Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field has resigned from the Labour Party whip, putting his role as committee chair in doubt.
A spokesperson from the Work and Pensions Committee confirmed yesterday, 30 August, that his resignation will have no implications for his role as chair of the committee. However this morning he tole BBC Breakfast that he said he would spend the next few days considering whether to trigger a by-election as an Independent MP.
The move would would bring his role into disrepute and there have been calls from within the Labour Party for Field to quit the party completely, as well as supporters saying he jumped before he was pushed.
Field quit yesterday in protest against the party’s lack of action in addressing an “erosion in core values” and a culture of “intolerance, nastiness and intimidation” that now reigns in the party.
In a letter to opposition chief whip, Nick Brown, Field wrote with “considerable sadness” of his decision to leave the party and sit in as an Independent Labour Member.
Royal London director of policy Steve Webb said: “It is vitally important that Frank Field’s decision to resign the Labour whip does not affect his role as chair of the Commitee.
"Although we do not see eye to eye on every issue, there is no doubt that he is one of the most knowledgeable MPs in Parliament when it comes to pensions. In particular, I am sure that his pressure on the former owner of BHS played an important part in ensuring that BHS pensioners got a better outcome.
"I hope that MPs of all parties will support Frank Field in retaining this key role.”
Field has become a main stay in the pensions industry since he became an MP for Birkenhead in 1979, and has made numerous headlines recently holding the industry and government to account over the now collapsed BHS and Carillion.