MPs to quiz William Shawcross over failed Charity Commission chair appointment

Shawcross is a former chair of the regulator, but is to be questioned by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee in his role as the Commissioner for Public Appointments

William Shawcross

MPs are set to question William Shawcross and government officials on the process that led to the failed appointment of Martin Thomas as chair of the Charity Commission. 

Last month, Thomas stepped down from the position just a week after being confirmed in post after claims emerged of misconduct when he was chair of the charity Women for Women International.

The culture secretary Nadine Dorries, who is responsible for making the Charity Commission chair appointment, told MPs in the House of Commons last week that the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee would be examining the matter.  

The committee has since announced that on Tuesday it will question Shawcross, who has been the Commissioner for Public Appointments since September, but also chaired the Charity Commission between October 2012 and January 2018. 

The committee will also quiz three senior officials from the DCMS, including Sarah Healey, the permanent secretary. 

A statement from the committee said officials were “likely to be questioned on the process leading up to the appointment of Martin Thomas as chair of the Charity Commission, following his resignation from the role within days”. 

It also said Julian Knight, chair of the committee and the Conservative MP for Solihull, had criticised the department for failing to follow proper processes.

The session with Shawcross is due to start at 10am, with the officials following about an hour later.

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