Andrew Tyrie MP

6 Jun 2010 16:10:28

Tyrie fights back in Treasury Select Committee election

Andrew Tyrie The Independent on Sunday reports this morning here that the right of the Parliamentary Party is organising a slate for the Select Committee elections this Wednesday.

I wrote that this was likely last week here - and that both left and right will certainly organise tickets, in due course, for the election of 1922 Committee backbench committees.

The right's triumph in the '22 Chairmanship election was unmissable.  Its thumping win in the rest of the committee elections has been less well noted. For example, five of the six non-officers elected who were MPs at the last election were from the right.

Perhaps the most stark right-left clash will take place for the Chairmanship of the Treasury Select Committee.  That there are only two candidates dramatises the conflict. From the right, we have Michael Fallon.  From the left, Andrew Tyrie (pictured). Jonathan's written recently about the battle here.

Fallon, a Deputy Chairman of the Committee during the last Parliament, has been reported to have strong backing from his former colleagues.

Tyrie, however, is fighting back.  Sources close to his camp claim that a high-profile supporter from the last Committee will be unveiled early this week.  We shall see.

Certainly, claims that John McFall, the former Labour Chairman of the committee, has endorsed Fallon are wrong.  I've checked them out, and McFall's steering clear of the contest.

But they're a reminder that, for the Select Committee Chairman elections, the left-right struggle isn't everything.  Tory candidates will need to win Labour votes (and vice-versa).  So cross-party appeal will matter.

Furthermore, what's either group to do if two candidates put up from its ranks - as they're doing in the case of the Public Administration Committee, where Chris Chope and Bernard Jenkin are going head-to-head?

All of this is vivid illustration of how what used to be a Whips' carve-up has been transformed into a riot of democracy.

Paul Goodman

1 Jun 2010 08:02:06

The race to chair the Treasury select committees hots up

FALLON MICHAEL Last week it emerged that Conservative MPs will chair twelve of Parliament's select committees, with those influential chairmanships being decided by ballots of all MPs from across the Commons next week.

This morning's Times reports on the battle to chair one of the most important committees, the Treasury Select Committee. We are apparently set to see Michael Fallon (pictured), the deputy chairman and senior Conservative on the committee in the last Parliament, likely to be challenged by Andrew Tyrie, who has also served on the committee and is a stalwart of several Ken Clarke leadership campaigns.

Nominees need the public backing of 15 MPs from their own party and at least 5 from other parties in order to run.

The Times suggest that Michael Fallon already has the backing of all other members of the committee from the last Parliament (bar Mr Tyrie), suggesting that he has broad support from across the House; but supporters of Mr Tyrie, a Tory moderate, claim he too would be well positioned to gain support from across the Commons.

Nominations do not need to be submitted until next Tuesday, so there will be doubtless much informal campaigning and collecting of signatures for all these posts when MPs return form their mini-Whitsun recess tomorrow.

Watch this space for more news.

Jonathan Isaby

13 Feb 2009 14:10:10

Gordon Brown's grumpy and inadequate answers to written questions

Gordon_brownIn the latest edition of Hansard, the Prime Minister gives some rather terse responses to written questions put down by Conservative members.

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie asked about special advisers:

"To ask the Prime Minister how many expert advisers, excluding special advisers, have been commissioned by his Office since June 2007; and on which topics they have advised. [254741]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 12 January 2009, Official Report , column 53W."

Here is that answer:

"Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Prime Minister what expert advisers have been commissioned by his Office since 1997; on what topic each was commissioned; and whether the adviser so appointed made a declaration of political activity in each case. [246970]

The Prime Minister: Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. Updated information will be published in the usual way."

Shadow Environment minister Greg Barker wanted to know - perfectly reasonably - what the Prime Minister's team is doing about energy and climate issues:

"To ask the Prime Minister what work the No. 10 Policy Directorate (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake on energy and climate-related matters. [255042]

The Prime Minister: The No. 10 Policy Unit covers all Government policy, including energy and climate-related matters."

That answer is absurdly brief, and pretty much tautologous.

Continue reading "Gordon Brown's grumpy and inadequate answers to written questions" »

4 Dec 2008 14:45:05

Conservative MPs respond to the Queen's Speech

David_cameronYesterday the House of Commons debated the Queen's Speech. Herewith some extracts of contributions from Conservative members.

David Cameron was on very good form. He was funny, and coped ably with questions about Damian Green before turning his fire on the Government:

"Let me tell the Prime Minister what is wrong with this Queen’s Speech. There is no recognition in the Government’s programme of how the world has changed. We are moving into an age in which there is no Government money left, so we need public sector reform to get better value for money. We are moving into an age of massive debt, so we need to mend the broken society and reduce the demands on the state. But in the Queen’s Speech there is no serious reform, just bureaucratic bungling and technocratic tinkering. It is all about the short-term prospects of the Prime Minister, not the long-term future of the country. It is last year’s Queen’s Speech from yesterday’s Prime Minister.

There is no change. Let us look at the promises that the Prime Minister made when he said—remember the phrase?—

    “Let the work of change begin.”

Let us examine them. We were told that there would be loads of eco towns, but only one is still alive. He promised zero-carbon homes, but there have been virtually zero of them. There are just 15 in the whole country. He promised 3 million new homes, but house building fell by a quarter last year. What about free nursery education for all two-year-olds? That has been abandoned. More maintenance grants for students were granted last year, collapsed in a complete shambles this year and face massive cuts next year. Then there is the Prime Minister’s promise of a new constitutional settlement. We were promised more powers for Parliament to question the Executive. That one ended up down the nick.

Continue reading "Conservative MPs respond to the Queen's Speech" »

20 Nov 2008 21:04:43

Conservative climate change sceptics speak out again

Peter_lilley_mpThere are still some hardy Conservative critics of conventional climate change wisdom in the House of Commons. On Wednesday Mr Lilley introduced a debate on the Stern Review in Westminster Hall. (Lord Stern's main conclusion was that one per cent of global GDP per year is needed to combat climate change. He has since revised that upwards to two per cent.)

The debate makes for a fascinating read. Many of us feel hopelessly confused about the whole issue of climate change. A good speech from an able politician - replete with evidence and articulated clearly - really can help advance one's understanding of a subject. Many of us moan about soundbite politics and inane remarks from MPs. It is striking wading through Hansard to see just how often they make excellent, detailed and substantive speeches.

That preamble serves in part as an explanation for covering the debate's highlights at some length.

Mr Lilley cast doubt on the standards of the Stern Review:

"In his review, Professor Stern makes much of the importance of the peer review process, but his report was not subjected to peer review, and it is time that it was, or at least to a common or garden review in the House."

He later added:

"The simple fact is that since the beginning of this century, the average global temperature has flatlined; indeed, over the past 18 months it has fallen back and, according to the satellite measurements of temperature, it is now basically back at the level it was in 1979, when such measurements started to be taken. Professor Stern ignores that and, throughout his report, refers to continual global warming. However, global warming has not continued. Even Adair Turner, who on all other topics is a model of objectivity, ignores recent developments when discussing climate change, in the section of his letter to the Treasury summarising recent developments. The facts show that the world has not been heating over the past decade. The response is, “So much the worse for the facts.” While we were passing the Climate Change Bill, based on the assumption that the world was becoming hotter, I mentioned in a point of order that it was snowing outside in October for the first time in 70 years. I was told that I should realise that exceptional cold was a consequence of global warming—so much the worse for the facts.

The recent period of global cooling does not itself disprove the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a scientific fact. Other things being equal, an increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will raise the temperature. However, the recent period of cooling does suggest that either manmade global warming may be smaller or that the impact of other factors may be greater than climate models have so far assumed. In those circumstances, the climate models should be adjusted; the facts should not be ignored."

Continue reading "Conservative climate change sceptics speak out again" »

29 Oct 2008 13:52:12

Conservative dissent on climate change

CloudsYesterday the House of Commons continued to debate the Climate Change Bill. In particular, the Government is eager that emissions from shipping and international aviation be reduced. They have not been included in the Bill's target of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, however.

Instead amendments have been introduced that would require the Government to publish regular projections for emissions from international aviation and shipping. Within five years shipping and international aviation should be included in the Government's targets or an explanation laid before Parliament as to why they have not been.

The Conservative front bench has welcomed this development. However, some Conservative MPs have dissented.

Hitchin & Harpenden MP Peter Lilley (a former Secretary of State for Social Security) offered this observation:

"In the speeches of a number of hon. Members, it has been assumed that the whole House is unanimous on the measures before us, and on the Bill that they amend or add to. Historically, the House has made its worst mistakes not when it is divided, but when it is virtually unanimous; not when it is adversarial, but when MPs switch off their critical faculties in a spasm of moral self-congratulation. My concern is that, in considering these measures, we are displaying that tendency. It is vital that we bring the House back down to earth by considering the hard costs and benefits of, and alternatives to, what is proposed and what we are doing. We have not done that very much so far in the debates in the House. Only once in Committee was mention made of the costs and benefits of what we are proposing."

Continue reading "Conservative dissent on climate change" »

10 Jun 2008 11:53:31

Another sign of the Conservative Party's increasing suspicion of the climate change agenda

Only five Conservative MPs voted against yesterday's Climate Change Bill; Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Ann Widdecombe but we can only count about 40 who voted in favour - many of them whips and the most of the remainder are frontbenchers.  The parliamentary party didn't have to turn out because it was only a one line whip.  The Chief Whip decided against a three line whip when it became clear that, if he did, he would face a sizeable rebellion from Climate Change Sceptics on the Tory benches.  We posted on Andrew Tyrie's case against the Bill earlier today.

Continue reading "Another sign of the Conservative Party's increasing suspicion of the climate change agenda" »

10 Jun 2008 08:10:28

Andrew Tyrie MP leads Tory rebels on Climate Change Bill

Yesterday the Commons debated the Government's Climate Change Bill and a commitment to reduce the UK's carbon output by at least 60% by 2050.  Although the Conservative leadership supported the Bill it only imposed a one line whip fearing a big rebellion from sceptical Tory MPs.   Christopher Chope, David Heathcoat Amory, Peter Lilley, John Maples and John Redwood all raised tough questions about the Bill while Peter Ainsworth, Tony Baldry, John Gummer and Tim Yeo spoke in its support.  Concern was led by Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester.  We republish three key extracts from his contribution below.

Tyrie_andrew There is not a scientific consensus: "I note that the only reliable survey that has been conducted of 550 of the world’s leading climate scientists says that two thirds are convinced that most of the observed warming is related to human action. In other words, a third are not convinced of that. It is worth bearing in mind that many of the so-called 2,500 scientists in the IPCC process vehemently disagree with the panel’s conclusions, even though they support the section on the science in the main report on which they have worked."

The dangers of unilateral action: "No other country has been foolish enough to consider such a measure. It is a profound mistake to take the unilateralist route. First, we contribute only 2 per cent. of global emissions. Secondly, if we go ahead unilaterally, the UK will be disproportionately hit because we will increase our cost base when other countries have not increased theirs. A third reason is that although UK emissions will fall, they will reappear, probably at even higher levels, as the industries that we closed down with our higher cost base reopen in China and elsewhere. Finally, once we have acted unilaterally, the Chinese will have every incentive to delay an international agreement. That point has not been made at all today. After all, why should they rush to agree anything when they can acquire our industrial base and those of other countries silly enough to go it alone? It is regrettable that the Government have not even thought through the issue enough to make the Bill’s implementation conditional on some action by others. At least the EU approach to cutting carbon emissions contains some conditionality."

The hounding of climate change sceptics: "The subject has acquired some of the characteristics of a religion: apocalyptic predictions abound, and they make good copy. Over nearly 20 years since I first looked at the issue when I was at the Treasury working for John Major, I have become saddened by the way in which the calmer voices of many orthodox scientists and economists, particularly those who do not agree with the current policy prescriptions, have often been drowned out. All the incentives are against speaking up about the subject. Some have described Professor Lindzen of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the father of modern climate change. He wrote recently that “scientists who dissent from…alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libelled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse… Only the most senior scientist today can stand up to this alarmist gale.”  I have spoken to a number of the UK’s most senior specialists on the subject, and some feel similarly coerced. I shall read to the House a quotation from one of the major businesses in the UK. It says that “the more one looks behind…climate change policy…the more it is based on patent absurdities… Anybody who reveals the truth is scorned.” A leading economist has said: “I have learnt that to say anything about the subject is to be assailed by fundamentalist crackpots.”  Those people are concerned about speaking up but cajoled into not doing so. That is a bad climate in which to take such decisions as this Bill."