Everyone seems to putting forward their own favoured candidates to succeed Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons. One or two candidates are even letting it be known that they would certainly consider the job were it to be offered. Off the record, natch. So here are my Top Ten Runners & Riders in order of likelihood...
1. Sir Alan Haselhurst (Con)
For: Been deputy for many years and performed well when Gorbals Mick was ill. Popular across the divide.
Against: His age, although he's the youngest 70 year old you'll ever meet.
2. Sir George Young (Con)
For: Respected, with wide experience of political life.
Against: Seen as a toff by Labour MPs.
3. Sylvia Heal (Lab)
For: Has few enemies.
Against: Has few friends on the Tory or LibDem benches.
4 Alan Beith (Lib)
For: Has no enemies.
Against: Seen as incredibly dull.
5. Vince Cable (Lib)
For: Hugely respected, would remove one of Brown's leading critics
Against: LibDems wouldbe reluctant to lose one of their stars and he pronbably wouldn't want to do it
6. Frank Field (Lab)
For: Liked and respected by most MPs who've never worked with him.
Against: Over Gordon Brown's dead body.
7. Sir Patrick Cormack (Con)
For: Deep love of Parliament and knowledge of procedure.
Against: Age and battlescars from reselection.
8. John Bercow
For: Independent minded, turned off by party politics.
Against: More popular with Labour MPs than his Tory colleagues.
9. Michael Lord (Con)
Against: Regarded by most as having had his day
10. Ming Campbell (Lib)
For: Sympathy vote, liked and respected
Against: Sympathy vote is not the strongest card.
Who do you think might be other plausible candidates? My money is on my home MP Alan Haselhurst. He's been a huge success as Michael Martin's most senior deputy and hasn't put a foot wrong. He carries the right mix of authority and humour. I hope he is indeed Michael Martin's successor.