Boris Johnson has provoked a backlash amongst Tory MPs after nominating Chris Grayling in charge of parliament’s esteemed Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
The Sun reports that Chris Grayling, dubbed ‘Failing Grayling’ for his failure as transport minister, is likely to get the job after Downing Street urged other Tory members on the committee to back him.
It puts Grayling in charge of publishing the much-delayed Russian interference report as well as scrutinsing the work of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
Usually the job is given to long-serving party grandees, with former attorney general Dominic Grieve the last Tory MP in the job.
One unhappy backbench Tory MP told the newspaper: ‘Giving Grayling the ISC job is going down very badly, and is being seen as a blatant ‘jobs for the boys’.
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‘There were some eminently more qualified candidates to chair it, but clearly Boris owes him one.’
Lib Dem acting leader Sir Ed Davey also joined the chorus of condemnation.
He said: ‘This is yet another blatant power grab by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings. They are trying to prevent anyone from holding them to account in a meaningful way.
‘The Intelligence and Security Committee does crucial work holding the government and security services to account. It scrutinises evidence deemed too sensitive for the rest of us to see.’
He added: ‘The public needs to have confidence that the Committee is independent of government. Installing a lackey of the prime minister – especially one with as little credibility as Chris Grayling – badly undermines that confidence.
‘Principled Conservative MPs should refuse to go along with this latest authoritarian move.’
Others joining the committee are likely to include Theresa Villiers and Sir John Hayes.
The Russian interference report was ready to be published at the end of October, but was delayed when the election was called, and then subsequently delayed again until the ISC reconvened.