HC Deb 11 June 2002 vol 386 c709
3. Angus Robertson (Moray)

What representations she has made to each Government Department concerning their provision of information on Council of the European Union meetings to the Scottish Parliament and Executive. [57381]

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mrs. Helen Liddell)

The provision of information to the Scottish Parliament is a matter for the Scottish Executive, who are involved in all relevant discussions in relation to European matters.

Angus Robertson

I thank the Secretary of State for her answer. At a time when the Government are stressing the importance of accountability, democracy and subsidiarity in European Union matters, does she agree that Scotland has a democratic deficit in that area, especially when one considers the conclusions of the report by the European Scrutiny Committee that was published this morning? The report states: It is a matter of concern that not all information about EU discussions relevant to the devolved administrations and legislatures has been forwarded to them by UK Departments. Does the Secretary of State agree that that is not acceptable and that it should change? What will she do about it?

Mrs. Liddell

The Government will respond to the report in due course. However, I attended the meeting this morning of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe, with the Deputy First Minister. I have received no representations from the Scottish Executive regarding any unhappiness about the availability of information on European Councils. The hon. Gentleman seeks always to push Scotland to the periphery of Europe. It is my job, and the Government's job, to ensure that Scotland remains in the mainstream in Europe.