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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October 2003, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Profile: Sir Philip Mawer
Sir Philip Mawer took on what is arguably one of the toughest roles in public life - as Commons sleaze-buster - in February 2002.

Until the current Iain Duncan Smith complaint catapulted him into the public arena, he had gone about his job in a low key manner - thus far avoiding any of the clashes with MPs that marked his predecessor's term of office.

That will please those senior MPs who proposed his appointment believing he had the independence and strength of character to monitor the financial affairs of MPs and help repair the damaged reputation of the House of Commons.

Even before taking up his job as Parlaimentary Commissioner for Standards he had demonstrated an ability to work in controversial areas without compromising a reputation for integrity and plain dealing

He was involved as a top civil servant in the Scarman report into the 1980s Brixton riots and, more recently, as a church administrator, in the debate over the ordination of women clergy.

'No pushover'

Sir Philip, 56, began life as a career civil servant, rising to become principal private secretary to Conservative Home Secretary Douglas Hurd.

Thirteen years ago he joined the Church of England as secretary general of the General Synod and, in 1999, became director of the Archbishops' Council.

When he switched to his church job, Sir Philip 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 his predecessor Elizabeth Filkin was treated, welcomed his nomination as standards commissioner.

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

Lord Scarman is quoted as saying: "He 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 Sir Philip out of 64 candidates, it was known at the General Synod that he would like to move on after 10 years.

Sir Philip was educated at Hull Grammar School and Edinburgh University, where he read politics.

He is married with three children and lives in Hertfordshire.




SEE ALSO:
Sleaze watchdog named
06 Feb 02 |  Politics
'No plot' to undermine watchdog
11 Dec 01 |  Politics
Standards body backs MPs watchdog
07 Dec 01 |  Politics
Sleaze watchdog's plea to MPs
06 Dec 01 |  Politics
Speaker hits back in sleaze row
05 Dec 01 |  Politics
Sleazebuster's high-profile scalps
05 Dec 01 |  Politics
Profile of Elizabeth Filkin
05 Dec 01 |  Politics


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