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Who will be the next Speaker of the House of Commons?

Monday, January 23, 2017

 

The current Speaker is John Bercow, the Member of Parliament for Buckingham. He became Speaker eight years ago and said that he would only serve for nine years. So, unless he changes his mind, the race begins to find his replacement.

What does the Speaker do?

The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons chamber. The holder of this office is an MP who has been elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament. During debates they keep order and call MPs to speak.

The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times.

The Speaker also represents the Commons to the monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission.

Who might the next Speaker be? The Current Favourites

Jacob Rees-Mogg

He is the dry-witted Conservative Member of Parliament for North East Somerset who may find the role of being impartial difficult.

His father, William Rees Mogg was editor of the Times newspaper and became a life peer in the House of Lords in 1988, his sister is also a Member of Parliament.

Notable Moments

  • He was a strong voice for the Brexiteers in Parliament during the European Referendum who claimed that David Cameron’s deal from the EU had been ‘watered down to a thin gruel’
  • In 2013 he suggested doing a deal with the UK Independence Party
  • In February 2012 Rees-Mogg made the record books with the use of floccinaucinihilipilification—an Eton college neologism meaning "the habit of considering as worthless"—in the House of Commons which became the longest word in Hansard
  • Due to his eccentricity, Rees-Mogg is comically known by parliamentary sketch writers as "the honourable member for the early 20th century"
  • In January 2014, he dismissed the sum of £250,000 spent on MPs portraits as "chickenfeed".

Chris Bryant

He is the Labour Member of Parliament for Rhondda since the 2001 General Election. He was previously a priest until 1991 where he decided that staying in the church and being openly gay were not compatible for him.

Notable Moments 

  • He was Shadow Leader of the House of Commons until June 2016 but resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet
  • Bryant has held several Shadow Cabinet positions
  • In 2010, he described the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government's housing benefit reforms as poorer people "being socially engineered and sociologically cleansed out of London" to much controversy
  • In 2015 he got into a row with musician James Blunt, claiming that there were too many privately educated musicians like him
  • In January 2017 he wished the current Speaker of the Commons ‘happy kiss a ginger day’  

Lindsay Hoyle

He has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Chorley since 1997. His father was also an MP serving Warrington Central and representing the Labour Party.

He was elected Deputy Speaker in 2010 so has some experience of the office’s duties.

Notable Moments

  • Hoyle was elected to the post of Deputy Speaker by a ballot of fellow Members of the House rather than an appointment by the Speaker
  • He won plaudits for keeping politicians in line during the 2013 budget. George Osborne needed to perform well after the 2012 ‘pasty tax’ debacle
  • It was reported that after the death of Princess Diana, Hoyle petitioned unsuccessfully for London Heathrow Airport to be renamed the Diana, Princess of Wales Airport
  • His lack of controversy may be an advantage for this independent role and he has a good majority in Chorley a Labour heartland.

Douglas Carswell

He is the only UKIP Member of Parliament representing Clacton, Essex.

From 2010 to 2014 Carswell was a member of the Conservative Party but switched his allegiance to UKIP. This led to a by-election, which Carswell comfortably won, and he retained his seat in the 2015 General Election.

Notable Moments

  • In 2001, he stood against then Prime Minister Tony Blair in the General Election significantly reducing his majority
  • He was named 2009 Briton of the Year by Daily Telegraph
  • Carswell’s maiden speech (first speech in the Commons) was about identity cards
  • His relationship with Nigel Farage, UKIP leader until 2017, has been fractious over the years with Farage once saying Carswell was ‘irrelevant’  

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