The National:

A TORY MP provoked waves of laughter in the House of Commons this afternoon after inadvertently revealing her lack of knowledge on the European Union.

Interrupting SNP MP for Stirling Alyn Smith while he was talking about the EU’s regulation of their single market, Joy Morrissey stood up to say: “Just to clarify, it’s actually the European Commission which oversees the single market, and it’s the European Commission, which is an unelected body, which does oversee and creates the market frameworks.”

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The US-born Tory MP for Beaconsfield’s comment was met with laughter in the Commons.

Smith responded: “I do thank the member for that point.

“In my fifteen years at the European Parliament I was always struck by how many unelected bureaucrats had been democratically elected by the people that they serve.”

Smith was referring to the fact that the European Commission, while not directly elected by the people of Europe, is not an unelected body.

The Commission’s role is to implement decisions made by the EU parliament, uphold its treaties, and manage the day-to-day business of the EU.

A possible Commission president, currently Ursula von der Leyen, is formally proposed by the European Council (the 27 heads of government of the EU member states), and is then elected by a majority vote in the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen became president with a vote of 383 in favour versus 327 against.

Each of the EU nations then proposes a commissioner.

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These commissioners go through a rigorous vetting process during which they are questioned about their knowledge of their assigned portfolio (for example agriculture, the economy, or the internal market) and confirmed by European Parliament Committees.

Following this, the European Parliament once again votes on the make-up of the commission. The Von der Leyen commission passed by 461 votes to 157.