European Communities (Amendment) Bill — 12 Nov 1997
[Relevant documents: The Minutes of Evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday 4th November (HC305-i) .]
Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I invite the House to approve the Bill that puts the Amsterdam treaty into legislation with pride. I am proud that we achieved a good deal for Britain, and confident that any open-minded Member will support the Bill and the treaty. I confess that there are probably not many such Members in the House, but I am encouraged by the fact that the Bill and the treaty constitute such a good deal for Britain that I can attempt to persuade even Conservative Members to rise above their prejudices and support it--despite whatever dark suspicions they may have that Amsterdam is in Europe, and probably full of Europeans.
Let us start that attempt by appealing to Conservative Members on the basis of two major gains in Britain's national interests, which even Conservatives must surely applaud.
First, the Amsterdam treaty provides a secure legal basis for Britain to retain its frontier controls--a legal basis that is watertight beyond legal challenge to the European Court of Justice; a legal basis that is without time limit as long as Britain chooses to retain it. It recognises that, because Britain is an island, it is sensible for us to retain controls at the point of entry, and that, because of our long historical and cultural ties with other parts of the world, it is important to retain control of our own immigration policy. Policy on border controls and immigration will be made in Britain, not in Brussels.
Mr. Michael Howard (Folkestone and Hythe):
Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
What one can be sure about with the Conservatives is that one is sure to be confused, sure that they will be looking at their own political navels and sure that they will put party advantage before the nation's interest. That is what the people of this country are sure about regarding the Conservatives.
Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:--
The House divided: Ayes 392, Noes 162.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||0||157 (+2 tell)||0||98.1%|
|Lab||340 (+2 tell)||0||0||82.0%|