Procedure Committee

Session 2008-09, 2 November 2009


Election of the Deputy Speakers: Principles

The Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons should be elected by a ballot of the whole House, rather than nominated by the party Whips, say the Procedure Committee in a new report.

The House of Commons Procedure Committee today publishes a report on Election of the Deputy Speakers, setting out key principles for endorsement by the House:

• That the Deputy Speakers should be elected

• That they should be elected by the whole House in a way that ensures that the party balance within the House is respected

• That the Procedure Committee should prepared detailed proposals to allow the elections to be held at the start of the next Parliament

• That the Committee also examine the question of applying term limits to the Speaker and his Deputies

The Committee’s report follows the announcement by the Speaker of 2 July 2009 that the Deputy Speakers should be chosen by election and the inclusion of this issue in the terms of reference of the Select Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons.  Subject to the endorsement of the House, the Committee will now examine the practical arrangements for the election of the Deputy Speakers alongside its review of the lessons to be learned from the first occasion on which the rules for the election of the Speaker had been implemented.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Greg Knight MP said: “The Committee strongly believes that the time has come to determine the choice of Deputy Speakers by election.  We also strongly believe that since the occupants of the Chair serve the whole House, they should be elected by the whole House. 

“There is much work to do to devise a robust and fair system of election which reflects the desire of the House to maintain party balance amongst the occupants of the Chair and to ensure that successful candidates enjoy the support of the House.  We will now focus on delivering this in time for elections to be held at the start of the new Parliament.”

The report is published today as the Fourth Report from the Procedure Committee, Election of the Deputy Speakers: Principles, HC 1080, Session 2008-09.

Copies of the Report may be purchased in The Stationery Office Bookshops or ordered from The Stationery Office by telephone (08457 023474).

Notes

The Speaker announced on 2 July 2009 that he considered that the Deputy Speakers should be chosen by election.  The Procedure Committee announced its inquiry into this subject in a press notice issued on 16 July 2009.