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Cousins loses out as McFall leads Treasury committee

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

issues.

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&#39s 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&#39s issues in detail.”

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