HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 c460W
Mr. Bernie Grant

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place a copy of Commissioner Gradin's proposals on immigration, asylum policy and border controls put to the recent meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in the Library; and if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy in respect of these proposals. [2826]

Miss Widdecombe

The meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council at La Gomera on 14–15 October 1995 was an informal meeting and as such took no formal decisions. I have, however, provided a summary of the discussions to the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Select Committee on European Legislation.

During the meeting, Ministers considered the prospects for the third pillar of the treaty on European Union at the forthcoming intergovernmental conference. Commissioner Gradin expressed the view that immigration and asylum policy should be transferred into Community competence. She did not, however, put forward any formal proposals.

The Government do not share that view. We firmly believe that the matters dealt with under the third pillar, including immigration and asylum, should remain subject to intergovernmental co-operation. There was broad agreement with this position from other member states at La Gomera.

Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a Green Paper and a White Paper concerning current trends and problems in the fields of asylum and immigration and his proposals for legislation. [2690]

Miss Widdecombe

We have no plans to publish a Green Paper or a White Paper on these matters. The statement that my right hon. and learned Friend made to the House on 20 November identified a number of pressing issues requiring early action. Parliament will shortly have the opportunity to debate the Government's proposals for legislation.