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Mr. Luff: I think the hon. Gentleman will find that there was only a 50 per cent. turnout in Slovakiajust enough to make the referendum valid. I hear what he says, and I am sure that the right decision was made, but that does not mean that a better decision could not have been made in the event of a different approach to the negotiations.
In a fine speech, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) described the real priorities that would make enlargement the great success that we wantsimplification of the acquis communautaire, deregulation, reform of the common agricultural policy and, yes, technical changes in the way
Angus Robertson: The hon. Gentleman makes a persuasive case for further decentralisation. What is the Conservative party's position on more direct rights of access to the EU for the Scottish Parliament?
Mr. Luff: We are all in favour of scrutiny, but I will leave the details to my hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring).
I fear that enlargementalong with the Bill and the treaty to which it gives effecthas become an excuse not for a more liberal, outward-looking Europe but for a deepening of Europe. There has been an almost obscene rush on the part of existing member states to deepen the EU's institutions before the entry of the new member states. The Foreign Secretary said that the euro was a constitutional issue, and the hon. Member for West Ham said it was a political issue. I was interested to hear those views. I am not sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would agree with the Foreign Secretary, but I think that the Foreign Secretary is right. He said that there should be a referendum.
I agree that it is just possible that the final outcome of the intergovernmental conference will be "tidying up". Other Conservative Members have accepted that possibility too. It is, however, extremely unlikely. My hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr. Taylor) said that we should win the arguments here rather than putting them to the people. Given a Government as determined as this, with a majority this size, that simply is not an option. That is one of the reasons why a referendum is so important.
I expect the constitution to turn out less awful than the worst predictions but to have major constitutional implications for the United Kingdom. Given the Government's record of squandering the advantages negotiated for them by the last Conservative Government, such as the opt-outs from the social chapter and the single European currency, we have every reason to wonder what they will end up with after the IGC. There must be a referendum on the most likely outcome of the constitution and the new enlarged Europe before the treaty is ratified.
May I make a final, parochial point? My right hon. Friend the Member for Wells feared aspects of freedom of movement for those in the new countriesthe enlarged Europe referred to in clause 2. I have a rather different fear. I accept the Labour argument thatas Spain and Portugal showthere will be a rapid growth in employment prospects in the new member states. My constituents in the Vale of Evesham who are involved in horticulture, who currently rely on employing low-skilled people from the applicant countries to pick and pack, may find themselves in difficulties.
All kinds of painful readjustments will have to be made to accommodate enlargement, but it is right that we should make those readjustments. There will be local
Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): I am pleased to contribute for the first time to a debate on European affairs. Bearing in mind the traditions of the House, at the outset I have to declare an interest: I woke up this morning and found that I was a European and that, apparently, I have been for a long time. It does not cause me any conflict with my identity as a Welshman or as a member of the United Kingdom. That contrasts with some of the opinions that have been rife in the tabloids. They have a more coy approach, saying, "Some of my best friends are Europeans," or "I deny I am European. I am in England"or in Wales or wherever"and I deny my heritage." It is part of my heritage, I am pleased to say. I am equally at home with being a Welshman, a member of the UK and a European.
Mr. Hendrick: Would my hon. Friend say that Europeans are 10 a penny?
Huw Irranca-Davies: I take note of the comment.
My interest in this matter is manifold, as my wife comes from a Sardinian family that migrated to this country for economic reasons. They came in the 1950s and, as many Italian families were wont to do in Wales, set up a café, another café, then a bakery and did very well. They added a great deal to the diversity, culture and entrepreneurialism of south Wales. I have no trouble in saying: long may that tradition continue in terms of migration into our country to assist with our economy and culture; and the other way, too. The Bill goes a long way towards enabling that to happen.
Frank, one of my closest friends, is a former Polish tank commander. He is in his 80s and drinks the strongest vodka I have ever come across. He is proud of his Polishness and to have been a resident in this country since the end of the second world war: he is proud of both heritages. Much as I am a friend and neighbour of Frank, I am equally, and the Bill goes to prove it, a friend and neighbour of people in Poland, Slovakia and the other countries. That is the ethos behind the Bill.
The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson) made a very interesting speech. It was quite a historical speech on the fluidity of European borders and how they have ebbed and flowed across different regions, including into what is now Russia. I agree with him generally. In effect, we are going back to some of our rootsto what Europe was. He made a remark about socialism and the fall of the Berlin wall which I did not entirely agree with. I am happy that democratic socialism continues both in this Parliament and over another border: Offa's dyke in Wales.
I am a former business lecturer in higher education. My right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli (Denzil Davies) drew an interesting analogy when he talked about the expansion of a 1960s company. That analogy was apt. One of the challenges for any big company, whether it be IBM, which went through enormous turmoil, or any other large company that grows and wants to continue being successful, is to redefine itself, to assert its core principles and values as it grows; otherwise, it is in danger of going into lethargy and losing direction.
Wim Kok, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, usefully reasserts what this enlargement is about:
I join the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) in hoping that Yugoslavia also makes this transition, albeit in several years' time. However, I take issue with one thing that he said. Hansard will record that he said "even Yugoslavia", but I would say "especially" Yugoslavia and other countries like it. This is not, as some European partners report, a Christian mission or an exclusively western European mission; it is a mission that celebrates the values of diversity and inclusivity, and of equality for workers and for people throughout the European Union. If Turkey is minded to share in those values, for example, we should encourage it. The principle is not "even" Yugoslavia but "especially".
Wim Kok's words may serve as a mission statement for what we are trying to do, but the aims are certainly well set out in the British Government's explanatory memorandum on the accession treaty. Reference is made to spreading European values, standards and norms, but what are they? The values that all of us within the European Union consider important, I hope, are equality, human rights, environmental sustainability, and diversity and tolerance. We should welcome all those who want to join this club. This Bill is important, slim though it is, because of what it will enable us to move towards.
The Bill is also good because it will enable partners that fall down, particularly those that are coming on board with the project, to step up a gear. If our friends fall down, we will offer them encouragement and support in terms of equality, working conditions and trade standardswhether in farming or manufacturingand assist them in raising their standards.
The second aspect of the Government's explanatory memorandum concerns the larger single market. Companies such as Sony and Ford, which are in my constituency and the neighbouring constituency of Bridgend, can see the benefits of the larger single market as described through this prime aim. They are also looking forward to the dayI shall allude to this point only brieflywhen we have clarity of purpose and set out when we are going to enter the euro. That is vital, and farmers in my constituency are sending the same message. Whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, we need a clear steer, on principle, as to what we should be doing, with no ambiguity.
In an erudite and well informed speech, my right hon. Friend the Member for LlanelliI am no economist, but he has a background in economicspointed out that in the early stages of enlargement, there may be a shake-out economically and some challenges ahead for our economies. I agree, but in essence what we are doing is putting a bigger engine in the car. Although we may have initial problems, if we can re-engineer the engine successfullythe Convention plays a primary role in thiswe will go further and faster, thanks to the Bill.
The third aspect of this re-engineering is tackling global issues such as migration, organised crime, drug trafficking, the iniquities of people smuggling, and co-operation on policing and border controls. Everything in the Bill has to do with setting out clearly the direction that we want to continue in as sovereign nations within the European Community.
In classic business strategy, how do we get from where we are now to where we want to be? This is where the Convention comes in. Many have commented that three quarters of the Convention is already in place in the various treaties, but other aspects are currently under discussion. There are those who are calling for a referendum now, but how do we know what to have a referendum on, until matters have been finalised at the intergovernmental conference?
Next, if the IGC shows that we are essentially talking about the same things, and pulling together what is already in place, what should a referendum be about if not the Eurosceptic argument that the whole thing should be chucked out? People who want that can put their arguments in an honest way, but we must wait and see what is on offer. I have faith in the Government's approach, and feel no need to call for a referendum, as I believe that one will not be necessary when we see what the IGC conference has achieved.
Another aspect is the impact on influence. The Convention is essential, but big-tent politics is very important. It is better to be in the tent than outside itand hon. Members will recognise that as an abbreviated version of that dictum.
I know that other hon. Members want to speak, so I shall make only a very brief comment on the euro. Today's Financial Times reported that existing eurozone members are arguing persuasively that greater control of decision making should be reserved for them alone. That is another good reason why we need a very strong steer for euro entry as soon as possible.
Finally, the Bill is a small footnote, in terms of size, but it will write massive chapters in Europe's history. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Donald Anderson) that the expansion of the EU is not artificial but a reconnection with history. I hope that most Conservative Members would agree with that, given their affinity for history, tradition and so on.
I am a Welshman, a British citizen and a European. I support the Bill, and the wider project to enable sovereign nation states working collectively to ensure that the lives of their citizensEuropean citizens and, because of our actions, citizens of the worldare better and more secure.