Select Committees: Cook's absence causes regret

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The Independent Online
ROBIN COOK came under fire yesterday for failing to appear before a House of Commons select committee, fuelling claims of government arrogance towards Parliament.

The criticism of the Foreign Secretary by the Select Committee on Defence will be added to a list of complaints being gathered by the chairmen of the select committees to present to the Government. Committee chairmen are seeking more powers to guarantee their independence from interference or pressure.

The Defence Select Committee said "we particularly regret" the failure of Mr Cook to give evidence for its report on the Strategic Defence Review, which was supposed to be "foreign policy led".

t The defence committee was warned yesterday that 3,000 jobs could be lost unless the Government gave the arms supply industry more support. Jack Dromey, national secretary of the TGWU, said: "The sad truth is that the British government does not back our ordnance factories in the same way as do the governments of competitors."