The BEIS committee chair needs fresh, real-world experience and a collaborative approach
"I will be a collaborative and sensible chair, bringing fresh, real-world experience to the committee", writes Darren Jones MP.
This week, we are running articles from the MPs vying to be the new chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee. Darren Jones says he would never use the chair for political gain, and "ensure every committee member, regardless of party, is empowered to lead."
The pandemic has demonstrated the state’s vital role at times of great national crisis. Looking beyond it, the Government has much work to do in helping businesses survive, stimulating economic growth and encouraging the creation of well-paid meaningful jobs. Levelling up the UK economy and meeting our climate change targets must remain at the core of our economic strategy.
The House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee will play an important role in navigating these challenges – by coming forward with policy proposals, scrutinising ministers and holding powerful interests to account. With Rachel Reeves MP – the excellent outgoing chair – now in the Shadow Cabinet, I have decided to put myself forward for election to succeed her.
In doing so, I stand on my record and my experience.
I will be a collaborative and sensible chair, bringing fresh, real-world experience to the committee. Political point-scoring is not helpful, least of all at this time of crisis – nor is such an approach desirable from a potential committee chair.
As a commercial lawyer by training, working in the technology and energy sectors, and as a member of the Science & Technology Select Committee these past three years, I bring business experience, a specialism in the energy sector and a track record of committee leadership in key policy areas scrutinised by the BEIS Committee.
During the last Parliament I was privileged to lead our Clean Growth inquiry, scrutinising the government’s progress in meeting net-zero targets, championing British research and development, and setting out a plan to couple our climate diplomacy with a global industrial strategy.
And as MP for the industrialised part of Bristol, I also bring experience of representing constituents working in import/export, pharmaceuticals, advanced manufacturing, digital, professional services, retail distribution and aerospace – working with some of our most important businesses, the many small- and medium-size enterprises in their supply chains and the unions that represent their workers.
Looking ahead to this Parliament, the Committee has a full agenda: scrutinising government support for business through the pandemic; holding businesses to account for their treatment of workers; ensuring our net-zero policies effectively tackle climate change; making a success of Britain’s leadership of COP26; effectively scrutinising Government policy on energy infrastructure; and properly understanding the impact of technological change on work, training and skills.
But this isn’t just about me and what I think. It’s about the type of rigorous, professional and genuinely collaborative committee we can be together. The committee provides a service to the whole House, and to the country it serves. I am a team player and I will never use the chair for my own political purposes. If elected, I’ll ensure that every Committee member, regardless of party, is empowered to lead.
Darren Jones is the Labour MP for Bristol North West.
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