Election of Committee Chairs

– in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 4th March 2010.

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Votes in this debate

Motion made, and Question proposed ,

That the following Standing Order be made, with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament-

(1) The chairs of the following select committees shall be elected by the House in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (13) below:

(a) select committees appointed under Standing Order No. 152 (select committees related to government departments);

(b) the Environmental Audit Committee;

(c) the Select Committee on Public Administration; and

(d) the Committee of Public Accounts.

(2) The day following his election at the start of a new Parliament, the Speaker shall communicate to the leaders of each party represented in the House the proportion of chairs of select committees to be elected under this Order falling to each such party which would reflect the composition of the House.

(3) If, within a week of the Queen's speech, a motion in the name of the leaders of all the parties entitled to one or more chairs of select committees subject to election under this Order specifying to which party each such chair is allocated is moved, the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one hour after their commencement, proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

(4) If a motion to which paragraph (3) above applies also makes changes to Standing Order No. 152 (Select committees related to government departments) which are consequential on changes to the machinery of government, then the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one and a half hours after their commencement; proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

(5) If the House has agreed a motion allocating chairs to parties the election of the chairs shall take place in accordance with the remaining provisions of this order.

(6) The ballots shall take place fourteen days after the approval of the motion allocating chairs to parties.

(7) (a) Nominations of candidates shall be in writing and shall be received by the Clerk of the House by 5.00 pm on the day before the ballot.

(b) Each nomination shall consist of a signed statement made by the candidate declaring his willingness to stand for election, accompanied by the signatures of fifteen Members elected to the House as members of the same party as the candidate or ten per cent. of the Members elected to the House as members of that party, whichever is the lower.

(c) Statements may be accompanied by signatures of up to five Members elected to the House as members of any party other than that to which the candidate belongs, or members of no party.

(d) No Member may sign the statement of more than one candidate for chair of the same select committee.

(e) No Member may be a candidate for the chair of a select committee which has not been allocated to his party under paragraph (3) of this order or otherwise, or for which he is ineligible under Standing Order No. 122A (Term limits for chairmen of select committees).

(f) No Member may be a candidate for more than one chair elected under this order.

(g) As soon as practicable following the close of nominations, lists of the candidates and their accompanying signatories shall be published.

(8) Election of chairs of select committees under this order shall be by secret ballot.

(9) Preparatory arrangements for the ballots shall be made under the supervision of the Clerk of the House.

(10) (a) If there is only one candidate for the chair of a select committee, that candidate shall be declared elected without a ballot.

(b) The ballot shall take place in a place appointed by the Speaker.

(c) Each Member intending to vote shall be provided with a ballot paper for each select committee bearing the names of the candidates listed in alphabetical order.

(d) Members will vote by ranking as many candidates as they wish in order of preference, marking 1 by the name of their first preference, 2 by the name of their second preference, and so on. Any candidate who receives more than half the first preferences shall be elected. If no candidate is so elected, the candidate or candidates with the lowest number of first preferences shall be eliminated and his votes distributed among the remaining candidates according to the preferences on them. If no candidate has more than half the votes, the process of elimination and distribution is repeated, until one candidate has more than half the votes.

(e) The ballot shall be open between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm and counting shall take place under arrangements made by the Clerk of the House.

(11) The Speaker shall have power to give directions on any matter of doubt arising from the conduct of a ballot or from an individual ballot paper and to vary the timings given in paragraphs 5 to 10 of this order.

(12) As soon as practicable after the closing of the ballot the results shall be published under the direction of the Speaker.

(13) A chair elected under this order is a member of the committee of which he is elected chair. -(Ms Harman.)

Amendment proposed to motion 4: (p), after paragraph (1)(d), insert-

'( ) the Select Committee on Procedure.'. -(Mr. Chope.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

A Division was called.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

As I have announced to the House, the Division is off. I think that there was some confusion, although there should not really have been any. It was very clear in my mind, and I hope in some other people's minds, that it was the first amendment in the list that was being moved. Nevertheless, there was a level of confusion, but it does not matter, as it has been overcome and the Noes withdrew.

I would like to ask Mr. Chope to move amendment (o) formally.

Amendment proposed to motion 4 : (o), after paragraph (4) insert-

'( ) If, on the expiry of two weeks after the Queen's Speech, no motion in the name of the leaders of all the parties entitled to one or more chairs of select committees subject to election under this Order specifying to which party each said chair is allocated has been tabled, on the following sitting day the Speaker shall give precedence to a motion tabled thereafter by any hon. Member to allocate chairs under this Order and the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 4 shall apply to proceedings on such a motion.'.- (Mr. Chope.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 31.

Division number 98 Election of Committee Chairs

Aye: 279 MPs

No: 31 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment made to motion 4 : (q), after paragraph (7)(e) insert-

'( ) No member may be a candidate for the chair of the Committee of Public Accounts unless his party is that of the official Opposition.'.- (Mr. Leigh.)

Main Q uestion, as amended, put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That the following Standing Order be made, with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament-

(1) The chairs of the following select committees shall be elected by the House in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (13) below:

(a) select committees appointed under Standing Order No. 152 (select committees related to government departments);

(b) the Environmental Audit Committee;

(c) the Select Committee on Public Administration; and

(d) the Committee of Public Accounts.

( ) the Select Committee on Procedure.

(2) The day following his election at the start of a new Parliament, the Speaker shall communicate

to the leaders of each party represented in the House the proportion of chairs of select committees to be elected under this Order falling to each such party which would reflect the composition of the House.

(3) If, within a week of the Queen's speech, a motion in the name of the leaders of all the parties entitled to one or more chairs of select committees subject to election under this Order specifying to which party each such chair is allocated is moved, the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one hour after their commencement, proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

(4) If a motion to which paragraph (3) above applies also makes changes to Standing Order No. 152 (Select committees related to government departments) which are consequential on changes to the machinery of government, then the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one and a half hours after their commencement; proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

( ) If, on the expiry of two weeks after the Queen's Speech, no motion in the name of the leaders of all the parties entitled to one or more chairs of select committees subject to election under this Order specifying to which party each said chair is allocated has been tabled, on the following sitting day the Speaker shall give precedence to a motion tabled thereafter by any hon. Member to allocate chairs under this Order and the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 4 shall apply to proceedings on such a motion.

(5) If the House has agreed a motion allocating chairs to parties the election of the chairs shall take place in accordance with the remaining provisions of this order.

(6) The ballots shall take place fourteen days after the approval of the motion allocating chairs to parties.

(7) (a) Nominations of candidates shall be in writing and shall be received by the Clerk of the House by 5.00 pm on the day before the ballot.

(b) Each nomination shall consist of a signed statement made by the candidate declaring his willingness to stand for election, accompanied by the signatures of fifteen Members elected to the House as members of the same party as the candidate or ten per cent. of the Members elected to the House as members of that party, whichever is the lower.

(c) Statements may be accompanied by signatures of up to five Members elected to the House as members of any party other than that to which the candidate belongs, or members of no party.

(d) No Member may sign the statement of more than one candidate for chair of the same select committee.

(e) No Member may be a candidate for the chair of a select committee which has not been allocated to his party under paragraph (3) of this order or otherwise, or for which he is ineligible under Standing Order No. 122A (Term limits for chairmen of select committees).

( ) No member may be a candidate for the chair of the Committee of Public Accounts unless his party is that of the official Opposition.

(f) No Member may be a candidate for more than one chair elected under this order.

(g) As soon as practicable following the close of nominations, lists of the candidates and their accompanying signatories shall be published.

(8) Election of chairs of select committees under this order shall be by secret ballot.

(9) Preparatory arrangements for the ballots shall be made under the supervision of the Clerk of the House.

(10) (a) If there is only one candidate for the chair of a select committee, that candidate shall be declared elected without a ballot.

(b) The ballot shall take place in a place appointed by the Speaker.

(c) Each Member intending to vote shall be provided with a ballot paper for each select committee bearing the names of the candidates listed in alphabetical order.

(d) Members will vote by ranking as many candidates as they wish in order of preference, marking 1 by the name of their first preference, 2 by the name of their second preference, and so on. Any candidate who receives more than half the first preferences shall be elected. If no candidate is so elected, the candidate or candidates with the lowest number of first preferences shall be eliminated and his votes distributed among the remaining candidates according to the preferences on them. If no candidate has more than half the votes, the process of elimination and distribution is repeated, until one candidate has more than half the votes.

(e) The ballot shall be open between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm and counting shall take place under arrangements made by the Clerk of the House.

(11) The Speaker shall have power to give directions on any matter of doubt arising from the conduct of a ballot or from an individual ballot paper and to vary the timings given in paragraphs 5 to 10 of this order.

(12) As soon as practicable after the closing of the ballot the results shall be published under the direction of the Speaker.

(13) A chair elected under this order is a member of the committee of which he is elected chair.