Who are you supporting in the race for Commons Speaker?

by Stephen Tall on June 22, 2009

It’s a month since we opened our LDV poll asking readers who you would vote for to be the next House of Common Speaker. Reader, we failed you. Of the list of 11 possible contenders we provided, your top two faves – Frank Field and Sir Menzies Campbell – will not be running.

Indeed, it looks like only the four knights of the realm from our original line-up will actually appear on the ballot papers today: Sir Alan Beith, Sir Alan Haslehurst, Sir George Young and Sir Patrick McCormack. Others who seem likely to stand are Margaret Beckett, John Bercow, Parmjit Danda, Sir Michael Lord, Richard Shepherd and Ann Widdecombe.

Of the so-called quality newspapers to declare their hand, The Guardian has plumped for Sir George Young, while The Times is supporting Ann Widdecombe. The Telegraph and Independent both decline to name a favourite.

So, over to you, LDV’s readers… Does the list of candidates inspire you? Whom would you choose if you were an MP with a vote? Would you line up solidly behind the solid, sole Lib Dem, Sir Alan Beith? Or would you cast partisanship to the winds and opt for one of the Labour or Tory candidates?

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Shepherd, Beith and Young are the three best candidates. Bercow would be acceptable, but the worst possible choice would be Beckett – a slavish Labour Party loyalist and someone who would be very unlikely to stand up for Parliament against the Executive.

by Bernard Salmon on June 22, 2009 at 10:26 am. Reply #

I must say, I have a soft spot for Anne Widdecombe. She’s on the the blessed Saints, and doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not.

Plus, if any MP does finally become suicidal, as an ex-Samaritan, she could help.

by Efrafan Days on June 22, 2009 at 10:37 am. Reply #

Anyone but Beckett.

by Martin Land on June 22, 2009 at 10:40 am. Reply #

Anyone but Beckett!

by Lorna Spenceley on June 22, 2009 at 10:45 am. Reply #

Anyone but Beckett or Bercow. My personal inclination would be Beith as first preference and Sir George Young in the last round. I have to say the slate of candidates is rather underwhelming.

P.S. The Times no longer has the right to call itself a “quality/broadsheet” newspaper after outing NightJack. (Actually, they probably damned themselves a few years back when they outed Zoe Margolis.)

by Niklas Smith on June 22, 2009 at 10:59 am. Reply #

Niklas, was it not the Graun which outed ‘Guido Fawkes’?

by Efrafan Days on June 22, 2009 at 11:03 am. Reply #

Anybody but Beckett.

If I had a vote, I’d go for Alan, but don’t expect he’ll win. Not sure Bercow will have the respect of the Tories in the future, even though he’d be an acceptable choice. I’d agree with Bernard that Young and Shepherd were the best of a mediocre bunch.

by Caron on June 22, 2009 at 11:03 am. Reply #

@Efrafan Days: I didn’t know about that, but you are right. It’s so hypocritical that papers are obsessed with protecting the anonymity of their sources (including cabinet ministers briefing against each other) but seem to take a perverse pleasure in naming anonymous bloggers.

by Niklas Smith on June 22, 2009 at 11:23 am. Reply #

Alan Beith until he gets knocked out – then probably George Young. (Assuming at that stage its one of Young, Beckett, Bercow) – if not then anyone but Beckett or Bercow

by Lennon on June 22, 2009 at 11:26 am. Reply #

The election of Beckett would definitely be an indication that the current parliament just hasn’t got it. I’ve been reluctant to join in the MP-bashing over the expenses issue, but electing Beckett would be another thing which makes it harder to say “There’s only a few real bad’uns, people are getting a bit too worked up here”.

Bercow – I still think of him as the nasty right-winger he used to be, I hadn’t properly kept up with his apparent transition to a cuddly lefty Tory.

The problem with Beith is that he’s one of those people who is so fair and decent that put him in the Chair and I suspect he’ll be so anxious to show no bias to his former colleagues that he’ll end up bending over the other way. OK – so try and sell him to Labour and the Tories on that basis …

by Matthew Huntbach on June 22, 2009 at 11:39 am. Reply #

None of them exactly fill me with enthusiasm, but Richard Shepherd is probably the best of a bad bunch. I’d also consider Alan Beith, despite his knighthood, and possibly Parmjit Danda (who may mean it, or who may just be vacuous). I’ve written my own ‘runners and riders’ piece this morning, and while I’m heavily biased against knights, the one I’d vote for absolutely any of them to stop is Margaret Beckett (no surprise!), who would be utterly appalling in every way.

by Alex Wilcock on June 22, 2009 at 11:48 am. Reply #

Niklas, through gritted teeth I have to agree with the point in law which Mr Justice Eady referred to when denying Dc Horton his appeal. What could have occurred was a precedent which may have protected future Azad Ali’s from being named.

Yet, there was next to no public interest in naming him. I cannot recall what reasoning the Graun gave when ‘unmasking’ Paul Staines, but his blogging clearly hasn’t suffered (even a conviction from drink driving hasn’t done for them); and his blogging habits were clearly an extension of his professional career.

With the exception of Ali, it does all strike as “Ooo waah! I know who you are and I’m telling!”.

Back on topic, in decreasing order of preference:

[1] Auntie Anne;

[2] Ollie “Get Your Gun” Cromwell, to instill a sense of discipline and imbue blind terror back into Parliament.

[3] The Rest of the World;

[4] Margaret Beckett.

by Efrafan Days on June 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm. Reply #

The Times has got it right. Anne Widdecombe would sort them out and stand no nonsense, but if she proves to be a step too far then she’ll be going within a year,so there can be a change of tone/direction after the GE.

by Peter Laubach on June 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm. Reply #

Please Lord not Beckett… or we will be asking soon ‘who will rid us of this unturbulent placeholder’.

Berkow urrrrgh. And if he becomes Speaker he will last years and years, meaning that Tories in Buckingham constituency will be free to travel en masse to neighbouring marginal seats in a General Election… Like the Oxford seats or Northampton or Milton Keynes.

by Edis on June 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm. Reply #

I’ve got my Dhanda up 😉


by Jennie on June 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm. Reply #

I feel like a school girl with a crush after seeing Parmjit’s speech!


The ONLY speech that genuinely seem progressive, modern, exciting, relevant…part of the 21st century, not old boys network!!

If only!

by rantersparadise on June 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm. Reply #

Sorry to be pedantic, but Sir George Young isn’t a “knight of the realm”. He’s a baronet, so inherited his title. I heard the BBC make the same mistake last night too.

by Jonathan on June 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm. Reply #

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