All Party Group on Insurance & Financial Services set for post-election lift off

I lost count of the number of times that I was asked before the election and during the campaign about the future of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance & Financial Services. Commonly, these questions focussed on the need to replace the group's long-standing chairman, John Greenway, who stood down at the election after 23 years as Conservative MP for Ryedale.

Of course, John was a huge driving force behind the group's success and its high profile in Parliament and the financial services sector but he would be the first to acknowledge that the group is more than a one-man show. The challenge is now to demonstrate that. And it is a big challenge.

Thirteen members stood down at the election, another three became election casualties (David Drew-Lab, Susan Kramer-Lib Dem and Nigel Waterson-Con) and amazingly ten former members of the group are now ministers, with four of them in the Cabinet. This says alot about the quality of members the group attracts and the potential for influence over future government policy. The ministers from the group now in the Cabinet are Vince Cable (who was one of the group's joint deputy chairmen), Cheryl Gillan, Chris Huhne and Sir George Young. The junior ministers from the group are David Gauke, Nick Gibb, Mark Hoban, James Paice, Sarah Teather and Theresa Villiers.

There are, however, around 40 new MPs elected on 6 May who were previously employed in the financial services sector who I am already getting in touch with to sound out their interest in joining the group and, so far, the responses have been very positive. There are also alot of former ministers who have had departmental responsibilities that have brought them into contact with the insurance and financial services sectors who could bring alot of experience and insight to the group. I will be contacting them too.

Then there are the 40 MPs and Peers still in Parliament who have been members of the group for some time and recognise its value. They have already been very helpful and encouraging it getting the arrangements in place for an initial meeting of the group to elect officers and devise a programme on 9 June. At that meeting we will also look at the Terms of reference.pdf of the group and the name as some people have suggested that it might change to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Services. I would be interested in any views from the industry on that proposal.

Hopefully, we will be in a position to publish the new list of officers and members straight after that meeting and get on with arranging a programme to ensure that the group fulfills its mission to act as a neutral channel of communication between the industry and Parliament.

If you have any issues that you think the new group should look at or you want to arrange a presentation or dinner for the group please do get in touch.
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