Labour MEPs urge support for EC treaty

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The Independent Online
LABOUR was warned last night against any retreat on the Maastricht treaty, with an appeal issued by the 45 Labour members of the European Parliament to their Westminster colleagues to back the ratification Bill when, or if, it returns to the House of Commons.

With strains over the treaty increasing within the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party as well as the Conservative Party, the Labour MEPs argued in a special leaflet, Maastricht Trick or Treaty: 'If we simply reject Maastricht, we lose more than we gain. Without Maastricht, there will be no new powers for the European Parliament, no strengthening of European environmental policy and, for the 11 other member states, no increased social protection.'

Glyn Ford, deputy leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the largest political grouping, said: 'Losing the Maastricht treaty will allow free rein to the market at the cost of equality, fairness and justice, and even less democratic input from ordinary people than before.'

The Government has already announced that if the French vote against the treaty in their referendum on 20 September, the European Communities (Amendment) Bill, ratifying the treaty, would be withdrawn from the Commons.

Labour has also said that while it would vote against any government attempt to truncate debate on the legislation, it would not vote against the Bill itself. Nevertheless, the Labour MEPs went to the trouble of distributing 300,000 copies of their 12-page appeal.

The leaflet said: 'Maastricht may not be a perfect treaty, but it contains much that any socialist would support.

It added: 'The creation of a single currency will eliminate transaction costs which will save British industry millions of pounds each year.

'It will remove the damaging uncertainties of a fluctuating exchange rate and will also make trade across the Community easier and cheaper for industry. A single currency will also eliminate speculation against individual member state currencies.'