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MP-only regional scrutiny bodies slammed

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Regional select committees made up solely of MPs would be “fundamentally damaging” to the quality of the work produced by existing select committees, MPs have heard.

Senior parliamentarians told the Commons modernisation committee that nine new regional committees would provide too much competition for the existing committees to secure enough members to achieve a quorum to scrutinise government work.

Hybrid committees composed of MPs and councillors have been suggested as an alternative to MPs sitting alone.

The modernisation committee last week heard from the chairs of three committees as it continued its investigation into regional accountability.

Peter Luff (Con), business, enterprise and regulatory reform committee chair, said: “Having additional select committees, particularly regional select committees, would create an intolerable pressure on members. It would be damaging to the quality of work produced.”

Alan Williams (Lab), chair of the liaison committee, claimed whips would be unable to find the extra 81 members needed to sit on them and there could be insufficient rooms for meetings.

Mr Luff expressed a strong preference for either grand committees open to all MPs or the hybrid model.

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