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Digital election of the Chair of BEIS and Standards Committees

23 April 2020 (updated on 24 April 2020)


On 22 April the House of Commons passed a motion agreeing to temporary new arrangements for select committee chair by-elections. Select Committees have continued to play an important role scrutinising the Government throughout Recess, and 14 remote Committee sessions have taken place.

The briefing note below outlines the procedures and practical arrangements for the elections for the Chairs of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and the Committee on Standards.


Nominations will open on Monday 27th April at 10am and close on Monday 4th May at 12pm. Based on the Order of the House of 16th January 2020, only a member of the Labour Party may be a candidate for the Chair of either the BEIS Committee or the Committee on Standards.

For the first time, nominations will be made over email.

To be valid, nominations must:

  • include a statement declaring a willingness to stand
  • contain the names of 15 Members of the Labour Party who are supporting the candidate. Each candidate is responsible for verifying that these Members are indeed willing to support them
  • feature a declaration of any relevant interests.

Candidates also have the option of including the names of up to five Members of any party other than the Labour Party and to submit a supporting statement, but this is not an essential requirement.

Valid nominations will be published on the relevant Committee's website and in the next day's House business papers, when the House is sitting.

Following the close of the nominations, the final list of candidates and their sponsors will be available on the relevant Committee's website. If there is only one candidate for either post, an announcement will be made that they have been elected unopposed.

The ballot

An online ballot will take place on 6th May, between 10am and 2pm and will be run by a third-party supplier, Civica Election Services, who specialise in running such ballots.

On the morning of the ballot, MPs will receive an email to their parliamentary email account with a secure link to the online ballot. They will have until 2pm to cast their vote. Proxy voting will not be possible for this vote.

The count

The ballots will be counted under the Alternative Vote system. Any candidate who receives more than half the first preferences for each chair is elected.

If no candidate receives more than half, the candidate with the lowest number of first preference votes is eliminated. Their votes are then reallocated among the remaining candidates, according to the second, third, etc preferences indicated on the ballot papers.

Again, if no candidate has more than half the votes, the process continues until one candidate has more than half the votes.

The results

The results are announced by the Speaker and published as soon as is practicable after the ballot has closed.

The successful candidate will take up their positions with immediate effect and serve until the end of the Parliament.

Additional library briefings and further background

For further background, please see documents below including expert briefings compiled by our expert colleagues in the Commons Library:

For additional information on briefings, you can contact the House of Commons Library via

Contact information

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