Embargo: Immediate Thursday 25th May 2006
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659
LORDS EU COMMITTEES TO TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATING EUROPEAN ISSUES TO THE PUBLIC
The House of Lords European Union Select Committee have today published a report examining public awareness of the role of the House of Lords in the scrutiny of EU legislation.
The Committee state that while other national Parliaments within the EU have set up special information centres and forums dedicated to promoting the work of the EU this is not something that should be duplicated here. The Committee stress that by better promoting their own work in holding the Government to account for the decisions they take on proposed EU legislation they can effectively raise public awareness of the policies and proposals emerging from Brussels.
The Committee pay particular attention to the way their reports and scrutiny work is communicated to the media. They conclude that they could be more proactive in promoting their work and that there is a need to look beyond the national print media and consider more effectively serving the needs of the specialist and regional press.
The report also considers the Parliamentary website and suggests wholesale changes to make the website easier to use and encourage more people visit the site. All the proposals fit within the agenda set out in the Hansard Society Commission report for Parliament to better engage with the public.
Commenting on their finding Lord Grenfell, Chairman of Lords EU Select Committee, said:
"The Lords EU Committee's have a vital role to perform in effectively scrutinising legislation emerging for the European Union.
"The work we do scrutinising EU legislation is widely recognised amongst UK Parliamentarians as fulfilling a crucial function in keeping them informed about developments in Brussels. The Committee hopes that we can build on this reputation and ensure the public as well as politicians are kept up to date with our work on scrutinising European matters which affect us all.
"We are clear that the UK should not go down the route of having a information unit dedicated to promoting the work of the EU and instead the onus falls on us as committee members to ensure we make available the results of our scrutiny work in a clear and accessible way."
Notes to Editors
1. The report is published by The Stationary Office,
EU Legislation - Public Awareness of the Scrutiny Role of the House of Lords, House of Lords, EU Select Committee, 32nd Report of 2005/06, HL Paper 179, ISBN 010 400862 8, Price £17.50.
2. The full report will be available immediately after publication online at:
3. The Members of the Committee who conducted the inquiry were:
Lord Grenfell (Chairman)
Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
Lord Hannay of Chiswick
Lord Maclennan of Rogart
Lord Neil of Bladen
Lord Renton of Mount Harry
Baroness Thomas of Walliswood
Lord Woolmer of Leeds
Lord Wright of Richmond
4. The Committee heard evidence from a variety of sources including Parliamentarians from European Parliaments, Lord Norton of Louth and renowned Lobby journalists Michael White Political Editor of The Guardian and John Hipwood Political Editor of the Wolverhampton Express and Star.
For copies of the report please contact Owen Williams, Lord Committee Press Officer on 020 7219 8659.