Speaker’s election: MPs to choose John Bercow’s successor

MPs will elect John Bercow’s successor as Speaker of the House of Commons later in the first election for the powerful post in more than a decade.

The Speaker is responsible for keeping order in Commons debates.

Eight candidates are in the running, including ex-deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman and current deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

At 14:30 GMT the candidates will make short speeches in the Commons after which MPs will cast their votes.

How will the vote unfold?

MPs have 20 minutes to vote in a secret ballot, and it will take about an hour to count them.

If no candidate receives more half of the votes, the individual who receives the least votes will drop out, as will anyone who obtains less than 5% of the total cast.

After each round, there will be a 10-minute period for candidates to withdraw.

MPs will then continue to vote until one candidate obtains more than half of the votes. The process will be overseen by Ken Clarke, who as Father of the House is the long-serving MP in the Commons.

Who is in the running?

Deputy speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle

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UK Parliament

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Labour MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle is regarded as the frontrunner for the role

Labour MP Harriet Harman

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Getty Images

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Labour’s Harriet Harman has said she wants to put an end to “the Old Boys’ Club” in Parliament

The eight candidates are:

  • Chris Bryant – former minister and shadow Commons leader; Labour MP for Rhondda since 2001
  • Harriet Harman – former minister and deputy Labour leader; Labour MP since 1982, for Peckham and its successor constituency Camberwell
  • Meg Hillier – chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee and former minister; Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch since 2005
  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle – elected Labour MP for Chorley in 1997; elected deputy Speaker in 2010
  • Dame Eleanor Laing – elected Conservative MP for Epping Forest in 1997; elected deputy Speaker in 2013
  • Sir Edward Leigh – Conservative MP for Gainsborough since 1983; former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee
  • Shailesh Vara – Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire since 2005; former Northern Ireland minister
  • Dame Rosie Winterton – elected Labour MP for Doncaster Central in 1997; former Labour chief whip; elected deputy Speaker in 2017

BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy said most observers believed Sir Lindsay was the frontrunner.

He has been Mr Bercow’s senior deputy for years.

“As Chairman of Ways and Means, he chairs Budget debates and selects amendments for committee stage proceedings on bills, and has had plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his credentials,” our correspondent says.

Presentational grey line

Analysis: Easy win or tactical battle

By Mark D’Arcy, the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent

Later on Monday what one MP calls “the most duplicitous electorate in the world” will vote to choose a new Speaker of the House of Commons.

It may be an easy win, or it might be an intricate tactical battle – with eight declared candidates in the field, almost anything could happen.

The process begins in the morning when the candidates must hand in their nominations by 10:30 GMT.

They must be signed by 12 to 15 MPs, at least three of whom must come from a different party to the person they are nominating.

The first thing to look out for is who is nominating who – certain big names could swing votes behind particular candidates, although it is always the kiss of death for the prime minister of the day to indicate support for a candidate – MPs don’t want a creature of the government in the chair.

At 14:30 the House will convene in the chamber, with Father of the House Ken Clarke in the chair. The candidates will make their pitch to MPs in a five-minute speech in an order determined by drawing lots.

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