2 JUNE 1961, Page 12

Parliament Must Decide

That we shall decide to go in I am virtually sure. Indeed, I am fairly sure that the Govern- ment has already decided. But has the decision been arrived at for the right reasons, and will our entry be made in the right spirit? The signs at present are disheartening. It seems that Ministers are craftily insinuating the idea that to ' stay out of EEC would be slow-motion suicide for the British economy, so that they may hope to be ostensibly pushed by public opinion into doing what they know must be done. But that is not leadership. It is a type of political manceuvre which may be necessary and permis- sible on lesser occasions, but not when the country's whole future is at stake, Now, if ever, is a time when an honest lead should be given. The country'ought to be told that the basic issue is political; that the purpose of EEC is to con- struct, as quickly as possible, a United States of Europe; that we ought, for our own and the Community's sake, to share in the enterprise; but that we might as well not do so unless we are prepared to work with our fellow-Europeans wholeheartedly.

The question needs to be discussed up and down the country, and the public ought to be thoroughly informed. More than that, an appeal ought to be made to the imagination. Younger people are likely to be most responsive, for they have less cause than their elders to be insular and anti-continental, having escaped the emo- tional legacy of two wars and having benefited from a less sketchy education and more oppor- tunities for travel. but whereas public aware- ness is essential, a General Election would not be appropriate on an issue which divides the main parties internally. The final decision should be taken by Parliament—on a free vote. And if the House of Commons votes for Europe, let there be no mass invasion of Westminster by backwoods peers to keep us stuck in the past; or.let some sensible fat peer be counted as ten in the Aye lobby.