Tory MP Rory Stewart appointed new chair of defence committee

Suzie Neuwirth
CONSERVATIVE MP Rory Stewart has been named as the new chair of the Defence Select Committee today.

The colourful politician, who previously served as a soldier and diplomat and wrote a book about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, replaces fellow Conservative MP James Arbuthnot, who announced in January he would be stepping down in May.

Stewart, who is MP for Penrith and the Border, joins the committee at an interesting time.

The Ministry of Defence has attracted a stream of criticism in recent months, amid budget cuts and questions over outsourcing defence procurement to private firms, which the committee will have to scrutinise.

Stewart, an Old Etonian who was born in Hong Kong, set up the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a charity that aims to revive Afghanistan’s traditional crafts.