HC Deb 24 June 1985 vol 81 cc634-5
33. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many statutory instruments, draft directives and other legislative instruments recommended for further debate by the Select Committee on European Legislation are still awaiting debate on the Floor of the House; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Biffen

At present there are 42 such documents recommended for debate on the Floor of the House. Many of these will, however, become relevant only when active negotiations resume in Brussels.

Mr. Taylor

The Government are constantly and rightly saying that we can and should pay more attention to public expenditure. Does my right hon. Friend feel that the revelation on Friday that the EEC is this year spending £7,000 million on destroying, dumping or storing surplus foods requires us to spend a little more time in considering EEC matters generally? Does he believe that it will be possible to get through the backlog by the end of the Session?

Mr. Biffen

We have made steady progress with the consideration of that type of document—46 have been debated so far this Session. I do not think that wider issues about the common agricultural policy flow directly from this question.

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would we not normally go back to Energy questions now?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that we go back to the previous group of questions.

Mr. Skinner

Does the Leader of the House agree that, to get rid of all of these draft directives, it would be a good idea for his right hon. and hon. Friends to join the Opposition tomorrow night in saying that we will not vote that £252 million, whereupon the rest of the directives would become irrelevant?

Mr. Biffen

That is an attractive thought, but I do not think that it is entirely accurate.