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Nominations open for Chair of Defence Committee

18 September 2023

The Speaker has announced the timetable for the election of the Chair of the Defence Select Committee following the resignation of Tobias Ellwood.

Nominations close at noon on Tuesday 24 October. If there is more than one candidate, a ballot will take place on Wednesday 25 October between 11am and 2.30pm.

Under the standing orders of the House, the Chair of the Defence Committee is allocated to the Conservative Party. Candidates require the support of 15 fellow Conservative MPs for their nomination to be valid.

If only one MP is nominated for the role, they are elected unopposed. If two or more MPs stand, there follows a ballot where MPs vote by ranking candidates in order of preference. Votes are later counted under the Alternative Vote system. The result is expected to be announced in the Chamber later that day.

Valid nominations received on sitting days will be printed in the next day’s House business papers. They will also be published below.


Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Nominated by (own party)

Nicola Richards, Paul Holmes, Chris Loder, Selaine Saxby, Virginia Crosbie, Robin Millar, Alicia Kearns, Sally-Ann Hart, Greg Smith, Caroline Nokes, Siobhan Baillie, Dr Caroline Johnson, Tom Randall, Jo Gideon, Elliot Colburn

Nominated by (other parties or no party)

Tonia Antoniazzi, Carol Monaghan, Jim Shannon, Jess Phillips, Khalid Mahmood

Interests declared

Chair of the OVA Advisory Board for Women Veterans’ Strategy

Supporting statement

As an existing committee member, I believe that I am in the best place to continue the excellent work this committee has done to date. With an election on the horizon and a war in Europe, we need a Chair who knows the ropes, understands Defence and ‘will hit the ground running’.

I am an Army veteran and since being elected to Parliament have focused on all aspects of our military and veterans, including a brief time as Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families.

I believe all my colleagues across the House and on the committee know that I am passionate, true to my word and will chair the committee fairly and without favour. I will continue to question, challenge and scrutinise the MOD and ministers- particularly around the procurement process (to ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money) and support for our Veterans (to ensure their needs are being met). Having chaired my own sub-committee and produced a ground breaking report into the experiences of women in the military and female veterans, I have shown that I know what is required in this role. I have already demonstrated that I will be balanced, fair and all individual committee members from all parties to express their views and take ownership of the work the committee produces.

Further information

Header image credit: UK Parliament/Elspeth Keep