Select Committee on European Communities Report


Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee to Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

  As you will be aware this is an important proposal, on a subject which is likely to become increasingly topical over the next two years. Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and External Relations) considered a previous draft which was cleared on the basis of Ministerial correspondence. It was therefore particularly interested in the amended proposal, which it considered at its meeting today.

  The amended proposal was published in April 1998, and the General Affairs Council were expected to consider it yesterday, 29 June. The explanatory memorandum, however, was only deposited in Parliament on 18 June. Apparently this was due to a disagreement at official level over which Department should prepare the explanatory memorandum.

  Given the impending Council debate and the importance of the subject matter, Sub-Committee A considered that the delay was simply not good enough. I agree, and trust that you will take steps to ensure that insofar as you are able no such disputes affect the production of explanatory memoranda for which you are responsible in future.

  Since further parliamentary scrutiny has effectively been ruled out by the delay in producing an explanatory memorandum, this letter lifts the scrutiny reserve.

30 June 1998

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