Sir Henry Bellingham has withdrawn from the speakership race. His concession letter emphasises the importance of cross-party support. Whispers are this is a tacit endorsement of Lindsay Hoyle, who is expected to pick up most of Bellingham’s second preference votes…
Read his letter to MPs in full here:
Having entered the contest immediately after Speaker Bercow announced that he was standing down, I have been fortunate enough to attend each one of the many different Hustings alongside the other eight candidates. It is obvious to me that Parliament faces two major crises: First of all, public confidence and trust in Parliament has never been so low; and secondly the whole bullying saga has done an equal amount of damage.
In order to negotiate our way through these crises, and thus restore public trust, it is important we have a new Speaker who really can command support from all corners of the House. Although, I have received a very significant number of pledges from many in our own Party, I do believe there are others better placed than me to command that cross-party support.
This is why, with a heavy heart I have now decided to withdraw from the contest. I will always be grateful to those colleagues who come forward to offer their support, and I trust they will understand why this makes sense.
Finally, I have no regrets for entering the race back in the middle of September. On two key issues, namely the accountability of the Speaker and the need for him to be regularly re-elected by secret ballot, and on the issue of IPSA, I was able to set the themes of the debate. Indeed, at the start of the contest I was the only candidate talking about IPSA, but now they all are!
I would like to personally wish you all the very best for the future.
Every best wish,
Sir Henry Bellingham
M.P. for North West Norfolk