COMMONS

Chair nominations for Communities and Local Government Committee

Nominations close for Chair elections.

Two nominations have been received for the position of Chair of the Communities and Local Government 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:

Nominated by (own party)

Justin Madders, Paul Blomfield, Seema Malhotra, Helen Jones, Mr Steve Reed, Alison McGovern, Helen Hayes, Stephen Twigg, Sarah Champion, Meg Hillier, Mary Glindon, Chris Ruane, Mr Khalid Mahmood, Albert Owen, Mr Barry Sheerman

Nominated by (other parties)

Kevin Hollinrake, Norman Lamb, Alison Thewliss, Mary Robinson, Bob Blackman

Statement

BACKGROUND

Ever since I was first elected to Sheffield City Council, in 1976 I've had a particular interest in housing, planning and the responsibilities and financial powers of local authorities. I was a councillor for 16 years, including 5 as Leader. I was also the Chair of the AMA Housing Committee for 6 years.
After being a Government whip, I joined the predecessor to the CLG select committee in 2001, being elected chair in 2010 and 2015 with wide cross-party support.

APPROACH AS CHAIR

I am clear that the role of the chair is to secure agreement on topics for consideration, to assist members to pursue their investigations efficiently, effectively and thoroughly, and to report their findings constructively and robustly. 

I have also led and supported innovations in the way in which the committee undertakes its responsibilities – for example, in the nature of our evidence-gathering (13,000 people were enabled to contribute online to our investigation into public parks) and in supporting the Homelessness Reduction Act, arising from the committee’s work, and conducting the pre-legislative scrutiny into a private member’s bill. A parliamentary first!

As chair, I have always worked hard to secure collective agreement on the basis of the evidence we have received. I'm pleased that, in my time as chair, every report has been unanimously agreed but have also produced clear and challenging conclusions. I'm delighted to have received support from members of all parties who have served on the Committee with me.

SUBJECTS FOR INQUIRY

Although ownership of the forward agenda rests with the whole committee, I would submit some significant issues that I think the Committee should address in the next session. These include: 

  • the need to increase house-building, and to secure sustainable, affordable housing;
  • increasing and maintaining the impetus on devolution; 
  • contributions to the consultations on the reform of adult social care funding; and  
  • the impact of Brexit on councils' powers and resources. 

The Grenfell Tower disaster raises issues for urgent review. While the committee should not duplicate matters being looked at by the public inquiry, it should be concerned with the wider matter of the effectiveness of the fire building regulations, as the committee has done previously with gas and electrical regulations. There are also important issues relating to emergency planning and response.

In terms of the format of inquiries, I support further innovation in the approach to evidence-taking, encouraging people from all backgrounds to provide evidence, holding more committee sessions outside London and the use of social media. 

OFFER TO MEET/SPEAK

New members will not necessarily know me, or have had the opportunity to consider my approach or track-record. I would be very happy to meet/speak with you to discuss any of the issues or questions you may have. 
Of course, you may also want to speak to your colleagues who have worked with me and ask for their opinion.

After consideration, I hope you will give me your support to be elected as the Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee for this session.

Relevant interests

None

 

Nominated by (own party)

Stella Creasy, Liam Byrne, Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Thangam Debbonaire, Ms Diane Abbott, Wes Streeting, Chuka Umunna, Richard Burgon, Keith Vaz, Joan Ryan, Jess Phillips, Kate Osamor, Kelvin Hopkins, Eleanor Smith, Matt Western

Nominated by (other parties)

Mr Andrew Mitchell, Neil Gray, Stephen Metcalfe, Hywel Williams, Caroline Lucas

Statement

During my 17 years in Parliament I have always sought to be an independent-minded and collegiate Member of Parliament, and it is in this manner that I would seek to lead the Committee’s work as Chair.

The work of the Department of Communities and Local Government covers areas of policy that are vitally important to the lives of all of our constituents – particularly housing, adult social care and the delivery of public services through local authorities. If elected Chair I would work hard to ensure that these issues are at the top of the agenda and I plan to be a strong voice for Parliament in holding the executive to account.

In light of the Grenfell Tower fire it is my intention that the Committee will conduct an inquiry into building regulations and fire safety in tower blocks and social housing as soon as possible. It is clear that adult social care system is in need of reform and if elected Chair I will ensure that the Committee conducts work to support overdue and much-needed long term improvements to the social care system through scrutiny of proposed changes to social care funding and by working closely with the Health Select Committee and colleagues across all parties.

Other important areas that will require work include further devolution to City-Regions and Metro Mayors and the impact that Brexit will have on local government – particularly in terms of investment and whether powers transferred from the EU can be devolved. 

If elected Chair I would work hard to ensure that the Committee avoids a London-centric focus in its work and I want to focus on local government finance outside of London, the funding formula for local authorities and issues that affect all of our constituents. The Committee will hold evidence sessions in cities, towns and regions across the United Kingdom to ensure that every area has its voice heard.

Since returning to the backbenches in 2010 I have undertaken a great deal of work on our housing policies, particularly in relation to social housing and affordable housing, and in 2014 I published a 40 page report on the housing crisis.

As Chair of the Race and Community All Party Parliamentary Group since 2010 I have experience of working with colleagues from across all parties on issues around integration, race equality and community cohesion. These issues fall under the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government and I hope to be able to use my experience to ensure that these aspects of the Department’s work are scrutinised effectively. I have also been commissioned by the Government to conduct a review into the over-representation of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system and have worked across party lines across a range of policy areas.

I hope I can count on your support and do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your priorities further. 

Relevant interests

None

Biography: Mr David Lammy