House of Commons select committees chairs since the 2010 general election.Jump to full report >>
Select committees are cross-party groups of MPs or Lords established by either House for the duration of a Parliament. The work of the Commons committees is governed by Standing Orders (SOs) of the House of Commons; these rules set out their membership, remit and powers and any changes to the rules must be approved by the House. Committees decide upon their own subjects for inquiry within the broad scope of their remit. The Common Library briefing, Select Committees: evidence and witnesses, reviews the power of select committees “to send for persons, papers and records”.
Select Committees seek evidence from people and organisations with an interest in their inquiries and anyone can submit evidence to the inquiry. Guides for witnesses giving evidence to Commons and Lords select committees are available on the Parliament website here, along with short videos explaining how select committees work.
In the House of Commons there are 20 departmental select committees that shadow the work of the Government departments. Their remit is set out in SO No.152:
Elections for the 2017 Parliament took place on Wednesday 12 July.
Since June 2010, chairs of departmental committees have been elected by secret ballot of the House. Also elected by secret ballot are the chairs of the Environmental Audit, Public Accounts, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs, Petitions, Procedure, and Standards Committees [SO No.122B]. Each party is allocated a proportion of chairs of select committees to be elected which reflects the composition of the House.
In addition, the chair of the Backbench Business Committee is elected each Session in accordance with SO No.122D. Only candidates from opposition parties can stand.
Following the election of chairs, the remaining members can be nominated. Membership of select committees reflects party membership of the House as a whole.
On 4 March 2010, the House endorsed “the principle that parties should elect members of select committees in a secret ballot by whichever transparent and democratic method they choose”. Following elections within parties, the successful candidates are formally proposed to the House by the Committee of Selection.
The number of MPs on each committee is determined by Standing Orders and is noted in the tables which provide links to the full membership of the committee.
The briefing on Select committees: election of chairs and members outlines the timetable for the election of chairs and members of select committees.
The practical arrangements for the election of committee chairs by secret ballot are set out in, Select committees: election of chairs and members.
Background on the changes to the way in which members of select committees are nominated is provided by Nominations to Select Committees.
Certain committee chairs are entitled to an additional salary. Since April 2017 this has been £15,235. The briefing on Select Committees – pay for chairs reviews the background to proposals for paying select committee chairs.
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Parliamentary Information Lists Editor, Parliament & Constitution Centre, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.
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Commons Briefing papers SN04400
Author: Sarah Priddy