Peace breaks out in business committee race

By Rebecca Burns

Labour MPs Adrian Bailey and Barry Sheerman are refusing to go on the offensive as they compete for the chair of the influential business, innovation and skills (Bis) select committee next Wednesday.

Both MPs are emphasising the friendly cross-party atmosphere that has prospered with the new system of elected rather than appointed select committee members.

The Bis select committee will be chaired by a Labour backbencher, but MPs from across all parties have the chance to vote using the alternative vote system next week.

Adrian Bailey, member for West Bromwich West, told that “the nature of roles in the chamber means members can be perceived as more confrontational” but said he had enjoyed a “reassuringly friendly and supportive response from other parties”.

Mr Bailey added “it has been a friendlier experience than I thought it might be”.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said he was “delighted that the system is more democratic than it used to be” and added: “Canvassing cross-party support makes the process a team effort”.

Each candidate must submit 15 nominations from within their own party in order to stand in next Wednesday’s election.

Mr Bailey put apprenticeships and the development of skills at the forefront of his agenda if he were to chair the committee.

Mr Sheerman told increasing exports and cutting imports in manufacturing, both by ten per cent, were among his priorities for manufacturing and industry in the UK.

By Friday morning a third candidate had secured enough nominations to join the race. Geraint Davies’ supporters include ex-foreign affairs committee chairman Mike Gapes, David Lammy and Hywel Williams.