Nicky Morgan elected Chair of the Treasury Committee

Following a secret ballot of MPs on Wednesday, Nicky Morgan has been elected Chair of the Treasury Committee.

Morgan won after taking 290 votes, beating out five other Tory MPs including staunchly pro-Brexit MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who received 226 votes.

Originally having campaigned for Remain and now advocating a ‘soft’ Brexit, Morgan was considered the candidate most likely to gain cross-party support from Labour MPs compared with the more hard-line stances of Rees-Mogg.

The new chair will have plenty to sink her teeth into as the UK navigates the economic impact of leaving the EU and the continuing effects of austerity. As Chair of the Treasury Select Committee she will play a key role in shaping the government’s economic policy and overseeing bodies such as HMRC, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is politically more right-leaning than Morgan, is known for his eccentricity and charisma and boasts a social media cult following, and was seen as a front-runner for the role due to his popularity.

Eurosceptic Rees-Mogg frequently clashed with Bank of England governor Mark Carney over his warnings of Brexit’s negative impact on the UK economy.

Although Rees-Mogg promised that if elected he would put aside his “strong views” on Brexit to achieve “consensus and balance”, Morgan has continually challenged Theresa May on Brexit positions and was likely perceived as the candidate most capable of holding the government to account.

Her victory could be seen as yet another blow for May as the two have historically not seen eye to eye. As former Secretary of State for Education under David Cameron, Morgan was dismissed by May in July 2016. Morgan in turn called for May to resign after Brexit talks conclude in 2018, following the Conservatives losing their majority in the June general election.

Former corporate lawyer Morgan has previously served as the Economic Secretary to the Treasury from October 2013 – April 2014 and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from April – July 2014.

The opportunity to lead the Treasury select committee opened up following former chairman Andrew Tyrie deciding not to stand for re-election in the June general election. Tyrie gained a reputation as a fierce interrogator and scourge of City officials, known for his rigorous questioning of bankers and officials including Mark Carney and Chancellor Philip Hammond. He also played a key role in calling for the resignation of Charlotte Hogg as deputy governor of the Bank of England, following discoveries that her brother had a senior role at Barclay’s which she had previously not disclosed.

Morgan will formally take up her post once Parliament has selected the remaining members of the committee. She is the first female to head the powerful Treasury select committee.

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