not want to get involved with Mr. Enoch Powell. The point I want to make is that on January 1, thousands—if I may put it moderately—of Italians who are unemployed will want to come to this country. What machinery has been set up to receive them?
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, if the I noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting, may I ask why he imagines that thousands of Italians want to come to this country?
§ LORD WIGG
My Lords, I do not suppose they would come if the noble Lord was in charge of the economy. But there happen to be a vast number of Italians who are out of work, particularly in Southern Italy. What worries me about the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, is that he does not read what he writes. Perhaps it is a charitable assumption that he writes it. The logic of it all is that we are going to get a vast and expanding economy responding to market forces, in which case, as our economy develops under this tremendous urge which is forecast from joining the 1232 Common Market, the first thing that will happen is that we are going to develop a shortage of labour in this country. This is inevitable.
§ A NOBEL LORD: Full employment!
§ LORD WIGG
Full employment and more, if the advocates of the Common Market are right. The German "miracle" has been no more than the working of the economy, and the movement of thousands of refugees from East Germany into the German economy. When that source dried up they came from Turkey, France and Italy. If the pro-Common Marketeers are right, the same thing is going to happen here. The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, was Minister of Fuel and Power, and he knows the fun and games he had when a few Italians moved into the mines. I am absolutely sure that no thought has been given to this problem, because many of these people will come in without passports, and after they arrive and are in this country they will not require work permits.
If I may say so, this is only one of hundreds of problems that have not been thought out. The one salvation this Government have is, "Get into the Common Market, and to Hell with the consequences! It will be all right on the day". My Lords, if it is not "all right on the day", then at some time or other Hell is is going to break loose in this country. We are still a democracy, and both of the political Parties here are tainted with the stain of serving political expediency. For a very considerable time the electorate in this country have not been told the truth by either Party. That is the major cause of our economic and political difficulties. The great crying urge is for national unity, not a spurious unity. No Coalitions for me. I do not want Coalitions. What I want is the clash and conflict of honest men, thereby educating themselves and educating their fellow countrymen into the realities which face us in the immediate future, and will face us over the years to come. That is not being done. We have sold a "bum steer" here which we hope will produce milk. But "bum steers" cannot be milked, even in the Common Market.
So, my Lords, we move forward. This Bill unquestionably will go on to the Statute Book. My noble friend Lord 1233 Shinwell, whose leadership I always accept, is going to bring himself to vote for the Amendment, so once again I shall follow my leader and shall vote for the Amendment, too, though I do not believe in a word of it. I am in opposition to this Bill for the reasons I have already given. I do not myself play golf, but those who have to hole in one never do; it is always accidental. And this particular aspect of our affairs is the political "hole-in one" by both Mr. Harold Wilson and Mr. Heath. What I want desperately to do is to get rid of Mr. Heath; what I do not want to do is to come to the conclusion that to get rid of Mr. Heath I have also to get rid of Mr. Wilson. But that is a conclusion which may be forced on our fellow countrymen, because I think that there are rough times ahead and that the political future in this country belongs to those who tell the truth as they see it. They are able to cash in when that truth which they propound is proved to be the real truth.
That brings me to the other political point. Those who think that if they support the Common Market everything is going to be given to them overlook another factor. If there is—and I believe there will be—a polarisation of political and economic forces at the extremes, and if we are indeed in for rough times (if the good times are coming, then my case falls to the grounds), then the second bet I will make is on the emergence of a very strong Communist Party in this country. This has happened in France; it has happened in Italy. It has also happened in Germany.
Some will say that the Communist Party is banned in West Germany. I do not give a fig for West Germany. The people in Germany I worry about are in East Germany. It is the Prussians, the Swabians, the Mecklenbergers, who have unified Germany in the past, and not the soft Rhinelanders or the Catholic Bavarians. They are the people who are going to reunify Germany. If there is any reunification of Germany it will be under the tutelage of East Germany, and there there is a Communist Party. If your Lordships, in your anxiety to go home to bed and live comfortable lives, imagine that all the problems of Britain and Europe have been swept under the 1234 carpet by your voles for this Bill to-night, all I say is. "God bless you! You have another think coming."
§ 8.50 p.m.
LORD SAINT OSWALD
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, implied strongly that the truth has not been told. I do not accept that the truth has been concealed in any instance by those who are enthusiastic about Britain's entry into the Common Market. I hope that when I have finished to-night he will agree that I am among those who have not feared to tell the truth, and to tell even some of the rough truth.
In these culminating hours of an historic debate, there is a temptation, not to say a certain inspiration, to cover the whole historic field. That must be avoided and it has been avoided by noble Lords taking part to-day. The theme which draws me on this occasion is one which, for evident reasons, has been little touched upon up to now. It has been natural for speeches of all persuasions to dwell on what we expect from our membership of the European Communities Most of us have been aware, to varying extents, of what Europe now expects of us.
In all honesty, it has to be recognised that there are two contradictory answers to this. Two hopes are nurtured, one positive and the other negative. It is vitally important for Europe, and for ourselves, as part of the newly forming Europe, that we should fulfil the positive hope. In a speech in our debate on the principle of entry on July 28 last year, I referred to a number of eminent figures within the Community of Six who, before the signing of the Treaty of Rome, had proclaimed deep suspicion, doubts and even animosity towards the concept of the Community. That research, carried out as a comfort for all of us by a Belgian friend of Britain, also demonstrated how all of those distinguished doubters have become distinguished leaders within the Community, once formed. I have no doubt, or at least little doubt, that this will happen here from this hour forward, and most of those—I should hope all of those—who have felt and expressed honourable misgivings about Britain's entry will determine that, once in, there is a call upon all those in public life 1235 to ensure that Britain's contribution to this great endeavour is maximal.
In saying that, and believing it as strongly as I do, it would be false to suppose or to pretend that everyone within the Six wishes the European concept to advance at the same pace. It would be false even to suppose that everyone within the Community as it stands wishes it to advance far beyond its present stage of a Customs Union. For that very reason, it is the deeply convinced Europeans who are most critical of the limited advance so far achieved and immediately envisaged. It is they who look to Britain to bring a new galvanism, a new and needed impatience. Conversely, there are those who hope that our entry will tend to restrain advance, to solidify at the present stage. Those are the ones, the non-momentum men, whom we must disabuse of their illusion.
The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, earlier to-day said that this was not the Promised Land awaiting us. We, the pro-Marketeers, of which he is perhaps among the most distinguished members, have never claimed that there was milk and honey on tap across the North Sea. Nor is it the slough of despond which the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossen-dale, described with such satisfaction earlier to-day. What I have said and what I am about to say contains no encouragement to opponents of entry. As we get closer to the water, unlike the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, I grow more invigorated. It is a measure of that high and brilliant endeavour in the minds of some of the great men of our time that they are critical of what has been achieved. It is a spur to the new partner. In an interesting sense, in the view of its most ardent champions Europe is so far a comparative failure; it has not yet lived up to the full expectations of the Founding Fathers. For such men as Jean Monet and Theo Le Fèvre, it is still far from being the Europe of which they dreamed. When Paul Henri Spaak died so very recently, he was counting upon us to energise the realities of this dream, and there must be many of us who are saddened by the thought that he will not be there to welcome us on January 1 next year.
Those who remain of the Founding Fathers of the European Community, and 1236 the inheritors of their vision, believe that Britain will bring in new and richer blood and fresh vision. As converts, they believe we may even play the traditional part of converts—"more Catholic than the Pope". The devout and enthusiastic Europeans within the present Community admit, sometimes scathingly, that there is still a proclivity for petty quarrels to hamper the progress of this great resolve, and there is a great hope that Britain will be above pettiness and so change the whole level of decisions. Those who are content to create a protectionist Customs Union before giving serious thought to advance upon other planes are, in fact, the men who have most obstructed the advance up to our entry. There are those in the present Community who say, as they will always say, "This is not the moment to do it." For such people it is never the moment to do it.
One of the curiosities in the development of the Common Market has been the way in which the Central Banks, who themselves "went European" long before the Treaty of Rome, have placed obstacles in the way of their financial Ministers whenever an advance towards a uniform monetary policy was under practical discussion. It has long been an axiom of European thinking, that an early requirement was the creation of a European Central Bank, but critics within say, disdainfully, that neither a European Central Bank nor a European currency is any closer than they were at the signing of the Treaty. As there has been little advance in monetary and economic union, so there has been little advance in industrial policy, in commercial policy (both internal and external), in tax policy and in education. I have listened to a young, urgent European demanding, "What has Europe done to inspire or encourage the young?" There is no commonly accepted academic or other diploma as between the Six; there is no freedom of movement for the professions. There is free movement for the dustman, the waiter or the construction worker, but I neither a doctor nor an accountant can practise, as a matter of right, in a partner country. All these are needs to be implemented.
In one rather narrow sense Britain enters at a good moment, before decisions in these important matters have been taken, before the patterns have been 1237 set. This means that we can greatly influence those patterns. But if we should use our influence to clog and immobilise the progress, that would be regarded by many as a betrayal, and I should be among them. It has been put to me that the very fact of our being able to say that the act of joining Europe will not noticeably change our lives, will hardly impinge on our lives, is in itself a criticism of how comparatively little has been achieved so far in Europe, set against the grand design. So much the wider and loftier and fuller is our opportunity.
Those of us who have met and known some of the leaders of the present Community are eager to combine our country's efforts with theirs; to see our leaders working in close collaboration. It is those men, as much as any, who believe that Britain can decisively help to realise the European dream, strengthening, as a start, the three main institutions —the Council of Ministers, the Commission and, perhaps most important of all, the European Parliament.As a member of the Community we can shape the definition of that Community. We can play a leading part in Europe which can, in turn, play a leading and constructive part in the world as European countries have done since history began to be recorded".— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 17/3/70, col. 1006.]My Lords, those last words may well stir the memories of many noble Lords here to-day. They would stir the memory of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, if he were present, because they were the closing words of a striking speech uttered by him from the Government Despatch Box on March 17, 1970. They harmonise in spirit and significance with what has been uttered from the same Despatch Box by my noble friend and Leader earlier to-day. It is my sober and happy belief that both these Leaders will feel satisfaction in equal measure at the passing of this Bill this night.
I have mentioned, I hope realistically, the disappointments that lie so far along the path of a European concept. Perhaps the greatest of all was caused by ourselves at the outset, by our declining to come in with the founder nations, to take our part in the original achitecture. Since then, we have known rebuffs. Now it is a case of,Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more …"—1238 not a breach opened by cannon and battering rams, but through the calculated demolition of an unwanted, unnatural wall by co-operative hands under thoughtful, skilful direction. I end, my Lords, with the same expression of trust with which I began this evening. I hope that those who in debate so far have been able to disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage will now cease to imitate the action of the tiger, and will now adopt our own constant demeanour of modest stillness and humility, while by all means stiffening the sinews and summoning up the blood.On, on, you noblest English!"—together, of course, with our Scottish, Welsh and Irish kindred—can now be a constructive exhortation as we go forward, not to join battle but to join our partners and friends in a great and uplifting venture.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, I speak —I was going to say with diffidence, but I do not: I speak with determination, because this is an important occasion in your Lordships' House, a fact which I think your Lordships are just beginning to realise, in view of some of the impassioned speeches that have been delivered. But I will not speak impassionately; I will speak calmly. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, for moving this Amendment; I think it was the right thing to do. I should also thank the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, for the speech he made. I thought it was very nice. He said something with which I agree— it is not often I agree with anybody's speeches. I wrote down what he said, but I do not suppose I could read it even if I found it; but it was to the effect that this was not a Party matter but was a matter for the whole House. That is how I have always felt.
§ LORD STRANGE
The noble Earl did, actually, but I could not read it. He said it was a matter for Parliament, which is the charming sort of thing the noble Earl would say. I have dealt with it as a matter for Parliament.
I have spoken a great many times on this Bill, and I always spoke against it. I have all sorts of ideas. I am a funny 1239 man, and I have my own views. But I felt that throughout the House, apart from what the noble Lord, Lord Shackle-ton, said, the whole view of the House was that we should go into the Common Market. It was by far the biggest majority, not only the—I do not want to use the word "whipped", because it is a sexual word and we must not talk about sex now; but not only the whipped majority but people behind my back who while I was speaking could not bear what I was saying. Yet I felt, "Yes, this is it—they do not want to go into the Common Market". I am afraid I do not think like other people. I cannot help it. I was very sorry for those people. I thought they suffered from tunnel vision, which is a dangerous thing to have. They suffered from tunnel vision, which means they saw at the end of the tunnel El Dorado: the golden man, the Common Market, standing there throwing out coins; and they could not see the Commonwealth, which will have to supply the resources not only to the Common Market but to the Japanese, who are their competitors. They could not see that at all.
That is all right. I accept that. I was brought up by people who had tunnel vision. My parents had tunnel vision; my schoolmasters had tunnel vision. I found out that it did not pay to frustrate people who had tunnel vision because it was sore at school and disagreeable at home to contradict them! They had one view, and nobody could change their ideas: and I do not intend to try to do so to-night. I intend to speak very briefly ("Hear, hear!" you may say), because I have very little to say. I said it all a long time ago.
I was very intrigued by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, because the noble Lord said a great many things which are very true and which a great many people know are true. But I will not take up time with that. I shall come towards the end of my speech. I am now making up as I go on; but I think I should perhaps say that this is rather sad. This is the last night in the old home. It is (how shall I put it?) a picture of the Rake's Progress. This is the workhouse at the end, with the lawyers picking up the rings; it is the 1240 end. It is a very sad moment because we know it is the end. We are not arguing any more. We know that this is the end that we are coming to. I am not going to talk about the translation, which is quite a trivial thing to talk about, of the Treaty of Rome, which of course has not yet been officially translated. I know that we have debated it before it has been officially translated. I know therefore that what we were debating was not official.
It is rather sad in a way. It is the beginning of what I hope will not be the end but I do not want to be unkind, I do not want to be spiteful or to say anything nasty. I think that I will thank now all those people—I do not know? how many—who have written to me. I have piles of letters from people who read Hansard, who are British and who have written me and asked me to give their views in this House. Their views are all much the same. They are: "We want to fight on, we want to box on, regardless. We do not want to go into the Common Market." They are all educated views. I am not educated myself but these are all letters from educated people. I have been amazed at the flood of letters. I have not answered any of them although I should have liked to do so. They come from all sorts of surprising people: from lawyers, clergymen, solicitors—from all over the country. It is amazing. My secretary, a charming girl who is always busy with somebody: else, opens the letters and she tells me that there are piles of them. It struck me that the opposition among what we used to think were the British people is enormous. I have taken this opportunity of thanking them very much for their letters; because my speech will be published in Hansard and I shall not have to thank them personally—not that I do not want to. I should really like to do so.
My Lords, we have come to the end. We do not go on speaking. I could have said many sad things. I have not done so. I could have said many true things, and I have not done so. I will finish by quoting—for this is the right time to quote—Fletcher of Saltoun. He said at the union of Scotland with England, a great many years ago: "This is the end of an auld sang".
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
My Lords, I listened, in a way entranced, to the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down. Despite his name, that speech was a threnody, because, no matter how noble Lords in this House may take it, it was shot through with actual experience, a certain amount of wisdom and of nostalgia. I do not know how he will vote; but I am grateful to the noble Lord for the speech that he has made.
The House has had a busy time and one must not try to repeat arguments and to discuss matters that have been discussed before. Consequently, a Third Reading speech like this is a difficult one. I have listened with great interest to the evocative and charming Baroness, Lady Elles, who accused us of claiming that the people were against the Common Market. She said that there is no real evidence for that view. She needed not to have come to us; she could have gone to Legge-Bourke, the chairman of the 22 Committee. And I could go to the Party leader, who said that we will not go into the Common Market against the wishes of the people. I can go, too, to the wealthy Conservative Party Member who decided to have a referendum in his constituency and to let the Labour Party know of the result; but that never became a reality. I could also quote the Conservative who said that he himself was in favour of the Market but that 80 per cent, of his active supporters, most of them elderly people, are opposed to it. He said that he had written to the Prime Minister to say that he would need this summer to talk them round.
I merely want to say that the boot is on both feet; in other words, this is a debate that we have been having for fifteen years. I am on record as participating in the first debate on the Common Market, when we were being urged to go in and when there was not even a copy of the Treaty of Rome here. I rang the Foreign Office and they said they did not have one; but that there was one in French. I said that I should be glad to get that. But even that was not an official copy. All I have to say is that in these debates we have shrouded native realities with obscure euphemisms to please the purpose of the leadership of the Party.
1242 I have listened to 80 per cent, of this debate. I apologise to the noble Earl the Leader of the House because I enjoy his speeches. I thought it my duty tonight to sit through all the speeches, but I apologise to him because I could not get in to hear his opening speech. I would say this. We are told by the noble Lord, Lord Saint Oswald, that we must talk truths. The first truth that must be spoken is that going into the European Community is not going into Europe. There are twenty-six nations in Europe, and the Community comprises only six of them. Why pretend that that is going into Europe? The other day I was in a castle in Bohemia where King John once lived. He was killed at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, and the Black Prince, who ultimately became the Prince of Wales, got his three feathers which to this day are the symbol of Wales. For British intelligent and scholastic people in the House of Lords to pretend that we have been out of contact with Europe for generations is an absolute falsehood. For generations we ruled sections of Europe through the Kings and Queens of England. Any elementary schoolboy knows the facts about Queen Mary having "Calais" written on her heart. What is all this rubbish about our having been out of Europe? Our businessmen can get into Europe tomorrow morning if their goods are good enough.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
My Lords, that is exactly so, my noble friend has confirmed my story—that is why we got the feathers. I want to kill this myth that we are just beginning to think of Europe. We have contributed for a thousand years to the history and to the battles of Europe. If we go back only to Roman times, anybody who has read 1243 Gibbon's Decline and Fall will know of the contacts we have had with Europe. What is going on here? England has lost her will; she has lost her sense of direction. I was delighted that my noble friend George Wigg quoted the Financial Times to-day. We are having prices of grain decided, and prices of beef—the roast beef of old England, which will be ersatz beef before long; they will be selling that in shops in a week or two. And we shall have legislation about lorries; and we shall alter the entire topography of our villages to suit legislation over which this House will have no control.
I resented a little the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Reay, who seemed to be teaching your Lordships' House what it should do on a Third Reading. It seemed that according to him it was almost lese majesté even to think of voting against the Bill. This is something which concerns the destiny of Europe for the next quarter of a century. The reality is that there were some people who thought that the great garlic-eating dragon of Europe—de Gaulle—would say "Non" all the time to Wilson's efforts to get into Europe. Some anti-Marketeers said, "Don't worry; de Gaulle will rescue us". There were some Tories who said that de Gaulle would. For the first time in history the story of St. George and the Dragon was reversed. It was the dragon who killed St. George. De Gaulle moved out, and suddenly we found that the door into Europe was open—before we were ready.
I love Europe, and I have knocked around all of it, pretty well. I believe that we should have waited. It is the disgusting haste of this Parliament to rush through legislation—it is absolutely disgusting. Look at the Local Government Bill. We have not had a chance to discuss that. And so far as concerns the Bill we are now talking about, there were 2 million words uttered in the other place, and nearly the same in your Lordships' House, but not a jot or tittle of the Bill was altered. Can anyone say that that is democracy? Then someone is insulting enough to suggest that we were putting down Amendments just to be awkward. In fact this House, I think, debated the Bill without acerbity or viciousness, and with an honest intent to 1244 make some improvements to it. Certainly one of the improvements—and here I agree with the noble Lord who is not now in the Chamber—was to get annual reports, or some sort of reports into which the Members of both Houses could get their teeth.
Let me ask a question. It is said that the Treaty of Rome is irreversible. That is utter rubbish. Throughout the history of mankind thousands of treaties which were "irreversible" have been written. One was written on a gold block—when I Montague Norman made his prophecies about what was going to happen to gold in 1931. My question is: if he had not got his way in Europe, would de Gaulle I have accepted the Treaty of Rome? We I have to remember now Macmillan"s famous phrase to Dick Crossman when he was on intelligence work in the Middle East. It was Macmillan, who later became Prime Minister, who said to Dick Crossman, "Remember we are Greeks in a Roman Empire." That will be our position when we get into the Common Market under the Treaty of Rome.
To me, the Market campaign has been one of the most amazing campaigns. It has been fortunate enough to have 20 times the financing of the anti-Market campaigners. Under the umbrella of the European Movement, more than 20 organisations, mostly based on Chandos House, Buckingham Gate, have engaged in tireless propaganda; and, as I say, they have had about 20 times the finance the opposition has had. The Press, the B.B.C. and television have lined up on this without a study in depth. I do not think that this can be contradicted. I will not bore the House, because it is a well-informed House, with a massive list of European Movement organisations, with very able and brilliant people leading them, in some cases—let me be fair— because they believe in it, but in others because they believe it is good for their pocket. It is a business concern.
The C.B.I. were one of the prime movers, because they thought that we should have terrific growth. My noble friend Lord Wigg illustrated the point— and it is no good scoffing. Freedom of movement is inherent in the Treaty of Rome. We are getting worried about 30,000 or 80,000 Asians. I remember the trouble about the Italians. At one 1245 time they were considered a little better looking than some of the Welshmen, and when they came into the pits there was a little trouble. It takes time. But under the Treaty of Rome there is freedom of movement for labour. There is not the same freedom of movement for dental and medical men.
§ A NOBLE LORD: Or for Commonwealth labour.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
I thank my noble friend—or for Commonwealth labour. But there is freedom of movement for other echelons working. This is a fact that we have to face. Why did we have to rush this? Many of us would have come along probably with a studied effort to support movement into a European scheme if we could have broadened it and if we could have gone in strong. I do not want to give examples, because the House is marvellously informed on all this from its knowledge and reading, but we are going in to-day with the British economy more chaotic than it has been since the 'thirties and with prices as they have never been before. We have had 15 years of debate and to-night the Treaty of Rome is going to be accepted.
I want my noble friend on the Front Bench to have plenty of time, and I will cut my speech now. I want the power of Parliament restored. Parliament no longer is the power. The Executive dominates. I have worked right close to the Executive for years and seen it, and this House and the other House are throwing away their power. There are men who have been in office who know that vital discussions take place with the trade union movement; vital discussions take place over Europe, and vital discussions take place with the C.B.I. But the Member of Parliament, who is elected by the people, often does not know anything about these things until he reads about them in the Press or sees it on television in an interview. The Lobby system of the House, where Ministers and senior Ministers discuss with the Lobby on a gentleman's agreement, is taking power away from this place. For the first time we should sit back and look at the dwindling power of this House. We are going into the Common Market, as I say, at a time when our economy is the worst it has ever been; when the power of Parliament has dwindled as 1246 never before; when half the people of Britain are not sure that we should go in; and the people advocating it are building up their story on mythology rather than on the reality of facts. The one word they subscribe to is "growth". Growth, if it is uncontrolled, can be cancerous. I believe that my noble friend Lord Wigg was right to draw attention to the major possibility of a collapse of the old political Parties in this country unless we rethink our position. If we get into Europe, I wish it well, but nevertheless to-night I shall have to vote against the Third Reading.
§ 9.25 p.m.
§ LORD SELSDON
My Lords, I was more than a little hesistant about speaking to-night. I thought, and still think, that enough—and more than enough— has been said about the pros and cons and the whys and wherefores of our proposed entry into the E.E.C. I am a little tempted to quote from some advice contained in St. Matthew's Gospel:Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think they shall be heard from their much speaking.I thought, too, if my understanding of procedure is correct—and it certainly is not because I have been very much confused during this last week or so—that when a Bill has passed through Committee and Report stage unamended, it is bad form to speak on Third Reading. But I feel that I must speak because there are a number of things I should like to say in a few succinct moments, if I may, to summarise the position as I see it to-day.
I wish we did not have a Bill at all. Frankly, I would rather we could do things on a basis of trust and confidence instead of arguing about what is printed on pieces of paper. I wish we could act in the spirit of the Treaty of Rome I which in fact we, I suggest, started. No foreign country has ever imposed its will on this country, and I do not believe it ever will. I do not wish to rub salt into what are now old wounds, but as a very humble Back-Bencher, sitting as far back as I can this evening, I am whole-heartedly in favour of our entry into the E.E.C. But I utterly deplore—in the gentlest way it is possible to deplore something—the way in which a matter of such critical importance has been used as, one might say, a barnyard for political 1247 in-fighting. Here I support my noble friend Lady Elles. Somehow, somewhere along the line, our Parliamentary system has been abused, and thus the outside world, and in particular the Continent of Europe, cannot know and cannot determine whether we shall enter the E.E.C. with optimism, unity and confidence, or whether we shall be more like,… the whining school-boy … creeping like snail,Unwillingly to school.My Lords, we have this evening one last opportunity to make up for the confusion of recent months and to re-endorse the overwhelming support for British entry which was given by both Houses of Parliament. Thus I urge the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, to withdraw his Amendment. Please do. The noble Lord has made a point but he has struck a blow against our Parliamentary system, and in all humility I suggest that such a blow might better have been struck at another time in another place.
I have the utmost respect for the integrity of your Lordships' House, but I must admit to feeling some resentment at the implication made by the noble Lord opposite that I and others on these Benches are "built in". It implies that we are being used, or, perhaps in the case of hereditary Peers, that we are second-hand and out of date. I am young enough to hope that I may have before me a number of years in your Lordships' House; and I also hope—and indeed expect—that your Lordships' House will play an important part in the making the history of Europe. No "Guardsman" on the Front Bench is ever going to persuade me to vote against something which I believe to be right, or to vote for something which I believe to be wrong: and I believe that goes for all my colleagues.
I believe that our entry into the E.E.C. is right. I believe that by accident and good luck, and not necessarily by planning, the timing for our entry is right— totally right. But if we are to take full advantage of the opportunities which our entry will offer we must be united and demonstrate to the outside world that we are united. I only hope that as many people as possible who are as firmly opposed to cur entry as the noble Lord, 1248 Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, will read his statesmanlike speech of to-day and follow his example.
I will be brief, but I should like to summarise what I feel are the two main reasons for our entry: these are simply peace and prosperity. The argument for peace has been put forward so convincingly that it cannot be refuted, but on its own it is not enough. It is a rather bizarre comment on our times that fortunately there are many who have not witnessed at first hand the ravages of war and therefore cannot fully appreciate the value of peace. The noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, spoke of a thousand years. I give him Tennyson with:Ring out the thousand wars of old,Ring in the thousand years of peace.The case for prosperity has proved a much more difficult one to make. It is based in essence upon historic arguments and upon economic comparisons between this country and current members of the E.E.C, based on historic information. It has demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that the rate of growth of the individual members of the Six has been far greater than that of our own, and that we have been falling sadly behind the rest of the world.
Historic economic arguments are rapidly destroyed as soon as history makes a rapid change. It is totally wrong to assume that our entry into the E.E.C. will automatically unlock the door of prosperity. It gives us no more than an opportunity that might otherwise be denied us; it is the way in which we seize this opportunity which will determine our future economic success and prosperity. Here there are, as I see it, three basic industrial opportunities: the opportunity which exists for our industry and commerce in the other countries of the Ten, the opportunity which exists here to encourage foreign industry to set up and make a major contribution to our economy, and the opportunity which we shall have as a focal point of Europe, and perhaps an entry and exit point for foreign investments and E.E.C. investment in the Commonwealth and other parts of the world.
On the first point, "What are the British doing on the Continent?", your Lordships may not be aware that British industry and commerce is at present, in 1249 the words of the French, starting to colonise the Continent. It has jumped the gun. The British are all over the place and there is a new form of industrial colonisation going on. They are moving with decisive authority which is respected and perhaps even feared. We need have no worry at all on that count; but we must have a corresponding inflow of foreign companies and foreign investments. Our colleagues on the Continent are looking at us, looking at the opportunity that they know exists here, but they do not yet have confidence that we have solved our industrial relations problems, and our problems of inflationary wage settlements. Let us solve those problems as quickly as we can and encourage foreign industry to come over here.
I dwell for perhaps a slight emotional moment on the opportunity. I speak without the support of an economic argument, without projections on G.N.P. and the balance of payments; I speak with nothing more than a strong, irrepressible feeling of confidence and optimism which is based almost entirely on what I personally have seen, heard and sensed in Continental Europe in recent weeks and months. There is a mood sweeping the Continent of Europe; it is a mood which is beginning to be felt in the far corners of the world; it is a European mood of hopeful anticipation which has an underlying strength that was never there in the past. It heralds a growing desire for unity; but unity with this country of ours as the catalyst, the co-ordinator and the leader. Europe is looking to us for initiative and leadership. If we offer this in the spirit of peaceful co-operation then we can achieve much for the benefit of ourselves and for the benefit of the Ten.
I go back to the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, who quoted Disraeli. I prefer Gladstone, who said in April, 1888,We are part of the community of Europe and we must do our duty as such.We did that duty twice in under 60 years through two World Wars, and yet perhaps until now we never really considered ourselves pant of Europe. My Lords, our duty to-day is to our country and not to the Continent. I submit that henceforth our duty to our country, and our duty to Europe, will be so intricately inter- 1250 woven that they cannot be separated. After our vote to-night, let us put our internal disunity behind us, and let us move with one accord into our European future.
§ 9.35 p.m.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, to those who are persuaded of the merits of Market entry and those who are quite unpersuaded, this must be a solemn occasion. We are now towards the end of the last stage of the last Bill to go through either House of a free, completely independent United Kingdom Parliament. For centuries, century after century, with one short interruption, the British people have extended, strengthened, sought to make more democratic and more effective our Parliamentary institutions. In June, 1965, Parliament presented a humble Petition to Her Majesty the Queen in which it said:We rejoice that the principles of Parliamentary Government have been developed and strengthened through seven centuries of; history.''This Bill does not simply halt that process; it abruptly and crudely reverses it. It reverses that process with an unnecessary and unforgivable crudeness.
I am not here talking about the merits or demerits of an association with other European countries; I am not arguing against a carefully considered and broadly agreed proposal to restrict particular aspects of our national sovereignty for particular purposes. I am talking about this Bill. At one time, when all of us looked at the matter objectively, before Party controversy was aroused, it was a matter of common consent that for a decision as profound as this we need the agreement of the large majority of the British people. Mr. Heath made the point as clearly as anyone when he said that our entry must have the "full-hearted consent" of the British people. It is a sad and serious fact that, save, as I understood her, the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, no one in this House or in another place has even attempted to show that there is this eager and enthusiastic majority seeking entry. The truth is that the British people are even less keen to get in than the French people, judging by M. Pompidou's poll, are keen to have us in. Nevertheless, there are those on this side who, for reasons that I respect, have over the years convinced themselves and 1251 each other that Community membership is to be welcomed.
Of those, in this House and in another place, there were some who took this Bill seriously. No Bill could have had more serious consequences, but no Bill was more cleverly constructed, or more difficult to interpret. Yet there were dedicated Marketeers, such as my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition and my noble and learned friend Lord Stow Hill, who have helped to show how this Bill could have been improved. I pay respect to the unstinting way in which my noble friends have worked with us in Committee and Report to try to improve this Bill. Together we have stressed that if the Act is going to stand a chance of success we must involve the United Kingdom Parliament; we must at least give the appearance, if not the true reality, of democratic influence. Almost all our Amendments were directed to that end. None was a delaying or wrecking Amendment, although the proposal to submit the issue of entry to a General Election or to a referendum, letting the people decide, might be considered by some as a wrecking Amendment.
But with most of our Amendments we tried to ensure, by Statute, in the Bill, that Parliamentary approval would be needed before the rights, powers, liabilities, obligations and restrictions consequent upon entry actually are implemented. We believed that there might be some protection in this. We thought it might impose some additional discipline on the non-elected, supra-national Commissioners or the Council of Ministers, or the Permanent Representatives at Brussels who will have important if unclear powers, if changes in our domestic law needed lo be approved by our Parliament, if possible at the draft stage.
Contrary to what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, said, we did not seek to tie the Government too closely. I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, discussed with us either at Committee or Report stage our Amendments, otherwise we could have shown him that this was the case. We accepted the argument that a Statute was different from a Standing Order, but we were told that all our Amendments—all: every one of them—were unnecessary. It was carefully explained to us that when the Bill 1252 says in Clause 2(2) that all rights, powers, et cetera provided for, or arising from, the Treaties are to be recognised and enforced "without further enactment", it does not really mean that. The excuse about the possibilities of a Select Committee making appropriate Parliamentary arrangements was not always brought out in those earlier stages.
In the other place, Ministers roundly dismissed the anxieties about Parliamentary control. The Chancellor of the Duchy (in col. 481 of the Official Report for March 14) said:What needs to be understood by the Committee is that the Bill as it stands preserves the present constitutional practice".He denounced critics generally, and my honourable friend the Member for Ebbw Vale in particular, for suggesting otherwise. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, was even more reassuring at that stage. He said, at col. 571 of the Official Report for August 3:Future Treaties entered into by the United Kingdom would require an Affirmative Resolution Order in Council. Parliament can refuse this by refusing an Affirmative Resolution.If Parliament does this, and it is necessary for implementation of the Treaty that it should be within the definition in the Bill, such a refusal would force the Government of the day either to proceed by Bill or to renegotiate the terms of Treaty …He added:There is therefore an important degree of Parliamentary control in the Bill as it stands at present.With all respect to the noble Earl—and my respect for him is as real as it is deep —that explanation, or answer to our Amendment, was all poppycock. That was not a description of how the Act or Treaty would work. It was an exact description of how it would not work.
Of course, if we get another Parliament and another Government, and if that Government—as the Labour Party are telling the electorate it will—renegotiates the Treaty, then it could refuse to implement Community instruments. But that would mean confrontation and not the kind of consultation for which we are asking. We were genuinely trying, in that and similar Amendments, to give the thing a chance of working. But we were voted down.
Wearying only slightly of well-doing, we later nut down another Amendment 1253 which took into account the assurances given by Mr. Rippon and the noble Earl, and we provided for the implementation of Treaty obligations by some form of Parliamentary procedure. The noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, answered on that occasion. He brought his usual clarity of legal mind to bear. He scorned political niceties; he explained that the Orders in Council were not really laws at all but simply a process of what he called identification of what we had to accept. Later in the same speech (at col. 249 on September 12), he said:The vast majority of the directly applicable bits of Community legislation will come in without further enactment even of the sort that appears by way of an Order in Council under Clause 1(3).So much, my Lords, for the previous assurances that all was to be done in accordance with Parliamentry practice! One can take one's choice.
We failed to get any concession which ensured opportunities for scrutiny, let alone genuine approval. So, more modest, or perhaps I should say more desperate or even more anxious to give the Government an opportunity to get off this hook of complete negation, we tabled Amendments which called for reports, not of what was to be done but of what had been done by Brussels. We called initially for a three-monthly report, though still later we asked for an annual report on the application of treaties. This seemed to us the very least that a serious Parliament could expect. After all, other member-nations of the Community make provision for this.
But no. Even this was brushed aside. Perhaps I am being unfair when I use the phrase "brushed aside"; it was in fact met by a torrent of argument. It was here that the noble and learned Lord introduced his "mountain of paper" doctrine. These reports would mean a useless mountain of paper, he said. Looking back, one can only say with Shakespeare, "Methinks he protesteth too much". The noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack declared at one stage that he, too, cared strongly for the processes of Parliament. That I accept. Over a period of many decades I have listened, with respect and a little awe, to the noble and learned Lord's 1254 contributions to our Parliamentary life. I still recall—it was exactly a quarter of a century ago—his impassioned speech on the Garry Alligan affair. I recall it without having to look it up. I value his unswerving stand for integrity and incorruptibility in our public life. But the purest and least corrupt Parliament is of little account if it has no power, and this Bill, which the noble and learned Lord has so vehemently defended over a whole stretch of our affairs, lessens the power of the British Parliament.
The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said that we were showing a certain arrogance about our proposals for improved Parliamentary control. Even if he could justify that criticism of some of our Amendments, may I ask him to say whether he could really adduce that as an explanation for rejecting the drafting Amendment tabled by my noble and learned friend Lord Stow Hill with which we started the Committee proceedings'? That was a test case, as the noble Lord, Lord Foot, agreed with us at the outset, but the noble Earl did not accept it. The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, said that we should have been influenced by the explanation that was offered to us. I thought I had heard that phrase before. I thought about it and I recalled that it was the phrase uttered by the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, because he, too, said that we should have accepted the explanation, and he said it with such convincing confidence that I turned up the speech in question and I found that it had never been given because I had withdrawn the Amendment.
Then there was the Amendment moved by the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, concerning a clear omission of one word which he sought to insert. On any other Bill that Amendment would have been accepted on the nod. I do not blame the noble Earl the Leader of the House and I accept that he did not break the undertaking which he gave at the beginning, because, as the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, pointed out, the carefully re-phrased undertaking was valueless. I am glad that it was a meaningless formula because I should have hated to think that there was the slightest suspicion that the noble Earl had broken, or even appeared to have broken, an undertaking which he had given. No one could be 1255 more courteous or try harder to meet our wishes within the limits set by Her Majesty's Government than the noble Earl the Leader of the House. I go further and say that on my count he and his noble and charming colleague Lady Tweedsmuir are the only two of all of us, on both sides of the House, who at one time or another did not lose their tempers.
My Lords, there is another significant indication of the Government's attitude to this House and to our procedure. Our Standing Orders, under the heading, "Consent of the Crown", lay down that:In the case of a Bill affecting the prerogative of the Crown, the Consent should ordinarily be signified before the motion for Second Reading.My Lords, nothing has been said about the Royal Prerogative—nothing has been said at all. What excuse is going to be offered on that account? Why is it that we are not asked to seek the Queen's consent? The Companion goes on to say thatWhen a Bill (except one mentioned in the Queen's Speech)"—and I do not need to say that no mention in the Queen's Speech referred to this Bill—… it would be appropriate to inform Parliament before introduction of the Bill that the Consent of the Crown has been given.That refers to one which is directed wholly to the Queen's prerogative. I do not claim that this Bill is directed wholly to the Queen's prerogative; nevertheless there can have been few Bills that have gone to the core of the prerogative of the Queen in Parliament more than this Bill. Yet not only was consent not asked for before the introduction of the Bill, but here we are on Third Reading and still no mention has been made of it.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, for giving way. Would he agree that what is so serious and to some of us embarrassing about this is that the question of the Royal prerogative would seem to relate to treaties, and in this Bill which we are now engaged on pushing through with an abundant assembly of persons whom we are happy to see with us, we are concerned with a pledge to accept in the future treaties as 1256 yet unwritten? It is at this point that Her Majesty's Royal prerogative may be called in question. It might well have been referred to earlier in our proceedings.
§ LORD BESWICK
Yes, I agree with what the noble Earl has said. The noble Earl, I would say to the House, has studied the Bill and its implications with greater care and greater thoroughness than 99 per cent, of the rest of your Lordships' House. It is of some significance that whereas he voted one way on Second Reading, the noble Earl subsequently has supported the proposals we have brought forward.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
No, I voted against Second Reading, but I voted for the very loosely worded Motion we were presented with last October.
THE EARL OF DUDLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, whether he really feels that there is any danger to the Royal Prerogative in this Bill when, as he may be aware, the Treaty of Rome was signed by the Queen of The Netherlands?
§ LORD BESWICK
I am not sure what the implication of all that is. We have been confronted by Ministers who have said that they intend to carry, out traditional Parliamentary procedures with respect to all instruments emanating from Brussels. We have here seen one indication of the incompetent way in which they carry out such a simple undertaking as seeking the Royal prerogative for a Bill of this kind.
I suggest that this Government have been unwise in adopting this posture of intransigence. It is a posture which has not paid off in the case of the Industrial Relations Act. And as my noble friend Lord Wigg has shown, we are here dealing with an even more inflammable situation. On this Bill, more than any other issue within our history, save the declaration of war, it was essential to avoid confrontation between the Government and the people. There are many reasons for this but I want to deal with one, and I put this especially to my pro-Market friends. It has been said, in not 1257 too friendly a way, that those who oppose entry are ancient Britons—a kindly, comradely way of saying that we are out of date. But the fact of the matter is that it is those who use the "ancient Briton" gibe who are behind the times. Modern thought no longer supports the thesis that what is bigger is necessarily better. There is growing evidence to support this in the industrial mergers, and even more evidence in the case of certain inflated social organisations. And the biggest nations in the world are scarcely the most happy. You point to me the biggest and most powerful nations in the world and I will point to you the sickest and least stable nations of the world.
Modern thinking also shows that much of the petty law-breaking, tax evasion and the like arises from the feeling that the delinquents are kicking against high authority far removed—or that they had no part or say in the making of the regulations or laws. All that feeling will be aggravated when the centre of decision-making is shifted to Brussels.
We tried, as I have said, to help by safeguarding, in even a modest way, the position of the United Kingdom Parliament. We were voted down. It is now said that all these matters could have been settled by a Select Committee and the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, has charged the official Opposition with culpable negligence in not accepting the invitation to review these matters at the outset. But is the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, seriously suggesting, as a Parliamentarian, that an official Opposition which seriously thought it could stop the Bill, and very nearly did, was guilty of negligence in not assuming that the Bill had already passed? My Lords, in any case, when the Bill came here we were sitting as a Committee of the Whole House. We would have been ready to listen to alternative words or formulas. The experience of my noble friend Lord Shackleton to which the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, paid tribute, was available to us here. He was trying here with us to get these Amendments. We were prepared to use the undoubted experience that there is in your Lordships' House. That is, of course, one of its best features. But the Government used or exploited the worst feature of this place —the Conservative inherent majority.
1258 My Lords, the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, on one Amendment taunted us with having 200 Members and said that we did not muster them all at the Vote. If all the aged and infirm on our side are mustered, we do not count a hundred, or just about a hundred. If only a half or a third of the Party opposite responded to their well-organised whipping, they had 140 or 150 in their Lobby.
My Lords, I had hoped that one day we could have carried further those 700 years of Parliamentary development and reformed this House. I have been disappointed so far over that. But I went into politics 40 years ago because I believed that political reform and democratic political power would lead to economic reform and economic democracy. This Bill removes our economic destiny from the control of this Parliamentary institution. I cannot support a Bill which provides for the transfer of economic power on this scale and in this manner. My noble friends have explained that for constitutional reasons we have not voted against the Bill on Second or Third Reading. If all my noble friends on the Front Bench take that view on this, then I shall sit with them, but the position of my Party is that we are opposed to what is contained in this Bill. But I hope that there will be Peers of all Parties who will say that if it had to be done it ought not to have been done in this way. It will do something to restore the good name of this House if we have a substantial number voting for this Amendment.
§ 10.1 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I have an uncomfortable feeling that the large number of your Lordships who have gathered in the Chamber at this moment have come here to record your votes upon the subject in hand rather than to hear a speech of any substance from the Lord Chancellor, and I will try, therefore, to be as short as the circumstances permit.
The noble Lord, Lord Beswick, began his speech, to which we have all just listened with enjoyment, with the tremendous words that this was the last occasion, if this Bill passes, upon which we should be enjoying the benefits of, I think he said, a free, independent and 1259 democratic Legislature, and that we were engaged on a process which would reverse the tradition of 700 years. But I must say that if there were an atom of truth in that, or if anybody seriously believed that, it would be difficult to think up a more anti-climactic way of celebrating the event that the particular Amendment upon which we shall be going into the Lobbies. I do not know how you amend a Bill to abolish free Parliaments. I doubt if such Bills are capable of amendment; I have explained that in Committee. But if I thought in Opposition that the Government of the day were in truth and in fact doing anything which could justify these terrifying words, I think I could think up something a little more dramatic than the rather half-hearted complaint that we were using our in-built majority to pass such a Bill through without the reasonable Amendments proposed by the Opposition.
My Lords, I have said what I want to say about our accession to the European Communities, and the House has had to put up with me on a number of occasions; so I will not repeat myself. I will simply say what I wish to say and what I ought to say about the Amendment—or, rather, what is left of the Amendment, after the speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, my noble friend Lord Reay, and, not least, the courageous but, I thought, absolutely devastating, arguments presented to the House by the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry. It is to that that I wish to address my arguments, because when the House goes into the Division Lobbies, as I assume it will do, it is upon the Amendment and not upon the Bill that it will be voting.
Before I deal with the Amendment, there are two matters to which I think I ought to refer, because I understand that they were both referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Beswick. I missed one point but I did not miss the other. In the first place, this Bill was clearly adumbrated in the Queen's Speech, because the Queen's Speech said that the Governmenthope, following the successful conclusion of negotiations, shortly to sign an Instrument of Accession to the European Communities after which legislation will be laid before you."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2/11/71, col. 1.]My Lords, this is that legislation.
1260 Secondly, with regard to the Queen's consent, since I had notice that this point would be raised I have naturally looked into the matter. The Companion clearly says that it is in order at any time before Third Reading, and it will be done before Third Reading. But I should not like the House to think, as from certain unguarded words of the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, it otherwise might, that the Queen's consent had been sought at the last moment. The Queen's consent was obtained prior to Second Reading in another place, and it was announced by Mr. Geoffrey Rippon at the outset of his Second Reading speech. The question is not when it was sought or when it was obtained, but when it is signified. That is a matter of argument and opinion, but looking at Erskine May I notice that it is a matter of convenience, to a great extent at least, and in ordinary cases communication is deferred to the later stage in order that account may be taken of any Amendment to the Bill before the Queen's Consent in respect of the whole Bill is given. These are matters of nicety, but personally I do not feel that the Government have been guilty, if of anything, of more than a peccadillo, and certainly they are in order in doing what they have done. Personally, I feel that on this considerable occasion we can more conveniently address our attention to the merits of the occasion.
Looking back at the Amendment, as my noble friend Lord Reay pointed out, what is really being censured by the Amendment is not so much the Government as the House. It is the House which has supported the Government in resisting the Amendments which were proposed from time to time. This is no mere pedantry, as my noble friend Lord Reay pointed out. I deplore—indeed, in a sense I resent—the reference to the "in-built majority". At least one noble friend of mine has written to me in terms suggesting that he regarded it as a personal insult. I would not go so far as that, but it does perpetuate a myth, something which I think is not ever true. Because, as my noble friend the Leader of the House pointed out in opening, at the very period of time when the Bill was passing through the House the Government were being beaten on the Local Government Bill. But certainly whatever may be said of other occasions, on this occasion at 1261 least the House has again and again shown, as has been established again and again, that its overwhelming and conscientious opinion, irrespective of Party, has been in favour of the Bill as a whole. If noble Lords in the Labour Party seriously think that on a Bill of this magnitude we could have dragooned Parliament into voting against their consciences, I can only say that they delude themselves.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, described the expression about self-deception which I used in the Committee stage as one which he resented. I must say that if you resent a charge of self-deception after a lifetime in public life, you are carrying sensitivity to the point of neurosis. Seriously, to think that these people who voted at all hours of the day and night against the Opposition's Amendments in this Bill were doing it because they had been threatened by my noble friend Lord Denham is to carry neurosis to the point of absurdity. I therefore resist the theory of the built-in majority as being really too ridiculous to take seriously, although it is built-in to the Amendment which the House is seriously being asked to pass.
But quite apart from the factual misrepresentation contained in this reference to the alleged built-in majority, there is also in the Amendment, as my noble friend has pointed out, a direct mis-statement of fact in reference to the Government's insistence that the Bill should go through unamended. As he said, there has never been such an insistence. I admit that I was rather hawkish about accepting Amendments to this Bill. I started with a bias against them. I think I might explain a little why I did, because if we are going to talk about insults to democracy, about reversing the Parliamentary process and so on, let us just look at the political realities of this case.
There have been two free Votes in Parliament about our acceptance and they were the only two free Votes that I know of. In the House of Commons, as my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford reminded us, the accession was endorsed by a majority of over 100 (my noble friend said 112, and I take the figure from him), and in this House there was a majority of something like eight to one. Of course we unhappy members of the 1262 Government are not permitted to know what goes on inside Committee Room 14. The lobby, which has its ear, if not close to the ground, fairly close to the keyhole, reported terrifying squeals of pain, eye gougings and arm twistings, at the end of which the Labour Party emerged from its secret conclave in such a condition that it fought what the House of Commons had passed by a comfortable majority, on a free Vote, with the utmost bitterness— with the exception of a few gallant stalwarts who stuck to their principles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays but, in order not to lose their seats, voted with; the majority on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is to this body, with the Labour Party in that state, that we were invited to send back an amended Bill with noble Lords' improvements.
Despite the apparent serenity on the countenances of the excellent Members of the Front Bench here we have seen enough to know that behind the mask of unanimity there are considerable differences of degree, verging from the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, who seems to be an out-and-out opponent of accession, to the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, who is an out-and-out supporter of it. One reason, at least, why I started by being a little sales resistant to improvements coming from the lucrubations of this united body, was that I thought they might be motivated more by a desire to unite their Party, than by a genuine hope that their suggestions would improve the Bill; and for reasons which I shall indicate, I think my prognostications turned out to be exactly right.
Since I saw this Amendment down on the Order Paper, I have examined that tender organ, my Ministerial conscience, rather carefully to see whether any of the Amendments which had been proposed were Amendments whose beauties and charms I had inadvertently passed ever in the Committee and Report stages. The results of my researches are as follows. There were 79 Amendments proposed in Committee and 18 on Report, making 97 in all. I asked myself, in relation to each group of them, whether perhaps in one or other groups there were one or two the merits of which I had inadvertently passed over, and I will in the few minutes remaining to me ask the House to consider a little the 97 Amendments, to see whether I am right 1263 or wrong in my supposition that they were not genuine improvements to the Bill.
I pass over the 19 probing Amendments, most of which were put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill. These are perfectly legitimate Parliamentary devices designed to clarify the meaning of a Government and Government intentions, and we all admired the way in which he cross-examined me and my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross about the legal aspects of the Bill. But probing Amendments, my Lords, are not designed to pass into law. Therefore, nobody really can put down this Motion complaining that we did not accept any of the 19 Amendments. In fact, they yielded no Divisions.
Then there were 23 drafting Amendments. I admire zeal in drafting; I like perfection of language; and perfectionism is not a bad quality in Parliamentary draftsmen. I am bound to say, however, that there comes a point when perfectionism approaches to political masochism, and if we are to inflict the perfectionists' efforts on another place, even to political sadism. I am not altogether a supporter of Lord Longford, but I am not flagellant. As a matter of fact, we employed one of the most experienced Parliamentary draftsmen—one of the most skilled in the business: probably the same man who would have been employed by the Labour Government if, as is likely, they had negotiated almost exactly the same terms. I explained the drafting policy to the House on Second Reading in a speech which, I fear rightly, was called a dull speech. Nobody challenged that drafting policy. I explained the enabling provisions of Part I and the legislative changes in Part II. I explained why, in our view, they did what was wanted and not more than what was wanted, and nobody took me up. What they did do was to try to improve the Parliamentary draftsman's language. I admit that Parliamentary draftsmen, like Homer, are sometimes guilty of a nod, but I doubt whether this was, after all, an occasion for catching Homer nodding unless a serious error was found.
The only tremor of doubt that I had during the whole course of the proceedings was when my noble friend Lord Lauderdale proposed the insertion of the 1264 word "that"—an insertion which provoked the noble Lord, Lord Foot, into an ecstasy of Parliamentary indignation on his behalf. But my fears and anxieties on behalf of the draftsman were dissipated by my noble friend Lord Drumalbyn, who quoted successfully from Fowler's Modern English Usage to the effect that the sentences "I know he is my friend" and "I know that he is my friend" meant the same thing and are equally acceptable.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
My Lords, perhaps my noble and learned friend will allow me to intervene. I was seeking an opportunity to do so on the matter of flagellation, but he has given me this opportunity, for which I am much obliged to him. He will not of course blame me if I ask him now the question that I asked in Committee: What is the precedent, in a major constitutional Bill, for omitting the word "that" in the proper situation? Let me save the time of the House and my noble friend's embarrassment by putting another question at the same time, since he has been good enough to give way. He has referred to flagellation. Is it not the case that he has just been building his argument on the existence of a free vote at certain times here and in another place? My Lords, if my noble and learned friend builds the argument on a free vote, does that not ipso facto create another argument for a non-free vote, and is it not the fact that there has been a non-free vote subject to flagellation? I will not say how many stripes have been struck each time because this is a matter of private experience; but is it not the case that his very argument on a free vote warranting all this contradicts the experience that we have all been going through and have protested against, which is the degree of flagellation imposed on our Committee stage?
THE LORD CHANCELLGOR
My Lords, as regards the first, my submission to the House is that it was right to accept as a precedent the authority of Fowler's Modern English Usage. As regards the second question, I am afraid that I have already passed that point but I have pointed out to my noble friend that, although the Whips undoubtedly summon people to attend in this House, we are a House of individual councillors and, as 1265 I have said before and now repeat, if my noble friend shares the view which noble Lords opposite apparently possess, that my noble friend Lord Denham can force hundreds of Peers of any Party, and Cross-Benchers, to vote on a matter of this importance contrary to their conscience when they have already expressed in much larger numbers their views on a free vote, I am afraid he deserves to enter the chamber of fantasy in which apparently the Opposition are already entertaining one another.
I pass from the intrusive "that" and from my noble friend's interest in flagellation to the other Amendments which were proposed. Of the 97, 16 I counted as wrecking Amendments. I am not saying that they were all intended as wercking Amendments; I am saying that they were Amendments which in my considered judgment and in that of my colleagues would have had the effect of legally or politically rendering the whole operation ineffective—and not least among those wrecking Amendments from the political point of view, since my noble friend did interrupt, was his own five-year clause.
My Lords, I do not want to enter into those debates again. I do not know whether all of them were intended to wreck the Bill. I think perhaps that it is not insignificant that most of them were most strongly supported by people who were against the Bill ab initio. For the purposes of this debate on this Amendment, it is surely sufficient to say that we genuinely, even if mistakenly, saw them as wrecking Amendments. That was why we rejected them and I have no doubt that that is why my noble friends on the Cross-Benches and on the Liberal Benches rejected them, too. They yielded only 11 Divisions—nine in Committee and two on Report.
Then there were the group of 11 Amendments designed rather as manifestos than as a means of changing the law. Some of them were harmless enough. With regard to those relating to sugar and fisheries some of them were a somewhat ill-considered attempt to challenge the terms of entry. As such, they were hopelessly inappropriate to a Bill which was designed to enable the Government to ratify a Treaty and as they reflected a substantial difference of principle between us, the Opposition can 1266 hardly complain about them in this context.
This leads me to the only group I can find in all the 97—and that is another group about which we have explored time and time again—where there is a genuine difference of opinion between the two sides of the House. There were 15 Amendments in this group dealing with restraint on subordinate legislation, 13 dealing with publication of reports of Parliament and the alteration of Parliamentary procedure. I was glad when the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, accepted, as he did and as his Leader accepted, that those of us who support the Government in this House, including myself, are every bit as keen in involving Parliament in the process of scrutiny and control, both of the Executive and of policy, as anybody on the opposite side of the House. But the way to get that was pointed out by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Diplock, at the Second Reading debate and by the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, on the Second Reading and on subsequent occasions; and the only response that we got from the Opposition was that they marched in the opposite direction as deliberately and as quickly as they could.
I do not wish on a great occasion to appear frivolous, but I could not help being reminded of an occasion in my early youth when I dined one evening after my schools with a learned gentleman who afterwards became Regius Professor of Greek in a great university. He could not understand, when we parted at 12 o'clock—so he told me the following morning—I to my sober couch and he, as he thought, to his, why the lights of Oxford were getting farther and farther away. The reason was that he was walking straight up Boar's Hill instead of going to his lodgings. If he had not, in fact, been rescued by a kindly motorist, whose name must, I think, have been "Shackleton", he would certainly not have become the Professor of Greek in a great university.
But the fact is that we have already explained throughout this sequence of Amendments—and they were the only sequence of Amendments with which I have not dealt—that if you want Parliamentary control, which I accept that the Opposition want as much as we do, there are two things clearly to be borne in mind, neither of which would have been 1267 achieved by the insertion into the Statute of the Amendments which were proposed. The first is that you must involve Parliament at the time when policy is formulated, and that means engendering Parliamentary mechanism capable of receiving not merely the publications—although they will be important—of the Community's institutions but the fluid suggestions at the time they are promulgated. This can only be done either by the process of interrogation of Ministers or by a new mechanism which it is high time that we started discussing.
Secondly, what the opponents must realise, and what they failed to realise during the whole course of these proceedings (it was most apparent, I thought, when my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross was going over the ground of the penalty clauses again on Report) is that suppose a Minister wants to make a set of regulations about, let us say, food and drugs or trade descriptions, he will not make two separate sets of regulations each carrying different penalties; he will be exercising a combined power, partly to keep his regulations in line with the European policy and partly to carry out the policy of the Government internal to this country. And they will not be two separate operations; they will be one set of operations. What noble Lords really must hoist in sooner or later is that when we have become part of the Community there will not be two separate kinds of policy or a separate Department of policy; there will be a thread of policy passing through every Department and influencing almost every economic decision which is made. It was for this reason that I pressed upon the noble Lords the desirability of not walking up Boar's Hill but coming down into Oxford to meet us, and even to meet us halfway.
My Lords, I cannot pass from this legislation without saying that I hope —and now, having heard the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, I more than hope, I believe—that the pro-Marketeers in the Labour Party will manage to persuade their colleagues to take a responsible line after this legislation has passed into law and after membership of the Community becomes a fact. For unless I am mistaken in the noble 1268 Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, among the opponents, he has, in the most unequivocal terms, declared his intention of trying to make this legislation and our membership work. I think that was the interpretation put upon it from the Liberal Benches, and if I am right, and if he will allow me to say so, I regard that as a most statesmanlike attitude to adopt.
Nothing could be worse for this country than to pass into the Community half-heartedly, churlishly or suspiciously. We have much to offer Europe; we have much to gain by European unity; and now that this controversy is, I hope, drawing to its close, I beg this House and Parliament and the country to unite behind what is now in the best interests of the country; to make the policy, to which on the Royal Assent we shall become irrevocably committed, the success which I hope—and I feel sure, whatever our opinions, we all hope—we wish it to be.
§ 10.35 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I had not intended to exercise my right of reply, but there was one moment when the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor was speaking when he said he did not wish to become frivolous. I had made a number of notes—indeed, I started having a competition on my Front Bench as to how to describe his remarks, and the words "Musichall", "Drawing room comedy" and finally "Punch and Judy show" appeared in my note. And then, suddenly, for no reason, "flagellation" came in. Here I agree with the noble and learned Lord that it is unlikely that the noble Lord, Lord Denham, whom we on this side like, would have been able to whip as hard as the pressures which have been brought required—and we know about them—to ensure support from the built-in majority which we recognise, even if noble Lords opposite do not. It will be seen to-night that it does exist, and it is damaging your Lordships' House.
I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for his serious remarks at the end. He said at one point that we had failed to catch Homer nodding. We certainly caught him to a degree over the Queen's consent, an omission which only matches the astonishing incompetence of the Government over the whole of the legislative 1269 programme. But the last thing that we should wish to do would be to make anything out of a technical misfortune, bearing in mind that this nearly happened to me on one or two occasions but on less important legislation.
There is no point in making something out of the fact that the Labour Party are not unified on this issue. There are deep feelings on this matter, and we respect one another's feelings. The Amendment, if I may return your Lordships' attention to it, is to express regret that Amendments, which I think the majority of your Lordships would have regarded as desirable, were not made. Amendments on the Report stage were supported in no fewer than four Divisions by the
§ Liberals—and we can count in the arithmetic of the Cross Benches if noble Lords wish. I still think that had those Amendments been accepted it would have given us a better send off into Europe, and would have provided us with a more unified approach as a country. But that is not to be. For one reason or another we do not vote officially against a Third Reading, but I certainly believe it is right to put on record our distaste at the Government's method of handling this Bill.
§ 10.29 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 54; Not-Contents, 154.1271
|Addison, V.||Gaitskell, B.||Pargiter, L.|
|Ardwick, L.||Gardiner, L.||Phillips, B.|
|Arwyn, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Bacon, B.||Granville of Eye, L.||Rhodes, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Rusholme, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Hale, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Henderson, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Bowden, L.||Hoy, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Kennet, L.||Shinwell, L.|
|Campbell of Eskan, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Stocks, B.|
|Caradon, L.||Leatherland, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Champion, L.||Lee of Asheridge, B.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Collison, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. [Teller.]||Strange, L.|
|Cromartie, E.||Summerskill, B.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Maelor, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|de Clifford, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Diamond, L.||Monson, L.||Wigg, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.||Wynne-Jones, L,|
|Evans of Hungershall, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Chelmer, L.||Elworthy, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Chesham, L.||Emmet of Amberley, B.|
|Albemarle, E.||Cholmondeley, M.||Ferrers, E.|
|Amory, V.||Colville of Culross, V.||Ferrier, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Colwyn, L.||Gainford, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Cork and Orrery, L.||Garner, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Cottesloe, E.||Gisborough, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Courtown, E.||Gladwyn, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Craigavon, V.||Gore-Booth, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Craigmyle, L.||Goschen, V.|
|Belstead, L.||Craigton, L.||Gowrie, E.|
|Berkeley, B.||Cranbrook, E.||Gridley, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Crathorne, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.|
|Blake, L.||Croft, L.||Grimthorpe, L.|
|Boothby, L.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Hailes, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||De La Warr, E.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)|
|Bradford, E.||De L'Isle, V.|
|Brecon, L.||Denham, L.[Teller.]||Hankey, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Drumalbyn, L.||Harvey of Prestbury, L.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Dudley, E.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, B.||Eccles, V.||Headfort, M.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Effingham, E.||Helsby, L.|
|Butler of Saffron Walden, L.||Elgin and Kincardine, E.||Hives, L.|
|Byers, L.||Ellenborough, L.||Hood, V.|
|Caccia, L.||Elles, B.||Hunt, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Elliot of Harwood, B.||Hylton, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Napier and Ettrick, L.||Selsdon, L.|
|Inchyra, L.||Nathan, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Netherthorpe, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Kemsley, V.||Northchurch, B.||Simon, V.|
|Killearn, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Kilmarnock, L.||Oakshott, L.||Strange of Knokin, B.|
|Kindersley, L.||Onslow, E.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Kinloss, Ly.||Orr-Ewing, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Latymer, L.||Pender, L.||Swaythling, L.|
|Leicester, E.||Platt, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Limerick, E.||Rankeillour, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Lonsdale, E.||Reading, M.||Thurlow, L.|
|Lothian, M.||Reay, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Loudoun, C.||Redcilffe-Maud, L.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Lyell, L.||Redesdale, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Lytton, E.||Redmayne, L.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B.|
|McFadzean, L.||Reigate, L.||Vernon, L.|
|Macleod of Borve; B.||Robbins, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Mancroft, L.||Rowallan, L.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|May, L.||Runciman of Doxford, V.||Watkinson, V.|
|Milverton, L.||St. Helens, L.||Westminster, D.|
|Monk Bretton, L.||St. Just, L.||Willingdon, M.|
|Montagu of Beaulieu, L.||Saint Oswald, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Sandford, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Savile, L.||Young, B.|
|Moyne, L.||Selkirk, E.||Zuckerman, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 10.42 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the European Communities Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
§ clear, as it was not clear from what he said earlier, whether he is informing the House of the Royal Prerogative at this stage by design or inadvertence?
§ 10.43 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the Bill shall be now read 3a?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 161; Not-Contents, 21.1273
|Aberdare, L.||Caccia, L.||Drumalbyn, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Carrington, L.||Dudley, E.|
|Amory, V.||Chelmer, L.||Eccles, V.|
|Ardwick, L.||Chesham, L.||Effingham, E.|
|Auckland, L.||Cholmondeley, M.||Elgin and Kincardine, E.|
|Balerno, L.||Cobbold, L.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Collison, L.||Elles, B.|
|Barnby, L.||Colville of Culross, V.||Elliot of Harwood, B.|
|Bathurst, E.||Colwyn, L.||Elworthy, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Cork and Orrery, E.||Emmet of Amberlev, B.|
|Berkeley, B.||Cottesloe, L.||Ferrers, E.|
|Bessborough, E.||Courtown, E.||Ferrier, L.|
|Blake, L.||Craigavon, V.||Gainford, L.|
|Boothby, L.||Craigmyle, L.||Garner, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Craigton, L.||Gisborough, L|
|Bradford, E.||Cranbrook, E.||Gladwyn, L.|
|Brecon, L.||Crathorne, L.||Gore-Booth, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Croft, L.||Goschen, V.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Cromartie, E.||Gowrie, E.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, B.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Gridley. L.|
|Brougham of Vaux, L.||De La Warr, E.||Grimston of Westbury, L.|
|Burton of Coventry, B.||De L'Isle, V.||Grimthorpe, L.|
|Butler of Saffron Walden, L.||Denham, L.[Teller.]||Hailes, L.|
|Byers, L.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L Chancellor.)|
|Hankey, L.||Milverton, L.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Monk Bretton, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.||Savile, L.|
|Headfort, M.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.[Teller.]||Selkirk, E.|
|Helsby, L.||Selsdon, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Moyne, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Hives, L.||Nathan, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Hood, V.||Netherthorpe, L.||Simon, V.|
|Hunt, L.||Northchurch, B.||Stamp, L.|
|Hylton, L.||Nugent of Guildford, I||Stow Hill, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Oakshott, L.||Strange of Knokin, B.|
|Inchyra, L.||Onslow, E.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Jellicoe, E.(L. Privy Seal.)||Orr-Ewing, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Kemsley, V.||Pender, L.||Swaythling, L.|
|Killearn, L.||Platt, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Kilmarnock, L.||Rankeillour, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Kindersley, L.||Reading, M.||Thurlow, L.|
|Kinloss, Ly.||Reay, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Latymer, L.||Redcliffe-Maud, L.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Leicester, E.||Redesdale, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Limerick, E.||Redmayne, L.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B.|
|Lonsdale, E.||Reigate, L.||Vernon, L.|
|Lothian, M.||Rhodes, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Lyell, L.||Robbins, L.||Ward of Whitley, V.|
|Lytton, E.||Rowallan, L.||Watkinson, V.|
|McFadzean, L.||Runciman of Doxford, V.||Westminster, D.|
|Macleod of Borve, B.||Sainsbury, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Mancroft, L.||St. Davids, V.||Wynford, L.|
|May, L.||St. Helens, L.||Young, B.|
|Melchett, L.||St. Just, L.||Zuckerman, L.|
|Addison, V.||Lauderdale, E.||Strange, L.|
|Arwyn, L.||Lee of Asheridge, B.||Taylor of Mansfield, L. [Teller.]|
|Balogh, L.||Maelor, L.|
|Blyton, L.[Teller.]||Monson, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.||Wigg, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Shinwell, L.||Woolley, L.|
|Granville of Eye, L.||Stocks, B.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Bill read 3a accordingly.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Earl Jellicoe.)
§ On Question, Bill passed.