Black watch.(Select Committee to probe latest fire safety reform)

Lobbying red in tooth and claw--that is now certain to be the scene after the latest post-Fire and Rescue Service White Paper move in the Commons. We refer, of course, to the decision of the ODPM Select Committee to hold an inquiry into its proposals. This will report, one imagines, come November when news of any Fire Bill drops from regal lips at the State Opening of Parliament.

As with most fundamental political changes (Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly etc) the Commons Select Committee system was introduced under a fresh Government--in fact, after the 1979 Thatcher victory. Since then every principal Department of State has a Select Committee to monitor it.

But do these watch dogs have any real teeth? …

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