14 October 2004
MPS TO QUESTION PETER HAIN ON COMMITTEE ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
MPs on the Liaison Committee have today announced details for their forthcoming evidence session with the Leader of the House, Peter Hain, on evidence to select committees.
The meeting follows a Government review of its rules for giving evidence to select committees. The review was prompted by Select Committee Chairmen who are concerned about the Government's willingness to co-operate and provide Government information to committees.
Mr Hain will be questioned about the new arrangements and whether they address problems that have been highlighted by various committees.
The session is also planned to cover pre-legislative scrutiny following the increased use of draft bills by the Government.
The meeting will take place on
Tuesday 19 October at 1630hrs in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House.
Notes for Editors:
1. The Prime Minister agreed to undertake the review on Committees' access to Government 'persons and documents' when he gave evidence to the Liaison Committee on 3 February. The Committee is chaired by the Rt Hon Alan Williams MP (Labour, Swansea West) and includes the 34 Chairs of Select Committees. It is appointed to consider general matters relating to the work of select committees; to advise the House of Commons Commission on select committees; to choose select committee reports for debate in the House and to hear evidence from the Prime Minister on matters of public policy.
2. The Liaison Committee's Annual Report for 2003 contained the following paragraph: "During evidence to us on 3 February, the Prime Minister agreed to undertake a review within Government of its guidance to officials relating to the availability of witnesses and evidence (usually known as 'the Osmotherly Rules'). The Leader of the House gave a similar undertaking on 5 February, and we look forward to discussing the results of the review with him. We have drawn the Government's attention to particular aspects of the problem, about which we have been concerned for some time: access to No. 10 policy advisers; availability of current policy reviews and reports; evidence on 'joined-up' policies from Government departments involved, including HM Treasury." (Session 2003-04, HC 446, para 90)
3. Further information: Ad¨le Brown 020 7219 0724,