The prominent Treasury select committee has elected former Northern
Ireland minister Labour MP John McFall as chairman.
At a meeting last week, the 12-member all-party committee of backbench MPs
decided that McFall, whose appointment to the committee was announced last
week, will be its leader for the next Parliament.
The appointment ends speculation that Labour MP Jim Cousins was heir
apparent to the role, given his longstanding interest in financial services
It is understood that McFall clinched the role because he is the more
senior MP as well as a former minister.
McFall, who represents Scottish constituency Dumbarton, lost his job as
Parliamentary under-secretary in the Northern Ireland office in 1999 in the
last Cabinet reshuffle before the general election.
The select committee, which is the only Parliamentary body to look at
financial services issues in detail, will not sit again until October, when
it is likely to renew its inquiry into Equitable Life.
In the past, the committee has supported IFAs in its examination of the
pension review, arguing that IFAs had a genuine concern over the
retrospective nature of some review cases.
Political affairs consultancy Cicero Consulting executive director Iain
Anderson says: “He probably was not the first choice in most people's minds
but McFall is likely to prove to be a widely effective chairman.”
Another political consultant says: “Eyebrows were raised when McFall was
sacked as a minister. The committee is the most effective way of holding theTreasury to acc-ount. It is the Parliamentary mechanism for looking at the finan
cial services industry's issues in detail.”