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Chairs of Commons select committee since 2010

Published Monday, July 17, 2017

Chairs of House of Commons Select Committees since 2010

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Elected select committee chairs - 2017 Parliament

Elections took place on Wednesday 12 July. Following the election of chairs, the remaining members can be nominated. 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.


Table 1 in the full report lists select committee chairs in the current 2017 Parliament. Table 1 is also in the attached spreadsheet along with chairs in the 2015 and 2010 parliaments listed in Tables 2 and 3.

Remit and powers of select committees

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. They seek evidence from people and organisations with an interest in their inquiries and anyone can submit evidence to the inquiry. The Common briefing, Select Committees: evidence and witnesses, reviews the power of select committees “to send for persons, papers and records”.

Departmental select committees

In the House of Commons there are 20 departmental select committees that shadow the work of the Government departments. Their remit is set SO No.152:

  • Select committees shall be appointed to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the principal government departments as set out in paragraph (2) of this order and associated public bodies. Other Commons select committees cover aspects of public policy such as public spending, and the internal administration of the House.

Membership of committees and election of chairs

Membership of select committees reflects party membership of the House as a whole. 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]. In addition, the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee is elected each Session in accordance with SO No.122D.

Select committee membership

The number of MPs on the committee is determined by Standing Orders and is noted in the tables along with the party affiliation of the chair and a link to each committee’s website which gives the full membership of the committee and the role of the committee. 

Further information – Commons Library briefings

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 2017this has been £15,235. The briefing on Select Committees – pay for chairs reviews the background to proposals for paying select committee chairs.


Please send comments or corrections to: Parliamentary Information Lists Editor, Parliament & Constitution Centre, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.

Suggestions for new Lists welcomed.

Commons Briefing papers SN04400

Author: Sarah Priddy

Topics: House of Commons, Members of Parliament

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