EU Action: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 28th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord Boswell of Aynho Lord Boswell of Aynho Chair, European Union Committee, Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Chair, European Union Committee

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each government department, from January to June 2014, (1) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Lords was overridden, (2) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Commons was overridden, and (3) in respect of how many documents an override occurred in (a) both Houses or (b) either House.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The Government seeks to avoid breaching the Scrutiny Reserve Resolutions, continuing to account for overrides in writing to the Committees. The European Union Committee’s Report on 2013-14 (House of Lords Paper 6) published on 1 July 2014, recognised that continued positive engagement between the Committee’s secretariat and Departments has seen the number of overrides fall significantly since 2010, noting that many of the overrides that continue to be recorded relate to sensitive and fast-moving foreign policy matters, which cannot be made public beforehand, and where a scrutiny override may be difficult to avoid. That remained the case in the period January-June 2014 where of the 25 overrides across both Houses, 21 were in this category in the House of Lords and 22 in the House of Commons. During this period, 476 Explanatory Memoranda were submitted.

The figures requested are set out below:

Department

(1). House of Lords Override

(2). House of Commons override

(a). No. of overrides in both Houses

(b). Total no. of overrides

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

19

21

19

21

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

4

2

2

4

Totals

23

23

21

25

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