15 Jul Chris Grayling fails to become chair of intelligence and security committee after Tory challenge | Politics News
Chris Grayling, Downing Street’s pick to chair the prestigious intelligence and security committee, has been usurped by another Tory candidate.
The former transport secretary, nicknamed “Failing Grayling” for presiding over a series of government mishaps, had been tipped by Downing Street to get the top job.
Number 10 assumed given the Tory-majority on the committee, their nominee would be elected by the members.
But Dr Julian Lewis, a Conservative MP and former chair of the defence select committee, surprised Westminster-watchers by putting himself forward.
With the contest split, he and Labour members voted that he become chair of the body that holds Britain’s security agencies to account – securing a majority.
Dr Lewis’ first job will be overseeing publication of the Russia report into alleged election meddling, which critics have accused the government of sitting on for nine months.
Former chair Dominic Grieve said the report had been sent to Downing Street on 17 October and was ready for publication once it had been signed off, a process that usually takes up to 10 days.
But it was not released by Prime Minister Boris Johnson before December’s general election, at which point the former members of the committee relinquished their roles.
It has since taken almost seven months for Downing Street to nominate its new committee members and so allow for the report to be published.
One parliamentary source was not surprised Mr Grayling failed to orchestrate the votes for a coronation.
“Someone lays out a red carpet for you and you manage somehow to trip over it and set it on fire,” they told Sky News.