Changes cost Commons watchdog its chairman

Westminster's main financial watchdog, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), is to lose both its chairman and...

Westminster's main financial watchdog, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), is to lose both its chairman and clerk in the next few months.

The committee has played a major role in exposing government computer blunders in recent years, including the Wessex and the Foreign Office fiascos, and has also been in the lead in investigating the 1994 Chinook crash.

Chairman David Davis will have to stand down as he has been appointed Tory Party chairman by Iain Duncan Smith after his own unsuccessful challenge for the job.

Ken Brown, the PAC's clerk for more than a decade and a key figure in its effectiveness, is to retire at Christmas.

Former PAC chairman Lord Sheldon has praised both men and is confident that suitable replacements will be found.

The replacement chairman will have to be an opposition MP - almost certainly a Conservative. The new clerk is likely to come from one of the other House of Commons committees.

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