Former apprenticeships minister Robert Halfon has been elected to chair the House of Commons education select committee.

Just a month after losing his ministerial post, the MP for Harlow was chosen for the new role by his peers by securing 261 votes to 213 for Nick Boles.

The former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel told the Jewish News: “Education and skills is my passion so am I delighted to have been elected by MPs from all parties. My driving force is to ensure that education is a ladder of opportunity for all ensuring social justice, and improving the skills and productivity of our nation.”

Halfon, known for his campaigning successes, said his priorities would include improving stands in numeracy and literacy in schools and the “need for an expansion in adult education, plugging the skills deficit”. He will also seek to “refocus careers advice to cover skills and vocational opportunities”.

Meanwhile, Britain’s newest Jewish MP was elected to the environmental audit committee, days after his maiden speech called for action to tackle climate change.