Select Committee is effective and quorate

May 7, 2009

Although as your article "Burden of oversight grows as committee membership drops" (23 April) suggests, the select committee of which we are all members has a wide area to cover, and that we have been allocated only nine active members, there is no evidence that our effectiveness or the scope of scrutiny has diminished. The nine remaining members have among the highest attendance and participation of all select committees and we have never been inquorate, even though we often meet twice a week. Despite the unjustified and undignified partisan personal criticism you cited last week, our chairman, Phil Willis, has our full confidence.

Furthermore, given that we have had no need to have any votes in the committee when agreeing reports, there is nothing to suggest that the committee is divided on party lines or any other. What is needed is for the Conservative Party to fill its three empty places, and for the Labour Party to fill its two empty places. But even if they fail to do so, we will continue our work; indeed, we will shortly publish major reports covering universities, public funding of science and innovation and science advice to Government.

Brian Iddon MP (Lab), Evan Harris MP (Lib Dem), Graham Stringer MP (Lab), Gordon Marsden MP (Lab), Ian Stewart MP (Lab) and Ian Cawsey MP (Lab).

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