Mr Hague As my hon Friend and I have discussed these matters for a decade and

Mr hague as my hon friend and i have discussed these

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Mr. Hague: As my hon. Friend and I have discussed these matters for a decade and more, he knows that I entirely respect his view on the merits of European political integration, although it is different from mine in many respects. I bracket him with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe in never having said there should be a referendum, and in always having advocated the European constitution. That is a straightforward approach—although I believe in many respects a wrong one— which is in stark contrast with the approach of the Government Front Bench. Several hon. Members rose — Mr. Hague: I shall give way first to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash). Mr. Cash: I am particularly grateful to my right hon. Friend for fumigating the Government’s speeches on the whole question of the treaty and the referendum. Does he accept the importance of stating, in line with my reasoned amendment, which was not selected, that we will defend and protect this Parliament’s supremacy to ensure that we are not overridden by the European Court of Justice, or by our own courts, and that we have a sound constitutional position for any further renegotiations? Mr. Hague: Given the growth of the EU’s powers, British sovereignty and the ultimate supremacy of Parliament need a constitutional safeguard, but I also say to my hon. Friend that the legal implications of any such provision must be absolutely clear. More work would need to be done in the future on the context and formula by which it is achieved, but I have great sympathy with the constitutional safeguard of ultimate supremacy. Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): I clearly understand the difference between the right hon. Gentleman’s view and that of the hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr. Taylor), but what is the difference between his view and that of the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash)? Mr. Hague: My hon. Friend the Member for Stone could easily take the hon. Gentleman aside for several hours to explain the difference. That may be the best option. If he would like to meet my hon. Friend in the Tea Room afterwards, he would be happily occupied for the evening. 11 Mar 2008 : Column 168 Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) (Lab): As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I was a Member of the European Parliament for five years. One of the things that was apparent
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was that the Conservative group was profoundly uncomfortable with other nationalities —indeed, some of its natural allies did not want to be its allies, because they considered it to be too extreme. When Peter Sutherland, the chairman of BP, was asked by the Financial Times whether Britain wanted to be in or out, he said: “Those demanding a vote on the EU reform treaty should have the courage to state where they truly wish to end up”.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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