Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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Nominations open for select committee Chairs

Nominations opened this morning for the election of Chairs of the 20 departmental, and six cross-cutting and domestic, select committees of the House of Commons.

The 2010-15 Parliament was the first which saw select committee Chairs elected by a secret ballot of all Members of the House of Commons, following the recommendations of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons set up in 2009. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report, or the Wright Reforms as they have come to be known, cited broad support for the idea that the introduction of election for committee members and chairs has been particularly important in reinforcing committees' credibility, authority and legitimacy. It also said there is "clear evidence that these more self-confident select committees have increased their media impact".

The Chair of each select committee is drawn from a specific party. Alist of which committees have been allocated to each party is available in Hansard.

To be nominated for election as Chair, a Member (from the relevant party) must provide a signed statement declaring their willingness to stand, supported by the signatures of 15 Members of their party, or 10% of the Members of that party, whichever is lower. Members also have the option of providing the signatures of 5 Members from another party or no party.

An election will also be held for the post of Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, which allocates time for debates suggested by backbench Members.

Nominations for chairs of select committees in this Parliament will close next Wednesday 10 June, with the ballot to be held a week later on Wednesday 17th June.  The candidates for select committee chairs will be announced each day until nominations close. 

The next step after the election of Chairs will be the election of the other members of each select committee, also by secret ballot, by the parties which have an allocated number of seats on each committee. The number of seats each party gets on each committee is allocated in proportion to their representation in the House of Commons as a whole.

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