HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc1373-4
48. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise in the next Council of Ministers' meeting the issue of the vetting of EEC Commission officials for security.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. John Tomlinson)

My hon. Friend has corresponded with both my right hon. Friend and myself about this matter. It is essentially one for the Commission and I do not think that it would be appropriate for my right hon. Friend to raise it now in the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Dalyell

Are the views of certain EEC officials about vetting reconcilable with the management of Euratom?

Mr. Tomlinson

As my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) himself said during a debate in the European Assembly, there is a certain irreducible dilemma between the problem of confidentiality and the need to ensure that the careers of Community officials are not prejudiced. I note what my hon. Friend says about Euratom. I re-emphasise the basic message of our recent correspondence that this important subject is more appropriate for consideration by the Commission than by the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Marten

Will the Minister say whether the appointment of Mr. Spinelli as a Commissioner, who is a member of the Communist Party and who had left the Commission to fight the Italian elections as a Communist candidate, was subject to vetting?

Mr. Tomlinson

The answer is "No." I cannot tell the hon. Member one way or the other.