ALEX Salmond has come under fire for nominating a leading Leave campaigner to chair the new Commons Brexit committee whose role it will be to hold the UK Government to account over Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.

The Liberal Democrats said his nomination of Kate Hoey was nonsensical and undermined the former First Minister’s claim to be working with people across the UK to keep Scotland in the single market.

On Wednesday, MPs will vote for a number of committee chairmanships, arguably the most important of which is the one to monitor the work of the Department for Exiting the European Union.

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Labour’s Hilary Benn, the former shadow foreign secretary, is tipped to become chairman of the committee, which will have 21 members, including 10 Tories and MPs from six opposition parties; the average committee normally has 11 members.

But Ms Hoey, who represents Vauxhall in London, has also thrown her hat in the ring and, among those nominating her, is the former SNP leader. The onetime sports minister has said she wants Britain to have the fullest possible access to the single market but argues that taking back full control of immigration is incompatible with membership.

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Lord Purvis for the Lib Dems said: “It is astonishing that the SNP’s shadow foreign secretary Alex Salmond wants a dyed-in-the-wool Leave campaigner as chair of the Brexit scrutiny committee.

“This decision blows a hole in the First Minister’s claim to be working with people across the UK to keep Scotland inside the single market. Kate Hoey has already made clear that she wants to see us all out of the single market.”

The peer added: “David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson have utterly failed to provide details of what Brexit will mean for Scotland and the UK. The decision of the SNP to back giving the job of asking the hard questions to one of the chief supporters of Brexit makes no sense at all and is against the interests of Scotland, though it perhaps serves the purposes of those seeking any excuse for a second independence poll."

But a spokesman for the Gordon MP hit back, saying: “Mr Salmond has known Ms Hoey as a Member of Parliament for the best part of 30 years. He regards her as a first class parliamentarian and independent minded; attributes fitting of a chair of any select committee.

"It has nothing to do with who supported remain or leave. Mr Salmond simply believes Ms Hoey is the best person for the job. A purely personal endorsement, not a party political one," he added.

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As previously reported by The Herald, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil, the MP for the Western Isles, is set to become chairman of the new international trade committee. It was confirmed that the SNP would get the chairmanship of this committee and Mr MacNeil has emerged as the only nominee. He was previously chairman of the Commons energy committee but this was disbanded after a departmental shake-up in the wake of Theresa May becoming prime minister.

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Another chairmanship battle is in the offing in light of the resignation of scandal-hit Keith Vaz as chairman of the home affairs committee. Three former Labour frontbenchers Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna and Caroline Flint as well as left-winger veteran Paul Flynn are in the running. The real contest is said to be between Ms Cooper and Mr Umunna both of whom have support across parties.

MPs will vote on Wednesday morning with the Commons Speaker John Bercow announcing the winners in the afternoon.