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Chris Grayling misses out on job chairing Westminster intelligence committee
15 July 2020, 19:27
Boris Johnson's preferred candidate for chairmanship of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, Chris Grayling, has missed out on the job after members elected Julian Lewis instead.
The former cabinet minister has been expected to take the job after the Prime Minister put forward a committee with a built-in Tory majority.
However, Mr Grayling has faced a series of mishaps and problems during his time as justice and transport secretary, earning him the nickname "failing Grayling".
Concerns had previously been raised over the body's impartiality if Mr Grayling had taken the role.
The committee instead chose to elect Dr Lewis, whose first job will now be to decide on when and if to publish the long-delayed report completed by the committee last year under his predecessor Dominic Grieve into Russian efforts to interfere in UK politics.
Dr Lewis is the New Forest East MP and the first ISC chair never to have held ministerial rank, though he chaired the Commons Defence Committee from 2015-19.
Publication has been held up by the 2019 election and then a delay in setting up the committee.
The other Conservative committee members are Sir John Hayes, Mr Lewis, Mark Pritchard, and Theresa Villiers.
There are two Labour MPs - Kevan Jones and Dame Diana Johnson - plus Labour peer Lord West of Spithead.Stewart Hosie is the SNP's representative on the committee.
The committee was established in 1994, and has previously been chaired by a senior MP of the ruling party, including former foreign secretaries Margaret Beckett and Malcolm Rifkind and former defence secretary Tom King.
Downing Street previously declined to comment on reports that Tory MPs on the committee were being whipped to support Mr Grayling as chair.