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Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 18:11 GMT
New sleaze watchdog named
Sir Nigel Wicks
Sir Nigel will take up his post on 1 March
A former private secretary to Baroness Thatcher is the new parliamentary sleaze watchdog.

Sir Nigel Wicks takes over from Lord Neill as chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public life.

He will be the third chairman of the committee, which was set up by former prime minister John Major in October 1994 in the wake of the cash-for-questions scandal.

Whitehall officials said Sir Nigel was chosen for the post because of his expertise in the workings of government and parliament.

He served as private secretary or principal private secretary to three Prime Ministers, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, and Margaret Thatcher.

Lord Neill
Lord Neill: Stepping down
Until last year, Sir Nigel was one of the top civil servants at the Treasury.

He said his first task would be to carry out an assessment of how the committee's existing seven reports had been followed up.

Once it had agreed a new programme of work, Sir Nigel expected to begin a new cycle of public hearings, possibly before the parliamentary summer recess.

His appointment was formally announced to MPs in a written statement on Wednesday.

Lord Neill is retiring as chairman of the committee after more than three years in the job.

Two new members

Two new members have also been announced.

Rabbi Julia Neuberger, who is chief executive of the King's Fund - an independent healthcare charity - joins the committee on Thursday.

She is a regular presenter of the Thought for Today slot on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The second new member is Rita Donaghy, who chairs the conciliation and arbitration service, ACAS.

She is also a member of the TUC General Council.

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See also:

14 Feb 01 | UK Politics
MPs call for new sleaze watchdog
27 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Neill calls for new sleaze code
16 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Peers face code of conduct
06 Jul 98 | UK Politics
Sleaze watchdog paid 500 a day
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