04 November 2019 18:35

John Bercow Andrea Leadsom Conservative Party

Sir Lindsay Hoyle is the frontrunner to become the new Speaker after winning the first round of voting by MPs vicki couchman for the sunday times Sir Lindsay Hoyle has won the first round of voting in the race to succeed John Bercow as Speaker. The Labour MP won 211 votes with Dame Eleanor Laing, a Conservative, on 113 and Chris Bryant, another Labour MP, in third place with 98. A total of 562 MPs cast votes in the first ballot of today's Speaker election. The candidate with the fewest votes, the Labour MP Meg Hillier, was automatically eliminated after just ten MPs backed her. Sir Edward Leigh, a Tory, was also knocked out, failing to clear a 5 per cent threshold with just 12 votes.

Harriet Harman and Dame Rosie Winterton, both Labour MPs, were entitled to remain for the second ballot, having secured 72 and 46 votes respectively. Lindsay Hoyle emerged as the frontrunner in the contest to replace John Bercow as Commons Speaker after the first round of voting. The Labour politician scooped up 211 votes (37.5%) of the 562 cast by MPs, opening a clear lead over Conservative Eleanor Laing – who received 113 (20.1%). The pair were both deputies under Mr Bercow and were joined in the second ballot by Labour MPs Chris Bryant, Harriet Harman and Rosie Winterton. The winner must receive more than 50% of the votes or be the final candidate remaining after the last ballot.

Labour's Meg Hillier finished last with 10 votes and was eliminated along with Conservative Edward Leigh, who picked up 12 votes. The candidates used their speeches to distance themselves from Mr Bercow, in a bid to stamp their own identity on the key Commons role. Mr Bercow left the role after a decade, which has been viewed as a time of reform but also controversy. Ms Winterton opened the contest by insisting she would "not seek the limelight, but build trust", adding she would not seek to "dominate" proceedings nor "speak for Parliament, but instead allow the chamber's different voices to be heard". The MP, another of Mr Bercow's deputies, added she would "douse the flames not pour petrol on them" as she made her pitch to be a "unifying" Speaker. Mr Bryant asked for the "chance to serve" and pledged to "return to the rulebook, stitch it back together", acting as an "umpire not a player" in the role. Father of the House, Mr Kenneth Clarke explains how the next Speaker of the House of Commons will be selected today. Watch the Speaker's election live here: Find out more about the Speaker's election: #SpeakersElection pic.twitter.com/ODSTsoEuzu — UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) November 4, 2019 Ms Laing pledged to defend MPs, before saying she wants to "end the culture of bullying". The Tory MP, who served as a deputy to Mr Bercow, added: "There are times for continuity and there are times for change. This is the time for change. I want to be that change. "This is the 21st century for goodness sake, we need to escape from the overbearing and hierarchical structures that have made it all too easy for a culture of bullying to take root." Ms Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said there is a "good list of MPs to work for and a bad list of MPs to work for", noting: "Staff know this, we know this, it may be an uncomfortable message, it may not be a vote winner today, but we should not be complacent even if we're on that good list." Mr Hoyle highlighted his experience as a deputy speaker for nine years, and stressed the need to allow backbench MPs to hold those in power to account. Mr Hoyle also said the Commons is "not a club" where length of service takes priority, adding: "The person who walked through that door yesterday is just as important to their constituents – their voice must be heard as well – and the pecking order ought not to be there, it is about equality." Mr Hoyle also vowed to push on with security reforms to keep MPs, their families, staff and the Commons safe. Ms Harman, a Labour former minister, concluded the speeches by stressing the next Speaker is "really important" as the public's view of Parliament "is at an all-time low". Ms Harman said: "I would reform the Speaker's powers to make them transparent and accountable to this House, and I would be fearless in standing up for the rights of the House." She added: "Six hundred years, only ever one woman. "There have been 156 men, and this is my question to the House today. Can we show the country we have changed by putting the second woman in that Speaker's chair?" Mr Bercow, 56, departed the Speaker's chair on October 31. He entered Parliament in 1997 and held several shadow ministerial positions before taking the Speaker's chair on June 22 2009, promising to serve "no more than nine years in total". He abandoned that commitment ahead of the 2017 snap election, but allegations of bullying by former members of his staff, denied by the Speaker, led to fresh calls for him to quit.