European scrutiny at Westminster

Two select committees - the European Scrutiny Committee in the Commons and the European Union Committee in the Lords - examine over 1,000 EU documents each year on behalf of Parliament. For each one, they assess its importance (and seek any additional information or evidence they need in order to form an opinion), report upon it and, if necessary, recommend it for debate at Westminster. The Commons committee works quickly, reporting on a large number of documents it judges to be of importance (some 500 each year) and recommending some for debate; the Lords committee reports on many fewer (25 or so each year) but in much greater depth, through inquiries by its sub-committees that are similar to the sort of inquiry carried out by departmental select committees in the Commons. Many other documents are scrutinised by the Lords committee by way of correspondence with the relevant minister. The two committees are doing their job in rather different ways, so they complement each other’s work rather than duplicating it.

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