Select Committee on Constitution Ninth Report


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 Hain MP

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 Kingdom;
  • 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 Conference.

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

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