Pro-Remain Tories elected to chair powerful select committees

Written by Josh May on 13 July 2017 in News
News

Meanwhile, Conservative Bernard Jenkin retains helm of Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, while Labour’s Meg Hillier keeps hold of Public Accounts Committee

Prime minister Theresa May faces a fresh headache after a string of Remain-supporting Conservatives MPs were elected to lead powerful Commons committees.

Nicky Morgan held off competition from five other Tories – including prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg – to become chair of the Treasury Select Committee.

Morgan has been one of the most outspoken critics of May’s policies since she was sacked from the Cabinet last year, and has also led calls for the Government to pursue a so-called “soft Brexit”.  


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Another Tory former Remain-supporting minister sacked by May, Robert Halfon, will take the helm at the Education Committee.

Neil Parish and Tom Tugendhat – who both backed the pro-EU campaign last year – also won their elections for the Environment and Foreign Affairs committees respectively.

Tugendhat ousted incumbent Crispin Blunt, who supported Leave shortly before the referendum, while Parish defeated, among others, Zac Goldsmith in his race.

Julian Lewis and Andrew Murrison were the only pro-Brexit Tories who won contested elections for their chairman roles on the Defence and Northern Ireland Committees.

In the Labour contests, former shadow cabinet members Rachel Reeves and Lilian Greenwood became heads of the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and Transport committees respectively, while Clive Betts held on to his role as chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee. Ian Mearns also remains chairman of the Backbench Business Committee.

Greenwood’s was the only contest which had a different outcome than a first-past-the-post system would have produced, as she trailed Bridget Phillipson after the first round of voting.

Liberal Democrat former health minister Norman Lamb defeated his party’s deputy leader Jo Swinson to lead the Science and Technology Committee.

The committees are distributed among the parties according to how many seats they have in the House of Commons.

The chairmanships of many were uncontested after only one MP were nominated. 

FULL LIST OF COMMITTEE CHAIRS:

Contested:

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Labour) – Rachel Reeves

Communities and Local Government (Labour) – Clive Betts

Defence (Conservative) – Dr Julian Lewis

Education (Conservative) – Robert Halfon

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Conservative) – Neil Parish

Foreign Affairs (Conservative) – Tom Tugendhat

Northern Ireland Affairs (Conservative) – Dr Andrew Murrison

Science and Technology (Liberal Democrat) – Norman Lamb

Transport (Labour) – Lilian Greenwood

Treasury (Conservative) – Nicky Morgan

Uncontested:

Culture, Media and Sport (Conservative) - Damian Collins

Exiting the EU (Labour) – Hilary Benn

Health (Conservative) –Sarah Wollaston

International Development (Labour) – Stephen Twigg

Home Affairs (Labour) – Yvette Cooper

International Trade (Scottish National Party) – Angus Brendan MacNeil

Justice (Conservative) – Robert Neill

Scottish Affairs (Scottish National Party) – Pete Wishart

Welsh Affairs (Conservative) – David T C Davies

Women and Equalities (Conservative) –Maria Miller

Work and Pensions (Labour) – Frank Field

Environmental Audit (Labour) – Mary Creagh

Petitions (Labour) – Helen Jones

Procedure (Conservative) – Mr Charles Walker

Public Accounts (Labour) – Meg Hillier

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs (Conservative) – Bernard Jenkin

Standards (Labour) - Kevin Barron

About the author

Josh May is news editor of CSW's sister title PoliticsHome.com, where a version of this story first appeared

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