Commons LIVE: Eleanor Laing in veiled SWIPE at Bercow ‘saying more than needs to be said’


JOHN BERCOW was blasted by Speaker candidate Dame Eleanor Laing in the House of Commons on Monday as she snubbed the former Speaker for “saying more than needs to be said”.

Dame Eleanor Laing, a Conservative MP for Epping Forest, told MPs that Speakers must be held “more accountable”. She said it is an urgent change as MPs begin voting on the election of the new Commons Speaker Speaking in the House of Commons, Dame Eleanor said: “We are dealing not merely with rules and laws here.

“We’re also dealing with the welfare of people.

“That’s why the most urgent change that I want to see is making the Speaker more accountable.

“More accountable than at any time in our history and while I’m at it, can I just say that it’s not the role of the Speaker to say any more than needs to be said.”

The crowd of MPs around her loudly agreed.

Her comment comes as several candidates for the role gave speeches.

Labour MP Chris Bryant sparked cheers from colleagues when he kicked off his speech with a dig at Mr Bercow.

He said should he be elected for the coveted role, he would be an “umpire, not a player”.

MPs are preparing to choose Mr Bercow’s successor in the first Speaker election in more than a decade.

Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is among those strongly tipped to emerge victorious, with fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman – the current longest continuously serving female MP – also predicted to do well.

The other five candidates are Dame Rosie Winterton and Dame Eleanor Laing, who also both served as Mr Bercow’s deputies, Labour’s Meg Hillier and Chris Bryant (Rhondda), plus Conservative Sir Edward Leigh.

Mr Bercow announced his intention to stand down from the influential position in September, saying the timing was the “least disruptive and most democratic course of action”.

The 56-year-old entered Parliament in 1997 and held several shadow ministerial positions before taking the Speaker’s chair on June 22, 2009.

A senior Government official has insisted there could be a re-run of the vote for Speaker following the general election on December 12.

A Cabinet source told The Sun: “If it’s the wrong result we will just kick them out after the election.

“A lot of Labour MPs won’t be there on Monday because they’ll be busy campaigning so it gives us a chance to get the right person in.”

Sir Lindsay and Ms Harman are vying for the position along with six other candidates including Dame Rosie Winterton and Dame Eleanor Laing, who also both served as Mr Bercow’s deputies.


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