Chair nominations for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Nominations close for Chair elections.

Four nominations have been received for the position of Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 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)

Keir Starmer, Yvette Cooper, Kate Green, Ian Mearns, Jess Phillips, Ms Karen Buck, Shabana Mahmood, Alison McGovern, Mr David Lammy, Andrew Gwynne, Lyn Brown, Afzal Khan, Eleanor Smith, John Healey, Frank Field  

Nominated by (other parties)

Mr Iain Duncan Smith, Anna Soubry, Mr Dominic Grieve, Kirsty Blackman, Sir Oliver Letwin


How will Brexit Britain thrive in the new world we're sailing into?
That ultimately is the question at the core of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department's mission – and that's the task the BEIS Select Committee must hold ministers to account to deliver. 
But there is something more: the BEIS Committee now has a crucial role developing a cross-party agenda to transform productivity, build a more inclusive economy – and maximise the opportunities for the UK from Brexit. 
Today, our country is simply not producing wealth in the way we could and nor do we share it in the way we should. This is why we need reform. 
As someone who has worked in the engine room of government, I know every trick in the book:

  • I've been a minister working in Number 10 during the height of the financial crisis. 
  • I've been a Chief Secretary to the Treasury. 
  • My book, Robbins Rebooted, written as a shadow BEIS minister, sets out what, globally, good industrial policy looks like.  
  • As a West Midlands MP and a former regional minister, I’m passionate about devolution – and regional industrial strategy that supports 21st century manufacturing.
  • I am a governor of the Institute for Government, which has written the book on how good select committees work.  

I know what good government looks like. But just as important, I have a track record working cross-party, founding and chairing the APPG on Inclusive Growth, to build consensus about the way we rewrite the rules for our market economy – and which is now leading the debate across the OECD. 
My experience tells me we need to focus on: 

  • Supply-side strategies like industrial policy, which maximise public and private investment in science – for digital, manufacturing and services;
  • Demand-side strategies that use public procurement in new ways to support industry and jobs;
  • Capital markets that are more patient;
  • Labour markets that are more skilled – where we revolutionise technical education and systems to keep skills up to date as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds;
  • A shared determination to see our green and pleasant land become this century’s pioneer of low-carbon economic growth. 

And: as a Labour MP who began his career on the shop floor of McDonalds, I'm determined to see the protection of workers’ rights roll forward and the gender pay gap close.  

Crucially, as a former entrepreneur, I'm passionate about the power of enterprise to change our country for the good. My book, Dragons, retells our national story through the lives of 10 of our greatest entrepreneurs. It's a testament to nearly 1,000 years of British enterprise. It comes with lessons from the past that are pointers for the future. These are the sorts of benchmarks I will use to judge the strengths and weaknesses of Her Majesty's Government.
We find ourselves in a hung Parliament. Select committees are more important than ever in holding the government to account.  
Good government needs strong scrutiny and strong select committees.  I believe I can deliver both. 

Relevant interests


Nominated by (own party) 

Paul Farrelly, Alex Cunningham, Kevin Brennan, Bill Esterson, Jo Stevens, Graham Stringer, Diana Johnson, Barbara Keeley, Dan Jarvis, Derek Twigg, Peter Dowd, Mr Stephen Hepburn, Chi Onwurah, Andy McDonald,  Justin Madders

Nominated by (other parties) 

Mr Charles Walker, Nigel Huddleston, Damian Collins, Mr David Jones, Pete Wishart


I am asking for your support to be Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, in the event of the role being allocated to Labour in this Parliament.

Before I became an MP, I ran, alone, my own small business employing a dozen people. 

As Business Minister in 2009-10, I worked in the then Business, Industry and Skills Department on the development of industrial strategy base on the “New Industry, New Jobs” policy which I believe has directed the course of Government strategy since.

I have very close relations with the automotive and aerospace sectors. I chaired the Automotive Council in 2009, bringing together business, trades unions and Government, which are the heart of my beliefs on business. Those principles have been carried forward in the Aerospace Growth Partnership and I have maintained an active role in both automotive and aerospace sectors as Vice-Chair of the APPG on Aerospace and as a regular attender at Automotive Industry Parliamentary meetings. 

I have a strong interest in regional economic policy, especially as we see continued devolution to our nations and regions. The recent creation of city and metro Mayors creates a new and dynamic environment for businesses to flourish and invest in our communities, right across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Northern Powerhouse agenda is an ambitious programme for a region eager to expand investment from business. As Chair of the APPG Mersey Dee North Wales region, which I established in the last Parliament, I recognised both the challenges and opportunities for this inter-regional thinking to break down barriers to business and infrastructure investment and development. The APPG and the Northern Powerhouse are two keys to unlock the North’s economic and business potential.

As a Member of the DCMS Select Committee, I have worked on broadband infrastructure issues, central to the modern business economy, alongside major international businesses including BT and Virgin Media.

I am a believer in the need for radical change in private sector corporate governance to incentivise both long-term investment in business and jobs and more investment right across the UK, as well as fairer executive pay, and want to carry forward the excellent work of the previous Chair, Iain Wright, in this area.

I am an experienced Select Committee member and have been part of the DCMS’s inquiries in the last Parliament into Sports’ Governance and Drugs issues which, as a result of detailed questioning, have initiated major changes.

I am a collegiate MP and have worked cross-party on a number of occasions to ensure that changes which are needed come about from consensus, whilst ensuring that those in Government understand the contemporary complexities of the departments they run and to make them better. 

I would be very pleased to answer any queries you have and would be grateful for your support

Relevant interests 


Albert Owen MP

Nominated by (own party)

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Caroline Flint, Barry Gardiner, Mr Virendra Sharma, Helen Jones, Carolyn Harris, Mr Kevan Jones, Mr Dennis Skinner, Chris Evans, Tonia Antoniazzi, Grahame Morris, Stephen Kinnock, Gerald Jones, Chris Williamson, Liz McInnes

Nominated by (other parties)

Nigel Dodds, Glyn Davies, Liz Saville Roberts, Mr Alistair Carmichael, Dr Lisa Cameron


I am standing for the role of chair of the BEIS Select Committee as a proud and experienced backbencher who has, since 2001, served on a variety of select committees including Energy and Climate Change and, up until the time of the 2017 General Election, the BEIS Select Committee.

I fully support the developing role and growing importance of committees in the work of Parliament. To me, select committees have a dual role, primarily to hold their relevant government department to account, but also in setting the agenda within that specific field.

In the last Parliament the BEIS Select Committee welcomed the Government's re-found commitment to industrial strategy. However, it is important that the vision of "an economy that works for everyone" – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community – is realised in policies. To date that has not been the case. It will be the duty of the BEIS Select Committee in this Parliament to get greater clarity on how the Government's Industrial Strategy Green Paper will work in practice.

As Chair I would hold the Government to account by:

  • Shaping an industrial strategy that works for all – in particular rebalancing the economy in the interests of those who have not yet shared in its growth.
  • Putting consumer rights at the top of the agenda – particularly with regards to energy and utility pricing.
  • Ensuring we have regional rebalancing – I would arrange BEIS Committee meetings across the nations and regions of the UK, bringing Parliament closer to the people and making it more relevant to all parts of the UK.
  • Being an inclusive Chair by encouraging Committee members to decide on subjects of inquiries and to work with other select committees on joint matters.

Interaction with other committees is greatly needed, not least following the vote to leave the European Union.

I have a strong interest in energy. There is a requirement to enhance this part of BEIS to ensure we have a fairer energy market and that consumers and small businesses are given priority along with larger companies.

As a member of the Speaker's Panel and several APPGs, I regularly chair bills, debates and committees in an impartial and effective manner. I have gained a strong reputation on consensual workings and I believe I have both the requisite skills, experience and vision to step up to the role of Chair and take the Committee forward and raise its status.

To me, becoming Chair would not be a consolation prize, but a huge honour because the BEIS Select Committee has an important role in this important and interesting Parliament, and for that reason I am seeking the support of parliamentary colleagues.

Nominated by (own party)

Edward Miliband, Wes Streeting, Yvonne Fovargue, Dame Margaret Hodge, John Spellar, Conor McGinn, Jenny Chapman, Emma Reynolds, Ruth George, Stephanie Peacock, Anna McMorrin, Rosie Duffield, Ms Karen Lee, Thelma Walker, Rushanara Ali

Nominated by (other parties)

Mrs Maria Miller, Jo Swinson, Chris Stephens, Stewart Malcolm McDonald, Robert Neill


The work of the Committee over the course of this Parliament is hugely important and I hope to have the opportunity to steer and lead it. From ensuring we have the best possible industrial strategy for all of the United Kingdom, to securing a sustainable and cost-effective energy policy, boosting the UK’s productivity, ensuring small businesses get the support they need, and looking at the future of work in an environment of new technology and ever growing competition - the BEIS Department is at the heart of many of the crucial issues facing the UK.

I hope you see me as someone able to work well with MPs from all parties, with MPs who have been here for many years and MPs who have been here for just a few weeks. I have served on the front and backbenches and have always tried to be constructive, evidence-based and diligent in the work I do. I have worked closely with Conservative and Liberal Democrat colleagues in Leeds - all seven of my fellow Leeds Members are supporting me in this election - and I work closely with my Conservative co-Chair, Seema Kennedy MP, on the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. I know how important it is that Select Committees give MPs from all parties an opportunity to have their say and that the best reports are ones that can get the support of all committee members.

Before I was elected to Parliament I worked for ten years at the Bank of England and at the British Embassy in Washington as an economist and then at HBOS. Since being elected I served as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I also served on the Treasury Select Committee in the last Parliament and the BIS Select Committee in 2010. I am delighted to have the support of all of the colleagues who I sat with on the Treasury Select Committee.

My priorities are to use the role to:

  • Get the best industrial strategy that works for all regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Develop sustainable growth and climate change policies that help create new and well paid jobs
  • Look at the future of work, including the huge growth of self-employment and insecure work
  • Shine a spotlight on diversity at the top levels of our businesses and tackle the gender, disability and BAME pay gaps
  • Help ensure an environment of responsible business
  • Get the Committee out of Westminster, to visit local enterprise partnerships, businesses and workplaces across the UK

And most of all as Chair of the BEIS Select Committee I want to ensure that the voices of MPs with an interest in these issues are heard.

Relevant interests