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John Bercow re-elected Speaker without a division

The Commons will meet at 2.30pm to elect its Speaker and I will be covering it here.

2.35pm The Royal Commission is happening in the Lords chamber to mark the technical opening of the Parliament.

2.38pm The new Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell, has taken his seat as chairman of today's proceedings.

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2.39pm The Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod seeks the presence of MPs in the Lords for the next part of the ceremonial. Note the presence of the Liberal Democrats on the front bench below the gangway on the Government side in the picture above.

2.41pm The ceremony continues in the Lords chamber...

2.47pm ...and after much hat-doffing, the MPs return to the Commons.

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2.50pm John Bercow briefly addresses the chamber to say it would be an honour to be re-elected as Speaker, emphasising his desire to defend the rights of backbenchers to hold the Government to account.

2.52pm Labour MP Jim Sheridan raises a point of order relating to the legalities of the 55% threshold for dissolving the House which the Coaltion wants to introduce. Sir Peter says it is not a matter for him.

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2.53pm Former Cabinet Sir Malcolm Rifkind rises to proposes that John Bercow take the chair. He says that he did not vote for John Bercow last year (preferring to support Sir George Young) but says that he has been impressed by his performance as Speaker over the last ten months. He says that Bercow has been fair to individual members; has used his power and authority with flexibility and humour; and recognised that the Speaker should be a champion of the backbenches. He has been "splendidly robust", says Sir Malcolm, and a "modern Speaker for a modern age".

2.59pm Sir Peter Tapsell puts the question. Some members object, but not enough that Sir Peter cannot conclude anything but "the Ayes have it".

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3.01pm Speaker-elect Bercow thanks the House for re-electing him.

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3.02pm Prime Minster David Cameron rises to congratulate him and for the fact that the Conservative inclined voters of Buckingham returned him to Parliament - and for the fact that the Conservative-inclined voters in St James ward in Westminster also returned Conservative councillors (ie not Mrs Bercow). He sends his wishes to Stephen Timms, the former minister who is recovering from the stabbing last week. In welcoming the many new members, Cameron points out that many MPs are now sitting next to members they have never sat next to before - relevant, given that Nick Clegg is beside him on the Government front bench.

3.06pm Further speeches follow from acting Opposition Leader, Harriet Harman; SNP parliamentary leader, Angus Robertson; ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Jonathan Isaby


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