The Liaison Committee, made up of the Chairs of all select committees, met for the first time today to discuss the work of the new committees. Most of the Chairs have been directly elected by the whole House of Commons, under reforms agreed at the end of the last Parliament.
The Committee has elected Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith (LD, Berwick-upon-Tweed) who also chairs the Justice Committee, as its own Chair.
The Committee has invited David Cameron to give evidence in October, to continue the sessions with the Prime Minister begun in 2002 with Tony Blair.
The Committee will focus on improving financial scrutiny, and is looking at how the Government spending Estimates put before the House can be examined and challenged in a more rigorous way.
Sir Alan Beith said:
"The Liaison Committee will be an active champion of select committees.
We will be working closely with the new Backbench Business Committee to ensure that the work of the committees and of the Chamber are better integrated.
The existence of "backbench time" also means that we can now propose reforms and improvements to the select committee system on our own account, and will not have to depend on government making time available.
A majority of members of the Liaison Committee are there because they have been elected by secret ballot of the whole House, following the recommendations of the Wright Committee.
Committees now have a new authority and momentum which will ensure that their critical role in holding the Government to account is supported and strengthened."