EU Action: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Department for Exiting the European Union written question – answered on 2nd August 2017.

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Photo of Lord Jay of Ewelme Lord Jay of Ewelme Chair, EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee

Her Majesty's Government, for each government department, from January to June, on how many occasions the Scrutiny Reserve Resolution was overridden in (1) the House of Lords, and (2) the House of Commons; and in respect of how many documents an override occurred in (a) both Houses, (b) the House of Lords, and (c) the House of Commons.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union)

Between January and June 2017, 476 EU proposals and other documents were submitted for scrutiny.

Across both Houses there were 66 occasions when the Government supported decisions in the EU Council of Ministers before the scrutiny procedures had been completed by either one or both Scrutiny Committees.

In each case the Government explained to the Scrutiny Committees why it was important for the proposal to be supported before clearance had been provided. This period of reporting coincided with the dissolution of Parliament where between the prorogation of Parliament between 27 April and 30 June there was no opportunity for scrutiny by the Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the Committee has yet to be reappointed in the new Parliament. However, Lord Boswell of Aynho was reappointed as Chair of the Lords European Union Committee on 21 June and began considering EU documents and EMs submitted to the Committee on 27 June. As with previous six-monthly periods, the largest category of instrument was fast-moving and sensitive CFSP and EU restrictive measures where there were 29 such instruments adopted before scrutiny could be completed. There was also a package of 27 measures on which HM Treasury submitted EMs on the 2017 National Reform Programmes of Member States other than Greece, which were endorsed by Heads of Government at the June European Council without the opportunity for clearance by either Scrutiny Committee.

The figures requested are set out below:

Department

(1) & (b). House of Lords Override

(2) & (c). House of Commons override

(a). No. of overrides in both Houses

Total no. of overrides

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

1

2

1

2

Culture, Media and Sport

1

1

1

1

Communities and Local Government

1

1

1

1

Foreign and Commonwealth Office*

24

31

24

31

HM Treasury

27

30

27

30

Home Office

1

1

1

1

Totals

55

66

55

66

* In addition to the formal overrides listed here, there were 20 occasions when Council Decisions were adopted prior to scrutiny by the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee due to their limité marking (ie. internal EU limited distribution marking for content not intended to be in the public domain).

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