24. ELECTORAL PROCEDURE
Letter from Barbara Roche MP, Minister
of State, Home Office, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee
I enclose a copy of an Explanatory Memorandum
that I am today distributing to members of your Committee in accordance
with scrutiny procedures. The Memorandum relates to the Resolution
on a draft Electoral Procedure incorporating Common Principles
for the election of Members of the European Parliament which was
adopted by the European Parliament on 15 July 1998. The Resolution
and draft Act were deposited with the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees
in accordance with Standing Orders on 23 November 1999.
I must apologise for the delay in depositing
both the European Community documents and the Explanatory Memorandum.
I am afraid that the responsible officials have been heavily engaged
throughout the period, first in getting the European Parliamentary
Elections Act on the statue book last session, then in administration
of the 1999 elections, and most recently in preparatory work for
the Representation of the People Bill which is now before Parliament.
However, as will be clear from the Memorandum,
activity on this dossier is only now beginning. It is on the agenda
for discussion at the General Affairs Council on 6-7 December,
but not for agreement. It is likely that the proposals will be
considerably amended before the Council takes them back to the
European Parliament for discussion. There will, therefore be a
further revised draft and Explanatory Memorandum to be deposited
with your Committee in due course. My officials are fully aware
of the need to bring this issue forward promptly on the next occasion.
2 December 1999
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State, Home Office
The European Parliament's Resolution was considered
by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 16
February. The Committee had before it your Explanatory Memorandum
of 2 December and your letter and Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum
of 14 January.
The Committee wishes to draw one point to your
attention. Any prohibition on dual mandates would have particular
implications for members of this House who are members for life
by virtue of a peerage. Such persons cannot, under present arrangements,
surrender their membership once taken up. Hence, a prohibition
on a dual mandate would appear to mean that persons who have accepted,
or in future accept, a peerage conferring membership of the House
of Lords would thereby preclude themselves from ever serving as
members of the European Parliaments. As you will be aware, there
are at present members of this House who are also members of the
European Parliament. The present arrangements may, of course,
change in the future. The Committee would be grateful if you could
bear this point in mind during the discussion of the proposal.
The Committee decided to clear the document
from scrutiny. But it has noted that there is likely to be further
work and activity on this proposal and it therefore requests you
to keep it promptly informed of developments.
17 February 2000