Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Bob Ainsworth

  Sub-Committee F (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs) considered this draft agreement at its meeting on 27 November.

  The Committee noted that this was another example of the Home Office depositing a document for scrutiny only a week before it was due for discussion, and presumably adoption at the JHA Council. The Committee cannot understand why an earlier draft was not deposited, and I would be grateful for an explanation for the late submission.

  Because of the urgency the Committee arranged to consider the draft at very short notice and decided to clear it from scrutiny, but we will be reluctant to clear documents at such short notice again where the normal scrutiny rules have been breached for what appears to be no good reason.

2 December 2002

Letter from Bob Ainsworth to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 2 December. I would like to thank Sub-Committee F for considering and clearing this proposal so quickly although the proposal was taken off the agenda for the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28-29 November.

  In your letter you asked for an explanation why an earlier draft was not submitted to the Committee. The document was first produced as a room document at the Europol Management Board on 29-30 October. Officials received this unofficial text on the 5 November and began work on an unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum immediately. The document was deposited with the Explanatory Memorandum on 20 November. An official Council text was only received yesterday and there has been no changes from the unofficial text.

  Both I and my officials are committed to the principles of parliamentary scrutiny, and are aware of the importance of getting documents submitted to the scrutiny Committees as soon as possible. I can assure you that we make every effort to meet the deadlines set. However, in this case we could not supply you with a text earlier as we did not have an earlier version, and therefore did not breach the normal scrutiny rules.

  Work on the Europol Convention is a particularly fast moving area and as a result we do often receive documents only shortly before they appear on Council agendas. Unfortunately, we do not have any control over the items that the Presidency decides to put on the Council agendas.

8 January 2003

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