Select Committee on Procedure Second Report


Procedures for electing chairs of party back-bench committees

1.  A number of submissions to the Committee's inquiry have referred to procedures used in electing the chairs of party back-bench committees, but have not set out what these procedures are. Further investigation has revealed that many of these procedures are not formally written down. This brief note has therefore been prepared after consultation with the relevant parliamentary officers and officials of the three major parties. It is intended for guidance only.

Parliamentary Labour Party

2.  Elections are by secret ballot, using the 'exhaustive ballot' process. Each candidate must be nominated by at least one PLP member. There is no limit on the number of candidates who may stand.

3.  Nominations close at 2pm on the day before the day appointed for the election. If there are more than two candidates, the candidate with the lowest number of votes after the first round of voting is eliminated, and a further round of voting is held the following day. Candidates may withdraw from the contest between rounds.

4.  In the most recent election, held in November 2000, there were three candidates and two rounds of voting. Mr Mackinlay received the lowest number of votes after the first round and was eliminated. In the ensuing run-off Mr Soley received more votes than Mr Lloyd.

1922 Committee

5.  Elections are by secret ballot, using 'exhaustive ballot' (as for the PLP above). For administrative convenience nominations close at mid-day on the day before the day appointed for the election. Voting is by secret ballot, using papers prepared by the Whips' Office. When the candidate with the greatest number of votes is elected, the exact number of votes is not announced.

Parliamentary Liberal Democrats

6.  Elections are by secret ballot, following the alternative vote system, although the post has not been contested in the recent past.

24 January 2001

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Prepared 15 February 2001