Letter from Mr Mark Todd MP to the Chairman
of the Committee
SELECTING THE MEMBERSHIP OF SELECT COMMITTEES
I have given some thought to the best arrangement
for selecting the membership of Select Committees. Since it is
different from some suggestions, I thought it might be worth passing
I should start with some negatives:
I don't favour the current whip-led
system. The process should be divorced from the executive.
I don't favour a selection by a group
of chairs. This is likely to produce (a) a bias against new members
(b) a conservative selection of "comfortable" companions.
I don't favour a completely free
election either within parties or across parties. This will favour
well-known, but not necessarily effective members and encourage
organised regional/ideological caucuses.
I prefer a hybrid arrangement with:
1. Membership divided pro-rata by party.
2. An open ballot within each party for about
two-thirds of their membership of any committee.
3. A lottery within each party for the remainder
of the places.
4. A final rebalancing to remove resulting
double memberships by negotiation.
I believe this system would allow a clear expression
of democratic will balanced by a chance for new members to get
on popular committees. I don't see why new members should have
to go to the committees that nobody else wantsa fresh mind
can be superior to that of someone who has trod these corridors
for many years.
7 July 2001
7 July 2001