On Wednesday, the government will push through a mundane looking, yet historic motion. The motion, called ‘Liaison (Membership)’, will crown Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkins as chair of parliament’s most influential committee.
The Liaison Committee has been grilling prime minister’s since 2002. It is made up of all the chairs of the other Commons committees and has always chosen its own chair from amongst its own members — it has never been directly imposed.
Yet, in 10 months as prime minister, Boris Johnson is still to appear before it.
Johnson’s first planned appearance was cancelled because of the government’s unlawful prorogation of parliament. At short notice, he cancelled his second invitation to appear in October last year so he could concentrate on “delivering Brexit”. He said he thought it would be “of greater value if I could postpone to a fixed date in five or six months after I became PM, so that my appearance take place after nearly the same period in office as Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May.”
With current chairs to choose from, such as the intrepid Tories Tobias Ellwood and Tom Tugendhat, or Labour’s accomplished Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn, it’s not too hard to see why Johnson might wish to impose his pal Jenkins into the top job before he appears…