Changing of the guard: how the general election will shape select committees

Senior civil servants are used to facing tough questioning from select committees. Elizabeth Bates looks at what the next parliament might have in store for these powerful groups of MPs

By Elizabeth Bates

29 Apr 2015

As parliament prepares to welcome its new intake, the size of which will emerge in the aftermath of the general election, political analysis by Dods considers how the makeup of select committees could change. 

In recent years the influence of select committees has increased and certain MPs have used the platform to shape the political agenda.

Keith Vaz in particular has raised his media profile and held public figures to account through his chairmanship of the Home Affairs Committee.   

Related articles

Quizzing the inquisitor: the Margaret Hodge interview
Interview: Keith Vaz
Civil service exposure ‘good for accountability’ – Sir George Young

In the last year alone Vaz has challenged Theresa May over the delayed inquiry into child sex abuse, grilled South Yorkshire Police and the BBC over coverage of Cliff Richard’s house raid and called on the Mayor of Calais to explain why migrants were gathering at the French port.

However, parliamentary rules state that his period as chair has expired as he has been in the post since 2007.

So, although Vaz will stand for re-election as the Labour candidate for Leicester East he will be replaced as head of the Home Affairs Committee.

The remaining committee members are all likely successors as they are all currently standing for re-election to parliament.

Other possible candidates include chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Paul Blomfield - who spoke out against Sheffield United’s decision to let convicted rapist Ched Evans rejoin training at the club – and Labour’s Fiona Mactaggart, former Home Office minister and chair of the APPG on human trafficking.   

Another star on the select committee scene who may also be ousted after the general election is Labour’s Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Hodge has made waves taking on both government departments and big business in an effort to tackle tax avoidance, and seems likely to hold her parliamentary seat of Barking.

However, Hodge will be forced to step down if a Labour government is elected as the PAC chair is, by convention, a member of the opposition.   

Other prominent committees that will see a change of leadership include Culture, Media and Sport, Energy and Climate Change, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Justice and Work and Pensions, as well as a few others.

The majority of this upheaval is due to MPs standing down, although some have spent the maximum amount of time allowed in the role and cannot reapply for the chair.

So as polling day draws near, we will certainly see changes of political leadership inside the committee rooms of Westminster, regardless of what happens in Downing Street.    

You can read the full research by Dods Monitoring on the future of select committees here.


Share this page