Robert Halfon, the former education minister who chaired the Parliamentary education committee for the past two-and-a-half years, is seeking re-election to the role.

The Harlow MP confirmed to sister newspaper FE Week that he will run “on a platform of the education ladder of opportunity, with rungs on skills, social justice, standards and support for the profession”.

Select committee chairs must seek re-election at the beginning of each new Parliament.

Arrangements for elections have not yet been announced. The House of Commons must first decide which party will get leadership of each committee, though education is expected to remain under Conservative control, as it has been since 2010.

Halfon was first elected as education committee chair in July 2017 after previous chair Neil Carmichael lost his seat at that year’s general election.

He beat opponents Nick Boles, Tim Loughton, Rehman Chishti, Stephen Metcalfe and Dan Poulter in a vote of MPs to land the role of the cross-party committee.

He served as skills minister from July 2016 to June 2017, and was previously a minister without portfolio and deputy leader of the Conservative Party.

In the education sector, Halfon is perhaps best-known for his “ladder of opportunity” catchphrase, and for his willingness to clash with ministers from his own party, and even his former colleagues, when they appeared as witnesses.


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