Letter from Lord Pearson to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 8 March, which
we discussed this morning.
It is true that the new terms of reference for
your proposed enquiry were printed in the Weekly Bulletin of 17
February, but the House had risen for the half-term break the
day before, and so a number of Peers, myself included, did not
see it until the House returned on the 27th, one day before your
previous deadline expired. I wrote to your Clerk that day.
I am not convinced that your terms of reference
allow you "to contribute to the fostering of a more informed
public understanding of the work of the EU", nor to "identify
practical steps which could be taken to broaden and improve public
understanding of the work of the House of Lords in scrutinising
I fear your initiative has to be seen against
the background of the latest multi-billion-euro push by Brussels,
in educational establishments and elsewhere, to get the `European
citizen' to appreciate how wonderful the EU really is, and how
doltish the French and Dutch voters were to turn down the proposed
Constitution. The idea is presumably to get the people not to
make too much of a fuss when parts of the Constitution are revived
as a "tidying-up exercise".
As to the work of your Committee and Sub-Committees,
can you tell me the occasions when you have succeeded in getting
the Commission, Coreper or the Council of Ministers to change
their minds on any significant legislative proposals? And, incidentally,
of any law passed in Brussels which has been successfully overturned
by Parliament (the UK Parliament!).
Could I suggest that if your Committee has spare
energy and resources it should conduct another enquiry into fraud
and mismanagement in the EU? Ten years ago and more, when its
composition was more balanced, it conducted a series of excellent
enquiries into this scandal, which of course continues to this
day because none of the assurances given by the Government and
the EU have been met.
I confirm that I and my colleagues remain happy
to give evidence, and I look
forward to your reply.
23 March 2006