1 July 2020
National Audit Office

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown speaks in support of the appointment of Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE to the Office of Chair of the National Audit Office.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

I am delighted to catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s motion. I declare an interest in this subject, because although I was not part of the selection process at all, Dame Fiona is a constituent of mine. I know her and have met her on a number of occasions. She will make an excellent candidate, for the reasons I am about to give—my right hon. Friend will be grateful to know that I will do so briefly. She has had a role in academia, recently being Master at Emmanuel College, having gained a first at Cambridge. For 10 years, she was well known as the director of the National Trust, building its membership from 10 million to 19 million. As the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee has said, she was part of government. In the Cabinet Office, she formed a new unit which brought the ideas of gender equality to a range of government initiatives.

As well as being in academia, government and non-governmental organisations, Dame Fiona has had a range of business appointments, with Wessex Water, the Grosvenor Estate, the BBC and John Lewis. She brings a wealth of experience to this job and she will bring an inquiring mind. She is a highly bright person who will be there to challenge and work with, on an excellent basis, our Comptroller and Auditor General, Gareth Davies. All in all, her appointment will be a benefit to this House, to the Government and to this country.