be told that their idea was basically dumped but that ideato have a

Be told that their idea was basically dumped but that

This preview shows page 68 - 70 out of 102 pages.

be told that their idea was basically dumped, but that idea—to have a constitution for Europe—was dumped. Mrs. Villiers: Will the hon. Gentleman give way? Michael Connarty: No, I will not. I have taken on board Mr. Deputy Speaker’s caution about other people wanting to speak. I may have more to say than he is pleased with. Due to the fact that I have been chairing European Scrutiny Committee sittings, I have often had only four or five minutes to speak at the end of a debate in which I would like to have participated more. I have a number of things to say. The point is that some people did want a constitution. If they had got away with it, there would have been one treaty, a president of Europe and a Foreign Secretary of Europe, but all those things have been taken out of the treaty. The right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks referred to a turf war because of the president of the Council, to whom people still refer as the “president of the EU”. If there was going to be a turf war, it would be between the president of the Council—a Council, not Commission, member —and the president of the Commission. That is what happens at the moment. The Council goes into discussions about something that the Commission proposes, and there is a turf war. The great thing is that someone will be representing and carrying on the work of the Council in two-and-a-half-year terms, with a Council secretariat. Hopefully, that person will apply more leverage against the Commission so that the Commission does not have things all its own way, which happens at the moment. The shadow Foreign Secretary also asked why there was not primary legislation in respect of common foreign security policy and defence. That suggestion was also put forward by the Foreign Affairs Committee. All we have on the record is the Prime Minister’s declaration that any time we move from having a veto to qualified majority voting—using the passerelles, as they are called—that will be decided on the Floor of the House. Why should there not be primary legislation? Given my analysis of the treaty and all the logic that applies to my, 11 Mar 2008 : Column 218 and many people’s, concern about the sovereignty of the House, why should there not be primary legislation for such far-reaching decisions? That is something for the Government to think about; they have not yet answered our questions about the process that involves this Parliament in the moves that we make in respect of the opt-outs and protocols.
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I was impressed by the many contributions of the right hon. and learned Member for Kensington and Chelsea (Sir Malcolm Rifkind), who unfortunately is no longer in his place. It is amazing that a man of his stature—I knew him when he was a junior Minister in the Scottish Office when I was a council leader fighting against the Thatcher proposals for local government—whose logic, honesty and integrity I have always respected should be sidelined not because of age or lack of talent, but simply because
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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