Politics

Ex-minister Robin Walker elected as education committee chair

The former schools minister received 228 votes from MPs after Robert Halfon returned to DfE

The former schools minister received 228 votes from MPs after Robert Halfon returned to DfE

16 Nov 2022, 17:01

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Robin Walker has been elected as the chair of the parliamentary education select committee.

The former schools minister, who resigned in July over Boris Johnson’s leadership, received 228 votes in a ballot on Wednesday.

It comes after Robert Halfon, who had served in the role since 2017, returned to the Department of Education (DfE) last month as skills minister.

Fellow former schools minister Jonathan Gullis, former committee member and ex-chair of the Local Government Association children and young people board David Simmonds and current committee member Caroline Ansell were also nominated.

Walker said he was “honoured to receive the support of some of the people I respect most in parliament from opposition and government alike”.

“Nothing can be more important than education, which unlocks opportunity. The work of the education select committee is more relevant and important than ever.

“I am looking forward to working with the committee on issues such as childcare and the cost of living, to keep up the great work which former chair Robert Halfon started on attendance, safeguarding, skills, careers and SEN and to hold ministers to account.”

He told Schools Week he would also like to work with colleagues to seek an “early inquiry” into childcare and early years.

education
Walker being quizzed at the committee as schools minister

Nominations for the position ran from October 31 and ended at noon on Tuesday. Only Conservative MPs were able to stand for election.

Each MP needed to gather at least 15 signatures from fellow Conservatives to be nominated.

Walker had been backed by MPs including David Davis. In his candidate statement, he said: “I am informed enough to hit the ground running, but independent enough to hold ministers to account.”

The results of the ballot were announced in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

Gullis went out in the first round with just 56 votes, compared to 70 for Simmonds and 108 for Ansell. In stage two, Simmons received 84, Ansell 124 and Walker 228.

Gullis left his DfE role after just 50 days in October following the announcement that former long-serving schools minister Nick Gibb had returned.

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