§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what mechanism there is to ensure Government Departments produce explanatory memoranda on proposed EU legislation in time for proper consideration by the European Scrutiny Committee. 
§ Mr. Alexander
The Government is committed to the effective scrutiny by Parliament of proposed EU legislation and has given an undertaking that Ministers will not agree to proposals in the Council of Ministers until scrutiny by Parliament has been completed. This undertaking is the cornerstone of the scrutiny process and is embodied in a Resolution of the House of Commons dated 17 November 1998.
The Government is committed to depositing proposals for primary EU legislation in Parliament within 48 hours of receipt by the Government, and to the provision of an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) within 10 working days of an EU document's deposit in Parliament, wherever practicable.
The Cabinet Office is responsible centrally for the maintenance of scrutiny procedures, working closely with Departments and the staff of the European Scrutiny Committee. Where EMs cannot be submitted quickly, the Cabinet Office ensures that the lead Department provides the European Scrutiny Committee with an explanation for any delay together with an assessment of the impact on the opportunity for consideration by the Committee. The Cabinet Office also liaises with Departments to ensure Departments plan ahead effectively to avoid occasions1166W
when late submission of an EM will cause difficulties for the proper consideration of issues by the European Scrutiny Committee.