Irranca-Davies to chair Environmental Audit Committee

The winning candidates for Parliamentary select committee chair positions have been announced today (June 18), with Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies taking up the chairmanship of the Environmental Audit Committee.


Select committee chairs have now all been chosen for the coming parliament

The MP for Ogmore in South Wales, who has previously served as under-secretary of state at Defra, takes over as EAC chair from former Labour MP Joan Walley, who stood down at the recent election.

During the last parliament, the EAC recommended a host of measures — including a diesel scrappage scheme — to tackle UK air pollution in what was the latest of three reports it has produced on UK air quality in the last five years (see story).

Mr Irranca-Davies beat off competition from Labour MP Alan Whitehead and shadow environment minister Barry Gardiner, who were also in the running for the EAC position.

Elsewhere, Labour’s Louise Ellman, the MP for Liverpool Riverside, won her bid to become chair of the Transport Committee.

In the contested select committee elections, a total of 621 ballot papers were submitted by MPs, which were counted under the Alternative Vote System.

It follows the announcement last week of Conservative MP Neil Parish as the new chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which is charged with scrutinising the work of Defra (see story).

Labour MP Clive Betts has also taken on chairmanship of the Communities & Local Government Committee, while the SNP’s Angus MacNeil is the new chair of the Energy & Climate Change Committee.

All were the sole candidates put forward by fellow MPs for their respective positions.

Ben Bradshaw

Meanwhile, former Defra minister with responsibility for air quality, Ben Bradshaw, has made the final list of candidates in the Labour Party’s deputy leadership election this summer.

The MP for Exeter since 1997, Mr Bradshaw is one of five MPs in the running for deputy leader of the party, with voting opening alongside the election for Party leader on August 14. The winners of both elections will be announced on September 12.

However, bookies currently list Mr Bradshaw as least likely to secure the deputy leadership, with Tom Watson the current favourite just ahead of remaining candidates Stella Creasy, Caroline Flint and Angela Eagle.

Mr Bradshaw worked as under-secretary of state and then minister of state at Defra under Tony Blair’s Prime Ministership between 2003 and 2007.

While looking after the air quality brief at Defra, Mr Bradshaw voiced support for road and congestion charging schemes as part of a consultation on a number of other options to boost air quality, including vehicle emissions standards, green vehicle incentives, national road pricing, pollution controls and national support for low emission zones (LEZs).

Mr Bradshaw later worked as minister for the South West, minister of state for Health and secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport while Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.

A University of Sussex graduate, Mr Bradshaw was one of the first British MPs who was openly gay when first elected to parliament, coming into office after New Labour’s landslide election victory in 1997.

Before becoming an MP, he worked as a local newspaper reporter in Exeter and Norwich, later becoming an award-winning journalist at BBC Radio, where he served as Berlin correspondent during the fall of the Belin Wall in 1989.

Anyone registering as a member or supporter of the Labour Party before August 12 can vote in the leader and deputy leader elections, while London residents who register will also be able to vote to choose Labour’s candidate for the Mayoral election in 2016.


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