Letter from Lord Norton of Louth, Chairman
of the Committee, to the Leader of the House of Commons, Lord
Privy Seal and Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon. Peter
The Constitution Committee of the House of Lords,
which I chair, is charged as part of its terms of reference, "to
keep under review the operation of the constitution".
The Committee is of the view that the draft Treaty
which has been drawn up by the Convention on the Future of Europe
will have a constitutional impact on the United Kingdom. The scope
and extent of this impact has been the subject of much speculation,
and it is the Committee's intention to bring clarity to the issue
by reporting on the draft constitution. Such a report would focus
not so much on the merits or demerits of particular proposals,
but on the ways in which the draft Treaty, if implemented, would
affect the United Kingdom constitution.
I would therefore be grateful if you would set out
the Government's views on how the proposed European Constitution
would affect the constitution of the United Kingdom. In particular
it would be helpful if you would state:
- which of the articles in the draft Treaty have
potentially significant constitutional implications for the United
- what the constitutional effect of the implementation
of those articles would be;
- how the Government have set about evaluating
the effect of any constitutional changes; and
- whether the Government have any plans to seek
to amend any of these articles during the forthcoming Inter-Governmental
The Committee plans to produce a report in the autumn.
It would therefore be very helpful if you could reply by Monday,
8 September, to enable the Committee to proceed with their deliberations
immediately on return from the Summer Recess.
16 June 2003