Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the application of protocol 17 of the Maastricht treaty as it applies to freedom of distribution of United Kingdom newspapers.
§ Mr. Garel-Jones
The protocol to which the right hon. Member refers is, of course, not yet in force. On 2 May, European Community Foreign Ministers agreed a legal interpretation and solemn declaration stating that it was not their intention that the protocol should limit the freedom to travel and the right to information about services legally available in other member states, as I told my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall) on 13 May. I understand that the Government of the Irish Republic intend to hold a referendum later this year on an amendment to their constitution to confirm this.