Dominic Dodd, the preferred candidate of the government to be chair of Monitor, has withdrawn his application after the Commons health committee refused to back him.
The chair of the Royal Free Foundation Trust was announced earlier this month as the government’s preferred candidate for the job. However, the committee of MPs voted against the appointment following a pre-appointment hearing.
Not all Conservative and Lib Dem MP members had attended to vote. Those that did voted in favour of Mr Dodd’s appointment, but they were outvoted by Labour MPs who voted against.
The government is allowed to overrule their judgement but has not announced a decision.
However Mr Dodd has now withdrawn of his own accord, HSJ understands.
Monitor vice chair Stephen Thornton said: “It is deeply disappointing for Monitor that having waited for as long as we have for the government to appoint a chair, to find ourselves in this position.
“Purely from an internal Monitor governance perspective, we’ve known all along that having David Bennett as both our chief executive and acting chair is not good governance, and wanted to put that right.” He said it was “very frustrating” for Monitor.
The appointment is the responsibility of government rather than Monitor itself.
In its judgement on Mr Dodd, the health committee said: “This has been a period of great uncertainty for Monitor… [Mr] Bennett has both shaped and interpreted the role that Monitor now plays in the system which makes the transition to another individual taking on the chair an especially difficult one. We do not think Mr Dodd is the right person to undertake that difficult transition.”
Labour has strongly opposed Monitor’s powers in relation to competition and said it will repeal legislation which underpins them. However, HSJ understands the Labour MPs involved have said this was not the reason they opposed Mr Dodd’s appointment.
Mr Bennett has been Monitor chair since March 2011, and was also appointed as its chief executive in November last year.
A Department of Health spokesperson said:”Whilst we are very disappointed that Dominic Dodd has withdrawn himself from the process to become chair of Monitor, we respect his position. We are considering our options for the best way forward.”