THE work of Parliamentary select committees is fundamental when it comes to the scrutiny of policy.
It is why they’re chaired by experienced politicians who command cross-party support, hence the re-election of Yorkshire MPs Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper, Hilary Benn and Clive Betts to their key briefs.
They bring great insight to their respective roles – whether it be business policy, home affairs, Brexit or local government. And it will be the same if Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill wins the race to chair the transport committee.
Politicians willing and able to engage with others, the reputation of such committees for their impartiality and integrity now risks being compromised by Mel Stride’s reappointment as head of the Treasury Select Committee.
This decision paves the way for Mr Stride to lead inquiries into the loan charge – the controversial policy he helped to devise when a Treasury Minister. He is effectively being asked to mark his own homework. But it is worse than this. When anyone – including the Editor of The Yorkshire Post and other senior journalists – try to share any news stories, or informed commentary, highlighting the injustices of this policy, they’re invariably blocked by Mr Stride or those in charge of his Twitter account. And, when public trust is still fragile, senior politicians, like the chairs of select committee, should be leading by example rather than shying away from serious, professional, public interest scrutiny like this. As such, we await Mr Stride’s response and look forward to publishing it.