Dooge Committee

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson , Hamilton 12:00 am, 26th June 1985

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will have heard the exchange at Question Time when I asked the Minister of State about documents which were tabled last week by the British Government at the Foreign Minister's Council at Stresa, and which are to form part of the agenda for the Heads of Government summit in Milan this Friday. The Minister of State told the House that he mentioned the ideas that will be proposed in a debate in the House last Thursday. However, there are two documents related to this issue, one of which is called "The Draft European Council Conclusions: Decision-Taking" and the other "The Draft Agreement on Political Co-operation", which has two annexes. Those documents form a vital basis for what is being proposed at the Heads of Government summit later this week. They have been extensively used in press briefings in the Sunday and Monday newspapers throughout the country, yet they have not been made available in any form to hon. Members. They have not been deposited in the Vote Office and, until a few minutes ago, they were not in the Library.

Surely hon. Members cannot possibly assess what the British Government's position is to be at this vital summit of Heads of Government unless we, the representatives of the British people, know what the Government will propose in our name. Surely it is to treat the House with grave disrespect, if not contempt, to deny us the final proposals of this country at this vital summit meeting. Can you do something to protect hon. Members from the cavalier way in which the Foreign Office has treated us?