MPs tell whips to let go of committee selection

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Indy Politics

The Government is facing tougher, independent scrutiny by Commons committees under radical proposals announced by a powerful group of MPs yesterday.

The Government is facing tougher, independent scrutiny by Commons committees under radical proposals announced by a powerful group of MPs yesterday.

Senior backbenchers demanded that select committees, which investigate government conduct and have extensive powers to call witnesses, should be reformed to ensure that ministers are held to account more effectively.

Government whips should no longer have any control over the composition of the committees, the report by the Liaison Committee found. The committee, which consists of most of the Commons' most senior backbenchers, said: "Members have undoubtedly been kept off committees, or removed from them, on account of their views." Instead, a new cross-party committee should be responsible for nominations.

Committees should also have greater access to government expenditure plans, and the power to call ministers to the Commons every week to respond to their reports.

Bruce George, the Defence Select Committee chairman, said: "The time has now come to give these select committees some power. At the moment they have none whatsoever."

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