I’m on holiday this week but thought I’d pass on this rumour. Plenty of interest in Westminster in who will chair the new Energy and Climate Change select committee, which will keep tabs on Ed Miliband’s new department.
Lots of MPs are keen to get themselves a seat on the table. Apparently Elliot Morley, a former environment minister, is Labour’s choice to chair the committee.
Morley, who facially reminds me of Stephen Rea (the actor from The Crying Game) is thoroughly on top of issues environmental – although he may need to get up to speed with the broader energy brief.
Other names in the frame could include Tim Yeo, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, especially if this group is replaced by the new DECC committee. Yeo, however, may be a better bet to replace Lord Adair Turner as chair of the Committee on Climate Change when Turner drops the role to concentrate on chairing the FSA.
And for a truly long shot, what about Hilary Benn? Of course he is still environment secretary, but his outspoken comments criticising the Heathrow expansion last weekend could signal that his time in cabinet does not have much further to run. His role has already been reduced through the creation of DECC a few months ago. There is even one unsubstantiated rumour that Defra itself may be wound up in 2009 - with some responsibilities going to DCLG and others to BERR. To me this seems unlikely; if this was going to happen surely they would have done it when they set up DECC? But you never know.