Brexit: Labour MPs back ex-Tory minister in key post to block arch-Leaver Jacob Rees-Mogg

Ex-minister Nicky Morgan has been a vocal critic of Theresa May's hard Brexit 

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Saturday 24 June 2017 10:41
Comments
Nicky Morgan is being backed for the key Commons post
Nicky Morgan is being backed for the key Commons post

Cross-party moves are afoot to ensure one of the most vocal opponents of hard Brexit is installed in a key position of influence in the House of Commons.

Labour MPs have signalled they will back former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to be chair of the Treasury Select Committee, amid fears it could instead go to arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Independent revealed on Saturday how MPs from different parties are also threatening to join forces to defeat Theresa May's hard Brexit plans in Commons votes.

The committee chair has a high-profile role scrutinising government economic strategy, with the ability to demand ministers give evidence in public hearings.

Mr Rees-Mogg has signalled his intent to seek the post, saying that he would seek cross party consensus on key issues. But MPs opposed to hard Brexit fear his backing for Ms May's approach to leaving the EU will rob Parliament of a key avenue of scrutiny on withdrawal negotiations.

One of the Treasury Committee's members in the last parliament, Wes Streeting, threw his weight behind Ms Morgan, telling The Guardian: "She has experience as a Treasury minister and cabinet minister and I trust her to hold the Government to account in an independent-minded way, following in the footsteps of [ex-chair] Andrew Tyrie.

Jean-Claude Juncker says he has no clear idea of what the UK wants from Brexit

"She is a waste sat on the backbenches if her talents won’t be put to use in government."

Ms Morgan, who advocates a softer approach to Brexit, wrote to MPs last week asking for their support for the role, to be decided by secret ballot.

She said: "Clearly the major issue in the Parliament will be the Government’s Brexit negotiations. It will be the role of all backbench MPs to hold ministers to account on behalf of our constituents ... I believe I have shown over the past few months that I am a strong advocate for parliament being heavily involved in providing the necessary scrutiny and challenge to those important decisions."

Another potential candidate for the job, which must go to a Tory MP, is the Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, who has also spoken out against hard Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon: UK Government has no clear plan for Brexit negotiations

Mr Rees-Mogg, who sat in the committee before it was dissolved for the election, has signalled that he is aware of concerns among Labour politicians. But he explained to the Financial Times: "The chairman of a select committee should balance his views against the views of the rest of the committee. Committees only work if members of it want to achieve a consensus report."

The Independent revealed that MPs from different parties in the Commons are working together to form strategies to amend future legislation – including a key immigration bill – to force ministers to listen to business groups and to show the EU that Parliament wants a softer exit.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in