Previous Section Index Home Page

Mr. Cash: If the Minister thinks that this is such a bad amendment, he should recall what I said in the previous debate about the impact on the secondary legislation that he mentioned. Those statutory
3 Mar 2008 : Column 1515
instruments can modify Acts of Parliament, exclude judicial review and address a whole range of other matters, including constitutional issues. If I were the Minister, I would be a bit careful about asserting that the use of the word “instrument” in this case is as unimportant as he is making it out to be, because it contains within it a Henry VIII clause-type arrangement.

Mr. Murphy: The hon. Gentleman and I have spent long enough together in this Chamber during the past few weeks for him to know that I am always careful when making my case on such matters—as is he.

The changes proposed will not make any changes of substance to existing legislation. If the treaty is ratified and we do not update the terminology of our legislation, there will be considerable legal confusion and uncertainty. Getting rid of the entirely sensible provisions in the clause will merely make life more complicated in a legal sense and create uncertainty. There are literally hundreds of Acts and statutory instruments that make reference to the European Communities, which would be affected by the amendment. If the amendment were accepted, technical changes would have to be made one by one. For example, the Potatoes Originating in Egypt (England) Regulations 2004 or the Food (Peanuts from China) (Emergency Control) (England) (No. 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 would have to be individually changed.

We can all take different views on such important matters, but to deny the legislative reality of the ratification of the treaty and the passing of the Bill by frustrating the workings of the House to ensure that individual changes had to be made to many hundreds of existing provisions, just two of which I cited for the House’s enjoyment, would not be a sensible way to progress. On that basis, while continuing to respect the motivation behind the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Stone, I invite the House to reject it if he wishes to press it to a Division.

Mr. Cash: I certainly will press the amendment to a Division, not least because, as the Minister just said, the provisions affect hundreds of enactments. It is all very well to say, “It is just a matter of terminology; it is only a matter of words.” But, almost by admission, the Minister has suggested that he does not know what impact the provision will have. I am totally unconvinced by his arguments for that reason. If he does not know why he is doing something, that is a good reason for us to challenge the basis on which it is done.

I shall press the amendment to a Division, but before I do so, I refer to the explanatory notes, which state:

The question that remains unanswered is what impact that will have. I believe that the clause will have constitutional implications. It merges the treaties. This is not just a matter of terminology, but a matter of substance and constitutional importance. Therefore, I am determined to press the amendment to a Division.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

3 Mar 2008 : Column 1516

The Committee divided: Ayes 141, Noes 317.
Division No. 109]


Afriyie, Adam
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, Philip
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
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
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Dr. Richard
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
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, Mr. David
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, Danny
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
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
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
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
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harris, Mr. Tom
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, 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

Holmes, Paul
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
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
McFall, rh John
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 David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mulholland, Greg
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
Öpik, Lembit
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
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
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
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
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
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
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
Mr. Alan Campbell
Question accordingly negatived.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Michael Lord): With this we may discuss whether the schedule be the schedule to the Bill.

Mr. Jim Murphy: As I said earlier, clause 3 does two things. First, it makes technical changes to the terminology in UK law to reflect the Lisbon treaty. Secondly, it provides a power for a Secretary of State to make orders to amend primary or secondary legislation to reflect other technical changes in terminology or numbering that arise from the Lisbon treaty. The changes are technical and should be uncontroversial. Nevertheless, they are necessary.

The clause ensures continuity and consistency in new and existing domestic legislation. It also gives power to make similar technical changes by order, which will not mean a change of substance to existing UK legislation. There is no point in the suggested alternative approach of making consequential amendments in definitions to change “EC” to “EU”. If clause 3 were removed, we would be left with legal confusion about important legislation that refers to the “European Communities”, such as clause 24 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, which establishes in UK law the way in which elections to the European Parliament work in the UK. It sets the boundaries of electoral regions and determines how our voting system should work for those elections.

We have had a good general debate on the clause. Without it, Parliament would have to amend each of the hundreds of Acts, regulations and statutory instruments that refer to “European Communities”.

The schedule is standard and clearly sets out the nomenclature changes to the 1972 Act. The Bill is designed to amend the 1972 Act and, as Conservative Members know, it provides for changes to the horizontal Act for interpreting UK law—the Interpretation Act 1978. Those changes obviously and clearly follow from the treaty.

3 Mar 2008 : Column 1520

Mr. Francois: I wish to argue to the contrary: that clause 3 should not stand part of the Bill. Our discussions on amendments Nos. 39, 55, 56 and 57 have shown that the clause tries to include in UK domestic law the changes in terminology that effect the virtual collapse of the EU’s existing pillar system. As we all know, the EU is currently only an umbrella term for three distinct areas of activity, usually called “pillars”. The three pillars are: the European Communities, the main part of which is the European Community, which includes the single market and the common agricultural policy; the common foreign and security policy; and police, justice and home affairs.

Under the treaty, the existing pillars will be virtually abolished. The European Community has merged with the European Union into a single unitary legal personality, incorporating all activity undertaken under the EU treaties, although Euratom would admittedly remain separate, as was pointed out earlier. Police and criminal justice matters are also subsumed into the same institutional provisions and decision-making processes that applied in what was the European Community.

The common foreign and security policy, although remaining subject to distinct procedures, as was largely the case under the original EU constitution, is also brought under the same single EU legal personality. All this will have important effects on the respective rights of the member states and the EU to conclude agreements with third countries and will of course interact with the new provision on implied competence in the article on exclusive competence. The changes in terminology set out in the clause reflect those profound changes and give them legal force in domestic United Kingdom legislation. Among other things, the clause changes, almost automatically as it were, all references in UK law to any or all of the “European Communities” to the “European Union”.

As we heard in our discussion on amendment No. 39, changes in terminology might sound dull to the external observer, but they matter—in fact, they matter quite a lot. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) pointed to examples of where changes in the references to the EU treaties made by United Kingdom laws could lead to substantive alterations in the effect of UK laws. He detailed, at some length, a number of examples that I do not intend to reprise again, but they will all be in Hansard. I reiterate that there is a particular concern where a current domestic law gives effect in the UK only to European Community obligations, but where, following a change in the terminology to “European Union”, it gives domestic effect to additional provisions, too.

As my right hon. Friend also highlighted, the Government seemed to be far more forthcoming about the sorts of changes that they were seeking in their Bill to ratify the original EU constitution, allowing at least some parliamentary scrutiny of those changes as part of the passage of that Bill. That leaves a burning question. Why have the Government been so coy about what the supposed terminological changes will entail in this Bill? Might the reason be that they are trying to hide the fact that some of the changes to UK law resulting from the Lisbon treaty are in fact important,
3 Mar 2008 : Column 1521
seeking, in effect, to park them behind the old fa├žade of a “tidying-up exercise”, which they have sought to use all the way through, to disguise the important transfers of power being made from this House to the European Union?

Mr. Clappison: Does my hon. Friend agree that our suspicions that the process that he describes is in play are increased by the fact that it was what the German questionnaire specifically suggested the Government would do? Does he share my curiosity about why the Government refuse to publish their response to the German questionnaire?

Mr. Francois: My understanding is that the Government have had the German questionnaire for some considerable time. Even with all the problems in our postal service, I would have thought that they could have sent back something by now. One would also have expected them to be in a position to publish their response.

Alistair Burt (North-East Bedfordshire) (Con): Perhaps they have lost it.

Mr. Francois: That is possible if the Government put their response on two discs.

If we assume that the Government did not do that, however, my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), who serves on the European Scrutiny Committee, has made an important point. When we were debating amendments, the Minister twice ducked his question about why the Government’s response had not been published. Perhaps we can put the Minister on the spot in this slighter broader stand part debate and ask him why the response has not been published and when the Government propose to publish it. I thank my hon. Friend for reminding me about that question, which I am sure the Minister will now feel morally obliged to answer.

Mr. Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con): I listened with great interest to my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory), who made a very good speech, and to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) discussing their amendments, which dealt with questions that were never answered. Does my hon. Friend agree that the clause gets to the heart of the matter, because it is a “trust me” clause? The Government are essentially saying, “Don’t worry about all this stuff. We’ll tidy this up and get on with it in due course. You don’t need to worry your pretty little heads any more about the European Union treaty. We’ll deal with it.” Is there any reason at all why we should trust Governments on that, when we were given a constitutional guarantee at Maastricht that the pillar system would remain?

8.15 pm

Mr. Francois: My right hon. Friend makes a good point. He homes in on the issue of trust. The Government have broken their word so many times throughout this process—on the referendum and on the promise that we would have 20 days’ debate and line-by-line scrutiny. Their word has been undermined so many times that for them to come to the Committee and say, as my right hon. Friend put it, “Trust me,” rings extremely hollow. His point is very well made.

Next Section Index Home Page