The process unites many of us who have different views about the treaty I have

The process unites many of us who have different

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The process unites many of us who have different views about the treaty. I have already mentioned the Liberal Democrat Front-Bench team—or at least its remaining members —in that regard. We are completely at one in finding the procedure inadequate. Until now, changes to European treaties have been a matter for primary legislation. For future changes, which are the equivalent of major treaty changes, to be subject to anything less than primary legislation is another major reduction in the rights and role of our Parliament. Mr. Hendrick: The right hon. Gentleman has made it plain that he is unhappy about the way in which the treaty has been dealt with in the House, particularly the content. If in the dim and distant future there ever were another Conservative Government, with which party would he renegotiate the treaty? Mr. Hague: The hon. Gentleman has asked that question so often that by now he should know the answer by heart. I notice that even he does not feel able to support the Government on what I have just been describing—the scrutiny of changes with the ratchet clause and the passerelles. When Members from all parties feel that parliamentary scrutiny of Executive action should be intensified rather than relaxed, whichever party forms the Government of the day, there is much common cause to be made on changing that aspect of the Bill. Geraldine Smith: Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the British people have a right to know what his party would do about the treaty if the Conservatives ever came to government? He will not answer that question. If the treaty is so bad for Britain—if it is so bleak—what will he do about it? I happen to think that the right hon. Gentleman and not their current leader may be the next Tory Prime Minister. Mr. Hague: I can certainly rule out the last part of the hon. Lady’s question, which was a most mischievous thing to come up with—she need never consider that possibility. The answer to the first part of her question is that people know from the vote on the referendum last week how the Conservative party approaches the matter: we are the only party leadership in the House who stayed true to what we stated in our last election manifesto. At the next general election, we will be true to what we state in our manifesto then. Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP) rose— Mr. Hague: I should of course have included the hon. Gentleman, although consideration can be given to what constitutes a major party in the House. However, so that he may correct me, I give way. Angus Robertson: For the record, will the right hon. Gentleman concede that the first party in this House that called for a referendum on the constitution and the treaty was the Scottish National party?
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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