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Mr. Dykes: Are these rhetorical questions?

Mr. Spearing: The hon. Gentleman thinks that I am asking too many questions. I hope that the development of the argument disturbs him somewhat, but it gives me no cause for disturbance.

Did the Chancellor not ask anyone what our partners' intentions were? Did he not know about the solemn declaration of the European Union that was signed by Mrs. Thatcher in 1983? That was an intention of union, which must mean political union; it did not mean a football union or anything else.

Has the Chancellor forgotten the communique from the previous Dublin conference, on 25 and 26 June 1990? Paragraph 1 of that communique states that the European Council

In case they have forgotten, I remind the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) and others that when Baroness Thatcher, as Prime Minister, went to Madrid and agreed the famous Delors three-part proposals for economic and monetary union, two Select Committees of

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the House said that we should have a debate. The right hon. Member for Worthing was then Chairman of the Treasury and Civil Service Committee and I was Chairman of the EEC Legislation Committee, now chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood). Both Committees were unanimous in asking for a debate.

Did we get a debate? No, we did not. Baroness Thatcher went off and, in effect, gave her consent to an intergovernmental conference on monetary union to be held. She had no choice, in the circumstances. The same thing happened when she went to Dublin in 1990: she could not say no.

We now have the meshing together of political and monetary union, one impinging on the other. If that is not a super-state, I do not know what is. Whatever view hon. Members take of the advantages--or what they believe to be the advantages--or the disadvantages of the European single market, the union, or whatever one prefers to call it, it is a coming state.

Earlier, I disagreed with the Foreign Secretary about his use of the word "federal" which, as the hon. Member for Harrow, East knows, for the past 10 or 15 years I have repeatedly said is inconsistent and wrong. The European Union is the prototype of a unitary state. All the institutions of government are in place, ready to expand at the expense of national Parliaments.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West) indicated assent.

Mr. Spearing: I am glad to see that my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) agrees.

Every Member of the House should have an elementary knowledge of constitutional structures. There is a great difference between a unitary state and a federal state. The treaties of the European Union and its predecessor, the common market, are unique in that they have tried to impose an over-arching unitary state on independent and otherwise sovereign states.

That difference undergirds the misunderstandings that arise between the German use of the word "federal"--which guarantees a degree of distribution of power among the Lander, which are historic communities, building up to the Zollverein and their specific form of federation--and the use by Conservative Members and some Opposition Members of the word "federal" when they mean, "We fear a unitary state." That is fundamental to the mess that the Government have got themselves into, as have the European Movement and others.

Unemployment affects all members of the European citizenry, if I may so call it: we have been forced to be citizens of the treaty state because that is what it is, whether we like it or not, without consent--from democratic motion, so-called.

The shadow Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), mentioned unemployment and said that words should be added to the treaty. He is right. One cannot create--except in bureaucracy to run conferences about unemployment--one extra job simply by writing it into the treaty. The treaty bears down hard and says that nothing can be done unless it is in the treaty; anything else is undemocratic. No political party can advocate anything that is not within the terms of the treaty, whether one likes those terms or not, whether it is capitalist or collectivist.

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Any form of partnership between private and public enterprise--any subsidy, any matter of finance, any specification--must be within the terms of the treaty. That is undemocratic in itself, but the aspect that affects unemployment is that there is forced competition. Forced competition in a time of great advance and change means unemployment. That is what the treaty means, and we can do little about it, even by changing the terms of the treaty that is at fault.

7.25 pm

Sir Rhodes Boyson (Brent, North): On 21 May 1992, I spoke on Second Reading of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill. I voted for Second Reading and against Third Reading. At that time I was worried about the agricultural policy, the single currency and all regulations from Europe. I am still worried about the single currency, and I am now worried about over-regulation, the opt-outs and how we should proceed.

The exchange rate mechanism did untold harm to this country. It put our prosperity back four years, increased unemployment and destroyed much of our reserves. To my mind, the single currency would repeat that. I do not support a single currency. Like the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), I speak as a schoolmaster. A single currency is similar to a three-legged race, like those that are run in infants schools. People can run together, but if there is a three-legged race they all fall down because they run at different speeds. That is exactly what happens to economies, and they will never work any other way. I do not want the single currency.

I continue to be worried about the common agricultural policy, especially bearing in mind the harm that it has done to the third world. Third-world countries can no longer sell us their goods at the right price, and these days we have to give aid instead of trade, when trade is always better for those countries. I am still not happy about that.

Europe is becoming over-regulated. If the trend continues, it will become an over-regulated morass. There is every sign that, in terms of prosperity, growth in inward investment and trade, Europe is falling behind not just America and the far east but other parts of the world. Our exports to the far east have doubled proportionately compared with our exports to Europe. Similarly, the amount invested by British business men using theirown money has decreased as a percentage of investmentin Europe. When we entered the common market,29 per cent. of our investment overseas was in Europe. The proportion has now dropped to 20 per cent. and those people are making decisions for their own firms.

I wonder whether we need Europe if we have GATT. If we do not have GATT, we must be in a geographical body. But if we have GATT and free trade, we can compete throughout the world. Thus, I believe that Europe is becoming an incubus on our economy.

Size does not really matter. The countries that have expanded most, economically, since the second world war are small countries, such as Taiwan, which was expelled from the United Nations. That small island, with a population of about a third of this country and with little agriculture, now has an economy almost equal to ours. The same applies to Hong Kong and Korea. If a country makes goods of the right quality, sells them at the right price and provides the right service, it will do well. If it

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does not, it will not. As they say, if you make a better mousetrap in the forests of Canada, the world will beat a path to your door.

We are not dependent on Europe. I do not say that we should come out of it: I simply say that it would not be a disadvantage if we were forced to do so because of other circumstances. Europe needs us more than we need Europe. Opposition Members do not have the same confidence in the people of Britain as I have. I am confident in this country. I do not speak as a little Englander. Those who want to keep us in Europe under any terms are little Englanders because they have no confidence in this country or in what we are doing. If one believes that this country can help other countries and provide a good standard of living, I do not see how we could improve matters.

I shall conclude because this is a short debate and many other hon. Members want to speak. Britain has always made goods well and has sold to the rest of the world. We are the same people as we were before, and so long as we have free trade, we have no need to be propped up in any other way. I am suspicious of a single currency and all that goes with it. It would be of no advantage to this country.

Those of us who are Euro-sceptics should not be called little Englanders: the little Englanders are those who do not believe that this country could cope without being linked with other countries. This country has the same enterprise and the same ability as we had in the past. I do not say for one minute that we should come out of Europe, but I do not fear the possibility.

7.31 pm

Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East): The right hon. Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) is an honest man and a Methodist, but he was only a step away from saying that he would favour withdrawal because he saw no serious disadvantages for our country in being outside the Community.

The right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) put forward arguments in the same direction. He argued in an Anglo-centric way--I stress the "Anglo"--that Britain could recreate Europe in our image, and that, if we stood firm, if we were positive and proud, and if we set out our stall as we would want, our European partners would inevitably see the virtue of our position and follow us. That was the logic of the right hon. Gentleman's position.

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