Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Yesterday in Parliament, Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, challenged the Foreign Secretary to let all MPs see every draft European directive before it is enacted.

    Peter Lilley said: “Although we can do nothing about most of these European laws, the release to MPs of all draft directives and regulations coming out of Brussels would allow us to know the scale and nature of the powers affecting our constituents which Parliament has already given away. It would make Parliament think twice before it gives away any more powers as proposed under the European Constitution.

    “At the moment even the House of Commons Scrutiny Committee considers all European regulations in private. And it is next to impossible for MPs who are not on that committee to obtain and scrutinise them. This emphasises the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the way the EU is run.

    Peter Lilley was responding to a Government statement about improving Parliamentary scrutiny of EU matters.


    Note to Editors:

    Extract from Hansard attached:

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Will the Foreign Secretary ensure that every Member of this House receives a copy of a draft of every regulation, directive or other legislative instrument that will ultimately come into force and bear on our constituents? Although we can do nothing about such regulations, that would allow us to know their scale and nature. Will he confirm that it is currently impossible to obtain those documents, although I receive a copy of every statutory instrument issued by the Government? Indeed, even the European Scrutiny Committee must consider such regulations in private. If I am wrong, will he tell me how to obtain copies of the regulations? If I am right, will he confirm that that reflects the fundamentally undemocratic nature of our supranational masters?

    Mr. Straw: I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not mean that such regulations should routinely be sent to all hon. Members.

    Mr. Lilley: Yes I do. We should know what we have given away.
    Mr. Straw: The right hon. Gentleman‘s party invited the House to join the European Union, and the basic legislative system under which we joined is still there today. Unless there is a good reason for regulations to be confidential, they should be available to all hon. Members in the same way as other draft regulations, and I shall examine his point.