I learned very recently that Commons select committees are supposed to be non-political, with members from all parties working together to scrutinise the government’s policies on their particular subject. In practice, we all know that’s not really the case, because you can’t separate an MP’s decisions from their own political viewpoint. This explains why Julian Lewis has earned high-powered Labour supporters – he has rebelled against the government on three major votes.
For me, that seems like a good enough reason for him to become the new Defence committee chair – independent-mindedness really is what’s needed there.

David Hencke

A contender getting conviction politicians from Left and Right A contender getting conviction politicians from Left and Right

While the nation ponders on whether to vote ( or not !) in this month’s European and local elections, an extraordinary unreported by-election is taking place in the House of Commons among MPs.

Up for grabs is the.chairmanship of the House of Commons defence committee, a rather important post as the winner will be responsible for scrutinising the policies and spending of the huge behemoth that is the Ministry of Defence.

The post -because of the division of the spoils for this Parliament – can only be held by a Tory. But the successful candidate has to get the backing of at least five Labour or other non Tory MPs to be able to stand.

The election has turned out to be closely fought with no fewer than eight Tories contesting the post and having to find sponsors from other parties…

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