§ Mr. Hayes
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the(a) national budgetary contribution to, (b) role of and (c) national representation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities; when he last met representatives from that group; and if he has made representations on this body to the Foreign Office in the context of the Convention on the Future of Europe. 
§ Mr. Leslie
Member states of the Council of Europe (CoE), including the UK, make no direct budgetary contribution to the Congress of local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), which is a consultative body within the CoE consisting of local and regional elected representatives from each of the 44 member states. CLRAE is funded through the CoE's ordinary budget as provided by member states and as agreed by the CoE's Committee of Ministers.
CLRAE has a Regional and a Local Chamber, membership of which is on the basis of nomination by member states' governments according to the requirements of the CLRAE founding charter. The UK has 9 full and 9 substitute seats in each Chamber. The UK's nomination procedure provides for a balanced representation of local and regional interests; all UK appointees must hold an electoral mandate in a UK local authority, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, or the GLA.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met the leader of the UK's CLRAE delegation at the recent World Environment Conference in Johannesburg. Within the Central Local Partnership my right hon. 297W Friend the Minister for Europe and I regularly meet representatives of local government, including members of the UK CLRAE delegation, to discuss European issues, including the work of the Convention on the Future of Europe.