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Mr. John Major (Huntingdon): I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and for returning to the House speedily to deliver it.

In some areas, I can support the Prime Minister's statement, although in others the implications of what he has agreed have yet to be more fully set out than he has been able to set them out today. As the House will know, the documentation is extensive, and it is not yet fully available. I hope that the Prime Minister can confirm that the House will have the opportunity of a debate as soon as it has had a chance to study the implications of what he has negotiated.

Will the Prime Minister also confirm that the treaty as originally envisaged is not yet complete, and that large and important areas have not yet been decided and, indeed, were not mentioned in his statement? Can he tell us how many of the points that he has announced today will need legislation? As many of them are constitutional, can he confirm that those constitutional points will be debated here, on the Floor of the House, in due course when the legislation is introduced?

At the outset, let me probe what seems to have been agreed on NATO and on border control. On defence, the Prime Minister is entirely right to resist merging the European Union with the Western European Union, and he has our full and unqualified support for doing so; but may I check precisely what he has agreed to? Notwithstanding his assurances to the House, the draft treaty talks of


When and how is that to happen?

The Dutch presidency has said that


Is that correct? Can the Prime Minister clarify the matter or explain why the presidency should have said that if it is not the case? How does that square with what the Prime Minister has been saying?

On border controls, is the Prime Minister aware that he has our complete and unqualified support in maintaining the control of this House over this country's national borders? There can be no question about that. Is it not a fact, however, that the agreement on border control was effectively achieved by last March, when our partners accepted that Britain would never give up border control? Can the Prime Minister confirm that the Dutch presidency made that clear then? If he cannot, I will hand him the quotes and the reports of the time which illustrate that that was indeed the case.

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Is not the reality that this outcome--which is very welcome--was achieved by negotiations conducted by the last Government, and that what the Prime Minister has done is apply his usual jackdaw technique of picking up other people's property and claiming credit for it?

Can the Prime Minister also clarify the impact that Amsterdam has had on other elements of justice and home affairs? Is it not the case that the Government have an opt-out only on border controls? Where exactly do they stand on the new title on asylum and immigration that is proposed in the draft treaty? It is not clear from what the Prime Minister had to say. Could he tell me whether the European Court of Justice and the Commission's remit has been extended, as seems to have been done, to cover asylum and immigration? Is it not the case that the Council of Ministers, at a later date, will consider extending qualified majority voting to this area?

Could I ask the Prime Minister to outline the implications of the treaty for the European Court of Justice? Can he confirm to the House that he dropped the previous Government's proposals to reform the European Court of Justice although some of them had support from some of our European partners? Can he also confirm that he has achieved nothing to limit the damaging effect of retrospective application of European Court of Justice judgments?

On qualified majority voting, can the Prime Minister confirm in which areas he has given up the veto and explain how that will be of benefit to the House or the British nation? Can he also tell the House whether there are other areas where our veto has been bypassed or will be revisited at a later date?

The Prime Minister said that jobs were at the top of his agenda. Can he name any precise and practical measures that have been agreed at this summit that will create jobs other than for lawyers interpreting the treaty? Can he confirm that the social chapter will be integrated in the treaty, making a mockery of the claim to extend labour market flexibility? Can he also confirm that, utterly contrary to what he said in the general election campaign, this extends qualified majority voting to a wide range of new and important areas? What precisely has he agreed--an employment chapter with teeth that imposes costs and interferes, or an employment chapter with no teeth that raises expectations that it cannot meet?

Can the Prime Minister clarify what he has agreed on flexibility? He says that he has a veto, but can he indicate what agreement he has reached with his colleagues as to the areas in which he would permit this new flexibility to proceed by unanimity?

On common foreign policy where the Prime Minister's statement was particularly unclear, can he tell the House what is meant by common strategies? To what extent will decisions of the Council on common foreign and security policy be made by qualified majority voting? [Interruption.] Labour Members do not like these questions, but they should have been in the Prime Minister's statement and they were not.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House who will adjudicate on what is national policy and, therefore, to be decided by unanimity? On quota hopping, we look forward to the statement by the Minister of Agriculture,

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Fisheries and Food in a few moments, but the Prime Minister should know that the Spanish have already poured scorn on his claims to have solved quota hopping. He agreed in the election that it could be effectively dealt with only by treaty changes, but does not his agreement depend entirely on Commission good will and will not it seek to look after the interests of not just this country but Dutch, Spanish and other interests as well? Is not it the case that he made not the slightest attempt to push through the treaty changes that were the only way to guarantee help for British fishermen?

On enlargement, the Foreign Secretary extolled the virtues last week of a wider Europe, and we agree with him on that, but where is the progress on enlargement in the treaty? Where was the agreement over institutional reform, on the number of Commissioners, on voting weights? What practical measures will be taken to ensure that new countries are welcomed into the Community? Is it not a fact that this treaty does nothing whatever to help build the wider Europe that the Prime Minister says that he wishes to see and which I wish to see, but does help to create a deeper and more centrally integrated Europe?

Some of the right hon. Gentleman's agreements we can welcome; others suggest that this is both a botched and an incomplete negotiation that he is reporting to the House. It will certainly cause dismay in central and eastern Europe, as he should know. Much of what the Prime Minister has just won he inherited, and much of the rest was never at risk, as he knows. The Prime Minister has made a series of concessions to the European Union. He has gained nothing that was not readily available and he has done nothing whatever to widen the Community and much to ensure that it is deepened. He has missed the opportunities of the summit. What he has reported is not a triumph but a travesty.

The Prime Minister: Well, that was a good try anyway. I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman, in all sincerity, that on 9 June he made a speech in the House where he took the Labour Government to task for, he said, being about to sell out and give away a whole lot of things. Apart from issues such as the social chapter and employment chapter, where we are in genuine disagreement, I think that we have secured agreement on every single point that he made in that speech, as well as on certain things that he did not mention, such as legal personality, which he said we would never possibly get taken out of the treaty--and we did.

Anyway, if I may deal with the points that the right hon. Gentleman has made, of course the intergovernmental conference will require legislation. As for debating it on the Floor of the House, that will be discussed by the business managers in the normal way, but, of course, it will be properly debated. As for what he was saying about the WEU and EU and gradual integration, of course, the draft treaty text was precisely what was changed, so we now have a situation where there is no obligation to move into integration at all. That is the very thing that we managed to secure.

What is more, for the first time, we have secured a specific statement in the treaty that says that NATO for us is the foundation of our common defence. That is a huge step forward. It is what we never had before and we have now.

In relation to border controls, the right hon. Gentleman says that last March they had all got an agreement. I have to say that that is not our understanding of it. He was in

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power for 18 years, during which time they did not secure that at any point--either under him or under the previous Prime Minister.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about asylum and immigration. We have no obligation to be in that at all, but what we have secured, which is important and a better way of going about things, is what I call an opt-in. We have the power within the treaty to go into any of these areas if we want to. If we do not want to, we need not, but if we do, no other country can block us going in. For example, the European Court of Justice role in Schengen, which he was talking about, does not affect us.

It is more sensible to realise that the rest of Europe has a genuine, different interest. In the rest of Europe, people want a uniform system of asylum, immigration and visa policy throughout the continent of Europe--and they want it, in many ways, to toughen their immigration and asylum policy. There are severe problems in many of the countries, not least Germany, because of the asylum and immigration policies that they have.

Our interest is different and there is no harm in recognising that there are different interests. The purpose of the protocol is to secure our legal frontiers, but to allow other countries, if they want to do things differently, to have another system, with our having the power to join them if we want to, but being under no obligation to do so.

In relation to QMV, we secured unanimity in all the areas where we wanted it, such as immigration. We made sure that the national veto was preserved in all the areas that we wanted, but, yes, there were some areas in which I agreed an extension of QMV--research, for example. It is important for this country that we have QMV in certain areas. It is a good thing for us, not a bad thing. Fraud is one such area. It is good that we have QMV in certain areas because we can then prevent smaller countries from blocking our interest.

The curious thing about the psychology of the Conservative party--which has become more curious today in this great new alliance, this meeting of minds--is that the greatest extension of QMV was agreed by the Conservative Government and that the very greatest extension was by Baroness Thatcher at the time of the Single European Act. That was the right thing to do. I do not say that as a point of criticism because if people can block measures opening up the single market, that is an inhibition on the effective working of the EU.

The right hon. Gentleman asks about the employment chapter. Incidentally, we secured a benefit from being part of the social chapter because there were moves by other countries to extend QMV to areas in social security and elsewhere that we did not want. If we were not part of it, they would have done it, and it would have been part of the social chapter. He would say, "Well, we had our opt-out", but experience teaches us that, in fact, these things still affect British companies operating on a European-wide basis. By being part of it, we were able to ensure that the social chapter was drafted sensibly.

On the employment chapter, heaven knows why the right hon. Gentleman's Government opposed that. It is a perfectly sensible measure. I do not know whether he was attacking it for being too prescriptive or for not being prescriptive enough. It provides the opportunity for measures to be taken, for example, to assist small businesses. That is a perfectly good thing. It sets the

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creation of jobs at the core of the employment chapter, in a way that is responsive to economic change. That is a big step forward for us and for our arguments.

In relation to flexibility, the right hon. Gentleman asked us to secure an emergency brake at Amsterdam, and we secured it. We are protected there, as we are protected in the common foreign and security policy.

The two final points relate to enlargement and to the common fisheries policy. On the latter, when we came to power there was not a single member state that supported the right hon. Gentleman's proposed treaty protocol. It was without any credibility and, incidentally, it would not have dealt with existing quota hoppers. We have secured not the Commission's good will, but its agreement and support for changing the licence conditions for vessels operating in this country, which will allow us to deal with both existing and future quota hoppers. Of course, that does not do everything that we would want to do--


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