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EU: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Volume 698: debated on Monday 4 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many times European Union legislative institutions have altered legislation as a result of recommendations from Select Committees of either House of Parliament; and whether they will identify those occasions. [HL1234]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the extent to which the Parliamentary European Union scrutiny committees can fulfil their purpose in scrutinising European Union legislation, with a view to possible amendment by the European institutions, bearing in mind that during 2004–2006 the Government overrode the scrutiny reserve 157 times in the House of Lords and 180 times in the House of Commons. [HL1235]

The Government are committed to working closely with the parliamentary European Union scrutiny committees of both Houses to ensure effective scrutiny of the numerous documents and legislation proposals deposited annually for scrutiny. The Government work hard to avoid using the provisions of the scrutiny reserve resolutions of both Houses in order to allow them to support agreement of instruments adopted by the Council of Ministers before our parliamentary scrutiny procedures have been fully completed in one or both Houses. The trend of overrides has been declining. There are few cases where Ministers take decisions on matters where the scrutiny committees have been unable to consider and express a view. Overrides usually reflect an accelerated pace of development in EU discussions which overtakes debate in Parliament. In those cases the Government will have received the views of the scrutiny committees at earlier stages in the process. In all cases Ministers explain in writing to the chair of the scrutiny committees why agreement was necessary.