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Jonathan Evans takes the helm as chairman of the All Party Group

MEP Jonathan Evans, United Kingdom.

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The All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance and Financial Services elected former trade minister Jonathan Evans as its new chairman at a meeting in the House of Commons tonight.

As well as serving as Corporate Affairs Minister (which included responsibility for the insurance industry) in the John Major government, Jonathan served as MEP for Wales for ten years and played a major role in many of the debates on financial services regulation in the European Parliament. At the General Election last month he won the marginal seat of Cardiff North for the Conservatives. A solicitor by training, he has also held several directorships in the financial services sector including with NFU Mutual.

He succeeds John Greenway, who was chairman of the group for 18 years and who stood down at the election. Another familiar figure at the group's meetings also stood down at tonight's meeting: Baroness Turner, who has served as a deputy chairman of the group since its foundation in January 1991, although she is remaining as a member of the group.

Three deputy chairmen were elected - Andy Love, Labour MP for Edmonton, Lord Hunt of Wirral and Liberal Democrat peer Lord Newby - and two hon secretaries - Baroness Wall (Labour) and new Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, who used to work in the public affairs team at Aviva.

This is a very strong line-up, full of experience and knowledge of the financial services sector. The group is still attracting new members from among the newly elected MPs and also from the ranks of former Labour ministers: an up-dated membership list will be available shortly. Meanwhile, the exciting task of putting a programme together  for the rest of the session will start in earnest. The group has already had the scene set for it with presentations at tonight's meeting from the group's technical advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers, the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA).

One issue that came up at the meeting which might provoke some feedback is the name of the group. There was a discussion about whether to drop Insurance from its title and re-name the group the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Services. There was an even split of opinion among the members and it was agreed to leave the name as it is for the time being but revisit it later in the session. It would be interesting to hear from others before that discussion takes place.
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