VENGEFUL allies of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown have blocked Barry Sheerman from winning a top post, according to the Huddersfield MP.
The Labour backbencher tasted electoral defeat for the first time in 36 years yesterday when he failed to win the chairmanship of the House of Commons Business Select Committee.
Labour’s Adrian Bailey took the post with the support of 297 MPs, compared with Mr Sheerman who won 225 votes and Geraint Davies on 90 votes.
The Huddersfield MP was a frequent critic of Mr Brown during his time in Downing Street.
Last December – just months before the General Election – Mr Sheerman told his leader to resign saying he had failed to win the “love” of voters.
The Huddersfield MP believes allies of the former Prime Minister got their revenge by preventing him wining yesterday’s vote.
Mr Sheerman said: “The Brown whipping machine was against me. Other MPs have told me there was a well-organised campaign to make sure I wasn’t elected.
“I have a reputation because I spoke out against Gordon Brown and said he couldn’t win the election. Gordon Brown’s cronies don’t forgive or forget.”
MPs voted in chairmen of 16 select committees yesterday – the first time such elections have been held.
Mr Sheerman believes he did well in the poll which was open to all 650 MPs regardless of party.
He said: “I think I did extremely well to get 225 votes. It would have been enough to get elected to some of the other committees. Graham Stuart won the education post with just 192 votes.”
The Huddersfield MP believes he would have made a better chairman of the Business Select Committee than Mr Bailey, the MP for West Bromwich West.
“Adrian Bailey is a very nice man,” he said. “But I think I would have done a better job of chairing the committee and holding Vince Cable to account.”
Before yesterday Mr Sheerman had not lost an election since October 1974 when he failed to win Taunton for Labour at the General Election.
He said: “I’m not used to being beaten but never mind. I know why I lost this particular competition.”
Yesterday’s result leaves Mr Sheerman without a chairmanship for the first time in 10 years. He chaired the Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families from 2000 until last month’s General Election.
Fifteen other select committee chairmen were elected yesterday.
Labour’s Margaret Hodge – who saw off the BNP in Barking at the last election – was elected head of the Public Accounts Committee which monitors government spending.
Former Tory minister Stephen Dorrell won the chairmanship of the Health Select Committee while ex-Labour minister Keith Vaz took the top post on the Home Affairs Select Committee.