The Scrutiny Reserve Resolutions

32.9A Resolution of the House of Commons of 17 November 19981 constrains Ministers from giving agreement in the Council or the European Council to any proposals which have not received parliamentary scrutiny clearance (see below). A similar Resolution of the House of Lords was updated (taking into account the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty) on 30 March 2010. Both resolutions provide for exceptions, and for a Minister to give agreement for ‘special reasons’; but in the latter case the Minister has to explain those reasons to the two scrutiny committees at the first opportunity, and in the case of a proposal awaiting debate in either House, to that House at the first opportunity after giving agreement. Additionally, the European Scrutiny Committee has taken oral evidence from Ministers who have breached the scrutiny reserve without what it saw as good cause. In the Lords, the Chairman of the select committee regularly tables a question for written answer requesting a list of all scrutiny overrides.


  1. 1. For details of the text of the Resolutions, see Erskine May (24th edn, 2011), pp 705–6, fnn 12 and 13.