Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    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.