The effect of the dissolution of Parliament is that all committees cease to exist, unless and until they are reappointed at the start of the new Parliament following the general election. In the case of the EU Committee, reappointment is likely to be in mid-June 2015.
In the interim, any inquiries regarding the work of the EU Committee or any of its sub-committees may be directed to the relevant clerk. However, staff will not be able to provide substantive answers to questions about specific dossiers, UK or EU policy, or future work.
The EU Committee Chairman
The Chairman of the EU Committee, currently Lord Boswell of Aynho, is appointed each session as Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees, and as such is a salaried Officer of the House of Lords. He continues in post throughout dissolution, pending reappointment (or the appointment of a successor) on the day of the State Opening of Parliament.
EU scrutiny during dissolution
No EU documents can be formally deposited in Parliament during dissolution. The Government will continue informally to send documents to committee staff as they become available, and departments will also prepare explanatory memoranda. These memoranda will be factual, without either policy implications sections or ministerial signatures.
Committee staff will, as usual, consider these documents, with a view to identifying those of particular legal or policy importance. All documents that appear during dissolution will then formally be deposited on the day of State Opening. Formal committee scrutiny will follow, once the EU Committee and its sub-committees have been reappointed.
The Scrutiny Reserve Resolution will continue to apply through dissolution, and ministerial agreement to any EU proposals held under scrutiny during dissolution will be treated as an override. In such cases Ministers will write to the Chairman in the normal way, explaining why agreement was necessary.
The Government is required to respond formally to all the EU Committee’s reports, notwithstanding dissolution. Such responses, if not issued before the end of March, will only appear after a new Government is formed following the election.
Motions to debate committee reports will be tabled as appropriate in the new session.
Image: Parliamentary copyright/Chris Moyse