HC Deb 02 November 1998 vol 318 c554
33. Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)

What plans there are to implement the recommendation of the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons to establish a National Parliament Office in Brussels. [55916]

Mrs. Beckett

The hon. Lady rightly draws attention to the recommendation of the Modernisation Committee. I understand that some work is being done by the House authorities on the implications and the practical problems associated with it, which no doubt will be reported to the House in due course.

Miss McIntosh

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for that answer. Given the greater powers afforded the European Parliament by the Amsterdam treaty and the desire of the House—and, I believe, the Government—for greater co-operation, mutual understanding and partnership between the House and the European Parliament, does the right hon. Lady agree that such an office should be set up as a matter of urgency to train our very able officers in the House to prepare for when the Amsterdam treaty comes into force?

Mrs. Beckett

It is important that we should do everything that we can to improve the liaison between the European Parliament and this Parliament. In particular, we should use whatever channels we can to get advance information for hon. Members so that we can be well aware of what is being proposed, the full implications for the House and how we should respond. The proposed National Parliament Office would be one means to achieve that, but it is not the only proposal.

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