The impression has been created, not least in this debate—it permeated the speeches of the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, and the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson—that if we left we would be some kind of supplicant. But we are the fifth biggest economy in the world. We are a market to which everyone wants access. We are, in fact, the biggest market for the rest of the European Union and we run a very substantial deficit in our trade with them. The document Possible Models for the United KingdomOutside the European Union, which was published today, is replete—page after page is full of this—with the difficulties we would have in obtaining access to the European market. However, it makes scant reference to the need for others to have access to our market in our country—the fifth biggest economy in the world. Of course the Germans would want to continue to sell us their BMWs and Audis. Of course the French would want to continue to sell us their wine. They are sensible people; it is in their interests to trade with us on free and fair terms, so I have no doubt that we would reach an agreement with them in a relatively short period of time. We need to recover our national self-belief; we need to recover our national self-confidence; and we need, above all, to recover control of our nation’s affairs. We can achieve that only by voting to leave on 23 June.

5.56 pm

Lord Radice: We have heard a very impressive maiden speech from the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, and look forward very much to what he will have to say in the future. I hope that Conservative Party takes note of what he says about it and what it needs to do after the referendum. The noble Lord, Lord Howard—I was going to say my noble friend—has, as usual, made a very eloquent speech on this subject. I have heard quite a few of them in the past and his speech today was well up to standard.

Of course, if we went into the past, we might express strictures about the background that led up to this referendum. I will not take that up today, except to say that David Cameron—like Harold Wilson in 1975—had the referendum imposed on him not so

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much by a democratic groundswell, as has been suggested from time to time, but by pressure from within his own party. However, we are where we are and the only aim now must be to win the referendum for staying in. That is what I will talk about in my few minutes. Judging from his recent performance, especially in the Statement he made to the Commons last week, the Prime Minister is now very much up to the task. Indeed, he made a most impressive speech. The deal he brought back from Brussels is a good one, certainly much better than many Eurosceptics had hoped for, because they were hoping that the whole thing would collapse. Of course, our former leader, Ed Miliband, confirmed that the deal also contains a number of commitments that were in our election manifesto, including that of the red card mechanism for national parliaments. But what is especially encouraging for the stay-ins is that David Cameron is now able to put forward, with all the authority of a British Prime Minister, the strategic case for staying in. That is a tremendous plus because it is this case and its persuasiveness, or lack of it—I think it will be its persuasiveness—which will decide the result of the referendum. It is not a question of the details of the package; it is the underlying strategy. As he made clear to the Commons, he believes— I like the words he used—that,

“Britain will be stronger, safer and better off … in a reformed European Union: stronger because we can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within … safer because we can work with our European partners to fight cross-border crime … and better off because British business will have full access to the free trade single market, bringing jobs, investment and lower prices”.

It is worth quoting the words of the Prime Minister because he said them with great passion and, I think, sincerity. I think they are absolutely right. He said:

“There will be much debate about sovereignty”—

and we have heard about that this afternoon—

“and rightly so. To me, what matters most is the power to get things done for our people, for our country and for our future”.—[

Official Report

, Commons, 22/2/16; col. 25.]

That was not really addressed by the noble Lord.

What we have heard from the Prime Minister gives us the outline of a positive case for staying in but, without being negative, we are also entitled to put questions to the outers to which so far they have completely failed to respond. What is their alternative? The Government have published a report based on an analysis of some of the alternatives—Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the WTO model—which concludes:

“The UK Government believes that no existing model outside the EU comes close to providing the same balance of advantages and influence that we get from the UK’s current status inside the EU”.

The outers have to give a credible answer to this. They say it will be all right on the night, as we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Lamont. Sorry, it was not the noble Lord, Lord Lamont—he had better say something better—it was the noble Lords, Lord Howard and Lord Lawson, but they did not come forward with a viable option. They were very good at criticising what everybody else had said but they did not have any answer themselves and they will have to do that if they are to go on television for the next four months.

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Finally, the referendum is not only an internal battle between Tory ins and Tory outs. To win the debate, Cameron will have to persuade many non-Tory voters—above all, Labour voters—many of whom are concerned not so much with the details of his deal but with jobs, prices and labour and consumer rights. He has to take those into account. My advice to David Cameron is that until the day of the referendum he must aim to be a Prime Minister above party. He has to unite the nation behind the case for staying in because that is the way to do it. I believe that if he can do that, the majority of the British people will support that case.

6.02 pm

Lord Maclennan of Rogart (LD): My Lords, referenda are unpredictable and this one is very unpredictable. In the period after the Convention on the Future of Europe, France and the Netherlands voted against the recommendations made by that convention, on which I served. It was pretty clear that the votes were not against the substance of the convention but against the Governments in office in those two countries. Both countries very speedily came round to acceptance of what the convention had done. We were rather delaying in this but we have seen it implemented in the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties.

Personally, I would be opposed to a convention which could result in a real disaster for Britain. The disaster would be if we took ourselves out of the international, global debate and felt that we had to bend our knee to the European Union, which in my view would not necessarily be at all responsive to our begging to have access to the free trade area. I believe we ought to have a system that enables the European Union to continue its discussion about reform, perhaps along the lines of the convention of which the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, was the secretary-general, to enable the public to be more aware of what is going on in the European Union. Unfortunately, the press, and to some extent the media, are not conveying the positives about the European Union. They seem to focus only on the adverse features and nations quarrelling with nations.

If we leave the European Union, we might have to follow Norway or Switzerland but I cannot believe we would find that route at all appealing. Norway and Switzerland pay into the amounts that are distributed by the Union. They have to accept what is laid down in European legislation and they do not have any voice in the discussions. If that were to happen to us, it would be a disaster.

We have to pool our sovereignty in many respects. We pool our sovereignty in global organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the UN Security Council, but I do not believe that what we are engaged in in the European Union is necessarily pooling our sovereignty. We have a right to stand up against European legislation and we do from time to time, and we do it effectively. If we were to focus on expanding the trade within the European Union into services and digital, we would see a more positive outcome of these current debates.

The Union is in some difficulties at the moment in the eurozone but we are not part of the eurozone and we can help in ways that I think would be understood.

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We are capable of coming to terms with other countries but it is far easier to build up our trade relations with those countries, particularly big countries such as China and Japan, if we go into international agreements with the European Union and pool our resources. There are 500 million people in the European Union and we have considerable authority and respect as part of that. I hope that it will not be thrown away on 23 June.

6.09 pm

Lord Boswell of Aynho (Non-Afl): My Lords, the debate so far has been characterised by both eloquence and passion and, if I may say, with a powerful maiden speech that exemplified both. I intervene briefly and primarily to clarify the position of your Lordships’ European Union Select Committee, which I have the honour to chair.

While no doubt many, if not all, our members hold strong personal views on this vital matter—some of them will be participating in this debate—as a committee whose remit is scrutiny and forensic inquiry we shall refrain from publishing any recommendation on which way to vote, and I too will respect this in relation to my personal position. In our view, our main job, both in service of your Lordships’ House and on behalf of the wider electorate, is to ensure that the recent deal is properly scrutinised. We will continue that work unabated until and indeed, if necessary, after the referendum is held, because there will be ongoing legal consequences of some of those decisions.

We are in the process of preparing a report to this House on the Government’s and others’ visions of European Union reform, which we will publish shortly. We are also looking at some of the specific legal implications of a vote to leave. I close my brief contribution by emphasising that, more widely, this work is intended to contribute to the national debate. I urge the Government to meet in full their undertakings and obligations to spell out clearly and intelligibly to the public the nature of the solemn choice they are to make.

6.11 pm

Lord Green of Deddington (CB): My Lords, I will focus on free movement. As the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan of Ely, remarked, this is not an issue to be ducked and I very much hope that it will not be ducked in this House. To my regret, my remarks will be rather critical. My regret is because I believe that, in regard of immigration, our country owes a considerable debt to the Prime Minister. In the face of strong and persistent pressure from business and academia, he stood firm in a major effort to reduce net migration, supported of course by his Home Secretary.

However, having followed these matters for some 15 years, I can only give my honest opinion. I feel bound to say that the outcome of the recent negotiations will have very little effect on immigration from the European Union. Our own research has shown that about half of EU migrants are single when they come and another quarter are couples with no children. Neither of those two groups qualifies for any significant benefits. It is hard to believe that the remaining quarter will make a significant difference to the overall inflow.

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It seems much more likely, surely, that the availability of work in the UK and the prospect of wages at a multiple of those at home will be far more persuasive.

I accept that some of the other provisions on child benefits, marriage to EU nationals and deportation of EU criminals are useful steps, but they are relatively minor matters. The central issue is whether we have regained, or will regain, the power to control the inflow of EU migrants to the UK. Net migration from the EU has doubled in the past two years to 180,000 a year, almost the same as the amount from the rest of the world, and we will be left with no means of controlling it. Looking ahead, the introduction of the national living wage may add further to the pull factor. The implementation of universal credit will reduce the significance of benefits as a pull factor and, therefore, the significance of the outcome of these negotiations.

Putting aside the detail, I am afraid that the only possible conclusion is that the so-called emergency brake—even if we can reach agreement on its use, and there are questions about that—will have little, if any, effect on the inflow. It follows that we face the prospect that the present massive levels of net migration will continue well into the medium term and beyond. Indeed, as noble Lords will know, there is a tendency for immigration to accelerate as existing diasporas help their friends and relatives to come and find work. Net migration currently stands at about 300,000. The Government’s own projections show that, even at 265,000 over the long term, the population of the UK would increase by about half a million every year. As I have said before in this House, and I make no apology for repeating it, that would mean building the equivalent of a city the size of Liverpool every single year for years to come. That is a very serious prospect and it must be addressed by our political system.

The Government have made serious efforts on immigration over the past six years. They have done their best in these negotiations to tackle that part of the flow that is from the European Union. But they have been denied by the rigidities of the European Union treaties, its institutions and, arguably, its mindset. To be fair, the Government have not even claimed that they will be able to bring EU migration under control. That is for a very simple reason: they cannot do so. Nor will they be able to do so in future. There are indeed risks on both sides in this referendum decision and it will be a difficult one for all of us. One risk is that, if we stay in, we will renounce any control over the size of the population for the indefinite future—actually, that is not a risk, it is a certainty. It is certainly not the “best of both worlds”.

6.17 pm

Lord Jopling (Con): My Lords, while I am fully aware of the shortcomings and the nonsenses of the European Union, I speak tonight in favour of our staying within that organisation. I must say that I sometimes feel that my patience is tried by the way in which those who oppose it seek to deride it. My experience goes back a long way on this. I feel that the anti-European approach has not changed very much at all over the years. We still have the same people, or their philosophic heirs, bridling at the very word “Europe”.

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I remember almost 60 years ago, in 1957, moving what I think was the first motion of the Conservative Party conference about Europe. Then, all we were asking for was that we should seek with others to form an economic alliance with the original six members, which eventually turned into EFTA. It was overwhelmingly agreed by the party conference but there was a substantial number of Conservatives who voted to oppose it at that time. That was nothing to do with the six—it was to find an economic association that, as I say, turned into EFTA.

Over the years, we have still had what I sometimes regard as the same mindless approach to anything that has a Europe tag to it, relating to the colour of passports, women’s institutes, cakes, and straight carrots. I remember back in the 1960s, when I was a member of one of the first departmental select committees down the road, which Dick Crossman set up, we had the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture saying that we should not join the European Common Market because we would then have to put up with grey kippers. It all reminds me very much of giving a dog a bone.

Now, of course, the Eurosceptic element is having a field day belittling the Prime Minister’s agreement to reorganise our relationship with the European Union. Quite frankly, they cannot have it both ways. They wanted many more fundamental changes than they have got, nearly all of which could be achieved only through a treaty. But within the timescale that the Prime Minister had set out of having a referendum before the end of next year, it would clearly be impossible to get a treaty through the processes. It was just not within the timescale and therefore treaty changes were impossible, but that is for the future.

We now have our new relationship with the EU. We are out of the euro; our borders are protected under the Schengen agreement; we have barriers to benefits for immigrants seeking them; and we are excluded from ever-closer union. This puts us into a new position, which is a sort of halfway house between full membership and solely being members of the EFTA agreement. That is an admirable position to be in and far better than being outside with little influence over crucial EU decisions, which could be very damaging to us.

Of course, not all Eurosceptic arguments are trivial in the way that I have talked about. One argument is to refer to loss of sovereignty and the desire for our Parliament here to make our laws. I do not object to a certain loss of sovereignty in this modern, global world but I do not hear dissent from those Eurosceptics when we come to consider the massive loss of sovereignty which we have with regard to NATO. It is a far greater loss of sovereignty when we commit our armed services to the possibility of our servicemen dying under the command of foreign generals. I am not against NATO in any way; I am vice-president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and as far as I am concerned, long live NATO.

As a former member and president years ago of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, I am convinced that the relationship between European Parliaments and Governments over these last 50 years or so means that, after 70 years without a great European war,

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much of that period of peace is due to the development of the European Community—not all of it, of course. I have two sons, and I regard the creation of the European Community as a principal reason for them not having been involved in such a great European conflict, unlike so many young people over the centuries who have died in a succession of European wars. I see this period of European peace as the greatest achievement of my political generation.

6.23 pm

Lord Soley (Lab): The only thing I would add to the economic debate is the importance of science and technology to this country. We, more than any other country in the European Union, benefit from the money that comes from it into our universities and science-based research establishments. Anyone who is thinking of leaving had better ask why the research establishments and universities in continental Europe would suddenly surrender the money that was being paid into the British universities and research institutes at their expense. I think that we would lose it. We are in fact a cutting-edge nation in science and technology, and part of the reason is the money that we get from the European Union.

That is a central part of the economic argument, but I want to make most of my comments on the political issue and follow on from the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, whose comments I have just heard. I was born shortly before the Second World War and it has often puzzled me that the British people tend to be more averse to the idea of a single European entity of some type, because my memory is that Europe was where the bombers came from. That is what you were brought up with, so one tended to be hostile to it. It is interesting today that although the bulk of the British people have for many years been very doubtful about Europe, the older population has been more opposed than the younger population, who were not brought up with the attitudes that I was about the First and Second World Wars. That is why, whatever happens on 23 June, in the long run this country will be more in favour of being in Europe than out of it.

It is this political argument that we need to discuss. I accept that economic arguments are likely to win or lose the referendum on 23 June, but that does not mean that the political arguments are unimportant. I fully understand and respect the feeling alive in the country that Europe is too bureaucratic, with too many rules and regulations. The noble Lord, Lord Jopling, and others mentioned this. The tragedy, to my mind, is that the one country in the European Union that would be better at dealing with this than almost any other is in fact Britain. We were enormously respected in Europe after the Second World War. People wanted us to join what was then the European Community and eventually became the European Union. Now, sadly, many people think, “Well, if you don’t want to be in, don’t be in”. A very damaging movement has taken place.

Why were we wanted in? It is not just because we were victorious in the Second World War but because of what we did after the war to help rebuild Europe. Who wrote that magnificent constitution for Germany? It was very largely, but not entirely, the British. Who wrote

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the Court of Human Rights legislation? It was very largely the British. We are a rules-based society and although the noble Lord, Lord Howard, made much of the democracy point, which I agree with, he left out the all-important rule of law.

It is those two things together which have given this country stability over the generations—and it is that stability that Europe wants. Noble Lords may have heard the various comments from the United States in recent years about our position in Europe. The United States believes that that Britain brings stability to Europe. We are a leader in Europe—or, to be more precise, we were. In my judgment, we have lost that role to some extent in recent years because we have been the reluctant member.

I sometimes think that the arguments which UKIP uses for coming out of Europe almost reflect those which the SNP uses for coming out of the United Kingdom. They are similar arguments. Yet if you are a member of a powerful, successful and stable economic and political union, there are a lot of good arguments for staying part of it and being a leader within it. It was Britain’s role to be a leader. We are no longer the leaders of the world, as we were in the 19th century and early 20th century. We are no longer one of the top three powers, as we were for some 20 years or so in the post-1945 period. But, by heaven, we are an immensely powerful country in Europe. That leadership role which we had in Europe is one that we can have again—if we stop behaving like the spoiled child who tears up the textbooks when we do not like them.

A lot of things need change in Europe. Everything that has been said about the bureaucratic bits is right—but who is good at legislating to get rid of them, and legislating for the structures that enable you to have the rule of law and a laws-based society? We are. So I strongly urge everybody who wants to take part in this debate to think of our political role as a leading nation in Europe, which can set the terms of the EU and make it continue to be a successful, peaceful economic and political union. It gives so much to our people that we are in danger of losing. The arguments for it are very clear, and they are political as well as economic.

6.29 pm

Lord Tugendhat (Con): My Lords, this should be a great national debate. The noble Lord, Lord Soley, and my noble friend Lord Jopling in their speeches raised the level of the debate to where it ought to be. But it is also a debate within the Conservative Party. I very much associate myself with the remarks of my noble friends Lord Howard, Lord Howell and Lord Gilbert, in his notable maiden speech, who talked about the need for people within the Conservative Party to conduct the debate in a civilised fashion and to bear in mind that, after the referendum, we will still need to live together and govern together. That is something which, I hope, will colour the way in which the debate is conducted, at least on the Conservative side.

I believe that the Government’s White Paper, The Best of Both Worlds, should be seen as something of a prospectus. As such, it is open, like all such documents, to criticism; in years to come, aspects of it may turn out to have been mistaken. That is the nature of documents of that sort. But like it or not—and some

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noble Lords do not like it—it is a serious attempt to set out the nature of this country’s special position within the European Union following the Prime Minister’s successful negotiations. It gives companies a basis on which to plan their investments and supply chains; it gives individuals the opportunity to plan their careers and retirements, for those who live in other parts of the Union; it gives the Government the basis on which to plan important aspects of our economic and foreign policy and security co-operation with other member states, as mentioned by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup, in his eloquent intervention; and it gives our partners and allies within and outside the European Union a degree of confidence in the reliability of this country and its effectiveness as a partner and ally.

The weakness of those who wish to withdraw from the European Union is that they have no similar document or even a coherent set of ideas about what Britain’s position outside the European Union would actually look like. They have been campaigning for many years for an in/out referendum; they have believed that, if such a referendum occurred, the country would vote to leave. Yet they have come completely unprepared into the battle. This shows the very great difficulty of drawing up a coherent plan of what this country’s role and position should be if we are not within the European Union. When one looks at the leaders of the out campaign, one finds that Mr Carswell has one view, Mr Farage has another view—and Mr Johnson, of course, has several views.

We all recognise that a vote to leave will lead to a period of uncertainty; I think that everybody accepts that. The present trade relations with the European Union will have to be unwound and replaced—likewise, those with other countries where our trade relations are governed by EU agreements. This will take a long time. I do not know how long it will take, but it will certainly take years rather than months, and people who invoke the Canada free trade agreement are surely aware that that took five years to negotiate and has still not been ratified. Parliament, meanwhile, will be dominated by the changes required to domestic legislation derived from the European Union. This will cover agricultural support, aspects of social policy, competition policy, the structural funds, the involvement of our scientific research with EU programmes and many other things. The Government will not just be dealing with international negotiations—we will be dealing with a massive programme of legislation in this Parliament, which will make the conduct of government, whichever party is in power, exceptionally difficult.

So when the people who wish to leave the European Union accuse those who point out these difficulties of indulging in Project Fear, what they really mean is that they do not have the answers to some very difficult questions. In that respect, they are in a very similar position to Mr Alex Salmond during the Scottish referendum, when he could not answer vital questions about the currency and other issues. But at least Mr Salmond knew the destination that he was aiming for—on that point he was quite clear—whereas, so far, I have not heard from those who wish to leave the European Union a coherent explanation of the destination to which they are going.

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6.35 pm

Lord Thomas of Swynnerton (CB): I hope I may be allowed to speak as a euro-Thatcherite, a designation of a very important political party, at the moment rather small but nevertheless eloquent and hopeful, in that we believe that we should carry through the reforms that Lady Thatcher created or inspired in this country, and also carry them through in the European Union. Some wise men have been able to speculate authoritatively about the attitude that Lady Thatcher might have had towards the questions posed about our referendum at the moment. Such foresight has been denied me. All that I can say is that I know that she would have disliked the idea of a referendum intensely, being historically well informed and knowing that a referendum has always been seen, in France and elsewhere, as an aid to dictatorship.

After the tumult of the referendum is over, it would be desirable to investigate why and how the British gave up their love of traditional representative government for all political decisions and adopted this alien plebiscitary procedure. Let us not have another one in our lifetimes, if ever. In this respect at least, let us draw closer to the United States, which has never had a referendum and has never even contemplated one, as far as I know. It would seem strange that the presence of the United States has never been mentioned very much as the alternative by those who wish to withdraw from the European Union. The idea of drawing closer to the United States does not seem the obvious solution.

Incidentally, we know where the British tradition would stand in relation to the referendum. Edmund Burke would have told his electors in Bristol very sharply about the iniquity of the idea, and I suspect that this would have been one occasion when William Pitt the Younger would have agreed with Edmund Burke 100%.

I turn to the specific subject of the debate, on which I have five observations. First, the exclusion that the Prime Minister has arranged from the idea of ever-closer union affecting us, may turn out to mean less than it sounds, because it will probably be the motto or frame in which the other 27 countries will continue to work. I think myself that it is highly likely that we shall see in the next 50 years the creation of a European superstate of which this country will not be part. We shall have a relation with it and perhaps a creative relationship, but it will not be that of membership.

Secondly, somewhere in The Best of Both Worlds, the document that we are discussing, there should be some reference to the fact that, regardless of migration, taxation and other important political preoccupations, we should have some recognition that this country is intellectually, culturally and spiritually a real part of Europe, and has always been so. Thirdly, in relation to ever-closer union, the language of that document leaves much to be desired. Is it actually possible that a government White Paper can speak of a, “burden reduction implementation mechanism”? I am afraid it does, twice, in footnote 7 on page 14 and in the last line of paragraph 2.38 on page 19.

Fourthly, it is desirable to recall that the preamble to the 1949 NATO treaty gives us our fundamental security, for it speaks of the alliance which binds us

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and inspires us being founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. As my noble and gallant friend Lord Stirrup pointed out in his remarkable speech, these are the essential pillars of our security.

Fifthly, contrary to the often eloquent opinions of noble colleagues, friends who I admire, the document is a remarkable agreement reached by a Britain determined to maintain itself as an independent nation state with a group of friendly allies, some of whom, for diverse reasons, as I rather suggested, will want to pursue a more united destiny. Of course there are weaknesses in the White Paper. The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, was quite right to draw attention to the lack of wisdom in using the word “never”. One should never use the word “never” in politics, as was said by the Minister of State who said that we would never leave Cyprus in 1957. It was Henry Hopkinson, later Lord Colyton.

The noble Viscount, Lord Astor, was quite right to draw our attention to the need for further work on the details of the arrangements. With such revisions, we could, in the long run, devise a very good manifesto for a new deal which would live up to the inspiring words of Franklin Roosevelt 60 years ago.

I shall end on a different note: keep your implementation mechanism dry.

6.42 pm

Viscount Trenchard (Con): My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing this important debate. I spent many years living and working in Japan, and I have seen how Japanese people in business and politics view the UK and the EU. I was proud to be vice-chairman of the European Business Council in Japan but holding that office did not require me to support the subjugation of English law to EU law or the adoption by the UK of EU political and judicial structures.

I have also worked in Brussels, where I was amazed at the excessive construction of huge buildings housing thousands of civil servants duplicating or taking over functions previously carried out by member states’ own Civil Services. We are, of course, fortunate in having my noble friend Lord Hill of Oareford as European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. As he pointed out in his letter to the Times yesterday, he has brought forward two pieces of legislation, which have been warmly welcomed by the City, to kick-start securitisation to support lending and to simplify the requirements of the prospectus directive. However, there is no reason why our Financial Conduct Authority, freed from its subjugation to the European regulators, could not have introduced such measures. Besides, we cannot expect that the next British commissioner would be appointed to the same office. My noble friend’s predecessor, Michel Barnier, introduced the unnecessary and harmful alternative investment fund managers directive, even though there was little appetite in Brussels, until recently, to legislate to regulate a business sector that is principally based in the UK.

I wholeheartedly support doing everything that makes sense for us to do in collaboration with other European countries, many of which are members of NATO, which guarantees our national security. Our trade in

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both goods and services would not be much affected whether we leave or remain in the EU. I am quite confident that we could negotiate a satisfactory agreement with the EU and believe that we should resume our membership of EFTA. In addition to that, as proposed by the late Ronald Stewart-Brown of the Trade Policy Research Centre, we could negotiate to stay in Europe for trade through a new intergovernmental customs union agreement with the EU with full UK voting participation in customs union policy decisions and internal market harmonised trade regulation. We would be free to negotiate our own new agreements with other countries in areas such as trade in services and investment, which are currently EU competencies.

Just as Japanese companies and other international direct investors were unduly worried about our deciding not to join the euro, they are now unduly worried for similar reasons about the possibility of Brexit. I find they are considerably reassured if it is explained to them that the UK could expect to conclude a satisfactory basis of continuing to trade with the EU. In spite of the sterling efforts of my noble friend Lord Hill, our financial services industry is increasingly constrained by the EU supervisory and regulatory regime under which it is required to operate. On its own, the UK would never have chosen to introduce much of this EU financial services and insurance regulation. Most of our financial services and insurance exports to the rest of the EU are wholesale in nature and therefore not dependent on the UK’s EU membership. Arguably, the single market in services, especially financial services and insurance, is much more about EU integration through EU-wide legislation than it is about trade liberalisation. I believe the downside risks for the City of a well-negotiated UK withdrawal from the EU would be quite limited and comfortably outweighed by the benefits of being able to offer a more attractive and less cumbersome UK regulatory regime to foreign and UK investors, both for business with Europe and for exports to the larger, fast-growing markets in the rest of the world, free of the burden of inappropriate UK regulation.

I salute the Prime Minister for his dogged determination in trying to achieve as many as possible of the promises that he made to the electorate, but the negotiation process has revealed clearly just how difficult it is to get even relatively minor restrictions on benefits payments to migrants agreed, as just one example of how impotent we have become.

Many people argue that it would be a leap in the dark and involve too much risk for the UK to leave but, on balance, I believe that the greater risk for the UK lies in remaining a full member of an institution which, in order to recover from its current problems, needs to move in the opposite direction from where I believe we want to move. The eurozone needs to integrate and share more sovereignty, and I believe we will be less comfortable as a member of a more integrated EU as it moves inexorably towards statehood than we are now, notwithstanding the protections obtained by the Prime Minister for non-eurozone countries.

If our withdrawal from the EU were to deal a fatal blow to the European project, it might ironically force our European partners to morph the EU into a looser association based on free trade or free trade plus to

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which we might in turn be happy to belong. If associate member or trade member status were available for us now, I would certainly vote to remain, but the special status offered to us is not special enough and is not fundamentally different from the special status we have enjoyed before as a result of our various opt-outs. The train that we have boarded continues to travel in a direction in which we do not want to go, and now we have an opportunity to get off it. On balance, I think we should take it.

6.49 pm

Baroness Young of Old Scone (Lab): My Lords, I am going to speak about something completely different. Some of the overwhelming reasons for remaining in the European Union have already been rehearsed—and for me they are compelling. They include 70 years without a major European or world war, economic arguments of preferential access to the single market, and the boost to our international influence by being part of a major power block capable of holding its own with the US, China and Russia in an uncertain and increasingly dangerous world.

There is, however, another reason as powerful as these—the environment. For the sake of our environment, on which human existence and prosperity depends, we must remain in the European Union. There are four reasons for that. First, the environment is no respecter of national boundaries—for example, half of our air pollution goes to Europe and it generously sends half of its pollution to us. The health of our seas, our migratory species of fish and birds and butterflies, and international patterns of waste management all depend on member states of the EU working together across national boundaries to negotiate, monitor and enforce common environmental standards.

Secondly, the vast majority of UK environmental standards are drawn from EU legislation: water and air quality, waste management, protection of wildlife sites and species of conservation importance, and the impact of chemicals on the environment and human health. Working together at an EU level, member states have been more ambitious than they would have been working separately and have worked harder on common implementation. Back in the 1980s, the UK was known as the “dirty man of Europe”, when we pumped raw sewage regularly into the seas and produced more sulphur dioxide and acid rain than any other European nation. We could have done something about this as the UK standing alone, but we did not. Since then, collectively working with our EU partners—egging each other on, as it were—we reached EU agreements that meant that sulphur dioxide pollution fell by almost 90% over 20 years. Now, 600 UK beaches are safe and pleasant to bathe on—apart from the dreadful weather—where fewer than 50 were previously. We no longer lose 15% of our most important sites for nature conservation every year in this country, which was the case before the habitats and birds directive was enacted.

Thirdly, the EU also brings environmental benefits beyond its borders. Collectively, the EU has muscle on the international environmental stage. It has been the leading voice in calling for international action on a range of conservation challenges and in negotiating

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with the biggest polluters and emitters globally. We would not have had the success that the Paris Climate Change Conference delivered globally without the leadership shown by the EU bloc.

Fourthly, higher environmental standards in Europe are not just about the environment. They drive innovation and technology and reshape markets. The UK has a green economy worth £112 billion and a £5 billion trade surplus in green goods and services. Shared EU standards in the single market can drive that further to the benefit of the UK economy.

What would happen to all this if we left the European Union? The document published today, Alternatives to Membership, outlines the difficult and lengthy processes that we would have to follow. Many of our UK environmental standards are not enshrined in UK law —they simply comply with European regulations. I am not confident that we would see equivalent UK environmental legislation put in place any time soon. Would a post-Brexit Government prioritise the protection and restoration of nature, for example? At best, we might negotiate an economic agreement with the single market that would require us to achieve some EU environmental standards, but we would be in the Norwegian position—if you will pardon the expression—of having to comply but having no influence on the shaping of these standards: the “pay, obey, but no say” position.

Those laws and regulations not covered by single-market rules would simply cease to apply. This would include important issues such as the habitats and birds directive that have driven action to bring threatened species back from the brink and have protected our most iconic and treasured habitats and sites.

We already have experience of what happens to environmental standards that depend entirely on UK law—they are highly vulnerable. Look at what the Chancellor did, at a unilateral stroke, in killing carbon capture and storage development, zero-carbon homes, onshore wind power and the Green Deal. Such fickleness undermines green markets and destroys investor confidence in green industries. EU environmental agreements may take a long time and a lot of effort to negotiate, but once they are there, they provide a degree of certainty for business and investors.

These are the environmental reasons why remaining in the EU is fundamental. If you care about clean water and air, safe beaches, thriving wildlife and an effective approach to climate change—if you care about human health as a result of a chemicals—you can only support remaining in the EU. This is why, a month ago, I co-founded Environmentalists for Europe with Stanley Johnson, Boris’s dad. This is important for two reasons. The first is to demonstrate that there are some sensible Johnsons, but it is also to ensure that people across the UK hear very clearly the case that only by remaining in the EU and working collaboratively with our EU partners can we protect a healthy environment for the people of the UK.

So let us get on with it. Support the statutory instrument. Roll on 23 June. Let us endorse our continuing EU membership so that we can stop trying to pursue isolationism dressed as sovereignty when the environment is not amenable to national boundaries or actions and so that we can focus on the much more important

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task of achieving more for shared security, economic development and a common environment through collaboration.

6.55 pm

Lord Fairfax of Cameron (Con): My Lords, in view of what I am about to say, I would like to make one point clear at the start. I am no cake-filled, misery-laden little Englander—or whatever phrase it was that a citizen of this country disparagingly made about this country recently. I happen to speak four European languages with varying degrees of competence and have spent a large part of my life working and living, on some occasions, in European countries with great pleasure. Time is obviously very tight today. I recently heard from the Minister that we will have more opportunities to debate this subject between now and 23 June. So I will confine my remarks to one point today.

First, I will make two preliminary comments. As everyone knows, what has become the European Union was started after World War 2, primarily by France and Germany as the European Coal and Steel Community out of, as my noble friend Lord Jopling said, an understandable desire that they should not fight each other again any time soon. My father, who was a Member of this place, along with many of his contemporaries who had lived through the war, was a keen supporter of Europe, if I may call it that. But as we know, what we now have bears very little resemblance to that first body. What started life as a trade organisation has grown into a political behemoth full of pretensions but also shot through with defects and weaknesses.

Of course, the clue is in the name: “the European Union”. Throughout this debate, and generally, people refer to this body as “the EU”. So just to remind ourselves of the inexorable direction of travel, let us call it “the European Union” and not by the shorthand.

I come now to my main point. I want to compare my right honourable friend the Prime Minister’s 2013 Bloomberg speech, which I have recently read with great approval, with what in fact he brought back from his recent frantic negotiations. I ask whether it is reasonable for him to recommend the package achieved to the British people, given the pre-negotiation promise he made—that if he did not consider that what he had achieved was satisfactory, he would not recommend it to us.

As those of your Lordships who have read the Bloomberg speech will know, in it the Prime Minister set out his frank views of what is wrong with the European Union today and his vision of the ways it needs to reform itself, as well as the changes he regarded as essential to the UK’s relationship to the European Union.

The Prime Minister began by saying:

“For us, the EU is a means to an end—prosperity, stability, the anchor of freedom and democracy both within Europe and beyond her shores—not an end in itself”.

He went on to set out what he saw as the three major challenges facing the EU: first, how the eurozone problems are driving fundamental change in Europe; secondly, what he quite rightly called the “crisis of European competitiveness”; and, thirdly, the increasing gap between the EU and its citizens.

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Regarding competiveness, he said:

“Europe’s share of world output is projected to fall by almost a third in the next two decades”.

Regarding the democratic deficit, he said that,

“there is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf”.

He commented that,

“the biggest danger to the EU comes not from those who advocate change but from those who denounce new thinking as heresy”.

Perhaps that comment might be rather relevant to this debate.

Finally, he said:

“My point is this. More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the eurozone. More of the same will not see the EU keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the EU any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same—less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs”.

In summary, I would say that it was a call for fundamental reform both of the EU itself and of our relationship with it. He went on in his Bloomberg speech to suggest four or five remedies for these three challenges: competitiveness, flexibility, the repatriation of powers and more democratic accountability and fairness.

Now let us look at what he brought back. First, I acknowledge sincerely the great personal effort that the Prime Minister obviously put into these negotiations in very difficult circumstances. I understand that a fig leaf normally has three or five lobes—but the Prime Minister has settled on four points, which are in the document that we are considering today. The first is,

“permanent protection for the pound and … guarantees that”,

the UK,

“will never be required to bail out the eurozone”.

The second is,

“commitments from the EU to cut red tape, complete the Single Market and sign new trade deals”.

The third is,

“formal agreement that … the UK is carved out of ‘ever closer union’”,

and the fourth is,

“new powers to tackle the abuse of free movement”,

of EU citizens to protect the UK’s benefit system.

Putting aside for now questions about whether these points, about which there remain concerns, are legally binding, do they amount to the fundamental reform that the PM set out in his Bloomberg speech? Are they in fact new at all or simply restatements of existing norms? With great respect for all the hard work that the PM put in, with the exception of the very thin concessions conceded to allay our immigration concerns, no, they do not and are not.

I was going to detail the essential shortcomings of the deal but it seems that this may not necessary. On this key point, please listen not to me but to no less than the written words of Global Counsel, the consulting arm of the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, who I note is not in his place. Global Counsel comments that the Prime Minister’s deal,

“includes no new ‘opt outs’, no UK veto on unwanted financial services legislation and no repatriation of powers”.

As they say in court, no further questions.

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This brings to my final point, as I am looking at the clock. I wish that the Prime Minister had been a little more candid with the British people about what he had brought back. He could have said, “Look, I haven’t been able to achieve what I set out to, so, in accordance with my promise, I therefore have to recommend that you do not accept it”. Secondly, he could have said, “Look, this is the best deal that I could do in all the very difficult circumstances, and you just have to accept that. Let’s get on with it because of the impossibility”—as the current government document says—“of a prosperous and secure life for the UK outside the EU”. I regret that the Prime Minister would appear to have pulled the wool over the eyes of the British people. They have got used to this in relation to Europe over the years, and I regret that it may come back to bite him in a painful place on 23 June.

In his Bloomberg speech, the Prime Minister stated that,

“the democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer-thin”.

For the reasons that I have tried to set out in these brief remarks, the wafer may be about to break.

7.04 pm

Lord Mawson (CB): My Lords, I am one of the many millions of people in this country who remain undecided about our future in Europe. I do not claim to be an expert but I have enjoyed the many hours of meetings in your Lordships’ House on European Union committees debating the issues surrounding the attempts to bring 28 different countries together and get them to function as a family of nations.

As a family, we have a home in France and love going there and immersing ourselves in its very different culture, history and traditions. We welcome the fact that France is not like the UK and sees the world very differently from ourselves. That is a very good thing. There are 26 other countries besides ourselves and France that also enrich this diverse community that we call the European Union. Diversity, not uniformity, is the spice of life. We are told by scientists that biodiversity, not equality and fairness, is the very building block of life. Difference is the key to our very existence. The world is not and never has been equal and fair; it is gloriously diverse.

When we embraced this truth, many years ago now, in the middle of an international community in the East End of London in very challenging housing estates, our life and work began to grow, and jobs, skills, businesses and opportunities started to flourish around us in what was formerly a dependency culture. People came together in a shared enterprise. Maybe there is a clue in the micro as to what we must now do in the macro. Unity in real diversity is the name of the game, but can the agreement deliver that reality?

I come to this debate with an interest in business and social justice. I am an entrepreneur and a practical Yorkshireman. For me as an undecided who welcomes this referendum and this debate, the key issues are practical ones, not theoretical or emotional. I have sat on EU committees and listened to senior colleagues from across Europe being emotional about “the project”,

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with actually too little to say about how in practice you make all this governance machinery work. There needs to be a little more humility on all sides of the argument, and the British public know that. The electorate need practical examples of how the EU will work successfully, not large meaningless numbers and spin—they do not believe it.

The questions I am struggling with as a person who gets the point of deep quality trading relationships across Europe are as follows. First, it is all about delivery. Can the 28 countries, when they come together, actually deliver for those children who may well be drowning in the Mediterranean in June when this vote takes place? It may well be such images, or the lack of them, that define the outcome of this referendum. As a Member of this House I have had the privilege of listening to colleagues examining the numerous organisations that the EU has created to deal with the challenging issues of our time, but are they capable of working together, of putting a practical act together when it really counts, or is the EU a fair-weather organisation? Can it deliver on the euro, the security of our borders, migration and defence? Major General Julian Thompson’s arguments about ending the defence myth are a serious challenge. Are the EU organisations capable of working together, or is it all politics and hot air when it really counts? Have we invested in the relationship-building at a practical level to enable this machinery to work?

Secondly, while party politics is not my bag and I am not a great believer in the proposals of the late Tony Benn and what he had to say, I liked the man, and on the issue of democracy and being able to get rid of our rulers when they mess up he had an important point. If we sign up to yes, how do we get rid of these people if it does not work? I have engaged enough with EU funding systems at a practical level to know that they are a bureaucratic nightmare to deal with. Sometimes in the early days, as a small charity in east London, it felt as if we were carrying Europe for over eight months before it paid its bills. It certainly never seemed to be a learning organisation that was capable of learning from innovation and what was actually happening on the ground in some of our most challenging housing estates in multicultural communities.

Does the EU help us to share our knowledge and skills or is it a hindrance? Is the EU a learning organisation? I am not a purist when it comes to democracy, but there are real democratic questions here. How do we get rid of our rulers in this deal that we are about to do if they cannot actually rule us and deliver for our people and if they are indeed incapable of learning from real-life experience in other communities across Europe? By the way, have our Brexit colleagues any idea how many zeros will be on the lawyers’ fees if we leave? Nice work if you can get it.

Thirdly, are the changes that the Prime Minister says he has won for us real, or will some wily civil servants in Europe water them all down—I have seen this before—and find a hundred reasons why this is all so difficult legally? Yes, they are the right direction of travel. We do not want more Europe, we do not want no Europe, we do want less Europe, but can this be made legal? Is Europe really up for the radical changes

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some in this House are rightly asking for, or is it an institution incapable of the real reform it so desperately needs for a new generation that is increasingly defined by innovation and entrepreneurship?

Fourthly, I am not persuaded by the large numbers that are bandied about in this debate on all sides by politicians, most of whom have never tried to make any of this work in practice on the ground. They have not themselves tested the systems for real in trade and the rest; they have sat on committees talking about them. I have found in life that most numbers such as these are meaningless in practice. I long for some of our politicians to stop hiding behind numbers and to take us carefully through one or two small and real examples of how this will work in practice for a real SME or business struggling to trade in Europe. Let them show us the systems—top, middle and bottom, warts and all—and explain how they will change in practice to facilitate more trade and interaction. Let us get into these details.

The British public long to see real debate with real players on the ground. What will it be like for SMEs in practice if these changes happen? Will anything change in the real world? Come on politicians and media: give the British people the practical evidence—show us the micro. I have run out of time, but I long to hear practical examples of what all this means. We have four months; let us have the examples.

7.11 pm

Lord Stevens of Ludgate (UKIP): My Lords, the Government’s scare stories are an attempt to justify their failure to achieve any real reform of the EU. If leaving is going to be such an unmitigated disaster, why on earth did they run the risk that the UK would vote to leave?

Various options if or when we withdraw have been mentioned. Let us look at Norway as an example. A recent statement by a senior Norwegian Minister said that, in the run-up to the referendum in 1994, the yes campaign warned of recession and unemployment if Norway stayed outside the EU. More than 20 years later, Norway is trading more than ever with EU countries and with the rest of the world. Unemployment in Norway is at a much lower level than in most EU countries. As it is outside the common agricultural policy, Norway is free to have an agricultural policy in accordance with local needs. It is outside the common fisheries policy. It is not part of the euro, so monetary policy is set in Norway for Norway. It is not part of the EU’s attempt to co-ordinate tax, so Norway is free to set taxes and duties as it wishes.

Some people say that Norway is forced to accept all EU regulations. In fact, despite the EEA agreement, most EU regulations do not apply to Norway. Between 2000 and 2013, Norway adopted just over 4,700 directives and regulations through the agreement. In the same period, the EU adopted 52,183 pieces of legislation. Of all EU legislation, only 9% was adopted into the EEA agreement. Surely, if we went the Norwegian route, which I am not advocating, we could do much better, as we are the fifth largest economy in the world. Even Lichtenstein—an EEA and EFTA state—has an exemption from free movement.

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Let us look at the scares about our exports. To which European country do we export the most? It is Germany, with which we have a huge trade deficit. The UK is the only EU member state that sells more outside the EU than to other members. Due to the conflicting demands of 28 members, the EU has still not concluded a trade deal with the United States. How much easier it would be for the UK to do it on its own. After all, Peru and Australia have such deals. Staying in the EU is the biggest risk of all. Its share of world GDP is falling year by year, from 30% in 1980 to 16% now, and by 2020 estimates are it will be smaller than that of NAFTA and the Commonwealth.

It is a fallacy to believe that our relationship with Brussels will remain the same if we vote to stay. If that happens, the EU will regard it as the go-ahead to impose even more integration; our special status will be treated with the normal contempt. The remorseless process of enlargement will soon see membership extended to Turkey and Bosnia with their Muslim population of more than 80 million.

Can we trust the EU? In 2011, Mr Cameron secured in the clearest possible language a written guarantee that the UK would not be required to bail out the euro. He has got it again. He made that opt-out a plank of his general election campaign, yet one month later he was obliged to pledge £850 million to bail out Greece. Three months after that, he was obliged to pay the £1.7 billion “prosperity surcharge” that he first described as completely unacceptable. Given this record, how can we trust any assurance from Brussels?

If we were not a member, would we join? Perhaps we share the views of the Business Secretary, Mr Javid, an in campaigner. He said:

“It’s clear now that the United Kingdom should never have joined the European Union. In many ways, it’s a failing project, an overblown bureaucracy in need of wide-ranging and urgent reform”.

If that is the voice of the in campaign, we do not need an out campaign at all. The real scare story is staying in an unreformed EU with still no control of our borders and subject to bureaucrats we cannot vote out and who have made it clear they do not care what we think. There are 195 sovereign nations in the world and 167 manage without being members of the EU. Withdrawal from the EU is the safe option. Our continued membership is a further leap into the economic chaos created by the euro and uncontrolled migration.

7.16 pm

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I have found it very interesting sitting through this debate. I have heard some voices from the backwoods I have never heard before. I have had the strange experience of my noble friends Lords Radice and Mandelson asking me to support the Prime Minister. I do support the Prime Minister in one sense: I am going to urge people to vote to remain.

However, David Cameron has made an awful mess of referenda. He has shown no skill, no judgment, and no ability to deal with them. Now we are ending up with a lame duck Prime Minister—because that is what he is—leading us into an unnecessary referendum on Europe. Many of us on this side argued that it was

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unnecessary. Referenda have not, until recently, been part of our British constitution. There were no major changes in treaties that required us to have a referendum. Above all, there was no demand from the public for a referendum. It was a device to paper over divisions in the Tory party. It has not worked very well on that, has it? We now have the position where the Prime Minister’s great friends on the other side of the argument are rubbishing him, and the Tory party is riven even more than ever before.

We have already seen the Prime Minister’s incompetence on referenda in Scotland. He conceded to the nationalists in maladroit negotiations on the timing of the referendum. The SNP chose it to suit itself. The wording of the question made sure that the SNP was on the yes side and could accuse those of us who wanted to save the union as being negative. He conceded on all other aspects including the franchise. It was a miracle that the no campaign triumphed in that referendum and we saved the union. Much of the credit goes to my noble friend Lord Darling rather than to the Prime Minister, who turned victory in that referendum into defeat with his statement in the morning on English votes for English laws. As a result, the SNP surged to victory in the general election, as far as Scotland was concerned.

Once again, it is left to the rest of us to save the Union—this time, it is the European Union. I think the European Union is a real-life miracle. As the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, and others have said, a continent riven by two world wars in the first half of the 20th century has had no major conflict for 70 years. We have 28 countries with 25 languages, different cultures, different histories, working together united in a common endeavour—that is a true-life miracle.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of travelling the world. The European Union is the envy of countries in other regions. They would like to copy it—to copy the peace and prosperity. I have seen it in central America, the Caribbean and the Far East. The UKIP people can laugh, but they are the cynics in this. I have seen people around the world who recognise the triumph of the European Union.

It is true, as others have said, that it is not perfect. However, it is those of us who treasure the ideal of the European Union who are the first to recognise this and want it to change. Take the criticism about the lack of democracy. Was not it strange when we heard the noble Lord, Lord Howard, attacking democracy from this, the only non-elected legislative Chamber in the European Union, something that we on this side want to change so that we can have a senate of the nations and regions? It really was ridiculous to hear that, and I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, joined me in that criticism. Take sovereignty. It is not about removing sovereignty but sharing sovereignty. When we see the power held by the multinationals, the banks and other large institutions, it is clear that the only way we can deal with them on behalf of the people we represent—or at least those in the other Chamber represent—is by working together through multinational organisations such as the European Union. Pooling sovereignty gives us more power. Some people say that we have lost identity by being part of the

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European Union. But the French are no less French and the Italians are no less Italian by being part of the European Union. The paradox is that the United Kingdom, which to some extent has never had a proper identity as a United Kingdom, is developing that within the European Union because we see ourselves as an important part of that.

One of the key issues in this debate and in the referendum is this: what is the alternative? The leave side has failed and will continue to fail to define any alternative. We have heard Norway mentioned. On Monday, I had the pleasure of being at a seminar with a Member of the Norwegian Parliament, who urged me against trying to follow them because, as others have said, Norway has to take the decisions of the European Union without the power to change them.

Labour is united in this campaign. The Tories are hopelessly divided. The members of the SNP are pretending that they want to stay but praying that England votes no and Scotland votes yes so that another referendum for independence in Scotland is triggered—just as Sturgeon confided in the French ambassador that she wanted Cameron to continue as Prime Minister; unfortunately for her, that leaked out.

The European Union has been good for working people, for the environment—as my noble friend Lady Young said—for health and safety, for jobs and for working conditions. Our vision is of a socialist Europe with socialist and social democratic Governments around the continent. I do not expect those on the other side to support that, but I know they have their own vision of Europe. However, as we face 16 long weeks of campaigning, I hope that all of us on the stay side will emphasise the positive vision of peace and prosperity that we in this Chamber have seen for the past 50, 60 and 70 years. We should not deny that to our children and our grandchildren.

7.23 pm

Lord Selsdon (Con): My Lords, I suffer from a great disadvantage in that during the last referendum I was secretary and treasurer of the Conservative Group for Europe, where everyone was going to provide a large amount of money. But I found at the end of the day—on the coldest day of all, driving from Sheffield in an open-top car, frozen stiff—that I was presented with a rather large bill. I did not know what to do, and then someone who would become one of my noble friends said, “My dear chap, give a dinner party and tell the truth”. So, with a little bit of influence from the officials, we managed to have the first dinner in the banqueting hall with a note arranged by others to say, “Please each of you pay enough money to let the poor lad off his debt”.

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, reminded me that I have never understood who Confucius was, and I have been very confused by much of what I have seen— I have read most of the data and most of the briefs. However, I am told that there will be no claim for full benefits for up to four years for immigrants, and I think that that is rather nice. I am told also that 44% of all UK exports go to the EU now—I would query that, but it is a significant figure; that 50% of all foreign investment in the UK comes from the EU; and

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that £20 billion of trade deals are under way for the UK, including those with the US. This is all really rather encouraging.

The debate today is not really about trade but is perhaps a matter of organisation. I was always brought up to believe that investment follows trade. We have an extremely good trading position at the moment: we have surpluses on manufacturers, for some of them for the first time, and we do not have a balance of payment problem. The economy is doing extremely well. However, having read that 44% of all UK exports go to the EU and 50% of all foreign investment comes from the EU, I was concerned, because I was not sure how and where those figures are. We have no economic problems, but we have certain emotional problems.

I have no intention of speaking for any longer, because I have spoken already on this. However, I congratulate the Government on what they have done. If it is presented in the right way, we can go off for a period of security. I thank the Minister very much for what she did the last time; it was a very difficult time and I should like to have raised a lot of other issues. However, I am content with what I have seen and read, and I wish the Government all success.

7.26 pm

Lord Lee of Trafford (LD): My Lords, it was primarily the changed attitude to Europe that caused me to leave the Conservative Party in 1997. In my resignation letter to my then association chairman, I wrote:

“The Conservative’s new Eurosceptic policy certainly puts clear water between itself and the opposition—it is just that I feel happier on the other shore! It is not I who have changed my beliefs and my approach—it is the Conservative Party that has changed, I believe for the worse”.

Many of those Eurosceptic Tories are still around today. Nothing negotiated by the Prime Minister would have satisfied them. They have never spoken favourably about Europe, opposing anything and everything European over the years. Thankfully, the coming referendum has a much broader electorate than just the Conservative Party, which is patently split down the middle.

I am delighted that our young people are substantially in favour of remaining in Europe. Indeed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I would give those under 30 two votes each because it is their future that we are talking about—the octogenarians and septuagenarians like me have had our future.

I believe that the arguments for staying in are overwhelming and, indeed, overwhelmingly supported —by international statesmen; by virtually all our senior politicians across the political divide, past and present; by virtually all our former military chiefs; by the vast majority of our major trading companies; by the 80% of the Engineering Employers Federation who, in conference, recently voted in favour of remaining; by the vast majority in the City; by nearly all our trade unions; almost certainly by the National Farmers’ Union; by those engaged in overseas aid; by most university vice-chancellors; and by the tourist industry, with 80% of UKinbound voting to remain.

Of course, if we pulled out, Europe would still want to trade with us, but as we would have so publicly snubbed Europe, it would not make is easy for us.

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Indeed, why should it? It would adopt, I suggest, a very tough approach, not least because it would want to discourage any other country from following Britain in making a UDI and breaking away. A vote for Brexit would be a vote for the certain devaluation of the pound. Goldman Sachs, HSBC and UBS have all forecast that the devaluation of the pound could be up to 20%. It would be a vote for economic uncertainty and upheaval at a time when the world economy is fragile. It would unquestionably weaken military co-operation, could put our energy supplies at risk, and would most certainly cause some businesses to part-relocate or invest elsewhere.

Today we face a range of global problems—tragically, so many refugees, terrorism, human trafficking, drugs and third-world poverty. It is manifestly obvious that these are best tackled internationally and in co-operation with others. To pull up the drawbridge, to retreat behind national walls, swathing ourselves in the union jack and droning on about sovereignty, would be a disaster for this country and for Europe. In short, we would be taking the “Great” out of Great Britain.

I have faith in the good sense of our people. I believe that on 23 June they will vote decisively to stay in, and that the overall majority will be much greater than any today imagine.

7.30 pm

Lord Spicer (Con): I shall be very brief, not because I cannot think of anything to say, but because others have said most of it before me. I want to begin by asking what is likely to determine the outcome of the referendum. I do not think it will be the mechanical efficiency of the campaigns and so on; it will be the self-churning groundswell of public mood. I sense that that groundswell is beginning to work towards coming out of the EU because people are increasingly weary of the bossiness of a distant Government over the choice of which they, the people, had little say.

I realise that Britain joined the common market for economic reasons and was prepared to pay a political price for that. For Germany it was the other way round; it joined for political reasons and was prepared to pay an economic price. One accepts that the problem arises for quite the opposite reason from that which people have been saying in this debate. It is clear that the economic case is on a sharp decline. Britain is in there, but we are in a rather sluggish market, rather a miserable market in many ways. Above all, we are a member of an institution that cannot even negotiate modern trade agreements. That is rather like not being able to organise a party in a brewery.

It is quite incredible that we do not yet have a modern trading treaty with Japan, the United States or China. In my view, that can be explained by the fact that we are dealing through a protectionist organisation. If we had done it ourselves, contrary to what the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, said, and we had negotiated directly as a country, we would have achieved modern trading agreements with those areas. That is because we believe in free trade; we invented free trade. The EU is a protectionist organisation. It does not believe in free trade so it is constantly on the back foot when it is negotiating.

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It has been said today that Britain could not negotiate its own treaties. That is the exact reverse of the truth. I am approached sometimes as the person who was the pain in the neck during the passage of the Maastricht Bill and asked whether I was wasting my time and, more important, everyone else’s time. I think that we held the fort, kept the door open for progress towards this referendum. It will now be up to the people to decide. I know which way I will vote; it is fairly obvious which way I will vote. That is democracy, and that is the really good thing about what we are discussing.

7.34 pm

Lord Russell of Liverpool (CB): I rise to give a subjective view—an apolitical view—from the Cross Benches and, I hope, a slightly more emotionally continent view than some we have heard this afternoon.

I am a post-war baby boomer. I remember growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, in a slightly grey, post-imperial world. It was a period of industrial and political decline. I can remember the failure of the country to harness what Harold Wilson called the white heat of the technological revolution. It seemed to pass us by rather convincingly as our cars rusted and our aerospace industry became insolvent. But there were some good things. I remember some fantastic music, and swinging London had its upside. So I thought, “What can I do to help this country in its state of decline?”. I did the most helpful thing I could think of and emigrated. From 1971 to 1978 I had an interesting life in the city of Vancouver in Canada. I think I am one-32nd part Cree Indian, so it seemed a natural place to go. I missed a lot of fun: I missed the oil crash in Europe; I missed our entry into the EU; I missed the three-day week and candles left, right and centre; I missed the referendum; I missed the International Monetary Fund rescue. All in all, it was great timing.

In 1981, I made the second wisest decision of my life. The first was marrying Lady Russell, who is an extremely beautiful southern Italian academic. The second was going to a school in France known as l’Institut Europeen d’Administration des Affaires—apologies to Hansard—better known as INSEAD, where one of my colleagues was the wife of the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Stamford. At that time, it was a profoundly eccentric thing to do. The idea that one would actually study business instead of learning it by making a series of mistakes and probably losing rather a lot of money along the way, and the fact that one would do it in France and partly in French, was not fully comprehensible to many people. What did I learn there? I learned to look at the world through a global lens, as a joined-up entity. I had the extraordinary experience of standing in a semi-circle of about 18 different nationalities watching the Falkland conflict unfold, trying to explain to my non-British colleagues that this was not something straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan but was actually happening in front of our eyes. I can remember the outbreak of the hostilities in Lebanon, and I can remember watching and witnessing Israeli colleagues cutting short their stay at INSEAD to go back because they were called up, and Lebanese colleagues doing the same. So I left that school with a visceral sense of the interconnectivity of the world we live in.

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I have since spent 30 years working as a head hunter. We work for a wide range of public and private companies in every single major economy in the world. I can tell you, my Lords, that the UK’s role as a leading member of the EU is fundamental to the way in which the rest of the world values our contribution. Is the EU perfect? In no way. But I would like to share four reflections with your Lordships and ask you to think about them.

First, have all the influential voices, most of whom are job and wealth creators, who have grave concerns about our leaving the EU, all been misled and misunderstood? Secondly, why is it that so many of Brexit’s most prominent political advocates in both Houses of Parliament appear to have had relatively little commercial experience but feel qualified to opine on issues with huge economic consequences for all of us? Thirdly, as I reflect on those leading political proponents of Brexit, does anyone share my unease at the prospect of being governed by individuals several of whom appear to still be unduly influenced by their nannies from early on in their life and still refer to them occasionally in public discourse? Fourthly, as one or two noble Lords have said, what is completely absent in this Chamber is the voice of the future—the 18 to 30 year-olds who will have a vote in June. They are the people who will be living with the consequences of the decision we take, not ourselves.

For those of you who have not seen or heard it, I commend the remarkable speech made in another place by Nicholas Soames. It said all there is to be said about why the EU was created. As I think you can guess, apolitical I may be, but I think that to leave the European Union would be a huge wasted opportunity.

7.40 pm

Lord Cormack (Con): My Lords, it is a privilege to follow that refreshing speech of the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, because at these times in debates one is reminded of the Peer who said, “Everything has been said but not everyone has yet said it”. We are at that stage.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Russell, I want to bring a personal perspective to the debate. I remember the 1975 referendum when I was a relatively new Member of Parliament. What I enjoyed about that most of all was campaigning in my own constituency alongside Labour colleagues. We had the good fortune to have Sir Geoffrey de Freitas and Professor David Marquand to come and stay with us and we went out and campaigned with a degree of enthusiasm and vigour. What has happened since then?

My noble friend Lord Howard made a notable and compelling speech and referred to the EU as flawed and failing. When I go to my weekly meetings of the Sub-Committee on Home Affairs of our European Union Select Committee and I sometimes see the piles of papers, read the jargon and the confusing abbreviations, I have some sympathy with my noble friend. Yet when I do that I think of Dr Johnson, one of the greatest of Englishmen, who, observing a dog dancing on its hind legs said, “The wonder is not that it is doing it badly but that it is doing it at all”.

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Over the past 40 years or more since we have been a member of the European Union, remarkable things have happened and I want to share with your Lordships two brief memories. In 1972, as chairman of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry, I went to help receive a group of people who had been given their exit visas from Moscow at a reception centre in an old castle just outside Vienna. There I met a particularly beautiful girl who spoke the most faultless English. When I said to her, “You must have passed out with the best marks possible”, she laughed and said, “Yes—until the day after my parents got their exit visas. Then I was called in by the rector of the university and told I had failed everything”.

Fast forward 30 years. In 2004 I had the good fortune to take a party from the All-Party Arts and Heritage Group to the Baltic States to that very university in Tartu in Estonia where the girl had virtually been expelled. There we were greeted by the rector, who said how proud he was that Estonia and the other Baltic states were now members of NATO and the European Union. Things like that resonate with me.

When at my home in the lovely city of Lincoln I open my shutters in the morning and look at one of the most glorious buildings in Europe, I am reminded of once replying, when I was asked who I was, “My identity is English”—even though my family come from Scotland—“my nationality is British and my civilisation is European”. Now is not the time, for all its manifest imperfections, for us to turn our backs. As we enter a difficult period in world affairs which will increasingly be dominated by the great power blocs, is this really the time to cut ourselves off from the continent of which we are historically and geographically a part?

I have one reason above all others why I will vote to remain in. The reason is north of the border. The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, talked about the referendum in Scotland. We kept the United Kingdom. Mistakes were made and there was a lurch from complacency to panic. Speeches were made which perhaps should not have been made. We saw some of the consequences when we debated the Scotland Bill in this Chamber two nights ago. However, we are still a United Kingdom. If the vote went to come out there is a real chance—I put it no higher—that within five years not only would we be outside the European Union but the United Kingdom could come to an end.

That has not been mentioned in this debate up to now—so not everything has been said—but every right-thinking citizen of the United Kingdom should contemplate it very carefully before voting no on 23 June. In voting no, not only would we be turning our backs on the European Union in its hour of greatest need when we have a real contribution to make, but we would also, quite possibly, be turning our backs on the greatest and most successful union of nations that has ever occurred.

7.46 pm

Lord Hylton (CB): My Lords, I agree wholeheartedly with the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, that Britain and Ireland remaining in the EU is very important to

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peace in Ireland, north and south. However, I should like to go back 70 years when Sir Winston Churchill said in Brussels:

“I see no reason why, under the guardianship of a world organization, there should not arise the United States of Europe, which will unify this Continent”.

At Fulton, Missouri, after naming the Iron Curtain, he said:

“The safety of the world requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast”.

In Zurich in September 1946 he said:

“If we are to form the United States of Europe … we must begin now”.

In May 1947 at the Albert Hall, he spoke of our own role. He said:

“Britain will have to play her full part as a member of the European family”.

In August 1949 at Strasbourg, he continued:

“There is no reason not to succeed in establishing the structure of this United Europe, whose moral concepts will reap the respect and recognition of humanity”.

Two days later, Churchill emphasised the moral aspects of the Council of Europe and its Assembly.

We neglect at our peril the words of one who led us to victory in 1945. From then on, he kept returning to the theme of European unity. He sensed the need to replace the old empires of Prussia, Austria and Ottoman Turkey, which collapsed in 1918, with something better. He saw that only by united strength could the Soviet empire be resisted, to the point of its collapse.

I am delighted that Sir Winston kept on stressing that Europe is a moral idea to which Britain can make a special contribution. Like him, I want to see a moral Europe—one that protects all its citizens and residents through the rule of law. I desire a Europe that can welcome and resettle a huge variety of refugees—one that rejects the trafficking and slavery of newcomers.

The rebuilding in Bosnia of the famous bridge of Mostar and the Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka are symbols of what can be done. The European movement itself was inspired by the urgent need for reconciliation through the ending of old enmities. This was an idea that could fire people’s moral imagination. Even today, in far more prosperous times, we can surely use our strengths on behalf of the poorest and most disadvantaged.

The Eurosceptics, of whom there are many, have rightly exposed the bureaucracy, lethargy, waste and poor accounting of the EU structures. These, of course, have to be overcome, and so does the democratic deficit. They are reasons for reform, but not for a bad-tempered Britain to turn its back on friends and allies. We should recall that we went to war for the sake of Belgium, Serbia, Poland and much more recently, of Bosnia and Kosovo. We are the natural ally of smaller countries. That was why my grandfather and great-uncle were killed in action in 1916 and 1917. It was also why I appealed for the Baltic states that have been mentioned at the very moment when Saddam Hussein was invading Kuwait.

Above all, we should recall the great-hearted vision of Churchill. That is why we should strive for devolved decision-making at the lowest reasonable level. That is why we should vote for a moral, co-operating and renewed Europe.

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7.52 pm

The Earl of Caithness (Con): My Lords, I recall sitting in this House listening to the debates on the referendum in 1975 and being influenced by their very high quality. We have had some very high-quality speeches today, but I have not been influenced to the same extent yet as I was in 1975. In 1975, there was the danger of isolation of the UK. That was one of the features that came through in the debate.

We are reassured today by the out campaign: “Don’t worry, we are the fifth largest economy in the world. It doesn’t matter if we get out”. In 1975, we were the sixth-largest economy by GDP so I see no difference. I have also been a Minister in Brussels and been prevented from doing what we wanted to do because of the Treaty of Rome and all the frustrations that came with that. I guess that I am a Eurosceptic by nature. I believe that the architecture of the EU is far from perfect.

However, I have concerns on what the Government have proposed. The biggest concern is between the euro and the non-euro countries. There will be a big clash between the pound and the euro in due course. I cannot make up my mind whether we are better off in Europe trying to help to solve that or better off outside. With regard to businesses, I thought that the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, was the best we have heard today. I was very influenced by that speech. But business has changed—we export services; we export digital equipment and knowledge. That is a very different type of export from what we had in 1975. If we are not within Europe, I fear that those great exports will be the ones that suffer. Let us not forget that the EU will require third-party equivalence for any trade deals that they do with this, as it currently does with any other country. It will take far longer than the out campaign has indicated to get any sort of deal with the countries in the EU.

On financial reforms, I disagree very much with what my noble friend Lord Trenchard said. For four years I have been on the European Sub-Committee on Finance, scrutinising the European laws. All the evidence shows that what has been put forward by the EU would have been put forward by our Treasury in any case. It was not an EU matter but a global matter. Just to help my noble friend Lord Trenchard, I can say: do not believe too much in our civil servants. If he reads the report on Defra’s performance with agricultural payments and he remembers all the gold-plating that our civil servants have done to make us more uncompetitive, then perhaps being in Europe is not quite so bad.

The noble Lord, Lord Soley, mentioned research. That was one of the subjects that I wanted to talk about, too, but there is no need to now that he has mentioned it. I am concerned that we will lose a lot in the research world if we are not part of Europe and we will not have that freedom and the benefit that we get from linking up with European universities and business. After 40 years of being in the membership of a club there are bound to be hidden benefits that will not come to light until a decision is made to leave. I mention the European health insurance scheme as one of the many benefits that people in this country will lose should we come out.

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I turn to the other speech that really impressed me, which was that of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup. The West is not a fashionable concept at the moment. The world is a much more dangerous place than it was 10 years ago. To my mind, an effective EU is a vital component of a secure EU and a strong West. We have not banged the drum for some of the achievements of the EU in the past 10 years—on the environment, Burma, Somalian pirates and in Iran. Perhaps that is something that we are not good at—beating the drum. If we vote to come out, the biggest party will not be in the houses of those who lead the out campaign; they will be in Moscow and Beijing. Those are countries that believe they would like to be big because if they are big they can bully their neighbours and make their neighbours’ lives much more uncomfortable. We are lucky; we do not have a border with the great bear with its sharp claws, but Europe does. I was hugely influenced on that finance Sub-Committee when we asked the Lithuanian Minister the benefit of joining the euro. His reply was: defence.

Some of the out campaign speeches have done nothing but supported what Scotland tried to achieve last year, which was independence. They said: “Give us our power back. We want to be independent, away from being controlled by overseas”. That is what some of the Scots wanted. The noble Lord, Lord Lee of Trafford, suggested letting the under 30 year-olds have two votes. If the Scottish under-30s had had two votes there would be a separate Scotland now.

I shall end with a quotation that I used in my maiden speech by that great bard Burns:

“O, wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us to see oursels as others see us”.

How would European partners see us? We have preferential terms now; we will have even more preferential terms if what the Government propose is agreed.

If the out campaign succeeds, I am not at all certain that there will be an EU. I would go further than my noble friend Lord Cormack—he said that there would not be a UK. I do not think there will be an EU as we know it now. In that context let me close by reminding your Lordships that the French voted twice against us joining the EU before we did.

7.59 pm

Lord Davies of Stamford (Lab): My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow the noble Earl. We sit together on the same Sub-Committee, and I endorse everything he said about financial regulation.

It has been a most extraordinary debate. We have had three very original, very lucid, very remarkable speeches from a personal point of view on the subject: one by the noble Lord, Lord Jopling; another by the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool; and the third by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack. I found those particularly inspiring. However, we also had a complete abdication in the debate from those advocating our leaving the European Union. I always believed that the normal rule for rational human discourse was that, if someone had a proposal to make a change, it was for him to argue the case to explain why the change would represent an improvement and how the benefits could be secured. We have heard absolutely none of that.

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Let me get across some of the major activities that we have in common with our partners in the European Union, which we would no longer have if we left. We played a major part in the political co-operation in common foreign policy activity, which has been very useful for world peace. The European Union has been part of the quartet in the Middle East: it played a major role with the United States in achieving accommodation with Iran, which is very important, and in achieving the Minsk agreement with Mr Putin. I put this question to the eurosceptics, such as the noble Lord, Lord Lamont: why is it that we would be better off in performing that role—whether for world peace, or in our own interests—if we no longer sat in the Council of Ministers and were no longer a party to the discussion or to the processes of policy formation and delivery? Similarly, we in the European Union have done a great deal to help the development of emerging countries, both through trade agreements—Cotonou and post-Cotonou—and through the largest aid programme in the world. If the eurosceptics win this referendum, is it their intention that we pull out of that activity altogether? Presumably we cannot be part of a trade agreement, Cotonou or otherwise, if we are no longer part of the European Union. Would we cease to support the projects that are now being supported there, or would we perhaps decide, all on our own, to replicate the structures of project evaluation and supervision and thereby spend a lot of money, which could have been spent for the benefit of the countries we are trying to help? Is that a sensible thing to do—is that in the national interest?

On the environment, we had great success in the Paris conference, and the EU has been shown to be a major force in this field. If the eurosceptics win the referendum, do they intend to abandon our present policy on the environment altogether? I know that the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, wants to do that. If they do not want to abandon it, what sort of role do they see for our country? The people in this country are entitled to ask that question. If we are still going to support, from outside, the European Union and its policy initiatives in this field, why would it be an advantage to us to do it from outside? Why would it be an advantage not to be in the Council of Ministers, nor to be discussing these matters with the Commission and developing a coherent and common position?

I turn to the very important issue of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Europol, the common arrest warrant and so on, which are matters of life and death. We know that the eurosceptics hate those measures. They fought like cats against them, in this House and the other place, and never wanted to accept them in the first place. What are they going to do? That is one area where the man who I think wishes to be leader of the out campaign, Boris Johnson, has actually given an answer, in yesterday’s Telegraph. He says that he is going to form a series of bilateral intergovernmental agreements. The idea of having 28 separate bilateral agreements is obviously absurd; I will not waste the time of the House by explaining why, because everyone can see that. It shows that Mr Johnson and his colleagues have not even begun to think this through. What is required is an integrated structure of communication

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and response systems of information and intelligence- gathering and distribution. It has to be a permanent or long-term structure in which people are trained and which can be exercised if it is going to be of any use when a crisis suddenly arises. In this field, I do not think that there is any understanding of the national interest among the eurosceptic spokesmen, either in this debate or by Mr Johnson in his famous article yesterday.

Let me turn to the economic issues, which noble Lords have rightly discussed, although in an extraordinary way. The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, actually said earlier that we can get the same benefits through the World Trade Organisation that we can get through the 45—he did not say that, but I know that there are 45—trade agreements that the EU has with other markets around the world. That is completely wrong; it is simply factually incorrect. I do not know how such a distinguished man, who has been a Chancellor of the Exchequer, can make such an elementary error. The WTO is not a substitute for those agreements and, if it was, it would probably take seven or eight years to negotiate such agreements. Again, there was a sense of complete unreality on the part of the eurosceptic spokesmen.

The eurosceptics owe us an answer on our relationship with the single market—which we all know is so important for the employment of millions of people—future investment flows and the location of business decisions. Are they going for the Swiss model, or the Norwegian model, or some model of their imagination? What effort have they made to see how viable that model might be? They owe it to the British people not to lead them into the dark or on to treacherous ground and abandon them when it is too late and the decision has been taken. We need to know now what the alternative plan is and we have not had a single whisper about what it might consist of.

Obviously, this is a very important matter; anybody who thought that it was not should at least pay a little attention to the fact that all our major trade partners, in the EU and outside it—in fact, all the major decision-takers in the world, with one important exception—have urged us publicly to stay in the European Union and pointed out the damage we would do to ourselves and to others if we left. That is true of Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Barack Obama and Christine Lagarde. Are we simply going to ignore all that advice? If we are going to take this matter seriously, we need to have a serious debate in which the British public can focus on factual, material and genuine arguments and not on just a lot of emotionalism. In this debate the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, talked about colonialism, but that is just an emotive term, bearing no relationship whatever to reality. Quite extraordinary things have been said. Every day the Daily Mail publishes pictures of refugees, asylum seekers or foreigners generally, making them look as sinister as possible, and it will of course go on doing that until June. However, that is not the way to take a very important decision, which is going to affect the lives of ourselves and many future generations in this country.

8.06 pm

Viscount Eccles (Con): My Lords, in following the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Stamford, I reflect that although emotionalism can be a bit of a trap, when

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people vote on 23 June a great many of them will in fact be voting for emotional and not necessarily rational reasons. Let me follow the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and go back to Churchill in Strasbourg in 1949. I was fortunate enough to be there when he addressed the Council of Europe in French. The second half of his speech was the one into which he really threw himself: it was about tyranny, the knock on the door in the middle of the night, and war. It was very powerful. He was not anywhere near so certain about how the institutions that would fulfil his ideas would be created or how they would develop.

I suppose that that is what we are considering today: how has this project worked out so far? What happened to us was that we joined a club of six, hesitantly and rather late. We did not have control over who were the members of the club. Quite often, people in clubs do have such control, but geography and other considerations meant that we did not. Right from the beginning, we thought that this would be an uncomfortable club. There were good reasons for that: our attachment to common law, which is very different from the law that Napoleon put in place; our unwritten constitution; our empiricism—we are rather hesitant about any theory; and our dislike of bureaucratic control. This afternoon noble Lords have referred to the latter quite often, and I agree that Whitehall is not necessarily much of an improvement on Brussels. Of course, Brussels is informed with remnants of 19th century German socialist thinking, which is very different from how we have arrived at where we are. The documents that come out of Brussels are written in an English that generates mistrust in the normal British reader. It would be better if we had more people working in Brussels than we do today.

The arguments about staying or leaving now encompass a great deal about economics—jobs and prosperity. I am pretty sceptical about all that. It does not seem that the reason we have real incomes of four times what they were before the Second World War has much to do with politics and politicians. It seems to me much more to do with the advance of science and technology. Therefore, I again do not see much distinction between how Brussels would handle our economic future and how Whitehall would handle it. I am pretty sceptical about both. For example, who predicted fracking and the technology of horizontal drilling, which enabled that industry to be developed? Indeed, who predicted that the price of oil would fall from $115 per barrel to $33 per barrel? I do not think there were very many people who knew about that.

I suppose that it is always right to be quite sceptical, whether it is scepticism about the European Union or a more general scepticism about the way we deal with the muddle of this life. I suppose that if integration of the eurozone entangled us in some definitive way we would have to leave, but I do not see that there is an argument for leaving now. There is too much at stake, such as the troubles in the Middle East. Let us not forget that at the fall of the Ottoman Empire it was the French and the English who resolved the borders that were put in place. There is also Libya and Mr Putin. Wither the United States of America? I am being sceptical again; I am not too keen on Mrs Clinton and

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I am certainly very unkeen on Mr Trump. Then there are the economic uncertainties in Asia and in China. Finally, there is the huge migration into Europe. The European Union is having to react to all this.

The idea that the European Union has to change is widely in the air. It has only just started to be debated seriously. We need to be there to assist as it continues, as I believe it will. Being uncomfortable does not need to be a permanent condition.

8.12 pm

Lord Willoughby de Broke (UKIP): My Lords, I was going to make a long speech about my nanny, but the noble Lord, Lord Russell, has discouraged me from doing that. I do not want to go over the outcome of the Prime Minister’s negotiations in detail, but it is worth pointing out that, after three days of hard slog, all-night meetings, working lunches, working suppers, posturing photo opportunities and communiques, the result was the status quo—nothing much has changed.

I suppose that that might be considered slightly unfair. In fact, the Prime Minister has already said that the UK can now veto the Commission’s proposals, so long as 15 other member states raise the red card as well. I call that a pretty long shot, I must say. We will be allowed to pay EU immigrants more benefits the longer they stay in this country. I suppose that that is another win, is it? The EU will agree to become more competitive—that must have been a very tough one to argue. I can just imagine the other 27 representatives of member states saying, “No, we want to be less competitive”, but I suppose that after eight hours of hard bargaining the Prime Minister got his way and won that one. He also said that sterling is a separate currency to the euro—how much negotiation did that take, I wonder?—and that London is the capital of the United Kingdom. That was not in the final communique, but it was about the sort of achievement we got.

So after all the promises—such as the Bloomberg debate, which the noble Lord, Lord Fairfax, mentioned, where the Prime Minister set out his vision for a fundamentally reformed, outward-looking EU with powers flowing back to member states, or his speech to the Conservative Party conference in 2014, when he promised to cut immigration, repeal the Human Rights Act and repatriate powers from Brussels—all the travel, the grim hours of all-night negotiation and all the English breakfasts, the PM has come back with not one power returned, and not one line in the treaty altered. The PM is like a conjuror who has gone to the party with his hat but has forgotten the rabbit. He has not even produced the most myxomatosed rabbit out of his hat.

We will still have to pay £20 billion a year to the EU institution—a good name for it. It is an institution whose accounts have failed its own audit for the last 20 years. We will still be unable to control our own borders. We will not have repatriated a single power back to the UK Parliament after those negotiations. Our laws will still be proposed and enforced by the unelected Commission in Brussels and voted through by the Council of Ministers, where we have a very weak voice indeed and where we are, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, said, routinely outvoted.

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The Prime Minister’s reforms have been routinely rather rubbished, I am afraid--quite rightly—so they have had to fall back on the scare tactics. I will not go into them; we have heard a lot of them tonight from our Europhile friends. Their weakness is that they said exactly the same thing about the euro—that we would be marginalised and excluded from the top table, and no one would trade with us if we did not join. Of course, the reverse is entirely the case. We have created more jobs in the last three years than the whole of the eurozone put together. Far from being marginalised, we trade all over the world very successfully. The Europhiles who told us to go into the euro were wrong then and they are wrong now when they tell us we will be lost if we do not stay in the EU.

It is very depressing to hear these forecasts of doom about if we leave. Do the Europhiles really believe that Britain would be unable to govern itself outside the EU? We are, after all—as we heard before—the fifth-largest economy in the world. London is the world’s financial centre. We have four of the world’s top 10 universities. English is the world’s default language. We have a permanent seat on the United Nations council and we have the fourth-largest Armed Forces in the world. Britain is the eurozone’s biggest single market—bigger than the USA. We are Germany’s biggest single market—bigger than the USA. Is it really so difficult to imagine us living outside the EU? I do not think that it is. I remind the House—I think someone else said this—that there are 195 nations in the United Nations; 168 of them get by very well without being members of the EU. So can we.

I suppose that this debate is to celebrate Mr Cameron’s achievement in Brussels, entitled The Best of Both Worlds. No: it is the worst of both worlds, because we have gained nothing and remain subservient to the EU. It is time to leave—time to run our own country again.

8.17 pm

Lord Hamilton of Epsom (Con): My Lords, like my noble friend Lord Howell of Guildford, I have to make a confession, which is that I quite mistakenly voted to stay in the EU in 1975. At that time we were the fourth-richest country in the EU—Germany, France and Italy had bigger GDPs than we had. It is quite interesting that we are now the second-richest country in the EU. There was a great sense of optimism on my part when we joined. I thought that we were such a poverty-stricken country—we were not going anywhere and we seemed to be riddled with problems—and we were joining this rich man’s club. Now those roles are reversed: we are the rich ones and it is the EU that faces very serious problems. It is rather interesting that there is no optimism in the message from those who say we should remain in the EU. They merely have a Project Fear, saying that it will be the end of the world if we pull out.

I was rather interested, as my noble friend Lord Stevens was, by my right honourable friend Sajid Javid’s remark that if we had been outside the EU today he would not have joined. We have to think about that. Are all these people who express such enthusiasm for the EU really saying that if we were outside the EU today we would join it? If we search

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our inner selves, many of us who might be in favour of staying in would not be keen to join today. That is certainly a significant factor in this whole debate. Let us face it: the EU is not thriving. My noble friend Lord Hague some time ago described the role of the UK in the EU as like being trapped in a burning house with no exits. Things have moved on since then. The heat of the fire has now gone up considerably and the whole building is at great risk of collapsing, but there is another factor: the possibility of an exit.

I want to address something that has been raised an awful lot this evening: what is the vision of those of us who want to pull out? We must be clear about the significance of staying in. There are certainties, near certainties and unknowns in any path that people might decide to take. The certainties here are that we will go on with much of the same, receiving edicts from the unelected Commission in Brussels and with no right of veto in our own Parliament. We will continue to send net contributions of around £10 billion a year to Brussels. We will be unable to make any free trade treaties of our own with countries around the world because that is an EU competence and we have no right to do so. Of course, we will continue to lose cases at the European Court of Justice. To date, we have lost 101 out of 130 and I am sure that will go on.

However, it is the near certainties about Europe that are much more troubling, and no one has really mentioned them. I am quite interested in this. The immigration crisis is leading now to the destruction of the Schengen area. No one has much doubt that the Schengen area is about to come to a grinding halt. How long can we go on having free movement of labour in Europe if we go on getting these massive immigration flows coming in? I would have thought that threatened it. A growing number of economists say that the eurozone is now completely unsustainable. For some time it has operated on the basis that it is much too cheap for the northern countries such as Germany and Holland and much too expensive for those in southern areas of the eurozone. That means it cannot go on as it is and there must be limited time before it eventually collapses. The problem with all this is that we are somewhat shackled, not to a corpse but certainly to a dying man. One must ask whether that is really the future we want for this country.

The unknown, of course, is that we do not know how long all this will take to map out. I am absolutely sure that the eurozone will eventually break up and then there is the question of whether it will take the rest of the EU with it when that happens.

Let us put the criteria for Brexit. As my noble friend Lord Lawson said, what we absolutely know is that if we vote to come out we will repeal the accession Act of 1972, which means we will not be subjected to any more edicts from Brussels. We will also be £350 million a week better off as the result of not sending money to Europe. We will gain the freedom to create our own treaties, which is very important. Let us face it: the future of economics is not in the EU. The future of trade is all over the world and we should establish treaties with countries across the globe. We will regain control of our borders. In light of the immigration flows at the moment, that must be a good idea. Then, of course, under the existing organisation, we will

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have two years anyway to negotiate a new treaty with the EU. I sincerely hope that that will be a free-trade treaty, which will put us on a par with those countries that are not asked to pay contributions or to obey every edict that comes out of Europe.

The unknowns are that we do not know how long these negotiations might take or what effect this will have on inward investment into the United Kingdom. On the other hand, there might be people who will invest in the United Kingdom because they like us having less legislative pressure on our businesses than in the past. The fact is that the eurozone faces a major crisis and its survival is at stake. If the eurozone collapses—as many people are coming to the conclusion that it must in the fullness of time—it is a question of whether the EU stays together as well. In that case, we should get out before this disaster comes across the whole of the EU.

8.25 pm

Lord Howarth of Newport (Lab): My Lords, I do not like to dismay so many of my friends but I believe that Britain should withdraw from the European Union. My friends who disagree with me insist that it is essential that we remain for our security and our prosperity. It is absurd to suggest that the countries of the European Union will cease to co-operate with us on security matters if we leave: their own security will require it. As to prosperity, the truth is that no one knows whether we will be a little richer or a little poorer in the next few years—whether we are in or out of the European Union. Respected and dispassionate economic commentators such as Roger Bootle judge that the economic arguments are inconclusive.

Britain joined the EEC late and in 1975, when the establishment instructed an electorate that was more deferential than it is now, voters accepted its advice. It is true that in our history and culture Britain is and always will be European. Those of us who are sceptical about the European Union can honour the ideal of peace that animated its founders but the reality is that Britain has never been at home within the political structures of the European Union.

Of course, the European Union now is not the same as the European Economic Community that we joined in 1975. The most important change has been the creation of the eurozone. That has been a disaster. The well-intentioned architects of the eurozone inflicted the torment of mass unemployment, particularly on young people, in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. If the countries of the eurozone proceed towards political union we shall be marginalised; if they do not, the eurozone will remain an economic disaster zone. We opted out of the eurozone but we cannot escape its effects, which include depressed demand in export markets that are important to us, the contagion of financial instability and the relative decline of the European Union in relation to the global economy.

The other area where the EU is palpably failing is migration. The incapacity of the European Union to deal with the challenge of mass immigration has grievous human consequences and is setting alight dangerous nationalisms and atavisms. I do not want the debate in Britain about the referendum to be an unpleasant one

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over immigration. It is entirely consistent with wanting Britain to leave the European Union that one should want Britain also to be a liberal and outward-looking society.

The European Union has no means of democratic remedy for these failures. No European demos has emerged. The European Parliament fails convincingly to express the will of the people of Europe across national boundaries. The institutions of the European Union were created not to be truly democratic but to permit the exercise of enlightened officialdom. The fundamental reform that the Prime Minister pledged to seek has been unobtainable. The democratic deficit of the European Union provokes deep discontent and not only in Britain. In the 21st century, citizens want their institutions of government to be transparent and accountable. The current system of bureaucratic condescension and elite wrangling might have been acceptable in 1957 but should not be in 2016.

Those who want to remain say that none of this really matters and that what is important is that we will have more power if we stay inside. But for all his efforts on the inside, the Prime Minister has been able to achieve only marginal changes in policy. To be subject in so many decisions to qualified majority voting does not feel like power. To suffer the all too often abysmal policy-making and administration of the Commission feels like a poor substitute for self-government.

We would not be powerless outside. We are the fifth largest economy in the world. We have businesses that can conquer world markets. The City of London is a major financial centre. We still have a Civil Service well able to support Ministers to negotiate the new relationships that we will need. We have the best universities in Europe. We have an envied culture. We have numerous other treaties and alliances, and businesses in the European Union will continue to wish to trade with us. The alternative to membership of the EU will not be isolation. Of course, no one can predict the precise nature of the arrangements that will be negotiated—but, if I may say so, it is a silly and disingenuous tactic to scare people with that uncertainty. What is certain is that we will have a strong hand to play.

The Prime Minister and, indeed, my noble friend Lord Mandelson rightly made the distinction between power and sovereignty, but they were too dismissive of sovereignty. Historically, Britain has defined itself in terms of the institutions of the monarchy and parliamentary government. It should be a matter of national and democratic self-respect for Britain that we make our own laws in our own Parliaments accountable to our own people who will be able to dismiss those who govern them if they disapprove of them. We should resume the sovereignty that we lent to the EEC in 1972. When Parliament passed the European Communities Act, it undermined itself and our parliamentary democracy. That has been a major cause of the disaffection with politics that has grown so worryingly since that time.

Government in the modern world will be intensely difficult, whether we are in the European Union or out of it. But if we have the courage to take responsibility

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in our own democracy, we will find a new clarity, purpose, maturity and confidence. Even the Scots may prefer it. We should not be fearful of this responsibility. The remain campaign should elevate its tactics above the politics of fear. I say to my own party, the Labour Party, that it should not fear that it cannot win a general election and govern decently and generously in the interests of working people and all our people. In the words of Franklin D Roosevelt, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

8.32 pm

Lord Garel-Jones (Con): My Lords, it is a commonplace to state that we live in an interconnected, global universe. Many noble Lords have already made this point so I will not dwell upon it, but belonging to the largest trading group in the world undoubtedly gives us influence in those areas where international bodies take decisions that affect the daily lives of our own people.

I want to concentrate on just two issues. The fundamental challenge for the European Union is to identify those areas where, by acting together, the 28 member states can exercise greater influence over our interests and values without undermining the essential values of individual nation states, which provide—I am sure noble Lords will agree—a sense of belonging and social cohesion. But it has to be said that over the years the influence of national parliaments has been progressively diminished by Brussels and the Commission. One only has to look at the number of so-called patriotic parties that have emerged right across Europe to see the damage that this has done to the standing of the European Union right across Europe.

When the principle of subsidiarity was introduced into the treaty at Maastricht, I thought, “That’s it, game over. Nothing will ever be done centrally that can properly be done at national level”. How wrong I was. Since then a bureaucratic procedure was built around the principle of subsidiarity called the yellow card system, which has, to all intents and purposes, neutered this great principle. One of the things that the Prime Minister has achieved is to upgrade that yellow card to a red card, which enables national parliaments to block any proposals put forward by the Commission which they feel breach the principle of subsidiarity. Furthermore, the period of time that national parliaments have to get their act together, as it were, has been increased by 50% from eight weeks to 12 weeks.

Most of the comment and debate on the agreement made in Brussels has centred on a whole range of other important issues. I certainly do not want to diminish their importance other than to emphasise that many of the concerns that have been raised have their roots in the way in which national parliaments and national Governments have been slowly pushed aside by the Brussels bureaucracy. So as we move forwards, the red card that the Prime Minister has achieved will prove to have enormous importance.

I want to deal with just one of the many myths put about by those who advocate withdrawal—namely, that the remaining members of the European Union would be anxious to do a deal with Britain because

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they export more to us than we do to them. Well, yes, we would be sitting at a table with a group of people whose treaty we have just treated with contempt. We have nearly 50% of our exports at stake: they have about 10%, most from France and Germany. In any event, the idea that they would be in a hurry to produce a deal is not the case because they would be able to continue to trade with Great Britain through the WTO rules. So while I very much doubt that those who advocate leaving the European Union could achieve as good a deal as Norway, let us just give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. Norway contributes to the EU 80% of what we do and accepts unlimited EU immigration. Actually it has a higher percentage of EU immigrants than we do. It not only abides by the single market regulations but has to accept all new directives over which it has no say whatever. It is actually called “fax diplomacy”. The directive is sent to the Norwegian parliament and it has 90 days to implement it. I find it ironic that UKIP and its friends who are advocating withdrawal are waving the national flag when in fact they are waving goodbye to national parliamentary sovereignty.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I just want to put the noble Lord straight. It has never been UKIP’s policy to emulate the European Economic Area and Norway’s position. We feel that we can do something very much better for ourselves.

A noble Lord: It was, the year before last.

Lord Garel-Jones: The quick answer to that is: you will not. I mention Norway’s deal only because I think that is much better than the one we would eventually get.

So the only thing that is certain about Brexit is uncertainty, and it is an uncertainty that will last for a very considerable time indeed. In the mean time, the Prime Minister has negotiated an agreement, with some elements specific to Great Britain and others that will benefit the whole European Union. European negotiations, as many noble Lords here know, are complex and difficult and involve a great deal of compromise. Compromises have to be made on all sides. That is what Margaret Thatcher did in the Single European Act, it is what John Major did in Maastricht, and it is what David Cameron has just done in Brussels.

8.38 pm

Lord Oates (LD): My Lords, I welcome the setting of a date for the referendum and I support the case for remaining in the European Union set out in the White Paper. I hesitated before putting my name on this rather long speakers list but I am glad that I did because I just do not recognise the European Union that so many noble Lords have described—where apparently we have no friends, can win no votes and have no influence.

I thought it was Britain that had led the way in creating the single market, in securing admission of the members of the former communist bloc, in opposing Putin and securing a united approach to Iran, in pushing a free trade agenda and in living up to all of

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General de Gaulle’s worst nightmares. Of course the EU is not perfect. Of course it needs continuing reform. But we are not alone in thinking that. If we would for once drop the grumpy old man act and seek out our allies, we would find them. But for now our focus has to be on the referendum. I hope that the positive case for our membership will be made in this campaign and that it will not descend into an unrelenting diet of negativity.

I want us to convince the British people of the benefits of the European Union, as I have done since I rather proudly had my first and indeed only letter published in a national newspaper in 1993, calling for a referendum on the Maastricht treaty. I wanted then—and I want us now—to show why, despite all the inevitable frustrations of any multinational organisation, the EU is a massive force for good in the world, that Britain is a massive force for good within the EU, and that British exit would be very bad not only for Britain but for the European Union.

My case for the European Union is a simple one. It is about peace, prosperity and solidarity in the face of the many challenges that confront our world. It is about the benefits of working together rather than drifting apart in antagonism and misunderstanding. It is about avoiding a descent into the nationalist competition and conflict that have afflicted our continent so many times in the past.

While I want a campaign that focuses on the positive, I am not persuaded by those who object when the facts are pointed out to them—the Brexiters who cry, “Project Fear” every time someone puts a point to them that they cannot or will not answer. This was the tactic of the nationalists in the Scottish referendum. Unable to answer some of the most basic questions about their future outside our union, they shouted, “Project Fear” to distract attention. So let us not be distracted by those Brexiters who have decided to take a lesson straight out of the nationalists’ playbook. Let us be relentless in reminding them of reality and challenging them to deal with it.

On the day that the referendum date was announced, the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, spoke on BBC radio. He was asked what life would look like after Britain had left the European Union. Rather like the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, he said, “That’s simple; it will be like it was before the EU”. The noble Lord went on to describe, in some detail, his pride in Britain as a country that had intervened on numerous occasions to rescue Europe from war and domination. He catalogued the occasions over many centuries, from the days of, in his words, “the dictator Philip of Spain”, through the Napoleonic Wars and into the First and Second World Wars. I do not know exactly how many millions of lives were lost in those conflicts but I do know that arrangements that bring people together to work in partnership for peace and prosperity are better than the arrangements we have had in the past and may, if some Brexiters get their way, end up with in the future.

This is not some tired historical discussion. Today the external pressures on Europe are greater than they have been for decades and the internal threat from

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nationalists selling divisive politics and beggar-my-neighbour economics is higher than it has been since the 1930s. In such circumstances, I am sorry to see distinguished former Cabinet Ministers, who I feel I grew up with, drinking the elixir of Brexit. Many of them played important roles in the development and success of the European Union and the single market. All of them have had the privilege of living the majority of their lives free from the threat of European war, as part of a European project which has helped nurture democracy in the former fascist and communist states of southern and eastern Europe and has contributed to delivering peace and prosperity to our continent.

So I say to the noble Lords, Lord Lamont, Lord Lawson, Lord Howard, and others: I want my generation and the generations that follow to continue to share in the privilege that they themselves have enjoyed. I want them to continue to work, study and holiday throughout Europe. I want them never again to fight their way across it. The noble Lord, Lord Lamont, in declaring his support for Brexit today, described the referendum as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. I hope that it will not be a one-off opportunity for his generation to screw up the world for my generation and the generations to come.

8.44 pm

Viscount Ridley (Con): My Lords, at this late hour a lot has been said already. I wish to make a specific argument about the document The Best of Both Worlds and a general one about the provision of accurate information during the campaign that we face.

On the second page of the Prime Minister’s foreword, he says:

“Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security”.

But nobody on either side of this argument is talking about leaving Europe. We are talking about leaving the political arrangement known as the European Union, as the Prime Minister himself said in his Bloomberg speech in 2013:

“If we leave the EU, we cannot of course leave Europe”.

This is not just a semantic point. It goes to the heart of the problem that I have with this and other dossiers put out by the Government supposedly to inform voters before the referendum. Again and again these documents make claims for the European Union that it does not deserve. The credit or the blame often lies elsewhere—or at least is shared elsewhere with inter- governmental collaborations or with national decisions. Let me give a few examples.

On page 42, The Best of Both Worlds makes the claim that EU membership is necessary to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine. The evidence for this claim is threadbare to say the least. The US and Canada both imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and, indeed, it is arguable that the EU bears some responsibility—some, not a lot—for provoking Russia with the ill-judged inclusion of military matters in its negotiation with Ukraine. On page 23, it is claimed that EU membership is necessary to protect UK energy security. How can this be when 60% of our imported gas comes from Norway and 60% of our coal from Russia, Colombia and America? There is no

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common EU energy policy. On page 42,



est of





makes the claim that EU membership is necessary to deal with Ebola. This is nonsense. Norway made a significant contribution to fighting Ebola. The EU has treaty obligations to co-operate with third countries in the field of public health. Anyway, it was mainly through the World Health Organization that we made our magnificent and leading contribution to defeating that terrifying outbreak in Sierra Leone.

I could just about understand if these frankly mendacious claims were being made on behalf of the remain campaign in the cut and thrust of debate. After all, that campaign has been extraordinarily careless with facts and numbers already. Only this afternoon, before the Treasury Select Committee in the other place, the leaders of the BSE campaign admitted that 3 million jobs would not be lost, that all the trading would go on, and that claims of an £11 billion rise in prices are entirely speculative—and, therefore, that many of their own claims cannot be trusted. But the claims in The Best of Both Worlds are being made by civil servants in supposedly neutral documents. One reason this matters, as I argued when the European Union Referendum Bill was before this House, is that we must make this a final decision that all sides can respect going into the future. So it is vital that the playing field is level and the Government are seen to give accurate information that is not misleading. I have to say that the worries that some of us voiced during those debates about purdah and related matters look increasingly justified. I think my noble friend Lord Forsyth was quite right to use the word “propaganda” earlier this afternoon.

Will my noble friend the Minister take great care to give credit to intergovernmental arrangements and national actions and not to fall for exaggerated claims made on behalf of the political and bureaucratic arrangements within the EU? Listening to some of the speeches this afternoon, you would think that the sun could not rise in the east tomorrow morning if the European Commission did not command it and that it would not if we left the European Union. We hear that the EU is a military alliance, apparently eclipsing the role of NATO. We hear that the EU is to be given credit that is actually due to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the G20, the G7, Basel, Codex, Five Eyes and many more such international collaborations. Again and again, we find that standards that are set at the international level are simply transmitted through the EU to us.

In the case of scientific co-operation, not only is our closest scientific co-operator—measured by the number of co-authors on scientific papers—the United States, not the EU, but many of the formal scientific collaborations across the continent of Europe, such as the European Molecular Biology Organization, the fusion project ITER, the European Space Agency, and the particle physics laboratory CERN are not EU projects, they are European projects. Indeed, CERN has an accelerator which runs under an EU external border. Furthermore, even the EU’s science funding projects, FP7 and Horizon 2020, have 13 non-EU members in them including Norway, Switzerland, Turkey,

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Israel and other countries. I ask my noble friend the Minister: can we please not make the mistake of using “Europe” when we mean the EU, and not imply that they are the same thing when they are not? One is a political and bureaucratic supranational body with a democratic deficit and the other is a principle of international collaboration.

To end on another point, I agree with what has been said on the other side of this argument: that we should remain civil and amicable throughout this process. So it is that I have to report a worrying development. As I was coming through Westminster Tube station yesterday and limping, unfortunately, because of my sciatica, I passed the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who said to me, “Damn—I told them to shoot your arm, not your leg”.

8.50 pm

Lord Judd (Lab): My Lords, in an awful lot of the debates that have gone before today’s debate in the House, I found it mystifying when people argued that they always saw the relationship with Europe and its institutions in terms of what we could get from it to strengthen our economy, and that they were completely against the concept of wider political activity and commitment within Europe. Why do I not understand that approach? It is because I was a young man in the post-war period and remember that the atmosphere, right from the beginning, was highly political. When the European Coal and Steel Community was established, it was not an end in itself. It was established because those who did so desperately wanted a peaceful, stable Europe—and with that, the opportunity to make a contribution to a peaceful, stable world.

When we moved into the Common Market, that was true, too. For many of the statesmen who brought it into existence, it was not an end in itself. It was a means of achieving the reality to which they all aspired. I say to those on the other side that, as a committed member of my own party, I was always inspired by Churchill on this. He had a vision that our future depended on working with the world, and that if we were to establish one that was peaceful and stable we would need the institutions with which to do it. I have always therefore seen this as a story of evolution but if that evolution was to be successful, it would depend above all on visionary leadership. What has been wrong with our participation in the European Union is that we have played the game badly. We have always put a sort of defensive position to the British public.

I was a Minister responsible for Europe, way back in the 1970s. When I was fulfilling that task, there was an attitude that what you really should do as a Minister was come out of your negotiations in committee saying, “My God, in spite of all the pressures, dangers and threats coming from Europe in this context, I have secured these safeguards for the British people”. I really believed in those days that we needed some Ministers who would come out of committee saying, “We’ve had a terrific tussle with this issue”, then explain what the issue was and say, “As a result of that tussle and argument, we have achieved this solution in the interests of the European people, and in their interests we are looking to the interests of the British

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people”. In the world in which we live, we cannot separate the well-being and security of the British people from those of the wider European community, so we need that kind of leadership. Our problem in persuading the public now is that we have played it that way and have not demonstrated consistently how effective and indispensable Europe is for achieving the very aspirations that are dear to their hearts. I make this point because, if those of us who believe that we should stay in succeed in the referendum, we cannot sweep under the carpet that task of leadership not only within the community but for the British public in terms of what it is all about and how it is relevant to those issues.

There is another issue—I know that I tread on some toes when I say this—but, because of the complexity of the task, a centre of expertise around Europe has built up, and with that has gone a culture of elitism that has alienated people. I have often thought that was unfortunate, because we have to enable that elite itself to understand how dependent it is on the good will and positive identification of the people of the countries that are members. We have to take that issue very seriously—as we should with our own committee system on Europe, in seeing how far we can make it more real for ordinary people in the kind of witnesses we call, and so on, so that it is not again seen as part of an elitist game that does not relate to them.

I conclude by saying how glad I was to hear the opening speech from our side by my noble friend Lady Morgan—and, indeed, the speeches by the noble Lords, Lord Howell and Lord Ashdown, who is not in his place at the moment. They spelled out which issues are facing the world and how we simply cannot face them without working together with others. We may not be doing it perfectly, but the challenge to leadership is how we get it right, not how we walk away from the collaboration and co-operation and bury our heads in the sand. The challenge is to say that we cannot have a peaceful world without co-operation and we must have the institutions within which we can co-operate. Our role is to provide leadership and moral inspiration, showing the importance of tolerance and human rights, not just as an end in themselves but as a manifestation of the tolerant and inclusive kind of civilisation that we not only want but is indispensable to humanity’s future.

8.57 pm

Lord Inglewood (Con): My Lords, I have always believed that as the world evolves it will be necessary for political processes and the conduct of public business to adapt. For that reason, I have been a supporter of this country’s membership of the European Union and its predecessors, albeit they are far from perfect. They have brought to this country a wide range of benefits, many of them not at all easily defined as economic. I like our country being a member, and I believe that my family have gained great benefits and advantage from that.

We live in an interdependent world of networks, and we cannot simply unilaterally decouple from it all. Change has to be negotiated, and we must all recognise as part of those negotiations that our priorities may be

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different from other people’s; that is what our Prime Minister has recognised and what he has done. It is an interesting aspect of all this to me as a Conservative, but as someone who has also been a long-standing supporter of our membership of the European Union, that for him the line of least resistance in the Tory Party today would have been to go hell-for-leather for Brexit. But he has not done that; he believes, firmly, from the position that he is in, as do the majority of his colleagues, that the national interest should prevail and that it is in the national interest, despite all the difficulties that it is posing him, that we remain members.

For my part, there are two particularly significant reforms that the Prime Minister has achieved—not necessarily the headline reforms. The first relates to the relationship between those countries in the eurozone and those countries outside. It has been very important properly to entrench the fact that we cannot be discriminated against and cannot be compelled to bail out the eurozone if a disaster strikes there. It is interesting, too, that it was open to those countries that have gone into the eurozone to have done it completely outside the European Union mechanism. It is only because it is part of it that we are in a position to have secured that.

Secondly, the emphasis on the role of national parliaments is very important. It seems to me, not least because I have spent 10 years in the European Parliament, that the Monnet model of how the constitutional arrangements across the Union should work has not worked very well. There is a democratic chasm between some of the decision-making at European level and the citizen which needs to be bridged, and this could begin to be part of the process of doing that.

On a previous occasion, I explained that I thought that any fool could get divorced; the difficult thing is then dealing with the children and the financial settlement. If you look at Article 50, you see that once you press the button, you are not only out of what you want but you are out of everything. There seems to be absolutely no consensus about what should happen if we leave. Some people say that we should try to renegotiate, and others say that we should rely on the World Trade Organization. I am worried by the fact that there is no apparent plan from those who wish us to leave the union about what happens next. I do not think it is all right simply to say, sanguinely, “Well, it’ll be all right on the night”. I think they owe it to the public to be a bit more precise and firm about what the proposition they are putting in front of them might be.

I am concerned because, whether or not it is strictly logical, there is clearly a real risk to the union between England and Scotland. I live just south of Scotland, and what happens there is going to make quite a big difference to me. I am concerned that if we leave the European arrest warrant many of the security arrangements tied up with the Anglo-Irish agreement may well fall apart. That matters.

I do not believe in “one leap and we will be free from bureaucracy”. I was reading the newspaper coming up to London this morning, and read that the RPA’s activities have just been reviewed by the other place. The RPA is a bureaucratic nightmare. If you look at

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the administration surrounding the health service and education, you get the feeling that there is no country in the world that is more enthusiastic about bureaucracy than this one. I simply do not believe that in fact jobsworth does not really like bureaucracy here in England.

One thing is certain about Brexit: it is that, if you think about it, it is inevitable that once we have left the club, whatever terms we are offered later will be less good than the terms we are on now. The other thing that is absolutely clear to me as a lawyer, and having talked to many lawyers who are much better lawyers than I am, is that the legal unravelling of the arrangements we have in place are going to be very long, very drawn out, very convoluted and very expensive. I suspect that they would take a lot of people’s eyes off the ball, and that is not desirable. It appears to me that the case for Brexit is basically an article of faith; it is a step in the dark. It seems to me that I and the British public are being asked to stake the farm and everything else besides on a runner that has never previously run in a small race on a wet Wednesday afternoon—the 3.15 at Uttoxeter—and I do not think it is a good thing to do.

9.03 pm

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (CB): Being privileged, as I am, to sit behind the heirs and disciples of Thatcher, I have been thinking about how she would have reacted to this White Paper and this debate. When she sent me to be her negotiator in Brussels, her instructions were quite simple: find out what the children are doing and tell them to stop it. She was clear that we should be in every room, playing a central part, with a seat at the table and banging the table. She was certainly was not sentimental, but she knew what solidarity meant. She was extremely generous to González because she understood how important EU accession was for the consolidation of democracy in Spain, so she sided with Kohl—not her natural instinct—and against Giscard to ensure that Spain got into the club. She never forgot that in the Falklands crisis when Reagan wobbled, Mitterrand was the first foreign head of government to ring and promise full support, which he delivered. In her Bruges speech, which is well-remembered throughout central Europe now, she said that she was convinced that the great cities of central Europe would again escape from the iron curtain and enjoy membership of the community of western democracies and the four freedoms that go with it. What she would do, were she here now, is only speculation. I suspect that she would be bustling over to Brussels to sort out this Schengen nonsense and to do something about Syria—and deal with the 10 million displaced people and 5 million refugees. I do not think she would be glorying in standing aside and not being involved. Although it was ruthlessly unsentimental and not always fun, she felt that we should have a seat at the table and felt a sense of solidarity. Sometimes these days I miss that.

Speaking late in the debate has the disadvantage that all the points one wanted to make have already been made by one’s own side, but it does permit one to comment on points made by the other side. I dare to venture a comment on points made by the noble Lords, Lord Lawson of Blaby and Lord Howard of

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Lympne—and possibly their disciple, the Diogenes of Swindon, the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart. This is on the theme of Thatcher’s heirs.

I have tremendous respect for the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, who put up with me as his Private Secretary for far too long, and who was excessively polite about a document I drafted for him, which—to put it mildly—did not advance his career. But today Homer may have nodded. The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, claimed that the White Paper which we are debating contained a major lacuna because it did not refer to the sentence of page 12 of the European Council conclusions text, which states that,

“Member states not participating in the further deepening of economic monetary union will not create obstacles to but will facilitate such further deepening while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of the non-participating Member States”.

I think he may have missed paragraph 2.12 in the White Paper, which seems to me to summarise fairly that sentence.

On the substantive point, I am surprised: the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, like the current Chancellor, has always argued with ruthless logic—inexorable logic—that the eurozone, in order to survive, needs to deepen and strengthen. So why is he complaining when in this text member states not participating in the further deepening of economic and monetary union will not create obstacles to a process which he believes is in their interest and in ours?

Lord Lawson of Blaby: If the noble Lord will allow me, he has made two mistakes, not one. In the first place, it is in the interest of the peoples of Europe not to try to make a success of the eurozone and monetary union, but to abandon it. It has been a complete disaster; it will be in the interests of the people of Europe to abandon it. Secondly, I said that “facilitating the deepening” means that if they think that further powers should go from the member states, including the United Kingdom, to the centre in order to facilitate a further deepening, we are obliged to go along with that.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard: On the second point, I have to correct the noble Lord. The sentence is clearly about further integration inside the eurozone without additional powers being passed by member states outside the eurozone. On the first point, I can only apologise. I had myself thought that the former Chancellor, the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, agreed with the present Chancellor that it was in the interests of the UK that the eurozone market should not collapse and that it was in the interests of the UK economy that these arrangements should survive. That is the policy of this Government. I had thought it was a policy supported by the noble Lord, Lord Lawson.

The exchange with the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, did not quite bring out the fact that of course we could trade with other third countries on WTO terms. The terms that we trade on now, which have been secured by the EU, are much better than WTO terms, because they have been secured using the muscle of a market of 500 million people. That is a fairly fundamental point. The key point on trade is that if we leave, we lose.

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The argument of the noble Lord, Lord Howard, on the other hand, did seem to contain a lacuna, which I greatly welcomed; this time he did not advance what I call the Maurice Sendak theory. The Sendak argument—I call it that in tribute to that great literary work, Where the Wild Things Are—is one that the noble Lord has advanced in public several times; I heard him explaining it on the radio the other day. I think it is a view held by Mr Cummings—not the cartoonist but the conspirator. The argument is that if the nation votes to leave on 23 June, we should not leave but should stay firmly where we are, saying and doing nothing, not invoking Article 50, and the wild things will all come rushing to us as supplicants, saying, to quote from the great book:

“Oh please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!”

This is a theory that Mr Boris Johnson advanced a few months ago and then resiled from a few months ago, and then advanced again a fortnight ago and then resiled from this week; his bicycle wobbles but he remains vertical. Sadly, the wild things are fiction. The fact is that the other member states are fed up with us. To them, this week’s European Council on the refugee crisis is much more important than was the Council, and the conclusions, that we are debating now.

It is surreal that any UK Government could decide not to act on a no referendum. It is even more surreal that the French press, which believes that Mr Cameron got away with murder, could agree that in the event of a no, murder should be followed by massacre.

Lord Howard of Lympne: The noble Lord says that the French Government are furious at what the Prime Minister got away with, but the French Foreign Minister is on the record as saying that the Prime Minister achieved nothing of substance.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard: I thank the noble Lord for his helpful intervention. I believe that if we were to say no, our decision would be greeted with regret in most EU capitals, but that regret would be accompanied by some relief that all the contingency concessions made to Mr Cameron would automatically fall away—and they would; that is what the European Council’s conclusions text says.