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Lord Taverne: My Lords, perhaps I may very briefly answer one point made by the noble Lord, Lord Pearson. I did not say that it was scandalous to raise the issue. I would have been in no way opposed to his raising the issue in the proper form of a Motion. What would be scandalous would be for this House to pass a Bill which tears up the treaty unilaterally. The hour is late and it would not be appropriate for me to answer all the points made in various speeches and they have all been very interesting speeches.

31 Jan 1997 : Column 1427

I wish to refer to only two speeches. First, I should like to make one general, brief observation. What I found somewhat disturbing and unattractive about many of the speeches made in favour of the Bill was the general, somewhat smug assumption of superiority about our way of doing things, unlike those unfortunate Continentals. That was not true of the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, who presented his case very fairly.

Personally, in some spheres I prefer our way of doing things and in others I believe that we have a lot to learn from our partners in the European Union. But overall the record of the past few decades hardly suggests that our institutions are so infinitely superior as one nation after another has overtaken our standard of living.

The two speeches to which I wish to refer very briefly are, first, the admirable maiden speech--as I understand it was--of my noble friend Lord Carlisle. He made a very interesting point about the attitude of Estonia. It is very interesting that such a country should be so keen to join a union which a number of noble Lords are so keen to reject. He was told by the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, in a very patronising remark, that the Estonians did not know what was good for them. Presumably, that would also apply to the Poles and the Czechs. The noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, said that, having just recaptured their independence, they would now be giving it away by consent.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, the noble Lord himself is behaving in an extraordinarily patronising way. What I said was not patronising, but an expression of an opinion that that would be the result of their entry into the Community. That is not patronising.

Lord Taverne: My Lords, I believe that the noble Lord was being patronising in saying that the Estonians did not know what was good for them and also suggesting that the Czechs, Poles and the Hungarians did not know what was good for them. If that is not patronising I do not know what is.

It is extremely relevant that there are so many nations which have either recently joined or who are queuing up to join the European Union when, apparently, according to those who moved the original Bill, this union is something to be rejected at all costs.

There is one last point that I wish to make. I am somewhat surprised at the attitude of the Front Benches. It is not the fault of the noble Lord who was not aware of the fact that this has happened before. Given the way that they voted on the introduction of proportional representation in local government--which they did oppose and on which they voted--when it is a matter of such importance as our future in the European Union, the noble Lord made a speech saying that this Bill was utterly unacceptable to the Government and then said that they would not be voting themselves. It means that the vote which will take place will be a vote which is not representative of this House. However, it is an important issue and I wish to press my amendment. I hope that noble Lords will support it.

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6.14 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 51; Not-Contents, 52.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Annan, L.
Avebury, L.
Bath, M.
Bowness, L.
Bradford, E.
Cadman, L.
Carlisle, E.
Craigavon, V.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Elles, B.
Ezra, L.
Geraint, L.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L. [Teller.]
Hayhoe, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hooson, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Kennet, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
McNally, L.
Meston, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Norton, L.
Ogmore, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rawlings, B.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L. [Teller.]
Whitty, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.


Ailesbury, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Annaly, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Bauer, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blake, L.
Braybrooke, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Buxton of Alsa, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Cross, V.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Derwent, L.
Exmouth, V.
Grantley, L.
Gray, L.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L. [Teller.]
Hardinge of Penshurst, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Hindlip, L.
Holderness, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Leigh, L.
Liverpool, E.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Milne, L.
Monson, L.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Moran, L.
Munster, E.
Onslow, E.
Pearson of Rannoch, L. [Teller.]
Rankeillour, L.
Rennell, L.
Romney, E.
Somerset, D.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teviot, L.
Tombs, L.
Torphichen, L.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waterford, M.
Wharton, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wyatt of Weeford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

31 Jan 1997 : Column 1428

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

        House adjourned at twenty three minutes past six o'clock.

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