In a devastating intervention, the respected Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, revealed to the Observer that Tory cabinet ministers and their aides had attempted to impose a “Eurosceptic spin” on the Balance of Competences review because most of the evidence submitted by businesses, foreign governments and other interested parties portrayed the EU as a force for good, which was not what they wanted to hear.
Wallace also said that Downing Street had repeatedly attempted to delay publication of the 32 reports that make up the review – and the evidence submitted to them – until MPs were not sitting, in order to minimise the attention that the press and public would pay to them.The report quotes William Wallace as saying:
“The Conservatives wanted the review in the coalition agreement because they thought that the evidence would show a strong demand for repatriation of powers, and that it would provide the basis for a British renegotiation agenda.
“However, the exercise demonstrated the opposite of what they had expected, so in some cases they tried to find more critical evidence and, when that failed, they did their best to bury the exercise.”It goes on to say that Wallace singled out aides to the home secretary, Theresa May, who tried to block evidence they felt was not helpful to the Eurosceptic case ion the “free movement of people”.
The carrying out of the Balance of Competencies review was included in the Coalition agreement.