§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will make a statement on the Government's policy in respect of the European Charter of Local Self-Government; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the conformity of the Local Government Bill [Lords] with the European Charter of Local Self-Government; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
Our policy on the European Charter of Local Self-Government is set out in the Explanatory Memorandum which we laid before the House on 2 March 1998, prior to ratification of the Charter on 24 April 1998. As made clear in that Memorandum, our intention, which we are satisfied the Local Government Bill fulfils, was that any future legislation affecting local government should further strengthen the degree of compliance with aspects of the Charter and ensure continued compatibility with its provisions.