Tory MP John Bercow is elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons


Blackleaf
#1
John Bercow, the MP for Buckingham, has been elected as the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Despite being a Tory, he is a popular choice amongst Labour MPs and not popular amongst Tory MPs. This is due to the fact that the once right-wing Mr Bercow has in recent years become more left-wing.

Mr Bercow is the 157th Speaker, a position which goes all the way back to 1377, when Sir Thomas Hungerford, the MP for Wiltshire, became the first one.

Mr Bercow is also the first Jewish person to be Speaker.

One of the many unusual and ancient ceremonies of which Britain is probably famous for (and which make certain political, royal and public areas of life in this country much more interesting than they would be elsewhere) is the fact that the newly-elected Speaker is "dragged" to the Speaker's chair by any number of MPs. This probably derives back to the Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century, when being Speaker wasn't a job that many people wanted. On this occasion, two MPs "dragged" Mr Bercow to the Speaker's chair.

The last Speaker, Michael Martin, resigned over the recent expenses scandal which has engulfed British politics. He was the first Speaker since 1695 to be forced out of office.

The new Speaker was elected by MPs under a new system.

Candidates must be nominated by at least twelve members, of whom at least three must be of a different party from the candidate. Each member may nominate no more than one candidate. The House then votes by secret ballot; an absolute majority (in the U.K. sense, i.e. more than 50% of the votes cast) is required for victory. If no candidate wins a majority, then the individual with the fewest votes is eliminated, as are any candidates who receive less than five percent of the votes cast. The House continues to vote, for several rounds if necessary, until one member receives the requisite majority. Then, the House votes on a formal motion to appoint the member in question to the Speakership.

After two rounds of voting, the MPs who received only a few votes decided to drop out, leaving only John Bercow VS Sir George Young to face each other in the Final.

John Bercow received 322 votes to Sir George Young's 271, a majority of 51.

Earlier, Mr Martin formally stepped down as an MP, paving the way for a by-election in his constituency of Glasgow North East.

The Treasury announced that he had been appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead - a procedural device which allows MPs to resign between elections.

Tory MP Bercow is elected Speaker


John Bercow has been elected as the new Speaker of the House of Commons

The Conservative MP John Bercow has been appointed as Commons Speaker after a six-hour election process.

The Buckingham MP beat nine other candidates, including Labour's Margaret Beckett and Tory veteran Ann Widdecombe, to be named 157th Speaker.

In the final round he got 322 votes to fellow Tory Sir George Young's 271.

Formally declared Speaker after Royal approval, he replaces Michael Martin, who quit after nine years, amid the furore over MPs' expenses.

After the result was announced, Mr Bercow was dragged to the chair, a tradition for the new Speaker, congratulated his nine rivals and told MPs it was the "greatest honour" of his political life.




ELECTION RESULTS AFTER FIRST ROUND OF VOTING (the MP who receives fewest votes is eliminated, as are all those who receive less than 5% of the votes)
  • John Bercow MP (179 votes)
  • Sir George Young MP (112 votes)
  • Margaret Beckett MP (74 votes)
  • Alan Haselhurst MP (66 votes)
  • Sir Alan Beith MP (55 votes)
  • Ann Widdecombe MP (44 votes)
Eliminated:
  • Parmjit Dhanda MP (26 votes)
  • Richard Shepherd MP (15 votes)
  • Sir Patrick Cormack MP (13 votes)
  • Sir Michael Lord MP (9 votes)
He said MPs felt "very sore and very vulnerable" in the wake of the expenses scandal but added "large sections of the public also feel angry and disappointed".

"We do have to reform but I just want to say that I continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people who have come into politics, not to feather their nests, but because they have heeded the call of public service," he said.

He was welcomed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, in short speeches in the Commons chamber.

However BBC political editor Nick Robinson said many Conservatives were unhappy about the result as Mr Bercow was disliked by many on his own side.

Political views



Off to the new job: John Bercow leaving home after winning a series of secret ballots to become new Commons Speaker


A former right winger who has moved towards the centre ground, Mr Bercow angered many in his own party when he agreed to act as an adviser to Gordon Brown on support for children with learning difficulties.

There were some laughs as Mr Bercow pledged "permanently to cast aside" his "previous political views". However, some Tory MPs did not clap him.

Mr Brown remarked, to laughter: "It is said that you have now cast aside all your past political views - some of us thought you had done that some time ago."

He congratulated the new Speaker and said his election meant the House of Commons had taken an important step in the "process of change".

"Undoubtedly the road ahead will not be easy.




RESULTS AFTER THE SECOND ROUND OF VOTING
  • John Bercow MP (221 votes)
  • Sir George Young MP (174 votes)
Decided to withdraw:
  • Margaret Beckett MP (70 votes)
  • Alan Haselhurst MP (57 votes)
  • Sir Alan Beith MP (46 votes)
Eliminated:
  • Ann Widdecombe MP (30 votes)
But with your leadership and integrity this House has begun the path to renewal," he said.

Mr Cameron told him: "We share a collective responsibility for what went wrong, we share a collective responsibility for putting it right.

"Your success will enable all of us to succeed in this, and on that note I wish you well."

He also noted that Mr Bercow was the first person of the Jewish faith to hold the office and said it was a milestone which should be marked.

By-election

And Mr Clegg, who had publicly called for Mr Martin to step down, warned him that "change does not come easily to this place, where old habits die hard".

He added: "So you must be different from every Speaker that has ever come before you. No longer just another pillar of the establishment - we urge you to reinvent the role of Speaker as a catalyst for radical change."

RESULTS OF THE FINAL ROUND OF VOTING

John Bercow MP - 322 votes
Sir George Young MP - 271 votes

Martin Salter, the Labour MP who ran Mr Bercow's campaign, said he would be the "clean break candidate" who could reform the "arcane" procedures of the Commons while protecting the rights of backbenchers.

He said: "The Speaker can either be a road block to reform or an agent of reform and change and there's no doubt about it that John Bercow will be that agent of change."

Mr Bercow and Sir George Young topped the first two rounds of voting with 179 votes and 112 respectively in the first round, 221 to 174 in the second and 322 to 271 in the final round.

The new Speaker formally took up the role in an "approbation" ceremony - the process of Royal approval in the Lords chamber.

His predecessor Michael Martin became the first Speaker to be forced from office in modern times following widespread public anger at the number of MPs who were seen to take advantage of the Commons' expenses rules.

His replacement will inherit the role of adjudicating MPs' debates, representing Parliament to outside bodies, as well as overseeing the administration of the House of Commons.

Earlier, Mr Martin formally stepped down as an MP, paving the way for a by-election in his constituency of Glasgow North East.

The Treasury announced that he had been appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead - a procedural device which allows MPs to resign between elections.

The last ten Speakers
  • Douglas Brown (Conservative, Hexham): 1943-1951
  • William Morrison (Conservative, Cirencester and Tewkesbury): 1951-1959
  • Sir Harry Hylton-Foster (Con, Cities of London and Westminster): 1959-1965
  • Dr Horace King (Labour, Southampton Itchen): 1965-1971
  • John Brooke-Lloyd (Conservative, Wirral): 1971-1976
  • Thomas Thomas (Labour, Cardiff West): 1976-1983
  • Bruce Weatherill (Conservative, Croydon North East): 1983-1992
  • Betty Boothroyd (Labour, West Bromwich West): 1992-2000
  • Michael Martin (Labour, Glasgow Springburn): 2000-2009
  • John Bercow (Conservative, Buckingham): 2009-?
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 24th, 2009 at 11:21 AM..
 
petros
#2
Seems to me "Mr Speaker" does all the listening rather than the speaking. What gives?
 

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