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Biographies of Deputy Speakers

Dame Eleanor Laing MP – First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

Being told that politics was no place for a woman only made Dame Eleanor Laing more determined to become an MP. 

Undeterred by her failure to secure the safe Labour seat of Paisley North in the 1987 General Election, she became Special Adviser to the then Education Secretary John MacGregor in 1989, continuing in the role when he was Leader of the House in 1990-92 and Transport Secretary in 1992-94. 

By 1997 her perseverance paid off – and she became the Conservative Member of Parliament for Epping Forest. She even fought an election while heavily pregnant in 2001 – and gave birth to her son a week after polling day. 

By February 1999, she was promoted to the post of Opposition Whip, and in July 2000 became frontbench spokesman for Constitutional Affairs. 

She has also been an Education and Skills spokesman, Shadow Minister for Children and, Shadow Minister for Women. In 2005, she was promoted to Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, and in 2007-10, she was Shadow Minister for Justice. 

She was elected Deputy Speaker in 2013 and appointed a Privy Counsellor in 2017. She received her Damehood in 2018 - and in 2020, she became the first ever woman to be elected to the position of Chairman of Ways and Means. 

Dame Rosie Winterton MP – Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

Rosie was brought up in Doncaster.  She attended Doncaster Grammar School and Hull University, where she received a BA Hons in History. 

Rosie was Head of Office for John Prescott MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1994-97. 

She has been the Member of Parliament for Doncaster Central since 1997 and was Minister at the Department of Health, Minister of State for Local Government, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination and Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber. 

Rosie was made a Privy Counsellor in 2006 and was the Opposition Chief Whip from 2010 – 2016.  She received her Damehood for public and political service in 2016.  

Rosie was elected as Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Deputy Speaker) in June 2017 - November 2019 and as First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Deputy Speaker) in January 2020 – present. 

Nigel Evans MP – Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

Nigel was a teenager when he joined the Conservative Party - and in his twenties when he was elected as a county councillor. 

His ambition to become an MP was finally realised in 1992 when he secured the Lancashire seat of Ribble Valley. 

He was appointed Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party between 1999 and 2001, and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales from 2001 to 2003. 

As a member of the Panel of Chairs, he was responsible for chairing Public Bill Committees, Delegated Legislation Committees and other General Committees. 

He was elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means between 2010 and 2013. 

In January 2020, Nigel was elected as the Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means. He is the first openly LGBT politician to be elected to the role and stood on a campaign pledge to promote LGBT issues globally. 

In his spare time Nigel enjoys playing squash, listening to classical music and visiting the Swan with Two Necks pub next to his home in the Ribble Valley.

Related information

Topics: Speaker

Recent parliamentary material on the Speaker of the House of Commons. This includes briefing papers produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.