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10. Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy for the future of Famagusta. [6847]

Mr. David Davis: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the remarks that I made closing the debate on Famagusta in the House on 29 November. He will remember that, at that time, I spoke at some length.

Mr. O'Hara: I thank the Minister for that answer. Will he please take the opportunity to reaffirm that Her Majesty's Government will not allow the negotiations for Cyprus's accession to full European Community membership to depend on a prior solution to the Cyprus problem and, furthermore, that he will not countenance any solution to the problem that is not based on one nation state's undivided sovereignty in the island of Cyprus?

Mr. Davis: What I shall say to the hon. Gentleman is that we will allow no one outside the European Union to veto that process by their actions, but Union accession is designed to help with the solution to the division of Cyprus--the Cyprus problem--rather than to hinder it.

Mr. John Marshall: Does my hon. Friend accept that great concern exists among hon. Members on both sides of the House about Cyprus's continued division? Is not it a gross denial of human rights that ordinary Cypriots can stand outside Famagusta and see their family homes, which have been in their family for many generations but in which they have not been allowed to live for more than 21 years?

Mr. Davis: I hear and understand all too well what my hon. Friend says. The British Government have played, and continue to play, an active role in endeavouring to find a solution to that grievous problem. Famagusta is only too sad a symbol of that problem.

Mr. John D. Taylor: On the assumption that the question refers not to the city of Famagusta but to the empty properties in its suburbs, can the Minister confirm that Her Majesty's Government will bring every pressure to bear upon the Greek Cypriot Administration to accept and bring into operation the recommendations of the United Nations for confidence-building measures to allow people back into the empty suburbs, such measures having already been accepted by the Turkish Cypriots?

Mr. Davis: I do not intend to pick and choose between sides in this issue. Her Majesty's Government will continue, as we have already, to bring every pressure to bear to bring about the development of the confidence-building measures in Varosha or new Famagusta, as the right hon. Gentleman wishes to call it.

National Parliaments

11. Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about greater participation by national Parliaments in the affairs of (a) the European Community and (b) the European Union respectively; and what response he has given. [6848]

Mr. David Davis: We have discussed the role of national Parliaments in the European Union directly with

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other member states and within the reflection group. We have made it clear that Her Majesty's Government are in favour of an increased role for national Parliaments in the European Union.

Mr. Spearing: Does the Minister agree that paragraph 14 of the Government's response to the Select Committee on European Legislation about the place of national Parliaments says that

47 articles establishing a European police office and which has been laid on the Table under the Ponsonby rule, has just a reference in the appendix to the votes and proceedings and has now had about 10 days out of the 21 before it is ratified? Would not it be right for the Minister to approach the Leader of the House to suggest that we debate that convention next week? Unless we do so, the Government will be seen to be saying one thing and doing another.

Mr. Davis: I commend the hon. Gentleman on the cleverness and ingenuity of his question. He knows only too well that we fought very hard to ensure that proper notice is given of measures under the European Community and the other pillars. I shall look at the matter and see what can be done to expedite scrutiny. I cannot be drawn beyond that.

Mr. Congdon: Does my hon. Friend agree that passing legislation is a key role of national Parliaments? Does he share my concern at the continued encroachment of the European Court in legislation passed by the House when it has retrospectively overridden the wishes of the House? What do the Government intend to do about that?

Mr. Davis: My hon. Friend has a point in his concern about retrospective overriding by the European Court of matters upon which the House has decided. However, we are signed up to the treaty and we expect the rule of law to apply to other countries in Europe. My hon. Friend may be aware that within the reflection group Britain has asked that we consider the possibility of limiting the retrospectivity of European Court judgments so as to make them more predictable and acceptable to the nation states of Europe.

Mr. Sheerman: If we want national parliamentarians to have more access to and involvement in Europe, would not it be a good idea for the Government to back a move for a centre in Brussels where national parliamentarians could have meetings, make common cause with each other and have simultaneous translations, which would make that accessibility a reality? Will the Minister join in that campaign?

Mr. Tony Banks: I feel another junket coming on.

Mr. Davis: The hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) has it right; there could be another junket coming on. Although we are in favour of greater democracy and despite the fact that an arrangement already exists whereby the House will fund visits to European institutions, I do not see a great deal of benefit from the hon. Gentleman's proposal.

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Mr. Nicholas Winterton: The question refers to

Would it not be more appropriate for the people of this country to be consulted about the European Community and future developments in the European Union? Does my hon. Friend accept that the only way to do that would be to hold a referendum on future political integration within the European Union?

Mr. Davis: The House is elected to represent the people of this country, and few people do it more vocally than my hon. Friend. As my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Thatcher said on one occasion, it is for us to take the hard decisions and then to make them stick.


12. Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures the Government are taking to put pressure on the military Government in Nigeria. [6849]

Mr. Hanley: Further to the answer given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary in the House on 29 November, Official Report, column 1180, and my answer of 11 December, Official Report, columns 691-92, we have co-sponsored a United Nations General Assembly resolution strongly critical of the military regime in Nigeria, which was adopted with a large majority. On 20 December last, my right hon. and learned Friend attended the first meeting of the Commonwealth ministerial action group, which will follow up on Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth.

Ms Squire: Does the Minister agree that the military regime in Nigeria continues to be brutal and ruthless? That was demonstrated only last week with the arrest of the Financial Times correspondent Paul Adams for publishing an article on an Ogoni festival. Does the right hon. Gentleman further agree that unless immediate and specific action is taken by the regime to promote democracy and protect human rights, the British Government should impose further sanctions? If so, will he state clearly what action he wants Nigeria to take, and within what time scale, and say what further sanctions his Government will impose if the brutality continues?

Mr. Hanley: The hon. Lady speaks for many hon. Members. We want progress to be made in Nigeria because the current situation is terrible. The United Kingdom is in the forefront of those taking positive steps against the Nigerian regime. I do not need to go into detail on the full list of European measures that we have helped to introduce. We are also in the forefront, together with our Commonwealth partners, in initiating and supporting Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth. We have noted the calls to sever trade links and to impose an oil embargo. We are certainly considering a wide range of options with our EU and other partners and we have not ruled out anything at this stage.

Paul Adams, the resident Financial Times correspondent in Nigeria, was arrested by the Nigerian state security service in Ogoniland during an Ogoni day rally on 4 January. The consular official has twice visited Mr. Adams in prison. Apparently, he is being well looked after, but he should be released and we are pushing for that to be at an early date. I understand that there has been

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some problem with the necessary journalistic documentation, but that is no reason to keep an innocent man in prison.

Mr. King: I want to reinforce what the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Ms Squire) said about Paul Adams, whose parents are constituents of mine. It appears that he is being held in detention on a very flimsy charge. Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the most immediate pressure will be put on the Nigerian Government to release him?

Mr. Hanley: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for raising the subject with me earlier today. I gave him an assurance then, which I repeat now, that we shall do everything that we can to secure the release of Mr. Adams as soon as possible.

Mr. Tony Lloyd: Despite what the Minister has said, does he accept that the mixed messages that have emanated from the Government in the past have enabled the Nigerian Government to disregard the normal behaviour of a civilised state, as is shown by the arrest of a British journalist? Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, West (Ms Squire): what is the progress that the Nigerians must make, and within what time scale, that would allow us to accept them back into the family of nations? Conversely, at what stage will the Government decide to lead the demand for effective and meaningful sanctions, including trade sanctions, against Nigeria to ensure that it conforms to acceptable international standards?

Mr. Hanley: We are acting in conjunction with the European Union, our Commonwealth partners, the United Nations and others who are all deeply interested in trying to ensure that the measures that we have taken are effective. We will consider absolutely anything further to ensure that progress is made in Nigeria. I cannot give an exact time scale. That is for others to determine. What we are doing as part of the international initiative is effective. We hope that it will be so effective that Nigeria will return to the Commonwealth as a full member. If she does not, she will certainly be thrown out--and within a time scale with which I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree.

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