Which opposition MPs are hoping to become Select Committee Chairs?

These are the current candidates for each of the Select Committees which will be chaired by Labour or SNP MPs

Candidates are able to be nominated up to the day before the ballot due on the 17th  June.  There is still time for MPs to throw their hat into the ring, but this is our review of the current runners and riders.

Public Accounts Select Committee  

The PAC is a prestigious position, which is always held by an opposition MP. As well as the high profile that the opportunity to grill Ministers and Civil Servants when things go wrong offers, the job comes with a very grand office as well.

The role has been held by many big parliamentary beasts over the years, including David Davis, Edward Leigh and the most recent Chair, Margaret Hodge. The PAC chair has more profile and arguably more power than many ministers.

The candidates this time are Gisela Stuart, Helen Goodman, and former Home Office Ministers, David Hanson & Meg Hillier. Many Conservatives are supporting Meg Hillier as a credible chair, but one they believe might cause less difficulties for the Government in the role than other candidates. Gisela Stuart has been an MP since 1997 and is an independent thinker who will appeal across party divides.

Home Affairs Select Committee 

The expectation was that the Labour MP Keith Vaz, who has held the post since 2007, would be re-elected as the Chairman, but recent newspaper stories  might be a set back to his campaign.

John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, who has been a critic of Keith Vaz’s committee’s investigations into child sexual abuse, was thought to be challenging Vaz.  Mann has recently suggested that he will give his support to Fiona Mactaggart, a former Home Office Minister who was a member of the Intelligence and  Security Committee in the last parliament.

Backbench Business Committee

This committee was established after the 2010 election.  Its purpose is to control the allocation of time outside Government control in which it can schedule subjects for debate suggested by backbench Members of Parliament.

Given the nature of the role, winning the respect of MPs across the House is an essential part of the role. The former Chair, Natasha Engle, isn’t standing again as she has been elected as Deputy Speaker. The MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, has thrown her hat into the ring.

Veteran MP Barry Sherman, who has been the MP for Huddersfield since 1979, has declared his candidacy. Sheerman was the Chairman of the Education Select Committee between 2007 and the 2010 election.

BIS Select Committee

Adrian Bailey, the current Labour Chair of the Committee, has said that he will run again, but he is being challenged by Iain Wright, who was BIS minister under Gordon Brown and served in the Shadow Labour BIS team.

Environmental Audit Committee

The EAC’s role is to consider the extent to which the policies of government and public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development.

The retirement of Joan Walley, MP for Stoke on Trent North, who chaired the Committee between 2010 and the election has provided an opening for a new Labour Chair.

Huw Irranca-Davies has stepped down from the Labour front bench and is running for the role as is ex-environment minster, Barry Gardiner and  former EAC member Alan Whitehead who is the MP for Southampton Test.

International Development Select Committee

Former Labour Minister, Stephen Twigg; Fabian Hamilton, the MP for Leeds North East, and Ynys Môn MP Albert Owen have said that they are running to chair this Committee.

Local Government Select Committee

Clive Betts MP, who has chaired the committee since 2010 has made it clear that he is running again for this role.

Petitions Committee

The establishment of a Petitions Committee has been little noticed, but is a potentially significant change to the select committee system. Many parliaments across the world have petition committees, including the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The new Committee will have the role of deciding which public petitions are eligible for debate in Parliament; this is currently one of the roles carried out by the Backbench Business Committee.

The Warrington North MP, Helen Jones, has put her name forward as a candidate for chair.

Standards Committee

Veteran MP, Sir Kevin Barron, who represents the Rother Valley, has chaired the Committee since 2013 and it is likely that he will be re-elected to the role.

Transport Select Committee

Liverpool Riverside MP, Louise Ellman, who has chaired the committee since 2008, is likely to be re-elected.

Work and Pensions Select Committee

The Labour MP, Frank Field, has announced that he will put his name forward as the Chairman. He is respected across the House and worked with the Collation Government on poverty issues. He is the clear favourite at the moment. Despite his engagement with the previous Government’s reforms, ministers will be nervous that he could be a very effective critic of the impact of Government plans to reduce welfare expenditure.

Other candidate include; Teresa Pearce, a former accountant and member of both the DWP and Treasury Select Committee and Kate Green, the current Labour Shadow Minster for the Disabled, who was Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group before entering Parliament in 2010.


SNP Committees

The Scottish National Party as the third largest party in the House of Commons is entitled two Select Committee chairs which will be the Scottish Affairs Select Committee and the Energy and Climate change committee.

Committee chairs are almost always filled by veteran MPs and this poses a challenge for the SNP as there are only 7 MPs with previous experience in the Commons. After other senior roles are filled the field narrows even further. It is therefore very unlikely that the vacancies available to them will be contested by more than one SNP MP.

Scottish Affairs Select Committee

Given the landslide result in Scotland the chair of this committee had to be given to the SNP. The clear front runner is Pete Wishart MP who has previously served on the committee. The work of the committee in the last parliament focused heavily on the constitutional future of Scotland and the action of the Scottish Government. This will change with the focus shifting back to its traditional role of scrutinising the UK Government.

Despite the SNP landside result in Scotland, the make-up of the committee , like all others, will broadly reflect the balance of the parties across the House of Commons. Conservatives have had to fill their members of the Committee with English MPs for some time. The difference in this parliament will be that Labour will have to fill their quota with MPs representing English constituencies as well and this could mean that a majority of MPs on the committee represent English constituencies.

Energy and Climate Change Select Committee

Energy is and will remain a hugely important aspect of the Scottish economy and having the chair of this Committee is a major bonus for the party.

An obvious choice for the chair was Mike Weir MP who was the longstanding and well respected SNP Energy spokesperson however he was given the job of Chief Whip. Contenders for the post include Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP and Angus MacNeil MP. Both have a background in energy policy by virtue of it being an important industry in their constituencies.

Expect a balanced approach from either chair, but issues which are of particular interest to Scotland, such as the disadvantages faced by Scottish generators under the current electricity transmission charging regime, as well as the future of the North Sea.

See our review of the Conservative candidates here