Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey will fight Hilary Benn to lead parliament's Brexit committee

Mark Sands
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Nigel Farage Joins Fishing For Leave On A Flotilla Down The Thames
Hoey campaigned alongside Nigel Farage for a Leave vote in the European referendum (Source: Getty)

Vauxhall MP and prominent Leave campaigner Kate Hoey is to launch an audacious bid to lead parliament's Brexit watchdog, City A.M. understands.

The powerful new Brexit committee is due to be formally created later today, and will be responsible for cross-party scrutiny of the UK's departure from the EU.

Hoey has yet to formally launch her bid to chair the Brexit select committee, but has confirmed to City A.M. that she will throw her hat into the ring in the coming days.

She will face-off against former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who campaigned for a Remain vote in the referendum.

Hoey said it was important MPs were presented with a choice for leadership of the committee, but demurred when asked whether it was right the role go to a Brexit campaigner.

She said:

The role of this select committee is really to make sure that parliament is able to scrutinise the government's views and proposals but I am sure that whoever gets it will be even-handed.

Read More: Vauxhall MP slams Garden Bridge project

Hoey has not held a frontbench role for Labour since 2001, although she has regularly participated in select committees on science and technology and Northern Ireland.

She currently sits on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs, Northern Ireland and European Scrutiny committees.

And party insiders suggest her popularity with Labour MPs has been hit by her campaign to leave the EU, with some citing Hoey's participation in a pro-Brexit flotilla led by Nigel Farage ahead of the referendum.

However, select committee chairs are elected by all MPs, meaning Hoey could still secure the role if she is able to convince other members of her suitability.​

Benn announced his decision to stand in late September. Setting out his priorities in a letter to MPs, Benn said the select committee will have an important role in showing Brexiteers and Remainers can come together for the benefit of the country.

“There are, of course a lot of big issues that the committee and the House will need to deal with as part of this process,” Benn wrote.

“These will include when we trigger Article 50, ensuring continued access to European markets for all our industries, future arrangements for immigration control from the EU and maintaining cooperation with our European neighbours in areas that are important to us.”

To enter the election, candidates for select committee chairs are required to secure 15 supporters from their own party by midday on 18 October.

MPs will then vote from 10.00 to 13.30 on 19 October, with speaker John Bercow then announcing the results later that day.

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