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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Philip Mawer: No pushover?
Filkin: leaving the job later this week
Philip Mawer, the man nominated as the potential successor to Commons sleaze watchdog Elizabeth Filkin, is arguably taking on one of the toughest roles in public life.

He (Mawer) is a brilliant man in handling questions of principle

Lord Scarman

The senior MPs who proposed his appointment believe he has the independence and strength of character to monitor the financial affairs of MPs and help repair the damaged reputation of the House of Commons.

He is certainly no stranger to controversy, having been involved as a top civil servant in the Scarman report into the Brixton riots and, more recently, as a church administrator, the debate over the ordination of women clergy.

He has a reputation for integrity and plain dealing, which should stand him in good stead in the battles ahead.

'No pushover'

Mr Mower began life as a career civil servant, rising to become principal private secretary to Conservative Home Secretary Douglas Hurd.

Philip Mawer
Philip Mawer: reputation for integrity
Twelve years ago he joined the Church of England as secretary general of the General Synod and, in 1999, became director of the Archbishops' Council.

On his appointment the then 42-year-old was described as "one of the brightest young men in the civil service".

Conservative MP, Peter Bottomley, who chairs the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee and was highly critical of the way Mrs Filkin was treated, has welcomed his nomination as standards commissioner.

Senior Labour MP Tam Dalyell, the oldest member of the Commons, also welcomed the proposed appointment and has said he believes Mr Mawer will be no pushover.

During his time at the Home Office, Mr Mawer demonstrated a flair for handling politically sensitive briefs.

In the early 1980s, he helped draft the Scarman report into the Brixton riots.

Lord Scarman is quoted as saying: "He (Mawer) is a very clever man and a very hard working man, with tremendous mastery of detail.

"He is a brilliant man in handling questions of principle."

MPs challenged

At the General Synod he was involved in the handling of delicate issues such as the ordination of women, the role of bishops in the House of Lords and what he described as "unthinking racial discrimination" in the church and elsewhere.

In 1995, he challenged the findings of the Commons Select Committee on Social Security, chaired by senior Labour MP Frank Field, on the funding of clergy pensions.

According to the House of Commons Commission, which was responsible for selecting Mr Mawer out of 64 candidates, it was known at the General Synod that he would like to move on after 10 years.

Mr Mawer was educated at Hull Grammar School and Edinburgh University, where he read politics.

He is married with three children and lives in Hertfordshire.

His appointment as Commons watchdog has to be ratified by MPs in a vote next week.

Elizabeth Filkin

The succession

Background

Analysis
See also:

06 Feb 02 | Politics
21 Dec 01 | Politics
11 Dec 01 | Politics
07 Dec 01 | Politics
06 Dec 01 | Politics
05 Dec 01 | Politics
05 Dec 01 | Politics
05 Dec 01 | Politics
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