Sunday, February 26, 2006

Who Will be the Next Speaker of the House of Commons?

No matter what one thinks of Speaker Martin's abilities as Speaker (not a lot, in my case, as it happens), I'm sure we all wish him a speedy recovery from his heart problems. However, it does raise the question of whether he will see this Parliament out and if he might resign part way through, as Betty Boothroyd did. If he did, let's have a bit of fun and speculate as to who would succeed him. Normally the Speakership alternates between the two main Parties, but as Labour broke that centuries old tradition when they voted en bloc for Gorbals Mick I would have thought that it wasalmost inconceivable that the next Speaker would not be a Conservative. Last time Ming Campbell and Alan Beith stood, but it seems unlikely that either of them would put their names forward next time. Sir Alan Haselhurst, Michael Lord & Sir George Young both stood last time, as did Sir Nicholas Winterton. I would expect Sir Patrick Cormack to throw his considerable hat into the ring. Derek Conway is a senior member of the Speaker's Panel and would add some colour to the role, and although Ann Widdecombe has announced she will retire at the next election, if she thought she could win, she might have a punt. I can't really see
who else on the Tory benches might fancy their chances, but do enlighten me if know different. It's a shame Gwyneth Dunwoody is persona non grata with the government as I think she would actually make rather a fine Speaker, but I think that would happen over the Cabinet's collective dead body. Now there's a wicked thought. So, dear readers, if a vacancy arose this year, who would you vote for? I'm restricting it to Tories to avoid all the LibDem and Labour supporters all voting for their own candidate! Vote in the box at the top of the left hand column of the page. Voting will remain open for 5 days.

19 comments:

Betty Swollocks said...

Could you add a tickbox for

"I couldn't give a flying ferret"

houndtang said...

It must be Sir Paddy Cormack, the only man who still pronounces parliament as Par-lee-a-ment.

James said...

Serious, non-partisan question: why do you think neither Alan Beith nor Ming Campbell (assuming he doesn't win the Lib Dem leadership) would consider going for it this time?

Iain Dale said...

James, I think Alan Beith has already said he will stand down, hasn't he? Although having said that, so has Ann W. Ming is an assumption on my part. I think he would see it as a consolation prize and I suspect he's not into that. But I may well be wrong. Either way I doubt either of them would get the support needed from both the other parties.

Iain Dale said...

houndtag, I can quite see Sir Patrick getting it. At least he would do his best to ensure that the repuatation of Parliayment is restored!

Cllr David Morton said...

Its a pity its the oppositions turn as i think gweneth dunwoody would be an excellent choice. the fact that it would happen over the cabinets dead body is precisiely why it might just happen. It would be one big "punch blair in the nose" vote without consequence. Except of course the consequence would be an independent minded speaker. If Ming doesn't get the leadership then its a fitting way to crown his career but would enough labour MP's vote for him to keep a tory out. I suspect not. Ann widdecome would add boothroydesque colour to the chamber and would do a good job. I has voted for her from the list you have given. However I agree the current incumbent is useless although I wish him a speedy recovery.

Cllr David Morton said...

I think the assumption is that Alan will stand down but he hasn't made an announcement. Jockeying for the seat has begun. Should be a safe one but who knows how much of it is lib dem support and how much a personal vote. They need to be careful about grating on a "outside candidate" as is being touted.

Anonymous said...

The last person to be tipped as the "next speaker of the house of commons" died very shortly afterwards ... be aware!

houndtang said...

Sir Pat would be immense, I'm sure he would restore the full-bottomed wig and breeches too.

houndtang said...

Actually, William Hague would make a good Speaker, probably he'd be better suited to it than to frontbench politics.

Paul Linford said...

David is right - Beith has made no announcement about standing down and I am sure he would love to be Speaker if the chance arose. One person on the Labour side who is known to want the job is Margaret Beckett, but it would be pretty inconceivable for a third successive Labour speaker to be elected. Looking at the list of Tory runners and riders, I would have to make Patrick Cormack the favourite, although Blair thinks he's the most pompous old fool in par-lee-a-ment.

malcolm said...

How about Maude? It would at least get him out of his present job!

Richard Bailey said...

I have never seen such a dire, uninspiring set of names in my life.

Lee Rotherham said...

Surely the ideal candidate is someone whom we KNOW would stand up for Parliament rather than their own ego.

Dunwoody would be an interesting choice but then that's three Labour MPs in a row. Why not someone like Richard Shepherd?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Rosindell would be rather interesting. He could set his dog on errant Labour MPs.

Andrea said...

Dennis Skinner!

ok, no...a tory? Malcolm Rifkind?

Richard Allen said...

Sir Patrick would make a fine speaker as he genuinely cares for the good of parliament ahead of almost any other concern.

Aidan Brack said...

I voted Widdecombe - would add some colour and I think she could control the Commons.

How about Nick Soames?

phil said...

"Centuries-old tradition" of alternating between parties, Iain? Every speakership election in the 20th and 21st century has gone to a member of the majority party, with the exception of 1992.

The Tories had four speakers in a row from 1928 to 1965!