European Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 3rd June 2010.

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Photo of William Hague William Hague The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 12:45 pm, 3rd June 2010

They will certainly demand a lot of examination in the House. In the coalition agreement, we have committed to approaching further criminal justice legislation on a case-by-case basis. The UK has the right to decide whether to participate in new EU justice and home affairs measures, so we will give careful consideration to whether to opt-in to new measures in those areas while at the same time ensuring that the UK's security is maintained and our civil liberties are protected, and that the integrity of our criminal justice system is preserved.

We recognise the importance of Parliament having adequate time to scrutinise those opt-in decisions. In all but the most exceptional cases, that means that we will not opt-in to any new measure in the first eight weeks following its publication, to give Parliament time to give a considered opinion. The hon. Gentleman will know that we are looking at how to improve parliamentary scrutiny of decision-making in Europe, and the positions that this Government or any future Government take at European councils. Indeed, we would welcome his views, as a distinguished former Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, on how those procedures can be improved. I know that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House would welcome hearing from the hon. Gentleman.

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