Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): For decades, British Ministers who have had involvement with Europe—I include myself in this—have been tempted to exaggerate the influence we bring to bear and conceal our inability to achieve British interests. Is that why it took a freedom of information request to establish that over the last two decades, Britain has voted against 72 measures in the European Council and been defeated 72 times, and that the pace of defeat is accelerating? If we make the mistake of taking the risk of remaining in the EU, how many defeats does the Prime Minister expect over the next two decades?


    The Prime Minister: I do not for one minute underestimate the frustrations and challenges of being a member of this organisation. The research that I have seen—perhaps I will write to my right hon. Friend with a copy of it—states that deep analysis of whether a country achieves its position shows that Britain does so in 90% of cases, which even, I think, outranks the Germans. I have seen for myself that when we work hard and form alliances, we can get things done.


    The other point I make to my right hon. Friend is that if we are outside the single market, the same countries will write the rules, but without us. We will have to comply with them when we sell into Europe, but will have absolutely no say over what they are. That, to me, is the illusion of sovereignty, rather than real sovereignty.