European Union Committee

The European Union Committee[1] is a select committee of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its terms of reference are "To consider European Union documents and other matters relating to the European Union", as well as "to represent the House as appropriate in interparliamentary co-operation within the European Union".[2]

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Much of the detailed scrutiny work on EU documents is conducted by the sub-committees, each dealing with a separate policy area. The main committee oversees the work of the sub-committees and approves their reports and scrutinises proposals that cross subject areas, such as the Treaty of Lisbon and the multiannual financial framework. In addition, the main committee takes evidence on the EU presidency from each incoming Presidency country, and on meetings of the Council of the European Union from the Minister for Europe.[3]

Committee members represent the House of Lords at a number of different interparliamentary meetings, such as COSAC and joint committee meetings at the European Parliament. As part of their work representing the House in interparliamentary co-operation within the EU, the committees contribute to the IPEX database, which brings together information about national parliamentary scrutiny from all EU Member States.[4]

Select Committee membership

The Select Committee has nineteen members: the chairman, the chairmen of the sub-committees, and other members, all of whom also sit on sub-committees.

As of September 2019, the members of the main select committee are as follows:

Member Party
Earl of Kinnoull (Chair) Non-affiliated
Baroness Brown of Cambridge Crossbench
Lord Cavendish of Furness Conservative
Baroness Couttie Conservative
Baroness Donaghy (Chair of Internal Market Sub-Committee) Labour
Lord Faulkner of Worcester Labour
Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat
Lord Jay of Ewelme (Chair of Home Affairs Sub-Committee) Crossbench
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench
Lord Lamont of Lerwick Conservative
Lord Morris of Aberavon (Chair of Justice Sub-Committee) Labour
Baroness Neville-Rolfe Conservative
Baroness Primarolo Labour
Lord Ricketts Crossbench
Lord Sharkey (Chair of Financial Affairs Sub-Committee) Liberal Democrat
Lord Teverson (Chair of Energy and Environment Sub-Committee) Liberal Democrat
Baroness Verma (Chair of External Affairs Sub-Committee) Conservative
Lord Wood of Anfield Labour

Scrutiny work

The UK Government deposits European documents, such as draft Directives and Communications from the European Commission, in Parliament. These are then subjected to scrutiny by the EU Select Committee and its counterpart in the House of Commons, the European Scrutiny Committee. In the House of Lords system, each deposited document is sifted by subject area and importance for the Select Committee or one of the sub-committees to scrutinise carefully on an ongoing basis.[5] The Chairman of the Select Committee pursues any issues arising in correspondence with the responsible minister, and from time to time directly with the Commission. This correspondence is publicly available.[6]


Prior to the start of the 2012–13 Session, the Select Committee had seven sub-committees. In May 2012, at the start of the new parliamentary session, the Select Committee restructured its sub-committees, eliminating the previous Sub-committee G (Social Policies and Consumer Protection)[7] and revising the remits of the remaining six sub-committees.[8] The new sub-committees are as follows:

Financial Affairs

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-committee considers issues relating to the economic outlook and financial sector of the European Union. The Sub-committee has recently considered the proposals for a EU financial transaction tax, regulatory reforms such as such as AIFMD and MiFID II, and the European Supervisory Authorities. In addition, it scrutinises the EU annual budget.

As of July 2019, the Financial Affairs sub-committee's membership is:[9]

Member Party
Lord Sharkey (Chair) Liberal Democrat
Lord Bruce of Bennachie Liberal Democrat
Lord Cavendish of Furness Conservative
Baroness Couttie Conservative
Lord Desai Labour
Lord Giddens Labour
Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke Labour
Baroness Neville-Rolfe Conservative
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Crossbench
Viscount Trenchard Conservative
Lord Turnbull Crossbench
Lord Vaux of Harrowden Crossbench

Internal Market

The EU Internal Market Sub-committee considers all issues arising from the internal market, employment, and infrastructure, such as measures affecting the free movement of workers, goods and services; company law policy; public procurement; and the European rail market. It also provides oversight in the House of Lords for the European Space Policy.

As of July 2019, the Internal Market sub-committee's membership is:[10]

Member Party
Baroness Donaghy (Chair) Labour
Lord Berkeley Labour
Lord Carter of Coles Labour
Lord Lamont of Lerwick Conservative
Lord Lansley Conservative
Lord Lilley Conservative
Lord Mountevans Crossbench
Baroness Prashar Crossbench
Lord Robathan Conservative
Lord Russell of Liverpool Crossbench
Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat
Lord Vallance of Tummel Liberal Democrat
Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru

External Affairs

EU foreign affairs, defence, and international trade and development policy are within the remit of the EU External Affairs Sub-committee. Included within this remit are relations between the EU and non-EU nations and with other international organisations. The Sub-committee also considers issues relating to post-Brexit trade of goods and options between the UK and the EU, post-Brexit sanctions policy, and the effects of Operation Sophia.

As of July 2019, the External Affairs sub-committee's membership is:[11]

Member Party
Baroness Verma (Chair) Conservative
Lord Alderdice Liberal Democrat
Baroness Brown of Cambridge Crossbench
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey Conservative
Lord Davies of Stamford Labour
Lord Faulkner of Worcester Labour
Baroness Finn Conservative
Lord Fraser of Corriegarth Conservative
Lord Oates Liberal Democrat
Earl of Sandwich Crossbench
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Labour
Lord Wood of Anfield Labour

Energy and Environment

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-committee considers policies regarding agriculture, fisheries, environment, and energy, including the Common Agriculture Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, and climate change.

As of July 2019, the Energy and Environment sub-committee's membership is:[12]

Member Party
Lord Teverson (Chair) Liberal Democrat
Lord Addington Liberal Democrat
Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom Conservative
Baroness Bryan of Partick Labour
Baroness Byford Conservative
Lord Cameron of Dillington Crossbench
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative
Lord Maxton Labour
Duke of Montrose Conservative
Earl of Stair Crossbench
Lord Young of Norwood Green Labour


The EU Justice Sub-committee's remit includes proposals involving criminal justice reform, fundamental rights, and copyright and intellectual property. It also scrutinises matters of institutional and consumer protection.

As of September 2019, the Justice sub-committee's membership is:[13]

Member Party
Lord Morris of Aberavon (Chair) Labour
Lord Anderson of Ipswich Crossbench
Lord Anderson of Swansea Labour
Baroness Deech Crossbench
Lord Dholakia Liberal Democrat
Lord Gold Conservative
Baroness Goudie Labour
Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat
Lord Polak Conservative
Lord Rowlands Labour
Lord Wasserman Conservative

Home Affairs

The EU Home Affairs Sub-committee scrutinises policies related to asylum, border security, immigration (including Schengen Agreement), police cooperation (including Europol), healthcare, and education policy. A top priority of the sub-committee in recent years is an ongoing inquiry in the EU's response to the European migrant crisis.

As of September 2019, the Home Affairs sub-committee's membership is:[14]

Member Party
Lord Jay of Ewelme (Chair) Crossbench
Lord Best Crossbench
Baroness Jolly Liberal Democrat
Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate Conservative
Lord Lexden Conservative
Lord McNally Liberal Democrat
Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan Labour
Baroness Primarolo Labour
Lord Ricketts Crossbench
Baroness Scott of Bybrook Conservative
Lord Soley Labour
Lord Watts Labour

See also


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