Robert Halfon elected to key select committee role

Jewish former minister backed by MPs to be chair of parliamentary education body


Robert Halfon, the former apprenticeships and skills minister, has been elected as the new chair of the House of Commons education select committee. 

Mr Halfon, who was sacked from his ministerial post in June, received 261 votes from his fellow MPs, beating Nick Boles, also a former skills minister, who won 213 votes.

Mr Halfon denied he stood as an act of revenge after he was dismissed by Theresa May, after just a year in his ministerial post.

In a pitch to be the new chair, posted on his website, the Jewish MP for Harlow in Essex said his priorities included developing university technical colleges, national colleges and institutes of technology, as well as expanding adult education. 

He promised to examine the new schools funding formula and make sure resources were fairly allocated.

He also said he wanted to tackle the skills deficit, “particularly in science, technology, engineering and math subjects,” as well as improving standards “particularly in literacy and numeracy”.

He added: “As a former education minister, I bring recent experience of the policy and challenges the committee will face in the year ahead.

“But, to those who need reassurance, I am no establishment man. I will not be afraid to challenge ministers, leaders or the sector when needed,” he said.

The former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel said as part of his new role he would monitor the work of Anne Milton, his successor as apprenticeships and skills minster. 

He said: “The whole job of the committee is the scrutiny, that’s the whole purpose of it – that’ll be my job.”

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