HL Deb 02 November 1998 vol 594 c28WA
Lord Tebbit

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 5 October (H.L. Deb., cols. 161–163), whether a directive concerning the proposed withholding tax agreed unanimously by the Council of Ministers can be rendered invalid within the United Kingdom jurisdiction by a failure of Parliament to pass the legislation required to embody that legislation into the law of the United Kingdom. [HL3591]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

If a directive is unanimously adopted by the Council of Ministers, all member states are obliged to implement it, normally by means of national legislation. In the case of the taxation of savings directive, primary legislation would be required, and the government would not be able to take action to collect tax, for example, until such legislation was passed. A failure to implement a directive within the time allowed does not render that directive invalid. Once the date set for implementation has passed, the Commission (or another member state) could bring proceedings in the European Court of Justice for failure to implement the directive.