The European Scrutiny Committee is appointed under
Standing Order No.143, viz:
European Scrutiny Committee
143.(1) There shall be a select committee,
to be called the European Scrutiny Committee, to examine European
Union documents and
(a) to report its opinion
on the legal and political importance of each such document and,
where it considers appropriate, to report also on the reasons
for its opinion and on any matters of principle, policy or law
which may be affected;
(b) to make recommendations for the further consideration
of any such document pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European
Standing Committees); and
(c) to consider any issue arising upon any such
document or group of documents, or related matters.
The expression 'European Union document' in this
Order and in Standing Orders No. 16 (Proceedings under an Act
or on European Union documents), No. 89 (Procedure in standing
committees) and No. 119 (European Standing Committees) means
(i) any proposal under
the Community Treaties for legislation by the Council or the Council
acting jointly with the European Parliament;
(ii) any document which is published for submission
to the European Council, the Council or the European Central Bank;
(iii) any proposal for a common strategy, a joint
action or a common position under Title V of the Treaty on European
Union which is prepared for submission to the Council or to the
(iv) any proposal for a common position, framework
decision, decision or a convention under Title VI of the Treaty
on European Union which is prepared for submission to the Council;
(v) any document (not falling within (ii), (iii)
or (iv) above) which is published by one Union institution for
or with a view to submission to another Union institution and
which does not relate exclusively to consideration of any proposal
(vi) any other document relating to European
Union matters deposited in the House by a Minister of the Crown.
(2) The committee shall consist of sixteen Members.
(3) The committee and any sub-committee appointed
by it shall have the assistance of the Counsel to the Speaker.
(4) The committee shall have power to appoint specialist
advisers either to supply information which is not readily available
or to elucidate matters of complexity within the committee's order
(5) The committee shall have power to send for persons,
papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of
the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report from
time to time.
(6) The quorum of the committee shall be five.
(7) The committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees
and to refer to such sub-committees any of the matters referred
to the committee.
(8) Every such sub-committee shall have power to
send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any
adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and
to report to the committee from time to time.
(9) The committee shall have power to report from
time to time the minutes of evidence taken before such sub-committees.
(10) The quorum of every such sub-committee shall
(11) The committee shall have power to seek from
any committee specified in paragraph (14) of this order its opinion
on any European Union document, and to require a reply to such
a request within such time as it may specify.
(12) The committee or any sub-committee appointed
by it shall have leave to meet concurrently with any committee
specified in paragraph (14) of this order or with any committee
of the Lords on the European Communities, or any sub-committee
of that committee, for the purposes of deliberating or examining
(13) The committee shall have power to communicate
to any committee specified in paragraph (14) of this order its
evidence or any other document relating to matters of common interest.
(14) The committees specified for the purposes of
this order are those appointed under Standing Order No. 152 (Select
committees related to government departments) including any sub-committees
of such Committees, the Select Committee on Public Administration,
the Committee of Public Accounts, and the Environmental Audit
(15) Unless the House otherwise orders, each Member
nominated to the committee shall continue to be a member of it
for the remainder of the Parliament.
The present membership of the Committee is as follows1:
Ben Bradshaw MP (Labour,
Colin Breed MP (Liberal Democrat, South East Cornwall)2
Roger Casale MP (Labour, Wimbledon)2
William Cash MP (Conservative, Stone)2
Michael Connarty MP (Labour, Falkirk East)3
Jim Dobbin MP (Labour, Heywood and Middleton)2
Margaret Ewing MP (SNP, Moray)2
Patrick Hall MP (Labour, Bedford)5
Mark Hendrick MP (Labour, Preston)8
Jimmy Hood MP (Labour, Clydesdale)2
Jenny Jones MP (Labour, Wolverhampton South West)2
Anne McIntosh MP (Conservative, Vale of York)7
Jim Marshall MP (Labour, Leicester South)2
Bill Rammell MP (Labour, Harlow)6
Laurence Robertson MP (Conservative, Tewkesbury)4
Anthony Steen MP (Conservative, Totnes)2
On 18 November 1998, the Committee elected Mr
Jimmy Hood as its Chairman.
Resolution of the House of 17 November 19989
(1) No Minister of the Crown should give agreement
in the Council or in the European Council to any proposal for
European Community legislation or for a common strategy, joint
action or common position under Title V or a common position,
framework decision, decision or convention under Title VI of the
Treaty on European Union
(a) which is still subject
to scrutiny (that is, on which the European Scrutiny Committee
has not completed its scrutiny) or
(b) which is awaiting consideration by the House
(that is, which has been recommended by the European Scrutiny
Committee for consideration pursuant to Standing Order No. 119
(European Standing Committees) but in respect of which the House
has not come to a Resolution).
(2) In this Resolution, any reference to agreement
to a proposal includes
(a) agreement to a programme,
plan or recommendation for European Community legislation;
(b) political agreement;
(c) in the case of a proposal on which the Council
acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251
of the Treaty of Rome (co-decision), agreement to a common position,
to an act in the form of a common position incorporating amendments
proposed by the European Parliament, and to a joint text; and
(d) in the case of a proposal on which the Council
acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 252
of the Treaty of Rome (co-operation), agreement to a common position.
(3) The Minister concerned may, however, give agreement
(a) to a proposal which
is still subject to scrutiny if he considers that it is confidential,
routine or trivial or is substantially the same as a proposal
on which scrutiny has been completed;
(b) to a proposal which is awaiting consideration
by the House if the European Scrutiny Committee has indicated
that agreement need not be withheld pending consideration.
(4) The Minister concerned may also give agreement
to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or awaiting consideration
by the House if he decides that for special reasons agreement
should be given; but he should explain his reasons
(a) in every such case,
to the European Scrutiny Committee at the first opportunity after
reaching his decision; and
(b) in the case of a proposal awaiting consideration
by the House, to the House at the first opportunity after giving
(5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption
by unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph
(4), be treated as giving agreement.
1. Three separate numbering systems are used
in this Report to designate European Union documents.
Numbers in brackets are the Committee's own reference
Numbers in the form 5467/97 are Council of Ministers
reference numbers; this system is also employed by United Kingdom
Government Departments and the Vote Office and for the purpose
of proceedings in the House.
Numbers preceded by the letters COM or SEC are Commission
reference numbers; this style is also employed by the European
The absence of both a Council of Ministers and Commission
reference number usually indicates that at the time of the Report
only an unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum from the responsible
Government Department was deposited in the House.
2. Details of the progress of European Union Documents
recommended by the Committee for further consideration may
be found in the European Union Documents List which is circulated
every sitting Monday in the Vote Bundle.
3. The financial data in European Union Documents
are normally expressed in the euro from 1 January 1999. Conversions
into sterling relating to present and future years included in
the Government's Explanatory Memoranda are normally made at the
market rate for the last working day of the previous month. For
Explanatory Memoranda submitted in March 2001, the conversion
rate is £1 = 1.5657 euro (1 euro = £0.6387).
4. The following terms and abbreviations are
used regularly in Reports from the Committee:
An item on the Council Agenda which is not controversial, and needs no discussion. If any Member State objects to an item being taken as an 'A' point, that business is dropped from the agenda. 'B' points are those expected to give rise to debate.
Committee of Permanent Representatives
European Court of Justice
European Coal and Steel Community
Regulatory Impact Assessment
Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum
An italic rubric attached to a Motion in the House or European Standing Committee, listing documents relevant to debate on that Motion
The full text of all Reports from the Committee
is available on the Internet at the House of Commons website:
1Russell Brown MP
(Labour, Dumfries), was appointed on 17 November 1998 and
discharged on 10 December 1998; Linda Gilroy MP (Labour/Co-operative,
Plymouth Sutton) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged
on 10 December 1998; Quentin Davies MP (Conservative, Grantham
and Stamford) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged
on 11 January 1999; Shaun Woodward MP (Conservative, Witney)
was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 26 July 1999;
Robert Walter MP (Conservative, North Dorset) was appointed
on 11 January 1999 and discharged on 26 July 1999; Rosemary McKenna
MP (Labour, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) was appointed on 17
November 1998 and discharged on 14 December 1999; Allan Rogers
MP (Labour, Rhondda) was appointed on 30 March 2000 and
discharged on 20 June 2000; Owen Paterson MP (Conservative,
Shropshire North) was appointed on 26 July 1999 and discharged
on 20 November 2000; Nick Palmer MP (Labour, Broxtowe)
was appointed on 10 December 1998 and discharged on 25 January
2 Appointed on 17
3Appointed on 10 December
4Appointed on 26 July
5Appointed on 14 December
6Appointed on 17 November
1998, discharged on 30 March 2000 and reappointed on 20 June 2000.
7Appointed on 20 November
8Appointed on 25 January
9Votes and Proceedings,
17 November 1998, p 1250.