Election of a Speaker — Election of Speaker by secret ballot — 22 Mar 2001

I beg to move,


(1) This House approves the recommendations contained in the Second Report of the Procedure Committee, Session 2000-01, Election of a Speaker (House of Commons Paper No. 40) relating to the election of a Speaker.

(2) Standing Order No. 1 (Election of the Speaker) be amended by leaving out paragraph (4); and the title of the Standing Order shall be 'Election of the Speaker: Member presiding'; and

(3) The following new Standing Orders No. 1A (Re-election of former Speaker) and No. 1B (Election of Speaker by secret ballot) be made:

1A. (1) If at the commencement of a Parliament the Member who was Speaker at the dissolution of the previous Parliament is returned to the House, the Member presiding in accordance with Standing Order No. 1 (Election of the Speaker: Member presiding) shall, when the House meets to proceed with the choice of a Speaker, ascertain whether the former Speaker is willing to be chosen as Speaker, and, the former Speaker having submitted himself to the House, shall call upon a Member to move that he do take the Chair of this House as Speaker; and the question thereon shall be put forthwith.

(2) If the question is agreed to, the former Speaker shall thereupon take the Chair as Speaker-elect.

(3) If the question is negatived, the Member presiding shall forthwith adjourn the House to the following day at half-past Two o'clock, and the House shall proceed in accordance with Standing Order No. 1B (Election of Speaker by secret ballot).

1B. (1) If the question put in accordance with Standing Order No. 1A (Re-election of former Speaker) has been negatived, and on any other occasion when it is necessary to proceed with the choice of a new Speaker, the election shall be by secret ballot.

(2) Preparatory arrangements for a ballot shall be made under the supervision of the Clerk of the House.

(3) (a) Nominations of candidates shall be in writing and shall be received by the Clerk of the House between half-past Nine o'clock and half-past Ten o'clock in the morning on the day on which the House is to elect a Speaker.

(b) Each nomination shall consist of a signed statement made by the candidate declaring his willingness to stand for election accompanied by the signatures of not fewer than twelve nor more than fifteen Members, of whom not fewer than three shall be Members elected to the House as members of any party other than that to which the candidate belongs or members of no party. No Member shall sign more than one such statement and if any Member does so, his signature shall no longer be valid.

(c) As soon as practicable following the close of nominations, lists of the candidates shall be placed in the Members' lobby and published.

(4) If only one Member is nominated in accordance with paragraph (3) above, the Member presiding shall, when the House meets to elect a Speaker, invite the Member so nominated to submit himself to the House, and shall then put forthwith the question that that Member do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

(5) Paragraphs (6) to (13) of this Order shall apply if two or more Members are nominated in accordance with paragraph (3) above.

(6) When the House meets, the order in which candidates may address the House shall be determined by lot; the Member presiding shall then invite each candidate to address the House; and after all candidates have been given an opportunity to speak, the Member presiding shall direct the House to proceed to a ballot.

(7) The Member presiding may not vote in any ballot.

(8) (a) A ballot shall take place in the lobbies unless the Member presiding directs otherwise.

(b) Each Member intending to vote shall be provided with a ballot paper bearing the names of the candidates listed in alphabetical order.

(c) Each such Member may vote for only one candidate on the ballot paper.

(d) A ballot shall be declared closed after the expiration of half an hour and counting shall take place under arrangements made by the Clerk of the House.

(e) The Member presiding shall have discretion to vary the timings given in this Order and power to give final directions on any matter of doubt arising from the conduct of a ballot or from an individual ballot paper.

(9) As soon as practicable after the votes have been counted the Member presiding shall announce to the House the numbers of votes cast for each candidate.

(10) If a candidate has received more than half the votes cast in a ballot, the Member presiding shall forthwith put the question that that Member do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

(11) If no candidate has received more than half the votes cast in a ballot the Member presiding shall direct the House to proceed forthwith to a further ballot to which paragraph (12) below shall apply.

(12) In any further ballot no new nominations may be received and the names of--

(a) the candidate who received the fewest votes in the previous ballot;

(b) any candidate who received less than five per cent. of the votes cast in the previous ballot; and

(c) any candidate who, within ten minutes of the announcement in the House of the result of the previous ballot, shall have notified the Member presiding of his intention to withdraw,

shall be removed from the ballot paper, except that where two or more candidates received the same number of votes, their names shall remain on the ballot paper unless paragraph (b) applies.

(13) If the effect of paragraph (12) above is to remove from the ballot paper the name of every candidate except one, the Member presiding shall forthwith put the question that that Member do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

(14) (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Orders Nos. 10 (Wednesday sittings) and 11 (Friday sittings), on any day on which the House meets to elect a Speaker, it shall meet at half-past Two o'clock.

(b) No amendment may be offered to the question that a Member do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

(c) If that question is agreed to, that Member shall thereupon take the Chair as Speaker-elect.

(d) If that question is negatived, the Member presiding shall forthwith adjourn the House to the following day at half-past Two o'clock, and the provisions of paragraph (3) above shall apply in respect of a fresh ballot.

I beg to move, in line 28, to leave out the word 'secret'.

May I say a word or two about the fine speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn)? I hope that it was not his last. As on so many occasions, he dwelt on the way in which democracy evolved in this country. Some illusions can be held about the fact that we lacked freedom and democracy for centuries. I have two responses to that. First, with all its imperfections, our democracy and House of Commons survived when many Parliaments in the last century did not because they gave up to fascism and tyranny.

The House divided: Ayes 82, Noes 84.

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All Votes Cast - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party are marked in red. Also shows which MPs were ministers at the time of this vote. You can also see every eligible MP including those who did not vote in this division.

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James ArbuthnotNorth East HampshireCon (front bench)aye
Peter AtkinsonHexhamConaye
John BercowBuckinghamCon (front bench)aye
Graham BradyAltrincham and Sale WestCon (front bench)aye
Kenneth ClarkeRushcliffeConaye
Geoffrey Clifton-BrownCotswoldCon (front bench)aye
Sir Peter EmeryEast DevonConaye
Mr David FaberWestburyConaye
Mr Norman FowlerSutton ColdfieldConaye
Edward GarnierHarboroughCon (front bench)aye
Dominic GrieveBeaconsfieldCon (front bench)aye
Michael HowardFolkestone and HytheCon (front bench)aye
Gerald HowarthAldershotCon (front bench)aye
Eleanor LaingEpping ForestCon (front bench)aye
Edward LeighGainsboroughCon (front bench)aye
Peter LilleyHitchin and HarpendenConaye
Anne McIntoshVale of YorkCon (front bench)aye
Stephen O'BrienEddisburyCon (front bench)aye
Owen PatersonNorth ShropshireCon (front bench)aye
Keith SimpsonMid NorfolkCon (front bench)aye
Desmond SwayneNew Forest WestCon (front bench)aye
Robert SymsPooleCon (front bench)aye
Ian TaylorEsher and WaltonConaye
Mr Bowen WellsHertford and StortfordConaye
George YoungNorth West HampshireConaye
Tony BaldryBanburyCon (front bench)no
Crispin BluntReigateCon (front bench)tellno
Tim BoswellDaventryCon (front bench)no
Angela BrowningTiverton and HonitonCon (front bench)no
Mr Ian BruceSouth DorsetConno
John ButterfillBournemouth WestConno
Sir Sydney ChapmanChipping BarnetConno
Christopher ChopeChristchurchCon (front bench)no
Michael FabricantLichfieldCon (front bench)no
Eric ForthBromley and ChislehurstConno
Nick GibbBognor Regis and LittlehamptonCon (front bench)no
Dame Cheryl GillanChesham and AmershamCon (front bench)no
Sir Archie HamiltonEpsom and EwellCon (front bench)no
John HoramOrpingtonConno
Michael JackFyldeConno
Bernard JenkinNorth EssexCon (front bench)no
Sir Geoffrey Johnson SmithWealdenConno
Tim LoughtonEast Worthing and ShorehamCon (front bench)no
Dr Brian MawhinneyNorth West CambridgeshireConno
Richard OttawayCroydon SouthCon (front bench)no
Andrew RobathanBlabyCon (front bench)no
Mr Andrew RoweFaversham and Mid KentConno
Richard ShepherdAldridge-BrownhillsCon (front bench)no
Nicholas SoamesMid SussexConno
Richard SpringWest SuffolkConno
Mr Nick St AubynGuildfordConno
Mr John WilkinsonRuislip - NorthwoodConno
Nicholas WintertonMacclesfieldConno
Mr Martin BellTattonIndependentaye
Mrs Irene AdamsPaisley NorthLab (minister)aye
Graham AllenNottingham NorthLab (minister)aye
Hilary BennLeeds CentralLab (minister)aye
Mr Tony BennChesterfieldLabaye
Clive BettsSheffield, AttercliffeLab (minister)aye
Russell BrownDumfriesLab (minister)aye
Des BrowneKilmarnock and LoudounLab (minister)aye
Paul ClarkGillinghamLabaye
David ClellandTyne BridgeLab (minister)aye
Ann ClwydCynon ValleyLab (minister)aye
Mr Robin CorbettBirmingham, ErdingtonLab (minister)aye
Professor Ross CranstonDudley NorthLab (minister)aye
Andrew DismoreHendonLabaye
Jim DowdLewisham WestLab (minister)aye
Maria EagleLiverpool, GarstonLabaye
Clive EffordElthamLab (minister)aye
Louise EllmanLiverpool, RiversideLab (minister)aye
Mr George FoulkesCarrick, Cumnock and Doon ValleyLab (minister)aye
George GallowayGlasgow KelvinLabaye
Paul GogginsWythenshawe and Sale EastLabaye
Doug HendersonNewcastle upon Tyne NorthLabaye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLabaye
Mr Kevin HughesDoncaster NorthLab (minister)aye
Adam IngramEast KilbrideLab (minister)aye
Mr David JamiesonPlymouth, DevonportLab (minister)aye
Gerald KaufmanManchester, GortonLab (minister)aye
Piara S KhabraEaling, SouthallLabaye
Tom LevittHigh PeakLabaye
Martin LintonBatterseaLabaye
Fiona MactaggartSloughLabaye
Mrs Alice MahonHalifaxLabaye
Mr Peter MandelsonHartlepoolLabaye
Siobhain McDonaghMitcham and MordenLab (minister)aye
Shona McIsaacCleethorpesLabaye
Tony McNultyHarrow EastLab (minister)aye
Alun MichaelCardiff South and PenarthLabaye
Andrew MillerEllesmere Port and NestonLab (minister)aye
Mike O'BrienNorth WarwickshireLab (minister)aye
Bill OlnerNuneatonLabaye
Sandra OsborneAyrLabaye
Ian PearsonDudley SouthLab (minister)aye
Mr Peter PikeBurnleyLabaye
Mr Chris PondGraveshamLabaye
Mr Syd RapsonPortsmouth NorthLabaye
Mr Ernie RossDundee WestLabaye
Dennis SkinnerBolsoverLab (minister)tellaye
John SpellarWarleyLab (minister)aye
Gareth ThomasHarrow WestLab (minister)aye
Paddy TippingSherwoodLab (minister)aye
Don TouhigIslwynLab (minister)aye
Mr Bill TynanHamilton SouthLabaye
Mr Brian WhiteNorth East Milton KeynesLabaye
Betty WilliamsConwyLabaye
David WinnickWalsall NorthLab (minister)tellaye
Derek WyattSittingbourne and SheppeyLabaye
Mr Donald AndersonSwansea EastLab (minister)no
John AustinErith and ThamesmeadLabno
Hugh BayleyCity of YorkLab (minister)no
Mr Nigel BeardBexleyheath and CrayfordLabno
Margaret BeckettDerby SouthLab (minister)no
Anne BeggAberdeen SouthLab (minister)no
Stuart BellMiddlesbroughLab (minister)no
Mr Ivor CaplinHoveLabno
Mr Tony ColmanPutneyLabno
Michael ConnartyFalkirk EastLab (minister)no
Mr Tom CoxTootingLabno
Mr Keith DarvillUpminsterLabno
Ian DavidsonGlasgow PollokLab (minister)no
Mr Hilton DawsonLancaster and WyreLabno
Ms Julia DrownSouth SwindonLabno
Neil GerrardWalthamstowLabno
Ian GibsonNorwich NorthLabno
Linda GilroyPlymouth, SuttonLabno
Dr Norman GodmanGreenock and InverclydeLabno
John HeppellNottingham EastLabno
John HuttonBarrow and FurnessLab (minister)no
Brian IddonBolton South EastLabno
Mrs Helen JacksonSheffield, HillsboroughLabno
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLabno
Alan KeenFeltham and HestonLabno
Ms Oona KingBethnal Green and BowLab (minister)no
Bob LaxtonDerby NorthLabno
Andrew MacKinlayThurrockLabno
Mr John MaxtonGlasgow CathcartLab (minister)no
Anne McGuireStirlingLab (minister)no
Mr Tony McWalterHemel HempsteadLabno
Margaret MoranLuton SouthLabno
Mr Kerry PollardSt AlbansLabno
Steve PoundEaling NorthLab (minister)no
Bridget PrenticeLewisham EastLabno
Gordon PrenticePendleLabno
Joan RuddockLewisham, DeptfordLabno
Mr Robert SheldonAshton-under-LyneLab (minister)no
Phyllis StarkeyMilton Keynes South WestLabno
Mr George StevensonStoke-on-Trent SouthLabno
Rudi VisFinchley and Golders GreenLabno
Anthony D WrightGreat YarmouthLabno
Mr John BurnettTorridge and West DevonLDemaye
Mr Richard AllanSheffield, HallamLDem (front bench)no
Alan BeithBerwick-upon-TweedLDem (front bench)no
Mr Brian CotterWeston-Super-MareLDem (front bench)no
Don FosterBathLDem (front bench)no
Andrew GeorgeSt IvesLDem (front bench)no
Mike HancockPortsmouth SouthLDem (front bench)no
David HeathSomerton and FromeLDem (front bench)no
Mr Archy KirkwoodRoxburgh and BerwickshireLDem (front bench)no
Mr Richard LivseyBrecon and RadnorshireLDem (front bench)no
Mrs Ray MichieArgyll and ButeLDemno
Michael MooreTweeddale, Ettrick and LauderdaleLDem (front bench)no
Mr David RendelNewburyLDemno
Robert SmithWest Aberdeenshire and KincardineLDem (front bench)no
Andrew StunellHazel GroveLDem (front bench)tellno
Mr Paul TylerNorth CornwallLDem (front bench)no
Andrew WelshAngusSNPno
Mr Roy BeggsEast AntrimUUPaye
Mr William RossEast LondonderryUUPaye

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