‘Heart torn out’ of influential Commons committee

By Rebecca Burns

The new public administration select committee (Pasc) will be a “pale imitation” of its former self whichever candidate wins the election to be its next chair, Paul Flynn has said.

The Newport West MP, a member of the committee from 2005, told politics.co.uk its “heart has been torn out with the loss of old members”.

Pasc, which is tasked with scrutinising the mechanics of government, had been chaired by Tony Wright, the man behind the reforms of the Commons likely to be pushed through soon.

Under the division of committee chairs in the new parliament a Conservative will be appointed.

Mr Flynn has not yet decided which candidate to back and remains deeply sceptical about their ability to do the job well.

According to Mr Flynn, Conservative candidate Ian Liddell-Grainger has tried to politicise the committee in the past and may bring the committee into disrepute by “playing up to the tabloids”.

Bernard Jenkin, who Mr Flynn pointed out lacked previous experience on the committee, was dismissed because he had been ordered to pay back £63,250 of expenses.

Mr Flynn said this meant as chair he “would not be able to exercise influence over the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority”, which will be scrutinised by Pasc.

The third candidate, Christopher Chope, was dismissed as being “two-faced”.

All three have received the 15 nominations required by members of their own party to stand. The entire Commons will vote under the alternative vote system next Wednesday.

Mr Flynn said he would have preferred Charles Walker as his favoured Tory candidate because, he said, “unlike most Tories he has a brain that can think”.

Mr Walker has not yet put himself forward. Andrew Tyrie, the other Conservative MP favoured by Mr Flynn, is expected to stand for the Treasury committee chair instead.