Select committees: Six Tories vie for coveted Treasury role

Nicky Morgan and Jacob Rees-Mogg

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A leading Remainer and Brexiteer are among candidates to chair the Treasury committee

Six Conservative MPs are to vie for the influential role of chair of the Commons Treasury select committee.

Richard Bacon, Charlie Elphicke, Stephen Hammond, Nicky Morgan, John Penrose and Jacob Rees-Mogg are all candidates for the high profile post.

Elections for this and nine other committees will take place on 12 July.

Select committee chairman have become increasingly powerful in recent years and the posts are highly sought after among backbench MPs.

Labour’s Hilary Benn has been returned unopposed as chair of the Brexit committee, as has former Labour minister Yvette Cooper at home affairs and Conservative Sarah Wollaston at health.

Elections for select committee chairs were introduced in 2010 and the positions – which give MPs an opportunity to initiate inquiries and hold ministers, civil servants, regulators and business leaders to account – are decided at the start of each new Parliament.

MPs need nominations from 15 colleagues to be able to stand.

Andrew Tyrie, who had held the role of Treasury committee chairman since 2010, stood down as an MP at the election.

Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Hammond were members of the committee before the election, while Mrs Morgan is a former Treasury minister and education secretary.

Mr Bacon is a longstanding member of the public accounts committee while Mr Penrose and Mr Elphicke are former whips.

Other multi-candidate contests include for education, where former Conservative ministers Nick Boles, Robert Halfon, Tim Loughton and Dan Poulter are among the six candidates.

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Hilary Benn will continue as chair of the Brexit committee

Former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith will take on Tory colleagues Neil Parish and Bill Wiggin for the chair of the environment committee while Julian Lewis, the Conservative chair of the defence committee in the last Parliament, faces a challenge from former soldier Johnny Mercer.

There is a three-way battle for the foreign affairs committee between previous incumbent Crispin Blunt, John Baron and Tom Tugendhat. Andrew Murrison and Nigel Mills are candidates for the Northern Ireland berth.

On the Labour side, former cabinet minister Liam Byrne will take on Rachel Reeves, Ian Lucas and Albert Owen for chair of the business committee while there are five contenders for the title of transport committee chair.

Angela Smith will take on Ian Mearns to lead the backbench business committee, which chooses topics for debate in the chamber.

Select committee chairs are allocated to individual parties on the basis of the overall number of MPs they have – with the House having to approve a motion on how they are divvied up following party consultations.

The Lib Dems are to take the reins of of one committee – science and technology – with Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson competing for the role of chair.

The other MPs who have been elected unopposed are:

  • Damian Collins (Conservative – Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
  • Mary Creagh (Labour – Environmental Audit)
  • Stephen Twigg (Labour – International Development)
  • Angus MacNeil (SNP – International Trade)
  • Bob Neill (Conservative – Justice)
  • Helen Jones (Labour – Petitions)
  • Charles Walker (Conservative – Procedure)
  • Meg Hillier (Labour – Public Accounts)
  • Bernard Jenkin (Conservative – Public Administration)
  • Pete Wishart (SNP – Scottish Affairs)
  • Kevin Barron (Labour – Standards)
  • David TC Davies (Conservative – Welsh Affairs)
  • Maria Miller (Conservative – Women & Equalities)
  • Frank Field (Labour – Work & Pensions)

The elections will be held later this month under the alternative vote system, with all MPs able to vote.

Committee chairs are limited to serving two full terms or eight years, whichever is the longer.

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