Harman Pitches Herself as Continuity Bercow

The race to be the next speaker is formally on, with a number of candidates now openly campaigning. In truth many candidates have been quietly on the campaign trail for well over a year. Harriet Harman has the most sophisticated operation and the most support from the Labour benches. Another serious contender at this stage is Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle. Harman took to the airwaves on The Today Programme to declare that she agreed with Bercow’s flagrant disregard for precedent…

Guido brings you the runners and riders to be the next speaker in full here…

  • Harriet Harman (Lab)
    • The (self-described) ‘Mother of the House’. Pitching herself as ‘continuity Bercow.’ That will go down well with Remainers but is unlikely to pick up much Tory support…
  • Lindsay Hoyle (Lab)
    • Deputy Speaker. Good sense of humour with a decidedly smaller head than his would-be predecessor. Seen as less activist with a broader appeal across the House. But will this Remainer Parliament want someone less keen on breaking the rules for their own cause?
  • Chris Bryant (Lab)
    • Loves Parliamentary procedure so much he wrote a book on it. An also-ran.
  • Charles Walker (Con)
    • A close friend of Bercow and loyal Theresa May fan. May want to add ‘speaker’ to his title along with his KBE this morning.
  • Eleanor Laing (Con)
    • Seen as more cooperative in the eyes of Brexiteers…
  • Rosie Winterton (Lab)
    • Another Deputy Speaker and former Labour Chief Whip under Miliband.
  • Meg Hillier (Lab)
    • Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
  • Sir Henry Bellingham (Con)
    • Promised to bring back ceremonial outfits, including wifs for the clerks and speaker. Will go down well with traditional Tories…
  • Sir Edward Leigh (Con)
    • Certainly the Tory Brexiteer’s favourite… so a no-hoper if Bercow insists on this cohort of MPs voting in the next speaker.
  • Pete Wishart (SNP)
    • Clearly doesn’t think Scottish independence is likely any time soon…

Expect backroom dealings and grovelling campaigning over the next two months…

UPDATE: After putting his name about, Pete Wishart has sheepishly pulled out

UPDATE II: Election for the next speaker announced for 4th November

UPDATE III: Shailesh Vara (Con) has emailed MPs announcing he is also running for speaker, promising to be impartial and to address “everyone in a respectful and fair manner“.

MPs Cry For “More” Lindsay Hoyle

Let Bercow be in no doubt as to what the Commons thinks of him: MPs cried “more” as Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle stepped in for today’s PMQs. 43 days ’til Bercow promised to stand down…

Snap Election Blows Speaker Race Wide Open

The snap election has potentially huge consequences for the race to be the next Speaker. The Commons votes to elect a Speaker at the beginning of each parliamentary term – custom dictates that John Bercow be re-elected should he desire to carry on. He has previously said he would serve nine years, taking him to 2018, then that he wanted to stay on until 2020. Bercow has indicated he intends to stand on June 8, so what does that mean for his successor?

Lindsay Hoyle was the overwhelming favourite to be the next Speaker. He had hoped to be appointed before the next election so he wouldn’t have a challenger. Yet Hoyle has a perilous 4,530 majority in Chorley. Labour sources believe anything under 8,000 is under threat. His predecessor in the seat was Tory – Chorley has flip-flopped between Labour and Tory MPs since the war. Chorley voted 57% to Leave the EU. As one MP told Guido last night:

“Lindsay will be feeling rough. He had hoped to be made Speaker before the election. Now he may lose his seat.”

The race to succeed Bercow would be blown wide open…

Bercow Chastened as Deputy Cheered

Almost as if the House is pleased the Speaker isn’t in the chair for the Budget…

Seen Elsewhere



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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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