New European Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland established
20 April 2021
The Liaison Committee recommended the appointment of a new European Affairs Committee which was appointed by the House on 14 April 2021.
- European Affairs Committee
- Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
- Liaison Committee Report: Review of investigative and scrutiny committees: strengthening the thematic structure through the appointment of new committees
- European Union Committee’s Beyond Brexit series of reports
- European Union Committee
Since 1974, the European Union Committee and its Sub-Committees have scrutinised the EU’s influence on and interaction with UK law and policy. Since the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2016, this work has primarily focused on the impact of Brexit, as well as the future UK-EU relationship.
The House of Lords Liaison Committee’s December 2020 report, Review of investigative and scrutiny committees: strengthening the thematic structure through the appointment of new committees, recommended that the House of Lords Committee structures be updated, in part to reflect the UK’s new relationship with the EU. This report was approved by the House in January. As a result, the work of the EU Committee and its Sub-Committees drew to a close at the end of March 2021, having published their final series of reports on the UK-EU relationship as established by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
While the Trade and Cooperation Agreement has been agreed, the UK-EU relationship is still in a state of flux. In addition, it is not yet clear how some of the new arrangements will work in practice. The former EU Committee reports identified a number of unanswered questions, unfinished business and areas of uncertainty. The Withdrawal Agreement, ratified in January 2020, will also have long-lasting legal effects. All of this requires continued parliamentary scrutiny.
With this in mind, the Liaison Committee recommended the appointment of a new European Affairs Committee, which was appointed by the House on 14 April. The Committee is appointed to:
1. Consider matters relating to the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and the European Economic Area, including:
a) The implementation of any agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union, including the operation of the governance structures established under those agreements;
b) Any negotiations and further agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union;
c) The operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland;
2. Consider European Union documents deposited in the House by a minister;
3. Support the House as appropriate in interparliamentary cooperation with the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union.
The Chair of the European Affairs Committee is Lord Kinnoull (non-affiliated). The other Members of the Committee are:
- Baroness Couttie (Conservative)
- Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Labour)
- Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour)
- Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench)
- Lord Jay of Ewelme (Crossbench)
- Baroness Jolly (Liberal Democrat)
- Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Conservative)
- Lord Liddle (Labour)
- Lord Purvis of Tweed (Liberal Democrat)
- Viscount Trenchard (Conservative)
- Lord Tugendhat (Conservative)
- Lord Wood of Anfield (Labour)
In recognition of the political sensitivity and technical complexity of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, the Liaison Committee recommended that the Committee should have a stand-alone sub-committee tasked with scrutiny of the Protocol. In line with this recommendation, the European Affairs Committee has appointed a Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. The Sub-Committee is appointed to consider all matters related to the Protocol, including scrutinising EU legislation applying to Northern Ireland under the Protocol, the Protocol’s overall socio-economic and political impact on Northern Ireland, and inter-parliamentary dialogue, notably with the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Chair of the Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is Lord Jay of Ewelme (Crossbench). The other Members of the Committee are:
- Lord Caine (Conservative)
- Lord Dodds of Duncairn (Democratic Unionist Party)
- Lord Empey (Ulster Unionist Party)
- Baroness Goudie (Labour)
- Lord Hain (Labour)
- Lord Hannan of Kingsclere (Conservative)
- Baroness O’Loan (Crossbench)
- Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick (non-affiliated)
- Lord Thomas of Gresford (Liberal Democrat)