Hackney South and Shoreditch MP in the running as speaker

MP Meg Hillier. Pic: Wiki Commons

MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Meg Hillier, has formally put herself forward as a candidate to replace John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Common.

The Speaker presides over the House’s debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debates and is able to punish members who break the rules of the House

If successful, the Labour MP and chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) intends to continue to represent her constituency. Ms Hillier could also remain chair of the PAC, a role that is appointed after each election.

In a statement, Ms Hillier said: “I have thought carefully about this because my first priority is always the people I represent in Hackney South and Shoreditch. If elected I would continue to be a hard-working constituency MP.”

The former journalist and councillor served on the London Assembly before her election as an MP in 2005.

Traditionally, the speaker’s seat is not contested at a general election. This would mean that Ms Hillier would be more or less guaranteed another term should she be chosen.

However, her decision has been met with opposition from some of her constituents. One person tweeted: “When an MP becomes Speaker, their constituency is disenfranchised. The constituency no longer has a representative who can speak and vote in debates. The least they can do is consult the people who put them there!”

The election of the speaker will take place after the current speaker and former Tory MP Mr Bercow, stands down on October 31.

This is the day the UK is due to leave the European Union, however, the election of the speaker could be sooner if there is a general election before that date.

A wide shot of Prime Minister’s questions (circa 2010-2012), showing a commons chamber packed with members. Pic: Wiki Commons

Any MP is able to stand as a candidate for the position of Speaker but long-serving MPs tend to be those who put their names forward.

They must, however, have at least 12 colleagues drawn from three different political parties to support them since the role of Speaker requires neutrality and the ability to command cross-party support.

Nominations will officially close at 10:30 am on the day of the election and a full official list of candidates will then be published at 11 am.

Every MP will get a vote. During the voting process, any candidate who receives over 50% is automatically elected.

Ms Hillier’s competition includes former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and fellow Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Conservatives Dame Eleanor Laing and Sir Edward Leigh are in the running, along with Pete Wishart of the SNP.

Read the full statement here.


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