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MPs elect Sir Lindsay Hoyle to replace John Bercow as Commons Speaker

The Labour politician received 325 votes to Chris Bryant’s 213.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been elected (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)
Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been elected (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

By Richard Wheeler, Elizabeth Arnold, George Ryan and Sophie Morris, PA Political Staff

Sir Lindsay Hoyle has emerged victorious in the election to replace John Bercow as House of Commons Speaker.

The Labour politician received more than 50% of votes in the fourth ballot of MPs, defeating his party colleague Chris Bryant.

Sir Lindsay, formerly a deputy to Mr Bercow, received 325 votes to Mr Bryant’s 213.

Speakers must be politically impartial, meaning Sir Lindsay will be required to resign from the Labour Party in order to carry out his duties.

He paid tribute to his daughter Natalie Lewis-Hoyle, who was found dead in her bedroom just before Christmas 2017.

Sir Lindsay told the Commons: “There is one person who’s not here, my daughter Natalie. I wish she’d have been here, we all miss her as a family, no more so than her mum.

“I’ve got to say, she was everything to all of us, she will always be missed but she will always be in our thoughts.”

He added: “I want to hopefully show that the experience I’ve shown previously will continue. As I’ve promised, I will be neutral, I will be transparent.”

Sir Lindsay earlier said he wanted the Commons to be “once again a great respected House, not just in here but across the world”.

He added: “It’s the envy, and we’ve got to make sure that tarnish is polished away, that the respect and tolerance that we expect from everyone who works in here will be shown and we’ll keep that in order.”

Boris Johnson said he was sure Sir Lindsay would “stick up” for backbenchers and adhere to a “strict Newtonian concept of time” at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The PM added: “But I believe you will also bring your signature kindness, kindness and reasonableness, to our proceedings, and thereby to help to bring us together as a Parliament and a democracy.

“Because no matter how fiercely we may disagree, we know that every member comes to this place with the best of motives, determined to solve, to serve, the oldest Parliamentary democracy in the world.

“And to achieve our goals by the peaceable arts of reason and debate invigilated by an impartial Speaker, which was and remains one of our greatest gifts to the world.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Sir Lindsay will “stand up for the principle” of parliamentary democracy.

He also joked that Sir Lindsay had “eyes in the back of his head” after a photo emerged at the weekend of him watching the Rugby World Cup Final but not facing the television.

He added: “You’re going to need eyes in the back of your head. It’s a difficult job, you don’t know what’s coming at you next, and so I realised you’ve actually been in training in this.

“So I’ve been looking at a photograph of you at the weekend apparently watching the rugby cup final, whilst at the same time not watching the television.

“So the only conclusion I can draw from this is that you literally do have eyes in the back of your head.”

Sir Lindsay scooped up 211 votes (37.5%) of the 562 cast by MPs in the first round, opening a clear lead over Conservative Dame Eleanor Laing, who received 113 (20.1%).

He boosted his vote in the second round, securing 244 (42.4%) of the 575 votes cast, with Dame Eleanor in second on 122 (21.2%) and Mr Bryant on 120 (20.8%).

Labour’s Meg Hillier and Conservative Sir Edward Leigh were eliminated in the first round, and Dame Rosie Winterton was knocked out in the second round – with her Labour colleague Harriet Harman also withdrawing.

Dame Eleanor finished last in the third ballot, receiving 127 votes (22.4%) compared with Sir Lindsay’s 267 (47.2%) and Mr Bryant’s 169 (29.9%), who proceeded to the fourth and final round.

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, 56, left the role after a decade which has been viewed as a time of reform but also controversy.

He 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.

In recent months he also came under fire for a series of controversial Brexit rulings in the chamber, which were widely considered to favour Remain supporters.

Later, the Queen’s approval of the appointment of Sir Lindsay was formally reported to the Lords by Leader of the House Baroness Evans of Bowes Park.

After the Queen’s confidence in Sir Lindsay’s “talents, diligence and sufficiency” to fulfil the Speaker’s duties was declared to the Upper House, Sir Lindsay said he submitted himself “in all humility and gratitude” to Her Majesty’s will.

PA

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