16.11.1966 Column 530 Mr. A.J.Irvine (Lab): “It will be found that there is strong opposition in this country and, I think, on this side of the House, to federalism, and I share that opposition. There is certainly strong opposition to an excess of federalism, to any loss of identity of this Parliament, to any loss of sovereignty affecting foreign affairs, defence or certain aspects of our industrial and economic planning”.“The most interesting single feature of the Community at present is that, as I understand it, in our dislike of the federal solution we have a supporter in the President of France, and in the outlook of the French Government. The President’s objections to federalism, which I share and which are enormously influential inside the Community, might in some respects neutralise his objection to our special relation with the United States”.
16th November 1966 Page 535. Sir Legge-Bourke (Con): “The only respectable basis upon which anybody could be in favour of Britain’s entering the Common Market is by being at the same time entirely confederalist or federalist for Europe as a whole. A study of the Treaty of Rome shows straight away that inevitable it will involve political changes of a federal kind. How far and how fast and exactly how federal or confederal will be worked out as the years go by, but it is wrong to suppose that the Community can survive without a customs union being followed by a single currency, and it is wrong to suppose that the countries of the organisation can keep alive the vigour with which they started— and all credit to them— without developing politically with all this. To make that supposition is to fail to face what is in the Treaty, or is deliberately to deceive the people.
I believe that the Treaty was conceived in a spirit of high federalism. It was soon apparent to Europe that Britain was not overkeen on that idea, but Britain had to be brought in by the architects of the document. And so the whole thing was trimmed and as the negotiations developed, the emphasis was more and more on economics and less and less on the political side.
I have long believed that the most important economic freedom for nations is the one freedom which was left out of the four Atlantic freedoms—the freedom of choice to do business with whomsoever one will on mutual beneficial terms. In other words, this is the right to discriminate in trade. This right was taken from us particularly by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was signed by the first Labour Government after the war. Again, I do not want to hark back over what happened after that. I deeply regret that when it was returned to power the Conservative Party did not exercise the full rights which it had reserved through the mouth of Oliver Stanley and reassert our rights to alter our preferential tariffs and so on”.
8th May 1967 Column 1088. The Prime Minister Mr Harold Wilson: “I should like to deal before I come to the political issue. One of them, on which certain anxieties have been expressed, is that the constitutional and legal implications for this country if we join the European Community. Here again, our examination of the Treaties and the other law emanating from the European Institutions, but even more of the way in which member states have been applying Community law, taking full account of realities prevailing in the member states, has greatly reassured us about the possible implications for Britain.”
“It is important to realise that Community law is mainly concerned with industrial and commercial activities, with corporate bodies rather than private individuals. By far the greater part of our domestic law would remain unchanged after entry. Nothing in the Treaty would, for example, materially affect the general principles of the law of contract or tort or its Scottish equivalent, land law, the relations of landlord and tenant, housing, town and country planning, matrimonial law, or the law of inheritance. The constitutional rights and liberties of the individual such as habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence will, of course not be affected; not in any material sense will our criminal law. The main affect of Community law on our existing law is in the realms of commerce, Customs, restrictive practices and immigration and the operation of steel, coal and nuclear energy industries.” [Ed: my emphasis!]
8th May 1967 Column 1109. Mr Turton (Con): “The debate is historic, to follow the remarks of my Rt. Hon Friend, Sir Alec Douglas-Hume. It is historic because, if we join the Common Market, under Article 189 of the Treaty of Rome, NO Hon Member will be able to get up in this House and protest and vote against regulations which affect the economic or social welfare of his constituents. For many of us that is the main reason why we take the view which we hold on this issue”.
“Last November, I and many of my Rt, Hon Friends asked for a White Paper on the constitutional issues. We felt that they were what all the country should know about. We have never had it. We have never had a White Paper on the economic issues. We have only had an article, a very fair and, I thought, damning article in The Times of last Monday.”
Column 1114. “I believe that acceptance of the Motion would lead to a betrayal of the Queen in Parliament, would be disloyal to our Commonwealth Members, and would put unendurable burdens on the British people.”
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[Ed: The final Part (Part V) will be published here tomorrow.]