Two MPs put names up for Treasury Committee chair

Nominations for the chair of the influential Treasury Committee close at noon Tuesday with a successor to Nicky Morgan MP due to be confirmed the following day, barring proroguing of parliament

So far, two Conservative candidates have put their names forward, Harriet Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire and Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton. Neither are members of the Treasury Committee.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Committee said that ‘the chair would be confirmed on Wednesday unless parliament is prorogued’. If parliament does close, it is likely that a chair would not be appointed before mid-October after the party conference season at the earliest.

Before moving into politics in 2010, Baldwin had a 20-year career in finance, specialising in currency markets for pension funds. She was also on the National Council of Business for Sterling. During her time in politics she has sat on the Public Accounts Committee, Administration, and Work and Pensions Committee.

Hollinrake has been an MP since 2015 and has a background in property, having co-founded AIM-listed Hunters Estate Agents, which now has over 200 branches nationwide. He is currently a member of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking with a strong record of holding the Treasury, banks and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to account.

There is also speculation that Mel Stride MP, Central Devon, who was financial secretary at the Treasury for two years until May 2019 under former chancellor Philip Hammond, may put his name forward. Stride was central to pushing through Making Tax Digital and also has been criticised for the government’s approach to the loan charge. However, Stride has not put his name forward officially.

Morgan stepped down when she was appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in the Johnson cabinet, triggering an election for a new chair of the committee.

The Treasury Committee has 10 members, appointed in September 2017, and is chaired by a Conservative MP as per parliamentary committee representation rules.

Last week, members of the Treasury Committee appointed John Mann MP to serve as interim chair until a new chair is elected. This included chairing the committee’s scheduled evidence session with the Bank of England and a Spending Round session with the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).

However, over the weekend Labour MP John Mann resigned as MP for Bassetlaw, publishing his resignation letter on Twitter, stating that he was ‘not prepared to ask Bassetlaw residents to support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and it is therefore appropriate to give that opportunity to somebody else’, criticising the Labour leader of 'giving a green light to anti-semitism' in the Labour party. He has been an MP since 2001 and a member of the Treasury Committee since October 2003. Mann has been an MP for 18 years and will not contest his seat in the next general election.

It is not clear whether his resignation will affect his interim chair role.

With Brexit rapidly approaching, a number of sessions on the level of preparations and financial readiness for EU departure are scheduled to be heard by the Committee.

John Mann MP, interim chair, said: ‘As the 31st October deadline draws ever closer, the Committee will take evidence from the Bank of England to examine preparations for Brexit, as well as its most recent inflation report.’

Subsequently, the PM Boris Johnson has announced that parliament will be prorogued for five weeks from close of business on 10 September, not returning until 14 October.

Mel Stride has been contacted for comment.

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