European Scrutiny CommitteeLetter from the Prime Minister to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee (ESI 19)

Thank you for your letter of 26 March. As you will know, the Government has been proactive in coming to the Commons to make Oral Statements on important policy announcements and in reaction to major national and international events. By the beginning of the Easter Recess this Government will have made 275 such statements since taking office. I personally have made 40 Oral Statements, of which 15 have wholly or mainly focused on the outcomes of European Councils.

As the Leader of the House set out in the Business Statement on 14 March, it had been my intention to update the Commons on the European Council when it met on 18 March; however, the emerging situation of banking in Cyprus and the successful negotiations on the Royal Charter on the press meant that the decision was taken to proceed with an Oral Statement specifically on Cyprus and to allow time for a considered debate on media issues. On this occasion therefore I made a written ministerial statement about the Council which, as I explained to the House in response to your point of order, was very much “a take-note European Council”.

Given the continuous pressures on Parliamentary time, it is inevitable that it is not always possible for all issues of importance to Members to be guaranteed Parliamentary time. Nonetheless, it is my intention that I will usually update the House by an Oral Statement following European Councils.

23 April 2013

Prepared 28th November 2013