Penrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart, who has represented the north Cumbrian constituency since May 2010, yesterday became the new Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, and is the first ever Member of Parliament to achieve a Chairmanship in their first term in Parliament.

Rory moves from a place on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to the prestigious new role on the cross-party Committee which scrutinises National Defence. It is made up of twelve Members of Parliament and is appointed by the House of Commons.

Commenting today on his election Rory said: “This is an enormous honour. Some colleagues who I respect greatly were also running. It was a decision of all parties across the House and I hope to continue to take an independent approach, representing the views across parliament. My experience from the Balkans to Iraq and Afghanistan has convinced me that Britain and its allies need to take a realistic approach to policy. We must learn the lessons of over-involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, without lurching to the opposite extreme of total isolation.There are great challenges ahead – not simply in Ukraine and the Middle East – but with drones, cyber warfare, and technology in general. Scrutiny, analysis and careful strategy will be ever more important, and I feel that the committee has a vital role to play in the national debate. “

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