Liaison Committee

Session 2003-04

8 January 2004


Liaison Committee releases discussion paper on the working of select committees

The Liaison Committee has today released a discussion paper, prepared by its clerks, on select committees and the way that they work .

The paper, which is available on the Committee's website, will be followed by  a wider review  of the powers  and working practices of Committees in the light of the Hutton inquiry.

Rt Hon Alan Williams MP who chairs the committee that comprises Chairmen of select committees, previously announced the review to the House last October, saying:

"I have already initiated the start of such a review by the Clerks to the Liaison Committee, and the Public Administration Committee is undertaking such an inquiry. It is inconceivable that, post-Hutton-we have to let Hutton get out of the way, so that we can take a less impassioned perspective-we will not try to pick out what lessons need to be addressed by the House and by the Government if the Select Committees are to be seen by the public, which is what matters, as fully able to hold the Executive to account. That is crucially important for the House of Commons." (HC Deb, 30 October 2003, col 471)

The review will build on the previous work the Committee has undertaken into strengthening the powers and resources of select committees.


1.The discussion paper can be found on the Committee's website:

2.The Liaison Committee addressed the issue of Select Committee Powers in 'Shifting the Balance: Unfinished Business' (8 March 2001, 321-I). This report, along with others relating to the powers and work of select committees can be found on the Committee's website.

3.The Committee is chaired by Rt Hon Alan Williams (Labour, Swansea West) and includes the 34 Chairmen of select committees. It is appointed to consider general matters relating to the work of select committees; to advise the House of Commons Commission on select committees; to choose select committee reports for debate in the House and to hear evidence from the Prime Minister on matters of public policy. It was nominated on 5 November 2001, 22 July 2002 and 27 January 2003. Its powers are set out in House of Commons Standing Order No. 145.  These are available on

4.News Release: [PN1, 2003-04]


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