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Tuesday 9 November 2010

Volume 518 No. 67




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House of Commons Tuesday 9 November 2010 The House met at half-past Two o’clock PRAYERS [MR SPEAKER in the Chair] Mr Speaker: I remind the House that Thursday is 11 November, Remembrance day. The House will meet at 10.30 am, as is the norm for a Thursday. At 11 o’clock, I regard it as appropriate that we should join the nation in observing the two-minute silence so that we might remember those who gave their lives for their country to help preserve our democratic freedoms. Instructions will also be issued to heads of House Departments so that those members of staff who wish to observe the two-minute silence may do so.

Oral Answers to Questions FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE The Secretary of State was asked— EU Treaties 1. Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight) (Con): What recent representations he has received on the procedure [22524] for amendment of EU treaties. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I refer my hon. Friend to the Prime Minister’s statement on the European Council on 1 November. The Council agreed that Herman Van Rompuy should consult member states about a limited treaty change connected with the establishment of a permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the eurozone. We also secured a clear agreement that any such treaty change, should it occur, would not affect the United Kingdom.


we established at the last Council that any possible future treaty change would not affect the United Kingdom and would not transfer power or competence from the UK to the European Union. Mr Wayne David (Caerphilly) (Lab): Given the promises made in the Conservative party manifesto, will the Foreign Secretary tell the House whether the Government will be bringing forward proposals to repatriate powers from the European Union? Yes or no? Mr Hague: The Government’s position is set out in the coalition agreement. What is also clear from that agreement is that one of our top priorities in Europe is to bring realism to budgeting in the European Union since his party gave away many billions of pounds of the British taxpayer’s money for nothing in return the last time the financial perspective was negotiated, in 2005. The answer to his question is that our top priority in seeking change in the European Union is to ensure realistic budgeting in the future. Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle) (Con): Now that the German Chancellor is insisting on the amendment of European treaties, including Lisbon, will there ever be a better opportunity for Britain to renegotiate its relationships with the European Union and seek the repatriation of powers abandoned by previous Governments, or is that vetoed by the Lib Dem members of the coalition? Mr Hague: It is certainly a coalition Government that we have here and my hon. Friend should bear that in mind. I would also ask him to bear in mind that instability in the eurozone, as he well knows, is a serious danger to the British economy. It is clear that the United Kingdom will be exempt from the provisions of any such treaty change. Where we have considerable negotiating leverage in the European Union, as we certainly will over the coming years, our first priority—as I said in answer to the previous question—is to change the way in which the budgets are determined so that, unlike the previous Government, we are not involved in spending billions of pounds extra of the UK taxpayer’s money.

Mr And