Plans for a powerful West Midlands Committee in the House of Commons could be scrapped because civil servants object to being held to account by MPs, it has been claimed.
Ministers have been urged to press ahead with proposals for regional select committees, despite the concerns, which would give MPs a chance to demand answers from Whitehall mandarins.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, announced the committees in June, as part of a range of constitutional reforms. These included appointing Birmingham Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne as the first Minister for the West Midlands.
The West Midlands Select Committee would be modelled on existing select committees in the Commons, which scrutinise the work of Government departments.
It was set to include backbench MPs from across the region and would have the power to summon Ministers, including Mr Byrne and others, to explain how their policies were benefiting the West Midlands.
It would also be able to interrogate civil servants and the heads of quangos, such as Advantage West Midlands and the West Midlands Learning and Skills Councils.
Select committees can also launch investigations and publish their findings in high-profile reports.
Hopes for the West Midlands committee ran so high that MPs are already competing behind the scenes for prestigious role of chairing it.
But fears have emerged that the proposal may be watered down after civil servants complained they did not want to be hauled in front of regional committees.
The concerns were expressed during a consultation over the summer, as Ministers asked civil servants for technical advice on how the committee would work.
As a result, the Government is considering creating a less powerful body called a Grand Committee instead.
This would not have the power to hold investigations or summon witnesses, and MPs fear it would become no more than a talking shop.
Birmingham MPs said the Government should stick to its original proposals.
Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) said: "There are some concerns at the moment as to what is happening.
"Creating the Minister for the West Midlands was a very positive step, but there has now got to be a framework of accountability for that Minister."
Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) said: "Regional Select Committees could play an important role holding people to account, including the Minister for the West Midlands.
They were speaking after the issue was raised in the Commons by North Durham MP Kevan Jones.
He told MPs: "It has been said that the Select Committee idea has been kicked into the long grass."
Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House and Cabinet Minister responsible for constitutional reform, was unable to reveal when regional select committees would begin operating.
She said: "We intend to press ahead with regional accountability, but we must get the processes right."