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European Union: Scrutiny

Volume 565: debated on Thursday 27 June 2013

1. What steps he is taking to improve the role of the House in scrutinising European Union-level decision making. (161794)

This coalition Government have significantly increased scrutiny of European Union-level decision making through the provisions of the European Union Act 2011. Three Bills were taken forward in the last Session to signal the approval of Parliament under the Act. In addition to that, the Prime Minister has made 16 statements to this House on business at the European Council. The House will be aware that the European Scrutiny Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the European scrutiny system in the House and we await its findings with interest.

What more can the House do to ensure early engagement with the European Union in such matters?

The Deputy Leader of the House and I visited the European institutions during the Whit recess. It was clear to us that there is more that we can do in this House to improve our engagement with and impact on European legislative proposals, especially through the work of the Select Committees of this House. In my view, which I think is widely shared, this House is the prime source of democratic legitimacy and accountability for law making. We should therefore be taking every opportunity to develop our influence, including in EU law making.