Council of Europe

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 5:50 pm on 16th November 2015.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet 5:50 pm, 16th November 2015

Let me just finish this point. We made recommendations, only one of which—I will not say which one—was rejected. All the rest went through. The issue under discussion was never raised at that time and we have to ask ourselves why not. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the NATO committee were not mentioned either. They are not on the agenda of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire, in spite of the fact that one very senior member of the NATO committee has also been removed from his position. That may have escaped my right hon. Friend’s notice, but it is true.

If we are to do this properly—and we should—I would have preferred the issue first to be referred to the Procedure Committee so that it could give a proper recommendation on the Council of Europe, the OSCE and NATO. That could then have been approved by the House in time for the election of a full delegation for the next session in 2017.

I am told there is fear that the Government would block that process. I do not believe that to be the case and I hope my hon. Friend the Deputy Leader of the House will be able to give a clear assurance—she might not—that, were we to go down the route of the Procedure Committee and do the job properly, the Government would not stand in the way of its findings. If we did that, I think we would do a better job.

I can and will work with whatever is foisted upon me this afternoon. If it is the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale West, we will work with that as best we can. However, if it is the original motion, I fear it will fail the House.