Select Committee on Defence First Special Report

Letter from the Chairman of the Committee (19 April 2000)

Defence Debates

  Further to my letter of yesterday about the Defence Equipment debate, can I add a further note. I wrote to you on 9 June last year deploring the decision to hold the debate on "Defence in the World" on the day of the European elections (I attach a copy of my letter). I now have wind of a rumour that the "Defence in the World" debate may be listed for Thursday 4 May—which is of course local election day when most English members will be expected to be in their constituencies. Were this to happen, this would show an extraordinary disregard for this subject less than 12 months after the end of Operation Allied Force and at a crucial time in the debate over the future of European Security and Defence.

  Neither I nor any other member of the Defence Committee will be able to attend on that day. All of us would be very disappointed if such an important debate were to take place yet again on a non-day in the parliamentary calendar.

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