Former welfare reform minister minister Frank Field has been blocked by
the Govern-ment in his efforts to rejoin the powerful work and pensions
select committee, which he once chaired.
Field, Labour MP for Birk-enhead since 1979, was fired as minister in
1998. He is known for his outspoken views which often attack the Government.
The committee will now include several first-time MPs as well as Liberal
Democrat MP Archy Kirkwood.
The membership of the Treasury select committee was also approved in a
vote in the House of Commons.
The members will decide on a chairperson for the Treasury select committee
when they meet for the first time later this week. Traditionally, the chair
goes to the most senior Government MP on the committee, which in this case
would be Labour's Jim Cousins.
Cousins has established himself as an independent-minded critic of
Treasury financial services policy. It is thought the Government may
override the committee's decision and impose its own choice instead.
The Treasury select committee made headlines last year when it grilled
former Equitable Life chairman John Sclater and chief executive Chris
Headdon. It also hauled Sir Howard Davies before it to explain the
regulator's role in the debacle. A previous committee report backed IFAs
over their concerns about the pension review.
A political consultant says: “I think it would be a tragedy if someone
with the experience and intelligence of Jim Cousins was not offered the
role of chairing the Treasury select committee.”