COMMONS

Chair nominations for Backbench Business Committee

Nominations close for Chair elections.

Two nominations have been received for the position of Chair of the  Backbench Business Committee. The Chair will be elected from the Labour party.

A full list of candidates is published below with accompanying statements.

As set out by the Speaker, the election will be held in Committee Room 8 from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday 12 July. The results are expected to be announced by the Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow, as soon as possible after the ballots close.

The candidates are:

Ian Mearns MP

Nominated by (Government party)

Kevin Hollinrake, Mr William Wragg, Mims Davies, Craig Whittaker, Mr Nigel Evans, Robert Neill, Mike Wood, Mr Charles Walker, Sir Henry Bellingham, Bob Blackman, Tom Pursglove

Nominated by (Non-Government parties)

Christina Rees, Ms Marie Rimmer, Mr Kevan Jones, Jess Phillips, Wayne David, Shabana Mahmood, Jenny Chapman, Tony Lloyd, Mike Hill, Grahame Morris, Andy McDonald, Caroline Lucas, Gavin Newlands, Deirdre Brock 

Statement

I am seeking re-election as chair of the Backbench Business Committee because I am committed to ensuring that all backbench MPs’ voices are heard. 

I served as chair during the previous Parliament and have served as a member of the committee since 2010. From feedback I’ve had I think it is fair to say that I chaired the committee well, giving members who are making applications a real opportunity to air their reasons for asking for debates on particular issues, but I also prided myself on holding the Government to account regarding the allocation of time given to backbench debates, usually at Business Questions on a Thursday morning with the Leader of the House.

I must say that I think it is particularly crucial that the Backbench Business Committee has a strong and experienced chair at this current time. With the Government announcing that Parliament will sit for a two year term, it is vital to ensure that the time allocated for backbench debates reflects the period within which we are working and although standing orders say 35 days, of which 27 must be in the Chamber in the Parliamentary session, those standing orders were written with a one year Parliamentary session in mind. We must therefore secure a proper allocation of time should the Parliament run to its full two year period. I have also seen it as my duty to inform members, as best I can, when there is a glut or a shortage of applications so that members can be kept up to date and bring forward their applications accordingly.

If I am re-elected as chair I will continue my previous work making sure that backbench members are able to bring forward debates on matters close to their and their constituents’ hearts.

Relevant interests

None

Nominated by (Government Party)

Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, Mrs Cheryl Gillan, Victoria Atkins, Tom Tugendhat, Richard Graham, Nigel Mills, Richard Benyon, Andrew Percy, Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Mark Menzies, Dr Matthew Offord

Nominated by (Non-Government parties)

Ruth Smeeth, Jim Fitzpatrick, Dan Jarvis, Mike Gapes, Liz Kendall, Ms Angela Eagle, Stella Creasy, Thelma Walker, David Hanson, Wes Streeting, Mrs Madeleine Moon, Lady Hermon,  Liz Saville Roberts,  Norman Lamb  

Statement

This new Parliament follows a tough General Election which has divided the nation and left us with a minority Government.  Given the election result it seems clear the electorate hasdecided it wants Government to be properly accountable to a more robust House of Commons.  

This gives Parliamentarians an enhanced role when it comes to holding the Government to account.  It also makes it far more likely that Members across the House will want to work together on an issue by issue basis, making their contribution to debates in Parliament in a constructive manner that at all times keeps a focus on the national interest.      

It is on this basis that I am standing to be Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, as I believe the Committee has an important role to play in developing the arguments and the relationships necessary to making our House effective in discharging its duties.    

Since its inception the Backbench Business Committee has demonstrated its worth very clearly, granting debates that have been truly cross-party in nature and on topics which reflect the wide and varied interests of Members of this House.   

I believe as Chair I could help further develop the very important role the Committee has played in involving backbench MPs in our democracy.  I have always believed in the work of the Committee and have availed myself on numerous occasions of the opportunity to participate in its debates in both the Main Chamber and Westminster Hall.  

One example was the work I did with colleagues to secure the debate on domestic violence and the family courts.  The debate itself saw Members on all sides of the House united in pressing for legislative changes which, in the end, were accepted by the Government.  

If elected as Chair, I would work hard to foster an inclusive approach to its work and the choices it makes when selecting debates.  I would also strive to ensure the precious time allocated to the committee in the Chamber is used effectively.         

I am sure we can all agree the country faces a number of very difficult challenges over the next few years, both nationally and internationally.  Backbenchers have a crucially important role to play in demonstrating that our Parliament is capable of responding constructively and thoughtfully to these challenges.    

I hope you will feel able to support my candidacy for this important role in the ballot next week.   

Relevant interests

None