European Scrutiny CommitteeLetter from the Foreign Secretary to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee (ESI 25)

Thank you for your letter of 10 October, about the UK Permanent Representative to the EU. I agree this is certainly a very important role, but the Permanent Representative is an official who acts in line with policies that have been agreed by Ministers and does not have quasi-legislative powers. The UK Permanent Representative does not make rules and regulations, it is Ministers who agree proposals and legislation at a Council of Ministers. The constitutional distinction therefore that officials follow ministerial mandates, and it is Ministers who are accountable to Parliament for their officials, should be maintained.

22 October 2013

Prepared 28th November 2013