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Ministerial Corrections

Volume 525: debated on Friday 18 March 2011

Ministerial Correction

Friday 18 March 2011

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

European Union Bill

The following is an extract from the opening speech given during the European Union Bill’s Third Reading debate by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) on 8 March 2011.

This Bill deals with the most important EU decisions of all—those on treaty change. However, we believe that there is room for further improvement of parliamentary scrutiny and control over EU decisions, and that is particularly true of justice and home affairs opt-in decisions. It had become clear to us, and to many others in this House—my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere, in particular, has raised this—that the established system was inadequate. Therefore, two months ago, my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, with the support of the Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary, announced a package of measures to strengthen parliamentary control so that there will have to be a vote in both Houses before the Government can decide by 2014 whether to opt in en masse to the existing EU criminal justice and policing measures adopted under the former third pillar. There is now also a minimum requirement for a written statement to Parliament on all opt-in decisions on new EU measures in justice and home affairs. In the case of strong parliamentary interest in a proposed decision to opt in, under the Bill there will be a debate and vote in both Houses on the Government’s recommended approach.

[Official Report, 8 March 2011, Vol. 524, c. 852.]

Letter of correction from Mr William Hague:

An error has been identified in a statement given during my opening speech to the EU Bill’s Third Reading debate on 8 March 2011, following a response to a question from the hon. Member for Rochester and Strood (Mark Reckless).

The correct statement should have been:

This Bill deals with the most important EU decisions of all—those on treaty change. However, we believe that there is room for further improvement of parliamentary scrutiny and control over EU decisions, and that is particularly true of justice and home affairs opt-in decisions. It had become clear to us, and to many others in this House—my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere, in particular, has raised this—that the established system was inadequate. Therefore, two months ago, my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, with the support of the Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary, announced a package of measures to strengthen parliamentary control so that there will have to be a vote in both Houses before the Government can decide by 2014 whether to opt in en masse to the existing EU criminal justice and policing measures adopted under the former third pillar. There is now also a minimum requirement for a written statement to Parliament on all opt-in decisions on new EU measures in justice and home affairs. In the case of strong parliamentary interest in a proposed decision to opt in, there will be a debate and vote in both Houses on the Government's recommended approach.