Constitutional Affairs Committee

Press notice No. 1 of Session 2005-06
20 July 2005


At its first meeting of the new Parliamentary Session, the Constitutional Affairs Committee elected Rt Hon Alan Beith MP to be Chairman.

After the meeting he said:

There are major issues for the Committee to consider in the coming months, including access to justice, constitutional reform, the Government's proposals on elections and voting, and the activities of the Department for Constitutional Affairs and its agencies.

I am delighted to be chairing such a broadly-based group of MPs with a wide range of relevant experience. We intend to provide effective scrutiny on matters which are of great importance to our constituents.

Mr Beith has been Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed since 1973. He is a former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He was a member of the House of Commons Commission between 1979 and 1997 and of the Treasury and Civil Service Committee between 1987 and 94. He has been a Member of the Intelligence and Security Committee since 1995.

Membership of the Committee

Rt Hon Alan Beith MP, Chairman (Liberal Democrat) Berwick-upon-Tweed
James Brokenshire MP (Conservative) Hornchurch
David Howarth MP (Liberal Democrat) Cambridge
Ms Barbara Keeley MP (Labour) Worsley
Mr Piara S Khabra MP (Labour) Ealing Southall
Jessica Morden MP (Labour) Newport East
Julie Morgan MP (Labour) Cardiff North
Mr Andrew Tyrie MP (Conservative) Chichester
Keith Vaz MP (Labour) Leicester East
Dr Alan Whitehead MP (Labour) Southampton Test
Jeremy Wright MP (Conservative) Rugby and Kenilworth

Committee remit

The Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, policy and administration of the Department for Constitutional Affairs and its associated public bodies. This includes:
? constitutional issues
? civil justice and the legal services market
? criminal justice
? the courts and tribunals
? judicial matters
? issues related to Freedom of Information (FOI)
? electoral law

The Committee's remit also covers other agencies for which the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs is responsible to Parliament, such as the Legal Services Commission, HM Court Service, Northern Ireland Court Service, HM Land Registry, and The National Archives.