Select Committees will challenge the Government

With the ongoing Brexit negotiations, and a Great Repeal Bill published today to transpose all relevant EU law into British law promise to keep Parliament busy. Throw in a hung Parliament, and this means that the men and women who lead the House of Commons Select Committees will have unprecedented influence.

Divisions in both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have created unlikely cross-party cooperation amongst the backbenches. This was demonstrated by Chuka Umunna MP and Anna Soubry MP last week when they launched an All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations, which will seek to oppose the Government’s plans to implement a so-called hard Brexit.

In the select committees themselves, Single Marketeers, Remainers, and anti-May MPs have made a good running. In her pitch for Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Nicky Morgan MP made it clear that she will seek a collaborative approach to the Committee, with a Deputy Chair from the opposition. Her priorities moving forward will focus on public spending, tax policy, gender inequality in the financial sector, productivity, and childcare funding. Morgan further emphasised the desire to re-open inquiries launched by the previous Treasury Committee, intro housing policy and access to basic retail financial services.

The fact that she also beat Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg to the role signals a challenging time ahead for the Government as it seeks to implement the myriad of legislation it requires before the UK formally leaves the EU. Other prominent pro-Remain MPs also won their elections to important committees, including Neil Parish MP for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (undoubtedly one of the most important committees for post-EU Britain), Robert Halfon MP for the Education Select Committee, and Tom Tugendhat for the Foreign Affairs committee. Hilary Benn as Chair of the Brexit Committee did not even get a challenge. Only six of 28 Committees are chaired by MPs who supported leaving the EU.

All of this will paint a challenging landscape as the committees will be following Theresa May and the EU negotiations closely. With fewer and fewer allies, it will be a tricky terrain for the Government to navigate in the years ahead.

Elected Select Committee Chairs

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Labour)
Rachel Reeves (Remainer)

Communities and Local Government Committee (Labour)
Clive Betts (Remainer)

Culture, Media and Sport Committee (Conservative)
Damian Collins (Remainer)

Defence Committee (Conservative)
Dr Julian Lewis (Strong Brexiteer)

Education Committee (Conservative)
Robert Halfon (Remainer)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Conservative)
Neil Parish (Remainer)

Exiting the European Union Committee (Labour)
Hilary Benn (Remainer)

Foreign Affairs Committee (Conservative)
Tom Tugendhat (Remainer)

Health Committee (Conservative)
Sarah Wollaston (Remainer)

Home Affairs Committee (Labour)
Yvette Cooper (Remainer)

International Development Committee (Labour)
Stephen Twigg (Remainer)

International Trade Committee (SNP)
Angus MacNeil (Remainer)

Justice Committee (Conservative)
Robert Neill (Remainer)

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (Conservative)
Dr Andrew Murrison (Brexiteer)

Science and Technology Committee (Liberal Democrats)
Norman Lamb (Remainer)

Scottish Affairs Committee (SNP)
Pete Wishart (Remainer)

Transport Committee (Labour)
Lilian Greenwood (Strong Remainer)

Treasury Committee (Conservative)
Nicky Morgan (Strong Remainer)

Welsh Affairs Committee (Conservative)
David T.C. Davies (Strong Brexiteer)

Women and Equalities Committee (Conservative)
Maria Miller (Remainer)

Work and Pensions Committee (Labour)
Frank Field (Brexiteer)

Backbench Business Committee (Labour)
Ian Mearns (Remainer)

Environmental Audit Committee (Labour)
Mary Creagh (Remainer)

Petitions Committee (Labour)
Helen Jones (Remainer)

Procedure Committee (Conservative)
Charles Walker (Brexiteer)

Public Accounts Committee (Labour)
Meg Hillier (Remainer)

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (Conservative)
Bernard Jenkin (Strong Brexiteer)

Standards Committee (Labour)
Kevin Barron (Remainer)