Select Committee Chairs Announced
July 18, 2017
Below is a list of relevant Select Committees who announced new and returning chairs last week.
Science and Technology Committee (Liberal Democrat)
The Science and Technology Committee scrutinises departmental activities related to science, technology and research, and ensures a robust scientific evidence-base informs government policy.
Stephen Metcalfe expertly led the committee throughout the last parliament, examining issues ranging from channelling the power of big data, to the implications of Brexit on science, engineering and research.
Norman Lamb (North Norfolk) was elected in the first round, beating fellow Lib Dem Jo Swinson. A former government health Minister, Lamb has spoken of the centrality of science and research in driving innovation and boosting the economy.
Of particular importance for the committee will be continuing to assess the effects of Brexit on science and research, specifically around the impacts to Higher Education Institutions, international collaboration projects, and the ability to attract international talent. Additional questions remain around funding and UK participation in EU Framework Programmes. Another key theme will be the role of science and innovation in delivering the government’s Industrial Strategy.
In all of this and more social science is indispensable. We look forward to working with Mr Lamb and his colleagues, and hope to see the social sciences play a more active part in the work of the committee.
- MP for North Norfolk since 2001
- Minister of State for Care and Support at the Department of Health, 2012-2015
- Political interests: health, mental health services, trade and industry
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Labour)
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee examines the administration, finances and policy of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) was elected as the new chair in the third round, taking over from Ian Wright. Here too, the committee will be crucial in scrutinising the delivery of the government’s Industrial Strategy. Reeves has also identified other top priorities, including tackling climate change, as well as taking on issues related to employment, such as closing the gender pay gap, understanding the challenges of the ‘gig economy’, and the creation of new, well paid jobs.
- MP for Leeds West since 2010
- Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2013-2015)
- Treasury Committee Member (2015-2017)
- Political interests: work and pensions, economy, education
Exiting the European Union Committee (Labour)
Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) ran uncontested and remains in place as chair. The work of the committee will be relevant to ensuring a positive outcome for science in the Brexit negotiations. New immigration policies and agreements around the rights of EU citizens in the UK will impact the ability of universities, research institutions and businesses to attract and retain international talent, as well as close any potential skills gaps across key sectors.
- MP for Leeds Central since 1999
- Secretary of State for International Development (2003-2007)
- Political interests: international development, home affairs, education, employment, local government, environment
Education Committee (Conservative)
In a crowded field of six candidates, Robert Halfon (Harlow), former Minister of State for Skills, was elected chair in the fifth round, beating Nick Boles on the final ballot.
The Education Committee has an important role in examining changes to the higher education landscape, particularly around the impacts of Brexit to students and staff, as well as from the passage in April of the Higher Education and Research Act. Other priorities for Halfon include reviewing student finance and increasing access to education. Halfon’s recognition of the need to plug the skills deficit in STEM subjects is welcome, though this should also extend to the development of data skills, especially in the social sciences.
- MP for Harlow since 2001
- Minister of State for Skills (2016-2017)
- Political interests: apprenticeships, education, housing, technology
Health Committee (Conservative)
In April, the Campaign launched its flagship report, The Health of People, demonstrating how the social sciences can improve population health and health service delivery. We look forward to working with Dr Wollaston in applying the recommendations of the report to help tackle healthcare challenges and relieve pressure on the NHS.
Dr Sarah Wollaston
- MP for Totnes since 2010
- Qualified GP
- Health Committee Member 2010-2017
- Political interests: NHS, alcohol related problems, rescue services