Select Committee on European Scrutiny Nineteenth Report

European enforcement order and the transfer of sentenced persons



Draft Council Framework Decision on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union

Legal baseArticles 31(1)(a) and 34(2)(b)EU; consultation; unanimity
DepartmentHome Office
Basis of considerationMinister's letters of 24 January, 7 February and 28 March 2007, oral evidence given on 28 March 2007
Previous Committee ReportHC41-ii (2006-07), para 4 (29 November 2007); HC 34-xxxix (2005-06), para 6 (25 October 2006) and see (26317) 5597/05 HC 38-xv (2004-05), para 6 (6 April 2005)
Discussed in CouncilJustice and Home Affairs Council 15 February 2007
Committee's assessmentLegally and politically important
Committee's decisionFor debate in European Standing Committee (decision reported 29 November 2006)


1. The proposal is concerned with the transfer of prisoners from one EU State to another. It replaces a long-standing Council of Europe Convention which provided for the transfer of prisoners where the prisoner so agreed. The EU proposal dispensed with the requirement of the prisoner's consent where he is transferred to his State of nationality when this is also his normal place of residence. In relation to a number of types of conduct, it also required Member States to enforce the sentence of imprisonment imposed on a person convicted abroad, irrespective of whether the conduct was also criminal in the State to which he is transferred. In other words, the safeguard of dual criminality would not be applied in respect of those crimes.

2. We were concerned about three main issues — whether there was a need for the proposal given the existence of the Council of Europe Convention, whether it was right to provide for the compulsory transfer of prisoners, and whether the UK should maintain the safeguard of dual criminality. We drew attention to the bizarre consequences which might arise from the compulsory transfer of prisoners without regard for the safeguard of dual criminality, noting that the Minister had herself confirmed that this could result in a British national, convicted abroad, being transferred back to the UK against his will and imprisoned here for conduct which was not criminal in this country. The Minister had not confirmed that the Government would avail itself of an exception under the Framework Decision which would prevent this. We considered these points to be of sufficient importance to be debated by the House before the Government signified any agreement to the proposal and on 29 November 2006 we recommended it for debate in European Standing Committee.

Warnings given by the Committee not to override scrutiny

3. Having made the recommendation for a debate in European Standing Committee, we were surprised to see from the Minister's statement on the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4-5 December 2006[1] that the UK had "pushed hard" in the Council for agreement on the latest text, when it was still awaiting debate. By letter of 11 January 2007, the Chairman of the Committee asked the Minister to explain if it had been the Government's intention to agree the proposal, notwithstanding the recommendation for debate, and what consideration had been given to the scrutiny position before the UK decided to support the Presidency in pushing for agreement.

4. By letter of 24 January 2007 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Joan Ryan) replied that it had not been the intention of the UK to signal agreement to the Framework Decision and thereby to override the scrutiny reserve resolution. The Minister stated that the Government was content with the approach taken in the draft Framework Decision and that "it was in that context that we encouraged the Finnish Presidency to seek a deal between all delegations on its compromise package". The Minister added that "the most the Council could have concluded, should unanimity have been achieved, was a general approach on that deal". The Minister went on to state that, "as [the Committee] is aware", a general approach "allows delegations the right to re-open points on the text should they have the need to do so", and that 'the UK's Parliamentary scrutiny reserve had also been clearly recorded'.

5. The Minister further explained that the German Presidency would undertake "high level discussions" with the "one remaining Member State" (which we later learned was Poland) which had "substantive concerns" with the current draft which included concerns over the removal of the requirement for the prisoner's consent. The Minister thought it likely that the Framework Decision would be considered at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 15-16 February 2007. The Minister added that, in the light of our concerns, her officials had investigated the possibility of bringing forward the debate which was due to take place on 20 February, but that "because of the Parliamentary recess and the commitments of both Ministers and the Committee"[2] this had not proved possible. The Minister assured us that the Government would "at most" participate in a general approach on this matter and would re-iterate the Parliamentary scrutiny reserve at the Council.

6. By letter of 30 January 2007 the Chairman of the Committee stated that we wished to make it clear that if the Government were to take part in a "general approach" before the debate took place in European Standing Committee, we would regard such participation as a breach of the spirit of the scrutiny reserve resolution. The Chairman pointed out that the recommendation for debate had been made on 29 November, that there was opportunity for a debate before the February Justice and Home Affairs Council and that we were not persuaded there was any urgency to this proposal, which had been introduced as long ago as January 2005.

7. The letter also pointed out that if the Presidency and the other Member States persuaded Poland to concede on the issue of prisoner consent, there would be no further discussion in the Council on one of the very issues we had identified as requiring debate. If a "general approach" were agreed the issue would be foreclosed, without the House having had the opportunity to consider it, and the Government would have agreed the measure without having first explained to the House whether it would apply the safeguard of dual criminality in the case of a UK national brought back to this country against his will to serve a prison sentence for conduct which was not a crime here. The Committee invited the Minister to reconsider any intention to take part in a general approach on the proposal before it had cleared scrutiny.

8. By letter of 7 February the Minister (Joan Ryan) stated that it was the UK's intention to participate in a general approach at the February Justice and Home Affairs Council. The Minister expressed her "regret" that a debate after the JHA Council would not allow the House to raise the Committee's outstanding concerns prior to the general approach being reached. The Minister acknowledged that "where possible, scrutiny should be completed before participation in a general approach". The Minister went on to say that "her officials attempted to bring the debate forward" but that "unfortunately, due to Parliamentary Recess and conflicting Ministerial and [European Standing] Committee commitments, this was not possible".

9. The Committee considered the letter the same day, and the Chairman wrote on 7 February to the Home Secretary. The Chairman said it was "hard to believe" that the Government had been unable to arrange a debate in time for the JHA Council when (as the Minister had said in her letter of 7 February) the issue of foreign prisoners was "one of the Government's top priorities". The letter repeated our view that participation in a general approach would be in breach of the spirit of the scrutiny reserve resolution, and that if this were to happen, the Committee would invite the Home Secretary to give evidence.

10. Notwithstanding our warnings, the Government did participate in a general approach at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 15 February. As much was apparent from press coverage and the Council's provisional press release.

11. The proposal was subsequently debated in European Standing Committee on 20 February.

12. The Minister made a statement on the JHA Council which stated that "the Council also secured a general approach on a Framework Decision which will provide for the exchange of prisoners between Member States". The Minister also stated that "whilst participating in this general approach the UK maintained its parliamentary scrutiny reserve".[3]The Chairman wrote to the Home Secretary on 21 February, inviting him to attend before the Committee. The Home Secretary replied on 16 March indicating that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Joan Ryan - who had represented the UK at the JHA Council) would appear to give evidence.

"General approach" and the scrutiny reserve resolution

13. In correspondence with us before the JHA Council, and when appearing before us to give evidence on 28 March, the Minister argued that she did not act in breach of the scrutiny reserve resolution by participating in a "general approach".

14. This assertion requires examination, both as a general proposition and in the light of the particular circumstances of this case.

15. The Resolution of 17 November 1998 on the Scrutiny of European Business (the scrutiny reserve resolution) provides, so far as relevant for present purposes, that no Minister of the Crown should give agreement in the Council to any proposal for a Framework Decision which is awaiting consideration by the House. The scrutiny reserve resolution further provides that any reference to "agreement to a proposal" includes agreement to a programme, plan or recommendation for European Community legislation, "political agreement" and agreement to a "common position". The concept of "agreement" is therefore defined inclusively in the scrutiny reserve resolution and no provision is made to exclude a "general approach" from the scope of the term "agreement".[4]

16. In the working practices of the Council, a number of terms have been used (such as "provisional agreement") to describe an agreement within the Council before a proposal may formally be adopted. In a letter of 20 March 2002 from the then Leader of the House of Lords (Lord Williams of Mostyn QC) to the then Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union (Lord Brabazon of Tara) the Minister explained that in guidance issued to the Council by its own Legal Service, the term "general approach" was used as a term "referring to a decision stating a position on a text before fulfilment of the legislative-procedure preconditions for voting, in particular delivery of the European Parliament's opinion".[5]

17. In its Report on Democracy and Accountability in the EU and the Role of National Parliaments[6] the previous Committee was concerned to find the Council beginning to reach "provisional agreements" on proposals which it had not cleared, apparently bypassing the scrutiny reserves. The Committee noted the explanation from the then Minister for Europe, Community and Race Equality at the Home Office that:

    "provisional agreement does not stop you from reopening the issues that you have agreed if something important comes up. It is an attempt to work through the texts and see the lie of the land and get as much consensus around 15 States as possible so that you know where you are instead of leaving all of that work.. the end".[7]

18. The Committee also noted the statement in the letter of 20 March 2002 from the then Leader of the House of Lords to the Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union that, in cases where the European Parliament's opinion had not been considered, Ministers could take a general position in support of a text, while retaining the possibility of pursuing issues raised by Parliament at the point when the Council returned to the European Parliament's opinion. Our predecessors said they would keep a close watch on examples of "general approaches", and would not be fully reassured until they had seen examples of issues subsequently identified by it or the House of Lords Committee raised successfully in the Council.

19. In its Report on the Scrutiny of European Business - Provisional Agreement in the Council of Ministers the House of Lords Committee concluded that "'provisional agreement' or 'general approach' involves some form of agreement in the Council" and that there could be no doubt that "reaching 'provisional agreement' or 'general approach' on a proposal in the Council marks a significant step in the political and legislative process in the Council and in our Parliamentary scrutiny process". Both Committees expressed an intention to monitor future practice.

20. The current version of the Cabinet Office guidance (Parliamentary Scrutiny of European Union Documents - Guidance for Departments)[8] states that in relation to the scrutiny reserve resolution, "the objective should always be to complete scrutiny well in advance" of final adoption, common position and political agreement. The Guidance also states that "the same objective should apply to the stage known as general approach".[9] This is described as "a decision stating a position on a text before the fulfilment of the legislative procedure preconditions for voting".

21. The Cabinet Office Guidance goes on to state (in apparent contradiction) that "it is the Government's view that a general approach is not subject to the Scrutiny Reserve Resolution because it does not constitute a definitive point of agreement in the legislative process". The Guidance explains that, although the UK has stated in the Council that it reserves the right to re-open a text after a general approach on the basis of concerns raised in Parliament, the Government "would do this only where such points correspond to the Government's policy stance on the proposal and where the point(s) had not previously been pursued". The guidance also states that "working with the Committee(s) to complete scrutiny before a general approach is therefore the best way to ensure that the spirit of the Scrutiny Reserve Resolution is not breached. But if it is clear the general approach will be reopened for full discussion by Ministers at a later date, there is no need to complete scrutiny beforehand".[10]

22. In the present case, it seemed clear to us that the "general approach" marked the end-point of discussions on all substantive issues, including the key issue of prisoner consent, which we had recommended for debate It did not seem credible that, so much pressure having been exerted on Poland over the issue, 26 Member States would subsequently agree to the re-opening of the matter at the request of the UK. We noted the Minister's explanation in her letter of 24 January 2007 that a general approach "allows delegations the right to re-open points on the text should they have need to do so", but we considered this to be at least disingenuous in circumstances where the Government, according to its own Guidance, would not re-open points on the text. The Government had already disagreed with the Committee on the issue of prisoner consent, which issue was, moreover, one which had already been pursued in the negotiations. It was also an issue on which (according to press reports) Germany and the other Member States (including the UK) were pressing Poland to agree. In these circumstances, it seemed to us that there was no real prospect of a re-opening of the "general approach" for "full discussion" by Ministers of the kind referred to in the Government's own Guidance. It also appeared to us that the Minister was seeking to make a virtue of the fact that at the December JHA the UK had "pushed hard" for agreement on the latest text, and that this was inconsistent with any genuine disposition to re-open the general approach.

23. We therefore reached the provisional view that for the Government to participate in a "general approach" on this proposal before it had been debated in European Standing Committee would constitute a breach of the spirit of the scrutiny reserve resolution, and so informed the Minister by letter of 30 January 2007, and the Home Secretary by letter of 7 February 2007.

24. The Government had not explained why the matter was so urgent that it could not have waited until the April Justice and Home Affairs Council. The proposal for a Framework Decision had been introduced in January 2005 and had the usual provision requiring Member States to implement its provisions within 2 years. Therefore, the earliest time for the proposal to be fully effective would have been 2009. According to the Government's Explanatory Memorandum, the Repatriation of Offenders Act 1984 would have required amendment to permit the transfer of prisoners without their consent. Against this, it was not obvious to us why the Council could not have waited a few weeks to allow Parliamentary consideration of the Framework Decision.

25. The Minister's argument in her letter to us of 7 February 2007 that it was necessary to "finalise negotiations as soon as possible" and the statement by the Minister (Gerry Sutcliffe) in the debate in European Standing Committee that "the Government's position was to get a good agreement quickly" seemed to us to be inconsistent with what we had been told by the Minister (Joan Ryan) in her letter of 24 January 2007 that a "general approach" allowed delegations to re-open points on the text. It seemed to us that the agreement reached at the February Justice and Home Affairs Council was indeed the "definitive point" in the legislative process.

26. We therefore asked for oral evidence from the Home Secretary to explain the position taken by his Department on the issue of scrutiny of this proposal. By letter of 16 March the Secretary of State for the Home Department (John Reid) expressed his regret that he was unable to attend, and nominated the Minister (Joan Ryan) to attend on his behalf as the "lead Minister for international issues".

The Minister's oral evidence

27. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Joan Ryan) appeared before us on 28 March 2007.

28. The Minister did not acknowledge that by taking part in a "general approach" on the proposal before it had been debated in European Standing Committee, she had acted in breach, at least of the spirit, of the scrutiny reserve resolution. The Minister stated that she was not of the view that the scrutiny reserve resolution had been breached, but that "it is better and preferable, wherever possible, to be in a position where the Scrutiny Reserve has been lifted before even a general approach is reached, and it is regrettable that this was not possible in this case".[11]

29. In reply to questions about the warnings from us over the scrutiny issues, the Minister said that our report of 29 November 2006 (in which we had concluded that the Framework Decision raised a number of issues of principle which ought to be debated) did not suggest that she should not participate, or that the UK should not participate, in reaching a general approach.[12] Continuing, the Minister said that at the JHA Council on 4-5 December "no approach was then forthcoming" and that matters "did not seem to have reached the point that was expected".[13] Reporting to the House on that Council, the Minister's statement of 18 December said that "the Presidency, with the support of the UK and a number of delegations, pushed hard for agreement on the latest text". The Minister acknowledged receiving our letter of 11 January 2007 (which said that the Minister's statement left the impression that the UK would have agreed the proposal, notwithstanding the fact that it was awaiting debate in European Standing Committee and asked for an explanation as to what consideration had been given to the scrutiny position), but said that at the December JHA Council "at no stage were we pushing for agreement as "political agreement"", that there was "no question at any time that we would have participated in a political agreement which would have ignored the Scrutiny Reserve" and that "the strongest likelihood was we would proceed to participate in the general approach but no question of an agreement, and I made that absolutely clear".[14]

30. It was put to the Minister that our letter of 11 January 2007 did express concerns about reaching a general approach before the matter had been debated, and that much earlier than this the Government was already taking steps to press for an agreement at the December JHA Council. In reply, the Minister said that:

    "When we talk about "agreement on the text", that is in the common usage of the word "agreement". It is not in relation to political agreement as a definition of a final decision subject to the linguist lawyers at the European Union. Perhaps I can say that maybe usage of the word "agreement" has caused some confusion, and certainly, if that is the case, I would apologise for that and it is regrettable and that is one of things I will take back. When I mentioned issues such as working with the officials and staff training and trying to better monitor the match between our process here and our process in the EU, that is precisely one of the issues I will feed in."[15]

31. It was put to the Minister that the end-point of the discussions of this proposal came with the general approach, because it was at this point that all the substantive issues were settled, including the issue of prisoner consent. It was also put to the Minister that she could not "have her cake and eat it" by agreeing to a general approach and yet saying that the scrutiny reserve resolution was being observed. In reply, the Minister said:

    "It is the case when you reach a general approach that one would expect substantive issues to be agreed upon around the Council table, or I think it would be very difficult to be able to reach a general approach. So if as a government we were not satisfied in relation to the issues within the proposal, if others round the table were very dissatisfied, then I think it would be difficult to reach a general approach, and I think that was the case in December. But is still remains the fact that when you reach a general approach, although there probably is agreement around the table on substantive issues, it is still subject to scrutiny reserve, the issue can still be reopened, and there are examples where in fact this has happened. There are not many, I agree. The reason there are not many is that the likelihood is substantive issues are agreed upon, or there is general agreement in the common usage of the word "agreement", before a general approach would be reached at a Council."[16]

32. In reply to further questions, the Minister agreed that her case was that a general approach was not "really an agreement".[17] Asked to explain what had been meant by the her Ministerial colleague's statement at the European Standing Committee debate that "the Government's position was to get a good agreement quickly, if possible", the Minister said she assumed that what the Minister (Gerry Sutcliffe)was suggesting on that occasion was that the Government wished "to get to a good general approach as quickly as possible".[18]

33. During her evidence to us, the Minister agreed that, although the Government reserved the right to re-open a text after a general approach had been agreed, in practice, the Government would be prepared to do so only where the concerns raised corresponded to the Government's own policy and where the point had not previously been pursued.[19]

34. In reply to questions over the timing of the general approach on the proposal, the Minister noted that the proposal had been under discussion since January 2005, that there was no "rush in the overall sense", but that matters did speed up with the incoming German Presidency "in a way we did not expect them to at that particular point in time" and that, when agreement was not reached in December 2006, this would not occur until Easter 2007, but that "it did then move forward".[20] The Minister added:

    "Once those who had difficulties with [the Framework Decision] found a way forward, everybody was very keen to reach a general approach because, as Members will know, if a general approach had not been reached then, after that period of time, the possibility that this would all fall apart and different Member States might find different problems, the moment might well pass and that would have been very regrettable of itself given the importance of this policy."[21]

35. In reply to the question of whether a period of 11 weeks was sufficient time for the Government to have arranged a debate, the Minister said that this was "an important point" and agreed that this period "looks like a reasonable number of weeks within which to get the debate timetabled and undertaken", but added that the moving forward of the issue by the German Presidency "became part of our timetabling difficulty". Questioned further on the arrangements for the debate, the Minister said that three dates had been offered, but that two were "impossible for Home Office Ministers to make it to the debate" and that the third date was one which was impossible for the European Standing Committee to accommodate.[22]

The Minister's letter of 17 April

36. The Minister wrote to us on 17 April in relation to another proposal (for a Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia)[23] where it was also expected that the German Presidency would seek a "general approach" at a forthcoming Justice and Home Affairs Council. We have reported separately on the substance of that proposal.[24]

37. The purpose of the Minister's letter was to "clarify" the position the Government intended to take at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 19-20 April in relation to that proposal. The Minister explained that the German Presidency had been "working hard" to address the UK's concerns, and that:

    "The Presidency has also made it clear that, in the light of the consensus now emerging among Member States, it will not delay seeking a general approach on the text until the next JHA Council in June and intends, instead, to capitalise on that momentum. We therefore fully expect them to push for a general approach this week as was emphasised to me by the German Justice Minister in my own recent conversations with her.

    "Against that background, as I have said previously,[25] blocking a general approach at this stage would seriously damage our relations with the current Presidency, who have been very helpful on this matter already, and may impact on future negotiations, to the UK's overall detriment."

38. The tone of these passages indicate to us that the Minister is aware that the "general approach" sought by the German Presidency would indeed, constitute an agreement on the proposal which would not subsequently be re-opened. The Minister refers to the German Presidency as intending to "capitalise on the momentum" by reaching a "general approach", to "blocking" such an approach, and to the "serious damage" which would be done to the UK's relations with the current Presidency which "might impact" on future negotiations if the UK did not take part in the "general approach".


39. We have recounted the history of this matter in some detail, as we believe it important to show the fundamental difference we have with the Minister over the scrutiny issue.

40. In our view, the question of whether an agreement has been reached in the Council should not be approached in a spirit which gives higher regard to form than substance and purpose, but in a way which corresponds to common sense and the natural and ordinary meaning of words. The Minister's frequent attempts in her oral evidence to distinguish a "general approach" from the term "political agreement" or "agreement" in "common usage" shows that a "general approach" cannot be explained otherwise than as amounting to an agreement, and we think it significant, in this regard, that the formal minutes of the Council should refer, in terms, to "an agreement on a general approach". The evidence suggests to us that the Government's concern was more with arguing a case than with demonstrating any genuine acceptance of the purpose and principles of Parliamentary scrutiny. In our view, the concept of the "general approach" should not be used as a device for achieving substantial agreement in the Council, whilst maintaining a fiction before Parliament that no such agreement has been reached, because this would effectively bypass Parliamentary scrutiny.

41. We are concerned that this case has shown that the use of the concept of "general approach" can undermine Parliamentary scrutiny in exactly the way identified in relation to "provisional agreements" by our predecessors and by our sister Committee in the Lords.

42. We consider that, in this case, the Minister wilfully acted in breach at least of the spirit of the scrutiny reserve resolution. We do not find it credible that there was any realistic possibility of discussion being reopened on this proposal once the Council reached a "general approach" on 15 February, before the matter was to be debated in European Standing Committee. It clearly was an agreement, however described, reached after the reluctance of Poland had been overcome on the very issue we had identified for debate. Revealingly, the Minister concedes in her oral evidence that if a "general approach" had not been reached at the time it was there was "the possibility that this would all fall apart" and "the moment might well pass". There is clearly a contradiction between seizing the moment in order to secure agreement, whilst maintaining that such agreement can subsequently be re-opened.

43. If a "general approach" were not in reality an agreement on the substance drawing the discussions to a close, the references by the Minister in her subsequent letter us of 17 April to the supposed harmful consequences for the UK if it were to "block" a general approach in relation to the racism and xenophobia proposal would make no sense. The letter indicates to us that the "general approach" on that proposal would indeed amount to an agreement on the substantive issues which could not be re-opened .

44. It is also evident from the Government's own guidance to departments that the "general approach" would not be reopened on this issue, because the Government did not share our views on the issue of prisoner consent and because the point was not new. In our view, it would have been preferable if the Minister had made this clear from the start, rather than referring to an abstract possibility which would never become real.

45. It is also the case that the Government was warned on three occasions of our views on the scrutiny issue, but nevertheless chose to take part in a general approach on a matter which was awaiting debate.

46. We are not convinced that there was any insuperable difficulty in arranging for a debate in the 11 weeks between our recommendation and the Justice and Home Affairs Council in February. We express concern that the Government's business managers were unable to set a date for the European Standing Committee within the 11 week period and when it was apparent that there were at least two Home Office Ministers who were sufficiently versed in the matter to have moved the Government's motion in the debate.

47. We are also not convinced that there was any pressing need to agree this proposal in February, as opposed to April. We note from the Minister's evidence that the Government's expectation was that the matter would be submitted to the April Council, but that the German Presidency brought the matter forward. In our view, the aspirations of a Presidency to accelerate progress should not be allowed to take precedence over the right of the House to hold Ministers to account and to debate proposals before they are agreed.

48. In the light of the experience of this case, we now make it clear that we reject any general proposition that agreement to a "general approach" does not amount to agreement for the purpose of the Resolution of the House on the Scrutiny of European Business, or that the reaching of a "general approach" is not subject to that Resolution. In a European Union of 27, it seems to us to be quite unreal to suggest that the reaching of a "general approach", after all the bargaining of national positions there will have been, does not, in fact, amount to substantive agreement.

1   Official Report 18 December 2006 cols. 123-4 WS. Back

2   As was later confirmed during the Minister's oral evidence, the 'Committee' in question was not ourselves but the European Standing Committee Back

3   The formal Council minutes (6472/07) of 26 February 2007 state that "following the presentation of [a] compromise text an agreement on a general approach on the Framework Decision was reached. The text of the proposal, subject to parliamentary reservations entered by PL/NL/UK/SE/DK/IR, is set out in the Annex.." Back

4   We note here that in its Report on Provisional Agreement in the Council of Ministers (23rd Report Session 2001-02, HL Paper 135) the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union also took the view that it was clear that the definition of 'agreement' in the scrutiny reserve resolution was not exhaustive. Back

5   HL Paper 135 (Session 2001-02), Appendix 3. Back

6   HC 152 -xxiii (2001-02) (12 June 2002). Back

7   HC 325 (2001-02), q.20. Back

8   Version of February 2006, reissued on 30 January 2007. Back

9   Guidance paragraph 6.2.1. Back

10   Guidance ibid. Emphasis as in the original. Back

11   Q2, Q11. Back

12   Q3. Back

13   Q3. Back

14   Q3. The Ministerial statement uses the term 'agreement' without qualification. Back

15   Q13. Back

16   Q14. Back

17   Q15 Back

18   Q17. Back

19   Q19. Back

20   Q31. Back

21   Q31. Back

22   Q36. Back

23   See (28294) HC 41 -xvi (2006-07), para 6 (28 March 2007).  Back

24   HC 41-xvii (2006-07), para 16 (18 April 2007) Back

25   We are not aware of this point being previously made to us by the Minister in her oral evidence to us or in her correspondence. Back

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