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Rory Stewart elected Chairman of the Defence Select Committee

14 May 2014

Rory Stewart, the colourful and interesting Tory MP, has been elected as chairman of the Defence Select Committee. Stewart is a formidable appointment. He is knowledgeable on defence and foreign policy matters: having served as a diplomat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written widely of his experience and insights, and has taught related subjects at Harvard University. He is well-regarded by serving soldiers, many of whom speak highly of his views on counter-insurgency and the work of his charity Turquoise Mountain Foundation. He has, however, taken his head ‘out of the mountains’ of Afghanistan – and sees that security threats have taken new forms, such as cyber security, human rights abuses and the economically unstable, densely populated coastal regions of the world.

Stewart has advised the government on foreign policy at various stages throughout this parliament; but he is not afraid to ask awkward questions of powerful people, which explains why he has won support from across the House. Free-thinking Conservatives such as Douglas Carswell gave him their blessing, and the New Statesman reports that prominent Labour MPs Tessa Jowell, Bob Ainsworth and Dan Jarvis sent an email urging their colleagues to vote for Stewart.

Beyond the machinations of party grandees, Stewart’s victory in this tight race (in which he beat older hands like Dr Julian Lewis) appears to have been secured by the votes of the 2010 intake. This group of MPs are shaping parliament, which should be some consolation for those among their number disappointed by the lack of ministerial and shadow ministerial advancement.

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  • Picquet

    A highly significant appointment. Stewart is one of the very few politicians with both real, actual, proper experience of the world and an intellect capable of guiding the committee along the most sensible path. Much applause.

  • jazz606

    He’s quite impressive, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can spit.
    Have a look at his voting record.

    • Frank

      Agree, but with the impending Scottish vote, he will be pursuing a new career shortly (no doubt on TV, a la Dan Cruickshank, ie posh journo with odd pronunciation).

      • jazz606

        I don’t know that he will be seeking a new career. His constituency Penrith and Border is in Cumbria so he can remain in the UK parliament as long as he stands and is voted in.
        Have a look at for MPs’ rating on the EU. All Tories score pretty badly and no doubt labour would too, if they didn’t ‘benefit’ from being in opposition.
        The fact is that we can’t trust any of our MPs they are all under the cosh. IOW if they want a career in politics and to inch up that greasy pole they have to toe the line.

  • balance_and_reason

    He must be good, he didn’t win it on looks….lolz

  • Bert3000

    Couldn’t they get someone who could dress themselves?

  • Tim Reed

    This just highlights the dismal state of the modern ‘Conservative’ party – that a man of such obvious quality is only given a major role thanks to the opposition, rather than his own party’s leadership.

    Rory Stewart, along with David Davis, Douglas Carswell and a few others are apparently permanently sidelined, presumably to make way for the supreme talents of the likes of Anna Soubry and Maria Miller, odious and useless respectively.

    • sfin

      Hear! Hear!

  • Mr Creosote

    Good man – could do with him in UKIP.

    • Guest

      by the time he does you would have progressed to the MRLP level.

    • Frank

      Only if you want UKIP to have another totally self-obsessed white male (although he would, as someone mentions above, have a very “colourful” CV)!

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        Why bring race into it?

  • swatnan

    Just present a few programmes on telly and you’re guaranteed to do well in politics.aka flipping Boris Johnson Tristram Hunt and now Rory Stewart.
    The last time Lab urged support for a Tory was when Bercow got elected. Now everyones regretting it. The Chair should have been Labour.

  • Bill Brinsmead

    A rare victory for Labour it would seem. I don’t believe it!

  • sfin

    Whilst he had the brightest of starts in life, let’s not revert to inverted snobbery – I received one of the best briefings ever from this young man prior to going to Afghanistan in 2006 – I, initially dismissed his youth until he opened his mouth to a packed briefing hall of an entire regiment of squaddies. As the old saying goes, you could have heard a pin drop!

    You may get to meet a few, seriously impressive, individuals in life – Rory Stewart is one of them.

    • an ex-tory voter

      Praise indeed! I will remember it and will watch Rory Stewart with interest.

  • CharlietheChump

    Glad to see the wee squeaker’s scheme to install his fav and ex campaign manager Lewis, J, has failed.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Where did this one go to school?

    • HookesLaw

      Why should that matter. I know which school Farage went to. It certainly does not colour my impression of him.

      • Grey Wolf

        With so much rage against UKIP how are you not getting tummy ulcers (not that I want you to)?

        • Wessex Man

          I do, it will match his evil mind.

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        It shouldn’t matter, in the particular. In general, one school is over-represented in the ranks of the great and good. Some of them even expect company boards or TV cast listings to have quotas of race or gender thrust upon them but do not seem to see why that should apply to themselves. No, I don’t suppose that they are not well-educated, possibly better than the rest of us who went to schools they make the rules for, but I do think that their preponderance is likely to be detrimental to good governance, or at least to its appearance.

        • balance_and_reason

          homosexuals are also over represented in the upper echelons of westminster…are you going to legislate for that?
          Take the person…are they good for the job and suitably qualified?…..if yes thats a big step forward over 90% of the labour parties parliamentry and quango appointments in the last 20 years.

          • David B

            So being the best person for a job is not the most important qualification!

            • balance_and_reason

              Yeeeees….and that being the person with , relevant experience, qualifications, personality to suit situation, reasonable IQ, hopefully goodEQ (if in politics), not a thief, paedo, or a psychopath….…problem with that?

              • David B

                That is perfect – no one ruled in or out because of their irrelevant factors such as the school they attended, etc

                • balance_and_reason

                  we are in alignment

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well, how many of the guys in the House of Commons didn’t go to Oxford? And how many don’t have parents with a few bob.Being rich is jolly useful in life. And don’t give me this guff about Oxford entrance being gained through merit.

  • Frank

    No1 Better in the tent p……g out, than outside the tent p…….g in!
    No2 A stellar cast of candidates?
    No3 Douglas Carswell, Tessa Jowell, Bob Ainsworth and Dan Jarvis…heavens the veritable cream of parliament!

    • CharlietheChump

      Carswell is good.

      • Frank

        He is in the wrong party!

      • Wessex Man

        Marmite is good!

        • Wessex Man

          Cider is good!

          • Wessex Man

            Coffe is good!

            • Wessex Man

              Tea is gooder!

              • Wessex Man

                Toast is good!

                • Wessex Man

                  British Beef is good!

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