Jeremy Hunt wins top health select committee role as MPs elect raft of former ministers

Posted On: 
30th January 2020

Jeremy Hunt is among a group of former senior ministers handed top roles on influential select committees.

Jeremy Hunt will chair the influential health select committee
Credit: 
PA

The former health secretary was chosen by MPs to chair the powerful select committee, meaning he will be responsible for scrutinising the work of his old department.

He was among 14 other MPs elected in a secret ballot to lead the Commons select committees, which are responsible for overseeing the work of government departments, and have the power to grill government ministers and senior civil servants.

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Mr Hunt, who was the longest serving health secretary between 2010 and 2016, vowed to be a "strong, independent" voice on the committee as he pledged to hold the ministers to account for their promise to deliver a solution to the social care crisis.

The former cabinet minister returned to the backbenches last year after being defeated by Boris Johnson in the final round of the Conservative Party leadership contest.

In a tweet after the ballot, he wrote: "Over nearly a decade in frontline politics, the NHS has always been my greatest political passion.

"The NHS will continue to fall over every winter until we fix social care, risking both patient safety and staff morale."

But his election was criticised by Labour MP Jess Phillips, who said: "I have no idea how Jeremy Hunt newly elected health and social care select committee chair, can properly scrutinise the Government on health policy and practice when much of it will have been his doing."

The election of select committee chairs could prove a headache for the Prime Minister after a number of his vocal critics were chosen to lead the groups.

Senior Tory backbencher Tom Tugendhat - who has attacked the government over its decision to allow Huawei to build parts of the UK's 5G network - was reelected chair of the Foreign Affairs select committee.

Meanwhile, former Theresa May minister Greg Clark was elected chair of the science committee, while Mel Stride and Tobias Ellwood were handed the Treasury and Defence committee roles respectively.