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The State Opening of Parliament 

The UK general election took place on Thursday 4 July 2024. The new Parliament met on Tuesday 9 July 2024 for the election of the Speaker and swearing-in of MPs and Lords. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech will take place on Wednesday 17 July 2024.

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View the 2024 general election results.

Election of the Speaker

A new Speaker is elected whenever the previous Speaker has died or retired, however other factors such as a motion of no confidence, can also result in an election for a new Speaker. The Speaker must also be elected after a general election, this is always the first business of a new Parliament and must be completed before MPs can be ‘sworn in’.

The Speaker should be someone who understands parliamentary procedure and parliamentary life and who is ready to defend the institution of Parliament. Upon taking office, a Speaker must put aside party affiliation.

Former Speaker seeking re-election

If the MP who was Speaker before the general election is re-at the election and wishes to stand for re-election as Speaker, that decision is taken immediately. A motion is put before the House ‘that x do take the Chair of this House as Speaker’. If the question is challenged, the decision is made by division. The House debated a proposal on 26 March 2015 that a secret ballot should be used to determine the question, if it is challenged. The House disagreed with the proposal.

If there is no returning Speaker wishing to stand again, or the House votes against the appointment of the former Speaker, a contested election by secret ballot must take place to choose a new Speaker. The ballot would then take place on the following day.

Process of electing a new Speaker

If there is no returning Speaker or the House votes against appointing the former Speaker, the following process is followed:

  • The process starts with nominations of candidates. There must be at least 12-15 nominations for a candidate, of which at least three nominations must come from a party other than that of the one the candidate belongs to.
  • MPs are given a list of candidates and place an ‘X’ next to the candidate of their choice.
  • If a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the votes, the question is put to the House that he or she takes the chair as Speaker.
  • If no candidate does so, the candidate with the fewest votes, and those with less than five percent of the vote, are eliminated.
  • Any candidate may withdraw within 10 minutes of the announcement of the result of a ballot.
  • MPs then vote again on the reduced slate of candidates and continue doing so until one candidate receives more than half the votes.

Dragging the Speaker of the House of Commons

When a new Speaker or the re-election of the former Speaker is elected, the successful candidate is dragged to the Chair by other MPs. Historically, this custom has its roots in the Speaker's function to communicate the Commons' opinions to the monarch and previously would need some persuading to take on the role of Speaker.

Speakers and general elections

Speakers still stand in general elections. They are generally unopposed by the major political parties, who will not field a candidate in the Speaker's constituency - this includes the original party they were a member of. During a general election, Speakers do not campaign on any political issues but simply stand as 'the Speaker seeking re-election'.

Further information

Speaker's election FAQs