UK delegation credentials should be ratified, Rules Committee concludes

Following the challenge of credentials of the new United Kingdom delegation to the Assembly on procedural grounds at the Standing Committee meeting in Sofia on 27 November, the Rules Committee, meeting in Paris today, concluded that the credentials should be ratified, sending its opinion to the President Anne Brasseur.

The still unratified credentials had been challenged in accordance with Rule 7 of the Assembly's Rules of Procedure, namely on the grounds that the Prime Minister had allegedly interfered in the procedure for appointing the delegation by excluding three Conservative MPs belonging to the outgoing delegation.

The Committee said that Article 25 of the Council of Europe Statute offered member States a degree of flexibility regarding the procedure to be followed, although in the past the Assembly has taken the view that election is more in keeping with the spirit of Article 25.

The Committee however considers that the problems raised in connection with the present challenge to credentials prompt legitimate concerns and therefore urges the House of Commons to review with the utmost diligence the procedure for appointing the national delegation to PACE in order to bring it fully into line with the democratic principles upheld by the Assembly.