Conservative Intelligence

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Andrew Tyrie MP

Position: Treasury Select Committee Chairman

Last Updated: Friday, May 27th, 2011

For a former Treasury special adviser educated at Oxbridge (he has qualifications from both institutions), you might wonder why Andrew Tyrie has only spent about eighteen months of his so far fourteen years in Parliament as a frontbencher (He was a Treasury spokesman during Michael Howard’s time as leader).

The answer is that he is a cerebral thinker whose moderate instincts and independent-mindedness have not been in tune with the party leadership for much of his parliamentary career to date and he has been far more comfortable on the backbenches.

And it is from there that he is again making a name for himself as chairman of the all-important Treasury select committee. 

He had a first spell on the committee between 2001 and 2003, was reappointed to it in 2009 and it was after the 2010 general election that he was chosen to chair it by a ballot of the whole House: he beat the economically drier Michael Fallon for the post (who had been the committee’s deputy chairman in the previous Parliament), having hoovered up the lion’s share of votes from non-Tory MPs.

In that role he has already succeeded in making the chairman of the Office of Budget Responsibility subject to a confirmation hearing in front of his committee and is proposing similar reforms across the board as a way of strengthening Parliament.

This week he has been raising concerns about the Financial Services Authority’s failure so far to publish its report into the demise of the Royal Bank of Scotland. 

With a background in academia and as an economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (aside from his time advising Chancellors Nigel Lawson and John Major), he entered the Commons as MP for Chichester in 1997.

He supported Peter Lilley in the 1997 leadership election, but in the subsequent two contests was a cheerleader for Ken Clarke – acting as his campaign manager in 2005, in fact.

He is something of a pamphleteer, having penned a number of papers on constitutional matters, urging reforms to the way the Commons works, a cut in the number of MPs and ministers, and seeking a smaller, elected second chamber.

Meanwhile, on international matters, he opposed the Iraq War and established the all-party group on extraordinary rendition.

Jonathan Isaby

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