Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move the six Motions standing in my name on the Order Paper. Moved, That the draft orders and regulations be referred to a Grand Committee.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement I made on 17 June 2008 ( Official Report cols. WS 75 and WS 76) and the Written Ministerial Statement made by my right honourable friend the Leader of the House of Commons on 17 June 2008 ( Official Report, col. WS 45).
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: There are various reasons for overdue responses; parliamentary recesses often present administrative difficulties for departments. The House returned after the Easter holidays last year on 16 April 2007. Departments work closely with my office constantly to address the number of outstanding Questions for Written Answer. My office regularly reminds departments of the importance of responding...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, it is the turn of the Labour Benches.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, we are in the ninth minute. The noble Lord must sit down.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. Moved, That the debate on the Motion in the name of Lord Luce set down for today shall be limited to three hours and that in the name of Lord Ramsbotham to two and a half hours.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move the last eight Motions standing in my name on the Order Paper. Moved, That the draft regulations and orders be referred to a Grand Committee.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I suggest that we might like to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, because of his knowledge.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: An Answer was given to Baroness Valentine on 16 June 2008 ( Official Report, col. WA 122). The Government take accountability to Parliament through Questions for Written Answer very seriously and I am working with ministerial colleagues to ensure that Answers are accurate and timely.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, the Government take their role in promoting greater understanding of the work of the European Union seriously and continue to develop and review their activities in this area. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office informs the public about the role of the European Union in various ways, including a website, publications and activities to raise awareness and debate of European Union...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I made it clear in the Statement that the Irish Government will be bringing forward their views in October to the Council to deliberate the underlying issues in the Irish referendum. I hesitate, with good reason, to suggest that I understand better than they would what some of those issues might be, though I am sure we will speculate. It is important for this country that we make as...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I do not believe that the Government have said anything about whether the Irish should have a second referendum. I have made it clear that the Irish Government will come forward with their own proposals and thoughts at the October Council. In the spirit of what noble Lords have said about not bullying the Irish in any way, we should wait for them to come forward with proposals. As...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, my noble friend is correct that 19 states have been through the parliamentary process and/or have ratified the treaty as it stands. We will await what happens in the other nations. I disagree with my noble friend in the tone in which he describes what should happen in Ireland. It is very important that the Irish have time to reflect on what happened in the referendum and come...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, all nation states have to consider very carefully. At the Council meeting it was important to reflect on the consequences of what has happened with the Irish referendum, but also, as I think I indicated in the Statement, to further consider all the work that needs to continue as we work together on some of the major issues that face us all.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, the public debate is very important. When I was an education Minister some of the work, which has been continued since then, was to make sure that young people in education establishments in particular had the opportunity to debate the pros and the cons of being part of the European Union. I do not disagree at all with the noble Lord in that context. Noble Lords might suggest that a...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I would not suggest anything of the kind, although the noble Lord described a European diplomatic service, which is not what the treaty says; it says an External Action Service.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, it was significant in the debates on the subject in your Lordships' House that we made the distinction clear between the concerns that noble Lords rightly had that that service would take over the diplomatic services of this country or any other, and what was actually proposed. It is important that people of all nations get the chance to understand precisely that.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, again, I have been here before; there is a sense of déjà vu. As we have already indicated, it is for each sovereign nation state to determine the appropriate process. That is what has been done, and that is how it should be.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: That is precisely what the treaty would have done, my Lords.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord is not accusing us of telling untruths. In our debates, he and I discussed many times whether we would bring in opinion from other countries. For every opinion that he can bring from one state, I can bring another.