Defence Committee - role

The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies.

The Committee's powers are the same as those for other departmental select committees as set out in Standing Order No.152: principally, to send for persons, papers and records, to appoint specialist advisers, to establish a sub-committee, and to meet and report from time to time.

The Committee is made up of twelve Members of Parliament and is appointed by the House of Commons.

The Committee chooses its own subjects of inquiry.  Depending on the subject, external deadlines, and the amount of oral evidence the Committee decides to take, an inquiry may last for several months and give rise to a report to the House; other inquiries may simply consist of a single day’s oral evidence which the Committee may publish without making a report.

When the Committee has chosen an inquiry it normally issues a press notice outlining the main themes of inquiry and inviting interested parties to submit written evidence. It may also identify possible witnesses and issue specific invitations to them to submit written evidence.