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Editor’s blog Thursday 10 June 2010: Stephen "Sunlight" Dorrell to chair Health Select Committee

Former Conservative Health Secretary 1995-97 Stephen Dorrell MP is the new chair of the influential House of Commons Health Select Committee.

Dorrell was elected by a big majority of the vote among MPs, beating Nadine Dorries in the second, transferable voting round.

"Bring me sunshine ..."
Dorrell told HSJ at last year's Conservative Party conference that the NHS vision of his party needed "a bit of sunlight".

Dorrell's voting record is one of strong opposition to the legislation creating foundation trust status, and of strong opposition to the smoking ban.

His expenses claims were overall modest, in the lowest decile of MPs.

And he is not Nadine Dorries. Which is a good thing.

You Wensum, you lose some ...
In 2009, Dorrell used a "pre-pack" bankruptcy agreement for Wensum Company's main UK subsidiaries: a firm in which he was the major shareholder and chair.

According to the Telegraph report, Wensum "had unsecured debts of £4.5m, primarily to trade creditors, but warned on July 1, when it confirmed the pre-pack, that shareholders were unlikely to receive any proceeds and creditors very little. Wensum also had an estimated pension deficit of £2m".

The in-administration firm was then sold to a rival GG125, minus its liabilities. Mr Dorrell has a 15% shareholding and directorship in the new venture, which is renamed Wensum Group Limited. He told the paper the events cost him £550,000.

The Commons Health Select Committee can do a lot of good work. It is to be hoped that it will continue its impressive recent form under his chairmanship - and that the NHS will not be seeking his advice about how to manage bankruptcy.

Or how to manage pension liabilities.