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Pete Wishart – Impotent Chairperson of a Unionist dominated Committee manipulated to favour the Unionist cause at Westminster – But the money’s good!!!

Scottish Affairs Committee

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee is a Committee of the House of Commons. Its remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Office of the Secretary of Scotland and relations with the Scottish Parliament. It also looks at the administration and expenditure of the Advocate General for Scotland.

Unlike the Scottish Grand Committee, MPs from constituencies outside Scotland can, and do, sit on the Scottish Affairs Committee.

Composition

Chairperson: Pete Wishart MP: Shadow Cabinet member, SNP Leader of the House of Commons. (Position attracts an annual salary around £20k.)

Members
Mhari Black: Shadow Cabinet Member SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)
Deirdre Brock: Shadow Cabinet Member SNP Spokesperson (Food and Rural Affairs)
Andrew Bowie: Tory MP, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
Alberto Costa: Tory MP, South Leicestershire
Sally Anne Hart: Tory MP, Hastings and Rye
Douglas Ross: Tory MP, Moray
John Lamont: Tory MP, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
John Cruddas: Labour MP, Dagenham and Rainham
Liz Twist: Labour MP, Blaydon
Wendy Chamberlain: Liberal Democrat MP, North East Fife

Note: Shadow Cabinet SNP, MP’s, are allocated a performance allowance, around £10k, using “short money” funding provided by Westminster.

11 members (3 SNP 8 Unionist)

Tensions on the Scottish Affairs Committee bubbled over, after MPs again pressed the idea of replacing Pete Wishart as chairman.

A number of MPs on the committee are unhappy that long-serving chairperson Wishart took up an SNP frontbench role that is “distracting” him from his duties.

MPs called for Joanna Cherry to take on the role after Wishart asked committee members to change the time of meetings to fit in with his new responsibilities as shadow Commons leader.

In a stormy clash before a meeting, MPs demanded Wishart put any proposals on changing committee three times to a vote, which he refused to do. Committee sources branded the row “pathetic”, adding:

“Pete is getting more and more desperate as he tries to cling on to his taxpayer-funded additional salaries as chair of the committee, and SNP, Shadow Cabinet Member, refusing to even consider other SNP members taking over. It’s been suggested that this is getting party political but, of course, we are only in this situation because he is putting his party role ahead of the committee continuing with its scheduled dates and times. The fact that Pete refused to allow a vote on the matter is pathetic. and disrespectful to the committee and its members. The time has come for Pete to choose between his party or the committee.”

Sturgeon snubs Scottish Affairs Committee chairperson, Pete Wishart’s invitation to discuss her record in government.

The Scottish Affairs Committee invited the First Minister discuss its recent inquiries, including into welfare, education and renewable energy. But she declined the invitation to appear with her office citing “responsibilities and range of commitments”.

In a letter to Pete she wrote: “Thank you for your invitation to appear before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee. Unfortunately, due to my responsibilities and range of commitments, I will have to decline the invitation. In any event the committee is aware, I am accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the decisions and actions of the Scottish Government in relation to the issues you refer to.”

Committee chairman, SNP, MP, Wishart expressed disappointment at his Party leaders decision. He said: I am “surprised” at the length of time it took for her to respond. Our committee is focussed on reports and inquiries that are relevant to the people of Scotland, and it would have been helpful to have explored the issues with the her. In this Parliament we have had inquiries and reports on universities, renewable energy and public sector broadcasting issues that cut across responsibilities of both Parliaments. The invitation remains open to her and we hope that some time in the future she may be in a position to reconsider her decision.”