Parliamentary Committees of the United Kingdom

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Committee meetings take place in committee rooms at the Palace of Westminster (right) and Portcullis House (left), often in front of press and media or in private sessions

The Parliamentary Committees of the United Kingdom are sub-legislative organizations each consisting of small number of Members of Parliament from the House of Commons, or peers from the House of Lords, or a mix of both appointed to deal with particular areas or issues; most are made up of members of the Commons. The majority of parliamentary committees are Select Committees. The remit of these committees vary depending on whether they are committees of the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

House of Commons[edit]

House of Commons of the United Kingdom.svg

Select Committees[edit]

Portcullis House Select Committee.png

Select committees in the Commons are designed to oversee the work of departments and agencies, examine topical issues affecting the country or individual regions, and review and advise on the procedures, workings and rules of the House.

  • Departmental (Dept) select committees are designed to oversee and examine the work of individual government departments and any related departmental bodies and agencies.
  • Topical select committees examine topical issues of importance.
  • Internal select committees have responsibility with respect to the day-to-day running of Parliament.[1]
Departmental select committees
Committee Chair Responsibility
Name Since
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Rachel Reeves 2017 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and related bodies
Communities and Local Government Select Committee Clive Betts 2010 Department for Communities and Local Government
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Damian Collins 2016 Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Defence Select Committee Julian Lewis 2015 Ministry of Defence
Education Select Committee Robert Halfon 2017 Department for Education and related bodies
Exiting the European Union Select Committee Hilary Benn 2016 Department for Exiting the European Union and associated bodies
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee Neil Parish 2015 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and associated bodies
Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat 2017 Foreign and Commonwealth Office and associated bodies
Health Select Committee Dr Sarah Wollaston 2014 Department of Health
Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper 2016 Home Office and related bodies
International Development Select Committee Stephen Twigg 2015 Department for International Development
International Trade Select Committee Angus MacNeil 2016 Department for International Trade and related bodies
Justice Select Committee Bob Neill 2015 Ministry of Justice, related agencies including the Crown Prosecution Service, and other agencies that report to the Lord Chancellor
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Andrew Murrison 2017 The work of the devolved government and the Northern Ireland Office
Science and Technology Select Committee Norman Lamb 2017 The government office for science
Scottish Affairs Committee Pete Wishart 2015 The work of the devolved government and the Scotland Office
Transport Select Committee Lilian Greenwood 2017 Department for Transport
Treasury Select Committee Nicky Morgan 2017 Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs
Welsh Affairs Select Committee David TC Davies 2010 The work of the devolved government and the Wales Office
Work and Pensions Select Committee Frank Field 2015 Department for Work and Pensions
Topical select committees
Committee Chair Responsibility
Name Since
Environmental Audit Select Committee Mary Creagh 2016 Examines the contribution of government policies to environmental protection and sustainable development
European Scrutiny Committee Sir William Cash MP 2010 Examines key EU documents, as well as deciding which documents should be debated on the floor of the Commons
Liaison Committee Dr Sarah Wollaston MP Examines the work of select committees in general, as well as hearing annual evidence from the Prime Minister
Public Accounts Select Committee Meg Hillier 2015 Examines government and parliamentary expenditure to ensure honesty and fairness
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee Bernard Jenkin 2015 Examines the work and administration of the Civil Service, as well as reports from the Parliamentary Ombudsman
Arms Export Controls Committee Graham Jones 2017 Composed of members of the Business, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development committees, examines exports of arms from the UK
Regulatory Reform Committee Stephen McPartland MP 2017 Examines draft legislative reform orders as proposed under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, as well as regulation in general
Select Committee on Statutory Instruments Jessica Morden 2017 Examines all statutory instruments laid before the Commons
Women and Equalities Committee Maria Miller 2015
Petitions Helen Jones 2015
Internal select committees
Committee Chair Responsibility
Administration Committee Sir Paul Beresford MP 2017 Examines the services offered to members of the Commons, as well as services offered to the public
Backbench Business Committee Ian Mearns 2015 Determines business to be debated at certain times set aside for backbenchers
Finance and Services Committee Chris Bryant MP 2017 Examines the budget and expenditure of the House of Commons, including the administration budget
Committee on Standards Kevin Barron 2013 Oversees Parliamentary standards and members' interests and conduct
Committee of Privileges Kate Green MP 2017
Procedure Committee Charles Walker 2012 Examines the practice and procedures of the Commons in dealing with public business
Committee of Selection Bill Wiggin MP 2017 Recommends the appointment of members to parliamentary committees

General Committees[edit]


House of Lords[edit]

House of Lords.svg
Lords select committee circa 2013

The House of Lords appoint select committees to examine and explore general issues such as the Constitution or the economy.



Joint House Committees[edit]

Joint Committees of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are committees formed to examine a particular issue, whose membership is from both the Commons and the Lords.

Former committees[edit]

Occasionally, committees will be discharged by one of the Houses of Parliament, namely the Commons or the Lords. This occurs when existing committees are no longer required or have their responsibilities transferred to a different committee, effectively rendering the original committee void. It is more common, however, for committees to be discharged as a result of the abolition of government departments, for example the abolition of the Department of Education and Skills in June 2007 resulted in the abolition of the Education and Skills Select Committee shortly afterwards.[2]




All five domestic committees were abolished in 2005 and replaced by a single committee - the Administration Committee.



The House of Commons set up eight regional select committees in November 2008, whose members were first appointed on 3 March 2009. The committees were formed of 5 Labour members, as opposed to the 9 members from various parties as was agreed in the original motion, due to the refusal of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to nominate any members as a sign of their opposition to setting up the committees.[5] The resolution that formed the committees expired at the end of the 2005/10 Parliament. The succeeding coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats chose not to renew it.[6]






  1. ^ "Select Committee chair election results". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  2. ^ a b c d Hansard: 25 July 2007
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ House of Commons Debates 3 March 2009 c 791
  6. ^ House of Commons Debates 27 May 2010 c 286

External links[edit]