Labour MP for Chorley, Lindsay Hoyle, is front runner to be the next Speaker of the House of Commons, taking over from John Bercow.
It is still unknown whether Hoyle voted to leave or remain in the EU.
Speakers are meant to be impartial but still deal with their constituents like traditional MPs. Hoyle would still stand for election in Chorley but as Speaker, he would have to distance himself from the Labour party to appease the convention of impartial practice.
Why is this important?
This Speaker election holds a particular amount of attention because it’s a critical and challenging time for Parliament.
As it’s close to the Brexit deadline there are fears that the new Speaker could either hinder or strengthen delays, or prevent Brexit completely.
Harriet Harman has said that she believes there needs to be a strong Speaker to address challenges like Brexit.
In speaking to reporters, Ms Harman has said Parliament is, “no longer an old boys club”, adding: “That would be fully represented by having a woman in the chair.”
Hoyle’s Opinion of Parliament
Sir Hoyle has recently made accusations that Parliament has a ‘drug and drinking’ problem.
Journalists asked Mr Hoyle to confirm his accusation and he said: “I think, I believe there will be a drug problem – there is a drug problem right across this country.
“I don’t believe that somebody who walks in here may not be tempted into drugs, and what I’m saying is that we should have health and well-being in place for drink and drug counselling and real support for anybody.”
When could he be elected as Speaker?
Hoyle has served as Deputy Speaker since 2010. In this time he has substituted some meetings. When the serving Speaker has an unavoidable absence, the Deputy Speaker will sub in.
How are speakers elected?
The system of electing Speakers of The House of Commons started 22 March 2001. It’s done by suggestion and then secret ballot.
The Speaker’s suggestion is usually he who has served for the longest period continuously as a Member of this House.
If that suggestion is refused the members of parliament vote in a secret ballot.
On this ballot, candidates make statements declaring their willingness to stand for election and then get it signed by at least 12 but no more than 15 MPs. At least three of which must be from the opposite party.
MPs can’t sign more than one statement. If they do the signature isn’t valid.
The Clerk of the House presents the results. The candidate with the most votes then needs to stand and present himself to the House. The retiring Speaker then asks the House to say if they want the voted Speaker to take the chair, which they do.
If the ballot is tied then the retiring Speaker invites the tied candidates to address the House and then the House votes again.