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Number 10 has revealed that Tony Blair will continue to chair key cabinet committees on issues including energy and NHS reform.

The new list of cabinet committees was drawn up following the recent cabinet reshuffle.

Among the 15 to be chaired by the prime minister are NHS reform, schools policy, and energy and the environment which is likely to play an important role in forming government policy on nuclear power.

Blair also chairs committees on asylum and immigration, Iraq, NHS reform, public service reform and on regulation and bureaucracy.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott will chair nine committees, four of them sub-committees, and will be deputy chairman of a further seven. He was previously chairman of five in total.

They will include committees covering areas formerly the remit of Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, including housing and planning, local and regional development, as well as the committee on animal rights activists and a newly-created committee to examine the Post Office network.

Jack Straw, in his new position as Commons leader, will chair a total of seven committees or sub-committees, compared to the two chaired by Geoff Hoon when he held the position last year.

Straw's committees will look at constitutional affairs and parliamentary modernisation, and he also chairs the newly-formed committee on identity management.

Despite Ruth Kelly's appointment at the head of a new Department for Communities and Local Government, Straw is also appointed chairman of the communities committee.

And he also chairs the committee on the Olympics, even though responsibility for the Games falls to culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

Welfare reform, the subject of major debate so far this year, will be the remit of a committee chaired by the prime minister, with chancellor Gordon Brown as deputy.

The influenza committee established to plan preparations for a potential flu pandemic has been disbanded.

Three new committees focus on identity management, the Post Office network and social exclusion.

18 May 2006

 Last updated: 18/05/2006 09:44:00

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