Harriet Baldwin is the new head of the influential Treasury committee after winning an election among MPs.
Lawmakers voted on who should run the group charged with holding the Treasury and City regulators to task on the economy after the chair slot was opened up by Mel Stride’s promotion to work and pensions secretary in Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle.
Five MPs had thrown their hat in the ring — Baldwin; John Baron; Richard Fuller; Andrea Leadsom; and Kit Malthouse — but Baldwin emerged victorious with 204 votes.
Several candidates including Baldwin boasted of their City credentials from their lives before politics while on the campaign trail.
Baldwin joined JPMorgan in 1986, becoming a managing director and head of currency management at its London office, and then a pension fund manager until she left in 2008. Baron’s CV includes stints at Henderson Private Clients and Rothschild Asset Management.
Former City minister Fuller started out as a management consultant, while Leadsom was formerly a debt trader for Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Malthouse was a chartered accountant.
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One of the biggest issues the committee will have to tackle under Baldwin is the future of City regulation post-Brexit. The government will soon introduce an amendment to the flagship Financial Services and Markets Bill giving itself the power to over-rule or amend decisions made by the likes of the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority — known as a ‘call-in’ power.
Baldwin declined to comment on her approach to a call-in power to Financial News after announcing her candidacy. Fuller did not respond to requests for comment after describing regulatory oversight as “a matter that has long lacked the attention it needs” in his pitch for the role.
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The race was decided by MPs ranking candidates in order of preference.
397 votes were cast, with Baldwin securing 204, passing the 188 required. There were four rounds of counting, with 375 active votes in the final round.
Baldwin will take up her position with immediate effect and serve to the end of the current parliament.
“With the chancellor’s Autumn Statement around the corner, interest rates on the rise and inflation well above target, the role of the committee has never been more important,” she said. “As chair, I will hold the Treasury to account and scrutinise the Bank of England and our regulators without fear or favour.”
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