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GENERAL ELECTION 2015 NEWSFLASH: WHAT DOES THE RESULT MEAN FOR THE HS2 SELECT COMMITTEE?

8 May 2016

Amidst all of the excitement surrounding the SNP’s domination in Scotland and the somewhat unexpected result of a majority Conservative Government, it was easy to forget to consider the effect that the election outcome might have on the composition of the HS2 Select Committee.

As it turned out, all but one of the MPs who sat on the Committee in the last Parliament were re-elected on the night – the Liberal Democrats’ Mike Thornton the lone casualty (perhaps unsurprising given his party’s disastrous performance at the polls!).  In fact, as Committee composition is decided based on party representation in the House of Commons, it is unclear whether, in the new Parliament, there will be any Liberal Democrats on the Committee at all.  A more likely scenario is a Conservative/Labour mix, with the majority of members coming from the former.

Whether the previous Parliament’s Committee members who were successfully re-elected return in the new Parliament is another matter.  The appointment process will begin on the day after the election with, the Speaker of the House of Commons, under Standing Order 122B(2) communicating the proportion of committee Chairs for each political party.  The members of select committees are then nominated by a motion before the House after names are put forward by each political party.

Following the 2010 general election, members of Commons select committees were appointed on 12 July 2010 so we could have a while to wait before we know who’s who in the Committee and the action can re-commence.  Such a delay will do nothing to aid the new Conservative Government’s desire to make HS2 project happen and as quickly as possible.