The truth on Europe is that there are three Conservative partiesthe party of

The truth on europe is that there are three

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The truth on Europe is that there are three Conservative parties—the party of the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), the party of the hon. Member for Stone and somewhere keeping their heads down the massed ranks of the party of the right hon. Member for Witney. The policy of not letting matters rest is about the only thing on which they agree. The Liberal Democrats will not let matters rest, but, unlike the Conservatives, we have moved on and have a clear future policy, which is to give the people a vote on whether Britain should remain in the EU based on the treaties, including the Lisbon treaty. 11 Mar 2008 : Column 192 Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. May I remind the hon. Gentleman that on Third Reading we are debating what is in the Bill? Mr. Davey: You will be pleased to learn that I am about to finish, Madam Deputy Speaker. [Interruption.] I am not surprised that Conservative Members are glad that I am about to finish, because we have been giving them as good as we get. Liberal Democrats believe that the European Union has been, is and will be of huge benefit to this country and to our world. In voting for the Bill tonight, we are ready to take on all comers in the cause of defending Britain’s national interest—being in Europe. 5.57 pm Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey). I could say that I agreed with everything he said and just sit down, but I have been waiting to participate in these debates for some time and I am pleased to be able to contribute on Third Reading.
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I want to begin by paying tribute to the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Europe for their work over the past three weeks. I served in the latter post in the early part of the Administration, so I know how difficult it is to ensure that enough time is available to do the serious job that my hon. Friend must do of going to Europe to build up relationships with our partners in the EU and beyond. The last three weeks must have played havoc with his diary, but he has been here, he has been assiduous and he has answered all the points that have been raised. We all ought to thank him for what he has done. We should also thank the Foreign Secretary, who has been placed in a similar position. He has just left the Chamber to talk to the shadow Foreign Secretary, but he, too, has been present during these debates. When the House thinks of the huge number of current international issues that are important to our interests, my right hon. Friend’s participation in these debates over the past three weeks has been extremely welcome. I thank both Ministers for what they have done. The shadow Foreign Secretary has just left the Chamber, but the Liberal Democrats’ shadow Foreign Secretary raised a number of points about Conservative party policy. I have to say that, a few months ago, I was very much in favour of having a referendum on whether we should be in or out of Europe. I went on record as saying so last summer.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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