Federalist MPs

Roy Jenkins, leading proponent of British membership of the EEC in the 1960s

At the end of October 1967 the European Federalist Movement (European Union of Federalists) sent a questionnaire to 630 British Members of Parliament designed to assess their views on a number of European federalist questions. One hundred forms were returned. Here are the questions and a summary of the replies:

1.             Do you consider the entry of the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community as fundamentally a political or an economic issue ?

All the replies indicated the belief that Britain’s entry was fundamentally a political issue: 20 per cent added that it was also an economic issue.

2.             Do you believe in the need for a European Federation founded on democratic institutions?

An affirmative answer was given by 70 per cent of the MPs; 20 per cent were opposed; and 10 per cent were evasive.

3.             Are you in favour of:

a. increasing the controlling power of the European Parliament?

b. direct election of the members of this Parliament by universal suffrage?

c. other initiatives?

Ninety per cent were in favour of increasing the power of the European Parliament (including even those who opposed European Federation), and 10 per cent were against; 70 per cent were in favour of direct elections whilst of the totally opposed, 40 per cent indicated that they would favour change later.

4.             Are you in favour of the majority rule for the important decisions taken at the level of the European Executives (Commission and Council of Ministers) ? Eighty per cent were in favour of the introduction of majority rule (one third of these were in favour of a qualified majority); and 20 per cent were opposed.

Published in Into Europe, the newsletter of Britain in Europe Ltd and Campaign for Europe, February 1968

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