Four MPs lined up for Public Accounts Committee chair

Four Labour MPs are battling it out to become the next chairman of the
Accounts Committee
, the influential watchdog for government

Former Labour Environment minister and left-winger Michael Meacher and
veteran PAC member Austin Mitchell, with well-known views about the need to
separate accountants’ consultancy and audit work – plus former culture minister
Margaret Hodge and former Transport Committee and Administration Committee
member Brian Donohoe – are on the list.

Only Hodge, a daughter of multi-millionaire Hans Oppenheimer, and Donohoe,
who started work as a shipyard fitter, have secured the required number of
nominees on the Commons order paper but nominations do not close until Tuesday
before voting on Wednesday.

Hodge is a former consultant with Price Waterhouse. She is MP for Barking and
has served as universities minister, children’s minister and later minister for
work under Prime Minister Tony Blair, and as culture minister under Gordon

Donohoe, MP for Central Ayrshire, a well-liked loyalist backbencher, is a
former officer with the local government union NALGO who started work as
shipyard fitter.

Meacher is known as a standard-bearer of the Left and has been outspoken on
green issues.

Mitchell, a former journalist, was on the PAC from 2005 until the election,
is anti-Europe, particularly its Common Fishing Policy.

Although the allocation of chairs to parties has been agreed, all MPs can
vote for the member of the party concerned, Labour in the case of the PAC, they
wish to see elected.

The new voting process was part of the modernisation of the Commons agreed
before the election. Previous chairmen were agreed between the party whips in
what was widely regarded as a “fix”.

So far only one MP, Tory Michael Fallon, has been nominated to chair the
Treasury Select Committee. He was chair of its sub-committee before the

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