Who could replace Yvette Cooper as chair of the home affairs committee?

Sienna Rodgers
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Yvette Cooper has resigned as chair of the home affairs committee following her appointment to the opposition frontbench as Shadow Home Secretary in the Labour reshuffle this week.

Nominations for the new committee chair have opened and must all be in by noon on Tuesday 14th December. Candidates require 15 signatures from their own party to be nominated.

The ballot will be held on Wednesday 15th December. Only Labour MPs are eligible to stand, but MPs from all parties can vote, which means candidates need broad appeal.

The successful candidate will head a cross-party committee responsible for scrutinising the work of the Home Office, looking at policy and spending on areas including immigration, security and policing.

The particular focus of the committee right now is violence against women and girls, but the chair should also be across issues such as Windrush and asylum-seeking routes to the UK, among others.

Who will replace Cooper? Below is our list of runners and riders. This will be updated as further information emerges. If you’ve got any tips, please get in touch by email or via Twitter

Diana Johnson – The Kingston upon Hull North MP, an existing and particularly active member of the home affairs committee, has publicly confirmed that she will be putting her name forward to be the next chair. She is best known for her campaigning work on the contaminated blood scandal and on abortion rights. She is the frontrunner.

Yasmin QureshiLabourList has been told that Qureshi is putting herself forward. Currently a shadow minister for international development, the former barrister served on the home affairs committee from 2013 to 2015 and has been a member of other committees. She is vocal on Islamophobia and the problems facing refugees.

Luke Pollard – Newly a backbencher after losing his role as Shadow Environment Secretary in Keir Starmer’s wide-ranging reshuffle this week, Pollard is thought to be mulling over a bid. While the environment has been his biggest focus in recent years, he had to deal with some of the issues looked at by the committee when the mass shooting in Keyham took place in his patch over the summer.

Rupa Huq – The Ealing MP and ardent Remainer is understood to be considering a tilt at the job. A former sociologist and academic, Huq was a home office shadow minister from 2016 to 2017, has written books on drugs and riots, and been a strong campaigner for buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Naz Shah – This Bradford MP is currently shadow minister for community cohesion (though that could change imminently in the wider frontbench reshuffle) and a former member of the home affairs committee. Shah knows a lot about violence against women and girls: her mother was jailed for killing her abusive partner and Shah campaigned for her release from prison; the MP has also spoken openly about her own experiences with domestic violence in a forced marriage. She has not publicly indicated an interest in the chair role so far.

Hilary Benn – The long-serving Leeds Central MP was chair of the Brexit select committee until it dissolved at the start of the year. His four-year stint in the role means he would be well-prepared for this major chairing job. He has not publicly indicated an interest in going for it. Update: he has told LabourList that he is not standing.

Diane Abbott – The Hackney North and Stoke MP is already a member of the committee, as well as a former Shadow Home Secretary with a keen interest in home affairs, but Abbott has confirmed to LabourList that she will not be standing.

Kate Green – Green would be available as she is no longer Shadow Education Secretary, having lost her shadow cabinet role this week. But she has told LabourList that she is not interested in going for the chair role.

Nia Griffith – Griffith is currently a backbencher after serving as Shadow Defence Secretary and Shadow Wales Secretary. But she, too, has confirmed to LabourList that she will not be standing.

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