Britain's House of Commons has voted to join the Common Market. By 356 votes to?
Britain's House of Commons has voted to join the Common Market. By 356 votes to 244 on Thursday night (28 October), the Members of Parliament have decided to tie British fortunes to Europe.
The vote, coming at the end of a passionate six-day debate, was on a simple 25-word motion to join the European Economic Community on the terms negotiated by Conservative ministers. The vote majority of 112 was higher than the Conservative government had expected, and was due to Labour M.P.'s, who defied instructions of their leaders and voted for joining Europe.
The vote of principle gives the green light for British entry by January 1973. The big hurdle now is to enact a large amount of legislation to apply laws of the Common Market to the British way of life. Labour opponents of entry have promised to fight the new laws and amendments every inch of the way.
Reaction to the vote was swift. Conservative member Geoffrey Rippon, who was instrumental in paving the way for the vote, said that Britain had a great deal to put into Europe. Labour Party member and "shadow" Foreign Secretary, Denis Healey, said that the issue of entry was still very much open. Jean Monnet, often called the "Father of a United Europe" was optimistic about Britain's future contribution to Europe.