Previous Section Index Home Page

I have made the point before that the Law Society is not some foreign construct aimed at undermining the established will of the United Kingdom; it has offered a considered opinion on EU competence.

Qualified majority voting was mentioned by the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) and others. In principle, the Government are in favour of its extension. I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman about some of his points about the handling of the Bill, but I understand why he made them. However, he was correct about the important dynamic that qualified majority voting creates for the United Kingdom in its negotiations with the EU. As the Committee is aware, the proposed move from qualified majority voting to double majority voting will increase the UK’s share of the vote by 50 per cent. The change will improve the position of the UK and strengthen our bargaining position, as was pointed out by the author of a report by the London School of Economics.

Mr. Cash: The Minister is going through the points made in the debate, and I understand the formality of that, but I asked a number of substantive questions and I hope that he will come to them. Does he deny that the new arrangements will effectively give power to modify Acts of Parliament, and does he think that that is the right thing to do?

Mr. Murphy: I will, of course, get to the points that the hon. Gentleman made in his 46 or 50-minute speech.

Mr. Clappison: The Minister will know that in the White Paper leading up to the 2003 negotiation, the Government vehemently opposed the extension of qualified majority voting, because they said it would undermine the role of national Parliaments. So that we can scrutinise how much name changing will happen, will the Minister tell us why he thinks the Union is so keen to have qualified majority voting on, for example, foreign affairs? Under those provisions, apart from what we might do ourselves, such matters would not come before the national Parliaments of member states. Why is the Union so keen to move to qualified majority voting that it has a special—

The First Deputy Chairman: Order. I reminded the hon. Gentleman during his own contribution that the debate on qualified majority voting is tomorrow. I know that the Minister has made some reference to it. I hope that he will make a brief comment at most, and then we can move on.

3 Mar 2008 : Column 1503

Mr. Murphy: Of course, as usual, I will abide by your strictures, Mrs. Heal, and we may, of course, have the opportunity to debate that in tomorrow’s proceedings.

Amendment No. 39, which stands in the name of the right hon. Member for Wells and is supported by the hon. Members for Stone and for Rayleigh, among others, is intended to make it more difficult for the Government to make changes to terminology or numbering in other UK laws that result from the Lisbon treaty. The Bill contains a power for the Government to update terminology and numbering in existing legislation. That is a power to make purely technical changes. For example, the article numbers in the treaties will change on the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, and the co-decision procedure is renamed as the ordinary legislative procedure. Those are not changes in substance, but UK law may need to be updated to reflect such changes in terminology.

Again, I disagree with the conclusions reached by the hon. Member for Stone, but the Committee would generally agree that he made a thoughtful contribution. I hope that he will not mind my saying that his assertion was a criticism of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. It is commonly acknowledged that subsections (2)(a) and (2)(b) contain relatively wide-ranging powers.

7 pm

Mr. Cash: There are one or two points to make on that. First, it is clear from the authority that I cited that, despite what was said in February 1970 during the passage of that Bill, people did not expect the provisions to be used as they have been. Secondly, they had not anticipated the question of trying to exclude judicial review. Lastly, do not these provisions contain deeming arrangements that would be retrospective?

Mr. Murphy: The hon. Gentleman makes an assertion in respect of section 2(2), rather than section 1(2) of the 1972 Act.

Mr. Cash rose—

Mr. Murphy: If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make a little progress and if time allows and the Committee’s patience bears it, I will, of course, give way to him if he so wishes.

This reflects the powers and definitions in the general provisions in section 1(2) of the 1972 Act, contrary to the hon. Gentleman’s assertion, which was a criticism of the much wider power that relates to the general implementation of treaties under section 2(2).

Mr. Cash: Surely, if a mistake was made in the 1972 Act that was apparently not expected at the time, as I have explained, this is the time to put it right, not to compound the problem, when all the treaties are amalgamated into the Lisbon treaty.

Mr. Murphy: I hope, rather than expect, to reassure the hon. Gentleman that a much narrower, more clearly defined power is being sought, and it relates to section 1(2) of the 1972 Act, rather than the more widely drawn section 2(2). The changes that we envisage will not involve any change of substance in existing UK legislation. This is purely a technical, updating exercise.
3 Mar 2008 : Column 1504
Clause 3(4) makes it clear that the powers to update references in existing legislation is limited to reflecting

That is a narrowly defined power.

Rob Marris: My hon. Friend will have heard me remark that clause 3 would be better drafted if the word “definition” were included in its title and if the word “terminology” were removed from subsection (3). That would lead to greater understanding of subsection (4), on which the amendment has a direct bearing. Does my hon. Friend agree? If so, will such amendments be tabled in another place? If he does not agree, perhaps he will briefly explain why?

Mr. Murphy: Of course, I will happily do so. My hon. Friend has paid assiduous attention to every twist and turn of the Bill almost every day, and the Committee should give him the credit that he is fully entitled to. I listened with great care to the points that he made, and my view is that it would be unnecessary to make the changes that he suggests. Clause 3 will amend section 1(2) of the 1972 Act, which, of course, as the Committee will be aware, lists the definitions contained in that Act. Amendment of the 1972 Act is required only to reflect changes of terminology, which is what clause 3 is all about.

Let me make some progress on the argument. The Government need to ensure that all existing references to the European Community are updated and that other technical changes are made—for instance, reference to the numbers of treaty articles or the names of instruments and procedures. We need to be sure that that is done thoroughly, to ensure legal certainty.

There is no point in progressing along the lines suggested by the right hon. Member for Wells in respect of the affirmative procedure. The Government have referred in the Bill to both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Subsection (5)(c) contains the words:

That is the better way to progress. Under amendment No. 39, we would have to return to the House for each and every minor change of terminology, on the many hundreds of occasions that that may be necessary. The Bill will avoid that exercise, and it is clearly provided that any order will be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution. If the treaty is ratified and we do not update the terminology in our legislation, confusion and uncertainty could arise.

Finally, the powers are very closely defined in clause 3(4), and those narrow powers are reflected in the schedule. With those words, I hope that I have persuaded the Committee to oppose amendment No. 39.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: I am grateful for the support for my amendment expressed in several quarters, particularly by my hon. Friends the Members for Stone (Mr. Cash) and for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) and, slightly unexpectedly, by the Liberal Democrats, who support my amendment, although, as usual, for the wrong reasons. I must also mention the contribution of my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer).
3 Mar 2008 : Column 1505
Although we disagree about the substance of the treaty, his contribution to the debate certainly helped to analyse the issue, and his point was a good one: this is one of the very few occasions in these debates when we have been able to devote sufficient attention to one aspect of the Bill. The line-by-line scrutiny that we were promised has been comprehensively forgotten and that promise broken, but today at least we have been able to ventilate these issues at some length.

The key point in my amendment is simply that clause 3(4) and (5) will give a power to the Secretary of State or the Treasury to make amendments to existing United Kingdom laws and statutory instruments, and some of those laws have been on the statute book for many years. That is supposedly to reflect changes in terminology, but it is quite clear from the way the clause has been drafted that it is not limiting. It does not strictly confine such amendments to the making of technical name changes, as suggested by the Minister. If such changes were strictly confined to making differences of name or number, that would have been stated in the Bill. However, those amendments simply have to reflect changes in terminology.

At the start of the debate, I gave examples of where apparent changes in terminology in fact make substantive changes. The change from EC to EU is not simply a technical change, because the EU will include not simply all those matters in the existing EC treaty, but all the intergovernmental matters in foreign and security policy and in justice and home affairs. I gave some other examples, to which the Minister has completely failed to respond.

I instanced specific statutory modifications that we know the Government want to make because they are listed in the previous Bill, which was introduced in 2005 to give effect to the constitutional treaty. Those modifications include amendments to the Export Control Act 2002 that will bring into British law provisions and obligations in the common foreign policy that prevent people from exporting goods and making technology transfers. The modifications also include alterations to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 that completely change it by including reference not to the intergovernmental method of deciding criminal justice matters, but to the new measures in the treaty of Lisbon, which collapse the intergovernmental pillar and make criminal justice matters subject to the European Court of Justice and normal decision making through majority voting.

The Minister owed us an explanation and a response to the detailed questions that I asked him about the amendments to British and UK law that we know the Government want to make—amendments that are not simply technical, but involve matters of substance. In view of the Minister’s poor response, I shall press my amendment to a Division.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 189, Noes 291.
Division No. 108]


Afriyie, Adam
Alexander, Danny
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Beith, rh Mr. Alan

Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Drew, Mr. David
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Rennie, Willie
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant

Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Baron and
Mr. Nick Hurd

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian

Gilroy, Linda
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Healey, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hosie, Stewart
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan

Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Bob Blizzard and
Ms Diana R. Johnson
Question accordingly negatived.
Next Section Index Home Page