Letter: Europe's second chamber

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Sir: Vernon Bogdanor ('Direct votes to salvage European unity', 13 August) is right in saying that the near- failure of Maastricht puts paid to a Europe governed by elites; but save us from American-style presidential elections] Stephen Woodward, director of the European Movement (Letters, 13 August), is nearer the mark; but both are wrong in excluding national parliaments.

The sudden drop from the Commons' original endorsement of Maastricht by 200 votes to a majority of only three shows that national parliaments can not control ministers through the present arrangements, because ministers do not give sufficient information for parliaments to make a serious political judgement, and, being composed of governments in conclave, the European Council of Ministers will never open its doors (anyone who has attended a council meeting will understand why).

Had there been a second chamber, composed of members of national parliaments, members of all parties would have understood at the formative stage (as MEPs did) the arguments for and against a European monetary union that was immune to both speculators and German control and which policies can and which cannot gain support at European level. Europe cannot be built without national parliaments as part of the buildings.

Yours sincerely,


MEP for Cambridge and

North Bedfordshire (Con)


13 August