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MPs should back Nigel Evans and Lindsay Hoyle in tomorrow's election for Deputy Speakers

Anne McIntosh 6.15pm update:

All eight candidates who attended the hustings listed below have been nominated for the post along with a ninth candidate, Anne McIntosh, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, who has also put herself forward for chairman of the Defra select committee on Wednesday.

Given that one female candidate must be elected, there is now effectively a two-horse race between Anne McIntosh and Labour's Dawn Primarolo for one of the posts - although my understanding is that if one of the Conservative males get sufficient votes to be elected before Anne McIntosh, then Primarolo is elected by default as only one Conservative can win one of the posts.


Deputy Speaker candidates
5pm update
: Above are the eight candidates for Deputy Speaker at the Dods hustings currently underway in a Commons Committee Room, along with the meeting's chairman, Graham Brady. Left to right: Roger Gale (Con), Nigel Evans (Con), Lindsay Hoyle (Lab), Marsha Singh (Lab), Graham Brady, Tom Clarke (Lab), Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Con), George Howarth (Lab), Dawn Primarolo (Lab)


Whilst on Wednesday there will be the election of select committee chairmen, tomorrow - between 10am and Noon in the division lobbies - will see another secret ballot, this time for the three Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons.

It is the first time that these position have been elected, and the system will work as follows:

  • The election is run under the Single Transferable Vote system, so MPs will put a '1' against their first preference, a '2' against their second and so on, for as many candidates as they wish to register a preference;
  • However, given that the Speaker is a former Conservative MP, only one Deputy Speaker can be a Conservative whilst two will be Labour;
  • The "Harmanised" rules state that at least one of the Deputy Speakers must be a woman (although MPs are not obliged to vote for one). 

I did not personally take a view on the recent 1922 Committee chairmanship election and will not be doing so for the committee chairmanships on Wednesday, but for this vote tomorrow I am declaring in favour of two candidates and would ask you to lobby your MPs to vote as follows.

Picture 2 I would urge MPs to give their first preference vote to Nigel Evans, who has been Conservative MP for Ribble Valley since 1992 (when he regained the seat from a Liberal Democrat and has increased his majority at every election ever since). This is in no way to denigrate the abilities and talents of the other Conservatives standing, all of whom could do the job well (their names are below), but Nigel is a long-standing friend who I know would serve the House with distinction.

In Parliament Nigel already has experience of chairing debates in Westminster Hall and on Statutory Instruments, as a member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen available for such duties: he is without doubt a dedicated parliamentarian. He is both liked and respected on all sides of the House, as demonstrated by the fact that several years ago he was elected by the whole House to serve as the UK Parliament's representative on the International Executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He is a former Conservative Party vice-chairman and shadow cabinet member, but also has experience of cross-party working, as one of three Co-Presidents of the British Youth Council, for example. Nigel also has a great sense of humour, which is invaluable for this kind of role.

Picture 1 I would then urge MPs to give their second preference vote to Lindsay Hoyle, who has been the Labour MP for Chorley since 1997. Like Nigel, he is a real House of Commons man, although he was never promoted from the backbenches by either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown due to his tendency to tell it like it is and publicly challenge the actions of the Labour Government. This sets him out as independent-minded and a backbenchers' champion in a field of Labour MPs who are mostly ex-ministers.

I got to know Lindsay through a joint interest in Gibraltar, when he was one of the very few Labour MPs to vocally oppose the previous government's disgraceful attempt to surrender sovereignty over Gibraltar to Spain. Further to that, he also endears himself to Conservatives since he was again one of the few Labour MPs who voted for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty when Gordon Brown junked that commitment.

We will not have the final list of runners and riders until nominations close at 5pm today, but I understand the following names all to be in the field:

  • Tom Clarke (Lab)
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Con)
  • Nigel Evans (Con)
  • Roger Gale (Con)  
  • George Howarth (Lab)
  • Lindsay Hoyle (Lab)
  • Dawn Primarolo (Lab)
  • Marsha Singh (Lab)

If no further names are nominated, Primarolo would be elected by default as the only female candidate (which is outrageously anti-meritocratic but that's an argument for another day).

> Dods are hosting a hustings, to be chaired by Graham Brady MP, at which the candidates will put their case to fellow MPs at 5pm tonight in Committee Room 12. Any MP wanting to attend should RSVP via email to Dods.

Jonathan Isaby 


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