Valerie responds to motions on appointments

As Shadow Leader of the House, I responded to the following motion on 10 July 2018:

That, in pursuance of section 1(2B) of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978, Dr Rima Makarem be appointed to the House of Commons Commission for a period of three years commencing on 1 October 2018; and the appointment of Jane McCall to the House of Commons Commission be extended to 1 February 2021.

Here is my speech in full:

I will speak to this motion, because I was on the interview panel. Dr Rima Makarem was recruited following a fair and transparent competition. I thank the other members of the panel: the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) and the Clerk of the House. I want to thank the staff for their assiduous work in setting up the shortlisting and interview process, which went very smoothly, and also in identifying candidates, using a search that went beyond the usual places to look for more diverse candidates.

Dr Makarem has had a distinguished career in the healthcare and the pharmaceutical industries. She joined the University College London Hospitals board as a non-executive director and holds a portfolio of non-executive positions and is a member of the audit committee at the Medical Research Council.

Dr Makarem has significant experience as an audit chair: she was previously audit chair at NHS London and NHS Haringey, and is currently audit chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. She brings a wealth of experience from the private sector. She was director of competitive excellence at a pharmaceutical company and prior to that she held roles at consulting firms. In the annex to the motion, the memorandum by the Clerk of the House, it sets out more of the background of her excellent CV.

As a member of the panel, I can say that in both her written work and interview she won the unanimous approval of the board. We the Opposition endorse the appointment of Dr Rima Makarem as a new external member of the House of Commons Commission. She will replace Dame Janet Gaymer, who has been outstanding in the role and whose term expires in September, and we thank her for all her work.

The Commission also agreed that the term limit for its external members should be for a period of three years, with the possibility of an extension for a further two years. Jane McCall was appointed to the Commission as an external member on 2 February 2016 for a period of three years, and the Opposition support the extension of her appointment for a further two years up to a term limit of 1 February 2021. I am sure that they will both serve this House well as a critical friend.