EU Draft Constitutional "treaty" - "Give us the document" - MP (July 26th 2007)
North Thanet` MP Roger Gale has today (Thursday) challenged the Leader of the House, Harriett Harman, to make the EU Draft Constitutional Treaty available to Members of the House to study during the recess.
Speaking at Business Questions the MP said:
"Mr Speaker, the Vote Office is helpfully copying and binding for me the European Union Draft Constitutional Treaty. My understanding is, however, that it is not readily available to members and that I shall have to endeavour to read it in French. Given that we shall be debating this document in the autumn is it not scandalous that it is not available now and in our own language? Will the Leader of the House immediately have the document translated into English and circulated to all members?"
Responding the Leader of the House said that there was clearly already a problem with translation as the document was not a "constitution". She also reiterated the Prime Minister's assertion that the UK had achieved all of its negotiating objectives.
Speaking after the exchange, Roger Gale said:
"It is clear that open government is a thing of the past within a couple of weeks of Brown taking office. The Government obviously does not want MPs, journalists or the public to have access to the document until it is a done deal - presumably for fear of the growing demand for the people to have the right to vote on the issue, as will the Irish Republic, in a referendum.
And why is the document printed only in French? The most common language of the European Union, embraced by new entrants as well as members of longstanding, is English. These proposals should be available for all to read as readily and as easily as possible - not concealed behind Brussels French and bureauspeak".