We have had the opportunity to hear from my hon Friend the Member for Ilford

We have had the opportunity to hear from my hon

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We have had the opportunity to hear from my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mike Gapes), who chairs the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, and my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, who chairs the Select Committee on European Scrutiny. Typically, both are in their places tonight. I have also had support from an excellent team—Parliamentary Private Secretaries, Whips and the Bill team. We have heard a variety of contributions today. I have to admit that, for the first time, I was not in my place to hear the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash). Rob Marris: You have heard it all before. Mr. Murphy: I have heard it all before, but not today. The hon. Member for Stone has made a fifth of all interventions and speeches in our proceedings. That is testament to his dedication; it just seemed like many more than a fifth, on occasion. Earlier this afternoon, I missed what I think was his 214th intervention. Although there are only about 13 minutes to go, I am certain that there will be a 215th. 11 Mar 2008 : Column 247 Mr. Cash rose— Hon. Members: Hooray! Mr. Murphy: I give way to one of Europe’s great unreformed institutions. Mr. Cash: My advice to the Minister is, don’t hold your breath. Mr. Murphy: We also heard from the right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat- Amory), who made a passionate speech and has paid great attention to our proceedings throughout. He spoke about the fact that he has only an occasional affection for referendums, which is obviously the case on examination of his record as Deputy Chief Whip during the Maastricht process—but I do not want to dwell on that this evening. Following the Maastricht treaty process, and unbeknown to me until this afternoon, someone with a delicious sense of political irony gave the right hon. Gentleman his next Government job: Europe Minister. The ghost of his Euro-enthusiasm and Euro- optimism still haunts the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
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We also heard from the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley). Again, the trend of remarkable ingenuity in our debates was followed. As I said some days ago during our proceedings, the hon. Member for Stone quoted an historic parliamentary debate and a speech—by himself—as a source of reference. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk did the same thing by proxy, quoting the right hon. Member for Wells quoting him. This evening we had another passionate speech by the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden, who went one step further in our proceedings. Not only did he quote himself, which has become the new fashion—a fashion that I have not yet bought into—but, in a remarkable innovation, to make his specific point he did not quote himself from an earlier speech, saying, “I can demonstrate that by referring to a speech that I did not give”—[ Official Report , 6 February 2008; Vol. 471, c. 1074.] when he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. A remarkable constitutional innovation! It is a first, and perhaps many right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House will take their lead from it in future debates.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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