Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan seeks a Brexit prioritising jobs over immigration

Helen Cahill
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British Government Ministers Attend The Weekly Cabinet Meeting
Nicky Morgan is the first female chair of the committee (Source: Getty)

Nicky Morgan, newly-elected chair of the Treasury Select Committee, will be prioritising jobs as she scrutinises the government's stance on Brexit in her new role.

Speaking to City A.M., Morgan outlined some of her priorities for the influential committee in the months ahead.

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"Jobs and the economy should be prioritised - and not immigration", she said.

She added that it was likely the committee would look at how long the UK should stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market as part of a "transitional period" after Brexit.

The transitional period has caused controversy in the cabinet, with Brexit minister David Davis saying Philip Hammond was "inconsistent" over the timeline.

Morgan, who worked on the Remain campaign ahead of the EU referendum, beat Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg in the ballot for the chair of the committee on Wednesday.

Read more: Government says Heathrow expansion sends strong post-Brexit signal

The committee will be instrumental in scrutinising the Treasury as the government steers Britain towards Brexit, and Morgan has been frank about the direction she thinks the country should be taking.

"There is a parliamentary consensus that no deal is not a good idea," she said.

To ensure Britain has a strong economy during, and after, the Brexit process, Morgan has said she will listen to a wide range of opinions, including the thoughts of those on the other side of the negotiating table.

"It will be very difficult to get a full picture of the negotiations if you're only talking about what we want as a country," she said.

Aside from Brexit, she has said she wants to re-open inquiries into housing policy, access to retail financial services, and areas of tax policy.

"We saw in the budget this year the chancellor rightly address the issue of the tax base," she said.

She said that one of the issues that needs to be debated is the increasing number of self-employed people working in the UK.

The former education secretary, who worked as an M&A lawyer in the City for 16 years, is following in the footsteps of Andrew Tyrie, who did not stand as an MP in the General Election.

Tyrie was widely respected for his fearless questioning. The new chair has praised her "indefatigable" predecessor, but does not intend to copy him.

"Andrew was a very talented chairman," she said. "But he had his own style of doing things and I don't think anyone would expect me to be the same, least of all Andrew Tyrie. So I guess for now it's: watch this space."

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