European Scrutiny CommitteeLetter from the Foreign Secretary to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee (ESI 24)

Thank you for your letter of 13 September on the new UK Permanent Representative to the EU, and for informing me that the European Scrutiny Committee has agreed to invite Sir Ivan Rogers to give oral evidence in October on how he will carry out his functions.

As set out in my letter of 3 September, I attach great importance to the longstanding constitutional distinction that ministers are accountable to Parliament on policy issues and that officials act on the instructions of ministers.

Ministers would of course therefore be prepared to consider a request to give further evidence themselves to the Committee on policy issues relating to the Committee’s inquiry into the European Scrutiny system. I would also be ready to consider a specific request for Sir Ivan to give evidence to the inquiry on the strictly technical issue of the functioning of the scrutiny process in Brussels, once he has established himself in his new role, if that were to add to the evidence already provided by Sir Jon Cunliffe. I am afraid however that Sir Ivan will not be available to provide evidence to the Committee before taking up his appointment.

I know that Sir Ivan looks forward to building on the excellent working relationship between UKREP and the ESC and to meeting the Committee when it next visits Brussels. Like other ambassadors, he is also ready informally to brief members of the ESC and other interested parliamentarians when he visits London.

25 September 2013

Prepared 28th November 2013