By Tony Grew - 6th July 2011
Labour MP Tom Watson was named as Commons select committee member of the year at the House magazine awards last night.
At an awards ceremony in the Robing Room attended by peers, MPs and members of the press gallery, Watson was honoured for using his membership of the culture committee to push for further investigation of the phone hacking allegations.
MPs and peers voted for the winners, with the press deciding who would win minister of the year.
Watson said he learnt much about select committees when he first entered parliament and served under the chairmanship of Chris Mullin on the home affairs committee.
He cited as a "pre-requisite" for effective committee members both an obsessional approach to policy and "an eye for the big picture".
David Davis, presenting the award to Watson, said he is proof that "a select committee member can turn the world upside down".
Natascha Engel, winner of the backbench MP of the year, said that chairing the backbench business committee has been "the greatest privilege I have ever had".
She paid tribute to the other members of the committee, which has "changed the way parliament works" and made the democratic process "much stronger and livelier".
Engel was presented with her award by Mr Speaker, who called her "one of the most engaging and personable people it is possible to meet".
Mr Speaker said that MPs take the awards, sponsored by ePolitix.com, Dods and The House magazine, "immensely seriously".
He said each of the winners "has brought to bear inimitable qualities and distinctiveness" to both Houses of Parliament.
Mr Speaker said House magazine editor Gisela Stuart, who hosted the ceremony, is "a Speaker's dream", always ready with a pithy and incisive question.
The other winners are:
Constituency MP of the year- Angela Smith MP
Technology or social media user of the year- Kerry McCarthy MP
Commons speech of the year- David Crausby MP, speech on the debate on the military covenant
Peer of the year- Lord Taylor of Holbeach
Commons minister of the year- Iain Duncan Smith MP