SNP in position to maximise strength in Commons

George Kerevan will the the SNP member of the Treasury select committee. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
George Kerevan will the the SNP member of the Treasury select committee. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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SNP MPs from Edinburgh and the Lothians have been appointed to key committees at Westminster as the party uses its new strength to maximise its influence in the Commons.

The Nationalists, with 56 out of Scotland’s 59 MPs, now have a member on every select committee and chair two of them.

Former Napier University economics lecturer George Kerevan, MP for East Lothian, will be the SNP member of the Treasury select committee, overseeing the work of the Chancellor and the Bank of England.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard is on the standards committee, which considers the independent standards commissioner’s reports into complaints against MPs.

Edinburgh North and Leith MP Deidre Brock is on the public accounts select committee, which scrutinises government spending.

Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson is on the business, innovation and skills select committee.

Linlithgow MP Martyn Day has been put on the administration committee, which is in charge of catering and other internal services.

Mr Kerevan said he was excited by his appointment. “The only job more interesting is to be Chancellor of the Exchequer,” he added.

The Treasury committee is concerned with broader economic issues rather than the details of Budget proposals.

Mr Kerevan said: “I expect this issue of bank supervision and bank reform will be very much on the agenda.

“The major banks are still resisting the ring-fencing of their retail business from their investment business, so that will be an ongoing issue.

“I’m very much in favour of the plan to separate the two forms of business. I think that’s where a lot of the problems lay in 2008.

“The other big issue which will emerge will be the aftermath of the Budget and the impact of austerity on the economy.

“I think the Chancellor wants to see himself in the history books as someone who reduced the size of the state deficit. But that will produce major problems for the economy and the financing of public services.”

He said it was important to have a Scottish voice on the committee because of the dominance of the City of London and its agenda .

“It’s not just about furthering the Scottish home rule agenda, it’s about trying to have a broader supervision over the City of London.”

Mr Sheppard said the standards committee, set up in the wake of the expenses scandal, was about making sure everything was transparent and above board. “I will want the fullest possible scrutiny.”

But he added: “I can reassure the public that the perception of a new MP is that the expenses system is screwed down pretty tight now. If anything, I’d say it was over-bureaucratic.”