Britain's House of Commons on Thursday night (28 October) decided to join the Common Market and tie British fortunes to Europe.
Britain's House of Commons on Thursday night (28 October) decided to join the Common Market and tie British fortunes to Europe. At 10:000 PM London time, the House divided. Minutes later the "year" and "nays" were counted, with a result of 356 votes to 244 for joining the European community.
The majority of 112 was higher than the Conservative government of Prime Minister Edward Heath had expected. The majority was swollen by a solid bloc of opposition Labour Party M.P.'s, who defied the strictest instructions of their leaders and voted for joining Europe.
The vote, coming at the end of a passionate six-day debate, was on a simple 25-world motion to join the European Economic Community on the terms negotiated by Conservative ministers. Success of this motion empowers the government to sign the Treaty of Accession to the Common Market.
Outside of Parliament, demonstrators chanted anti-Common Market slogans and booed M.P.'s as they left the building. Despite the vote, the struggle for British entry is not yet over. The big hurdle now is to enact a hefty was of legislation to apply laws of the Common Market to the British way of life. Labour Party opponents of entry have promised to fight the new laws and amendments every inch of the way. The battle could last most of next year.