Select committee (Westminster system)

Select Committee (Westminster System)

Select committee (Westminster system)

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A select committee is a committee made up of a small number of parliamentary members appointed to deal with particular areas or issues originating in the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Select committees exist in the British Parliament, as well as in other parliaments based on the Westminster model, such as those in Australia and New Zealand.

In the United Kingdom, Departmental Select Committees came into being in 1979, following the recommendations of a Procedure Select Committee, set up in 1976, which reported in 1978. It recommended the appointment of a series of select committees covering all the main departments of state, with wide terms of reference, and with power to appoint special advisers as the committees deemed appropriate. It also suggested that committee members should be selected independently of the party whips, as chosen by the Select Committee of Selection. The 14 new committees began working effectively in 1980. Jones et al (2001) Politics UK 4th Edition, p.359-63

Committees can be appointed, as most are, from the House of Commons, like the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, from the House of Lords, like the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, or as a "Joint Committee" drawn from both, such as the Joint Committee on House of Lords Reform. (Note that the Intelligence and Security Committee is not a select committee, though it contains members from both houses. It is a unique committee of...
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