Maria Miller to chair Parliament’s new Equalities committee

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Maria Miller, the former Equalities Minister who steered same-sex marriage through the Commons, is to chair Parliament’s new Equalities Select Committee.

Following sustained campaigning from a cross-party group of MPs, the Government last month agreed to form a Women and Equalities Select Committee in Parliament for the first time.

Select Committees provide important oversight and scrutiny on government work in areas – but until now, there has been no one committee with oversight of government equalities work.

As nominations for the election of Select Committee chairs closed yesterday, former equalities minister Maria Miller was the only Tory MP to put her name forward to chair the new committee.

As Mrs Miller is the only candidate to run, it was declared: “Sole candidates listed below will therefore be elected Chair.”

She tweeted: “Proud to be first ever chair of new Women & Equality Select Committee-UK joins 30 Parliaments worldwide with dedicated equalities committee”.

Mrs Miller was Minister for Women and Equalities from 2012 until April 2014, and was the minister responsible for steering same-sex marriage through the House of Commons.

She resigned from government in 2014 following an expenses scandal – but managed to secure re-election as an MP last month.

The Select Committee roles are divided up between the parties, with an informal agreement meaning only Tory MPs could put themselves forward for the role.

The current equalities ministers are Nicky Morgan and Caroline Dinenage, both of whom voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill that Mrs Miller oversaw.

However, Mrs Morgan has since changed her mind – while Ms Dinenage says she is “fully committed” to LGBT rights.

Mrs Miller successfully campaigned for ‘revenge porn’ to be made a criminal offence in the UK – with an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill passing the change in October.