THE FIRST round of voting is now over and seven contenders to replace John Bercow have been whittled down to five. But what frankly strange tradition will take place with the new Speaker as it did with John Bercow?
The House of Commons Speaker is a role in the British parliamentary system which dates back to the 13th century. As such, it is a role steeped in rules, traditions and customs. One such custom will be enacted on the new Speaker as they are voted in today and was undertaken for John Bercow when he was elected in 2009. But what are the roots of this very bizarre tradition?
There are five remaining contenders left in the race to replace John Bercow.
After the first round of voting, the seven candidates obtained the following votes:
- Sir Lindsay Hoyle – 211
- Dame Eleanor Laing – 113
- Chris Bryant – 98
- Harriet Harman – 72
- Dame Rosie Winterton – 46
- Sir Edward Leigh – 12
- Meg Hillier – 10
As a result, Sir Edward Leigh and Meg Hillier were eliminated from the race.
After potentially a series of votes, a new Speaker will be elected to represent and preside over the House of Commons.
When the Speaker is elected, the successful candidate is physically dragged to the Chair by other MPs.
This tradition dates back to the times when the Speaker’s function was to communicate the Commons’ opinions to the monarch.
Often, if the monarch did not agree with the messages being communicated by the Commons, it would result in the early death of the Speaker.
Therefore, often Speakers took the position at great risk and had to be dragged from their seat in order to accept the post.
The new Speaker will be quite literally dragged to the Chair by MPs.
This is because in times gone by, MPs were often forced to take up the position, knowing they were likely to get beheaded by The King.#SpeakersElectionpic.twitter.com/clyWCbqepy
— Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) November 4, 2019
John Bercow was dragged from his seat on four separate occasions – each time he was reelected in his role between 2009 and 2017.
In 2017, Mr Bercow was dragged to his seat by Conservative MPs Helen Grant and Peter Bottomley, as well as Labour MP Alison McGovern.
The process involves two supporters on the green Commons benches quite literally dragging the elected candidate to the Speaker’s chair.
After which the winner will make a short speech, followed by ones of congratulations from the party leaders.
The new Speaker will then go to the House of Lords for a ceremony known as the “Royal Approbation of the Speaker”.
This ceremony usually lasts around 10 minutes.
The Speaker then returns to the Commons and is given a special robe to wear.
How will proceedings occur before the new Speaker is elected?
Every member of the Commons is given a ballot paper with the candidates’ names on it in alphabetical order.
They will choose their favourite contender and vote for them.
The votes are then counted and any candidate who achieves more than 50 percent (326 MPs) is automatically elected.
However, if not, the voting procedure repeats, as with the vote on Monday.
None of the seven contenders managed to win this majority therefore MPs are asked to vote a second time.
However, two candidates have been eliminated from the race.
MPs will continue to vote in this fashion until one contender attains more than 50 percent of the vote.