EARL ST. ALDWYN
My Lords, my right honourable friend the Lord President of the Council is making a Statement in another place to-day on the Interim Report of the Commons Select Committee on European Community Secondary Legislation. It has been agreed through the usual channels that this Statement need not be repeated here, but, with the leave of the House, I will arrange for it to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the Statement referred to:
The thanks of the House are due to my honourable and learned friend, the Member for Northwich, and the members of his Committee for the speed with which they have been able to make this Interim Report.
The Government agree broadly with the proposals made by the Committee.
The first recommendation relates to proposals for Regulations, Directives and relevant Decisions by the Council of Ministers, and is that the relevant documents should be followed by explanatory memoranda. The Government accept that a memorandum of the kind illustrated in the Report should normally be produced for each of these documents by the Department primarily responsible. They may amount to about 300 a year.
The Committee also asked for a monthly statement to accompany a forecast of the Agenda of the Council of Ministers. Since items are sometimes inscribed on the Agenda at short notice, and some are treated as confidential, in the circumstances the Government believe the most appropriate way of meeting the Committee's objective would be for the Government to lodge each month in the Vote Office their estimate of the subject headings likely to come up for discussion in that month. This would, in accordance with the practice of the House, enable questions to be put down or debates to be arranged.
The Committee also recommends that regular Statements should be made after each meeting of the Council of Ministers Taken literally this might give rise to an excess of Statements, many of them on matters that do not warrant the time of the House at 3.30 p.m. As in the past, the appropriate Minister will make a Statement to the House whenever the substance of the meeting warrants it.