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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yet another piece on the election of a Speaker

With less than 24 hours to go before we discover who the new Speaker of the House of Commons will be, the New Statesman is reporting that Labour whips have been ringing round MPs and actively instructing them to vote for Margaret Beckett to fill the role.

They say that this amounts to the abandonment by Labour of its unofficial support for the Tory rebel John Bercow:

Sources say the whips' message is: "It doesn't matter about not having another Labour Speaker - we need someone who will serve the party's interests". This contradicts the message being given out publicly by ministers, including Jack Straw on Sunday, who have emphasised the need for a "non-partisan" approach to this contest, which comes in the wake of the expenses scandal and unprecedented alienation from Westminster among the electorate.

The fact that whips are involved at all, furthermore, hugely undermines the idea that the Government has understood the need for a fresh approach to Parliament, in which MPs are empowered to be more independent from the executive. "How can you say we will have a fresh approach with this strong-arming going on," one said.

The NS has also learnt that Mrs Beckett herself has been phoning waverers this weekend, outlining the case for electing her. One MP who will be voting for another candidate, and told Mrs Beckett so, was given the stark warning: "Well I've won this."

If that is the case then machine politics will have won once more and the future of politics in this country will receive a severe setback.
Agreed Peter, if Parliament thinks that Margaret Beckett is an acceptable cure, they've very much mis-diagnosed the mood of the country.

And how like Labour to politicise a supposedly non-partisan office too.
Give it to Gordon Brown, he might be able to do this, well he says he wants to become a teacher, he can control this bunch of children at PMQ's
Just looking at the BBC Website, it would appear that Tory MPs John Bercow and Sir George Young are the only candidates in the race to become Commons Speaker.

I find it quite ironic, and somewhat pathetic that the Speaker was elected by secret ballot using Single Transferable Vote, if they can fill in their expenses forms then they can fill-in a ballot paper 1,2,3 for their first, second and third choice etc.
Actually the election was by exhaustive ballot and did not involve STV. There were three votes involving 10 candidates, six candidates and the final two candidates respectively.

I think your point was that they should have used STV and I agree. It would have been over more quickly and a fairer outcome.
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