Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle secures Speaker's role in the Commons
Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been elected as Speaker of the House of Commons.
He secured the most votes at every point of the four-stage contest – beating his fellow Labour MP Chris Bryant by 325 votes to 213 in the final round.
After taking the chair following the announcement of the result, he said that there were “challenges ahead” for Parliament – adding that its tarnish will have to be “polished away”.
“This House will change, but it will change for the better,” he said.
In thanking his family, he also paid tribute to “one person who’s not here” – his daughter, Natalie, who passed away in 2017.
“I wish you had been here. We all miss her as a family…she was everything to all of us, but she will always be in our thoughts.”
Sir Lindsay will now have to renounce his party's colours in the new role - and will not be permitted to vote in the chamber either. But he told the Lancashire Post in September that he would be "carrying out my [constituency] role exactly as I do now – I want to put Chorley first and nothing will change on that".
But the forthcoming election will be a big change for Chorley residents - as convention dictates that the Speaker is unopposed by the main parties at the ballot box.
Sir Lindsay put fairness and security at the heart of his pitch to become the next Speaker.
The veteran politician, who started out as a Chorley councillor in 1980 and has spent the last nine years as the most senior of three deputy Speakers, told the MPs whose votes he was trying to win that it was “the backbenches that matter” – and that he was the person to defend them.
“It’s about making sure whoever is in power that these benches have the right to question and hold to account. It’s about having an accountable Speaker to back that up…[who] endorses and supports the backbenchers,” Sir Lindsay said.
“The person who walked through that door yesterday is just as important to their constituents [as somebody who has been here 35 years] – their voice must be heard as well.
“The pecking order ought not to be there – it is about equality,” he added.
Sir Lindsay said that he had done the job of deputy “with fairness” and had the experience needed to step up to the top job. He has presided over Prime Minister’s Questions in the absence of the outgoing Speaker John Bercow and also controlled the Commons for every budget debate.
But he also stressed his role in heightening the security of MPs both in and out of the House.
“When I took over [responsibility for] security, there were no measures for MPs… we didn’t matter.
“I hope people will recognise what I have done and [that I] made sure we can feel safe. That job has started, but not finished.”
Sir Lindsay, who has held his Chorley constituency since 1997, commented on the Yorkshire roots of previous Speaker Betty Boothroyd, who was in the chair from 1992 until 2000 and witnessed the day's proceedings at Westminster.
“What the White Rose brought, hopefully the Red Rose will follow,” Sir Lindsay smiled.
He will have to be re-confirmed as Speaker when Parliament returns after the general election.
Standing to congratulate Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Mr Speaker, in congratulating you on your election I observe that you have prevailed over an extremely strong field and that every other candidate earlier on spoke forcibly and well."
He added: "Speaking for myself, after long, happy years of dealing with you, I think I know what it is - and let me say, whenever any of us is preparing to speak in this Chamber, we all know there is a moment between standing up and when the Speaker calls you when your heart is in your mouth.
"And in that moment of anxiety, about whether you're going to make a fool of yourself and so on, and indeed at the moment when we sit down amid deafening silence, the kindliness of the Speaker is absolutely critical to our confidence and the way we behave.
"And Mr Speaker, over the years I have observed that you have many good qualities, and I'm sure you will stick up for backbenchers in the way that you have proposed, and I'm sure that you will adhere to a strict Newtonian concept of time in PMQs."
Mr Johnson continued: "But I believe you will also bring your signature kindness, kindness and reasonableness to our proceedings, and thereby to help to bring us together as a Parliament and a democracy.
"Because no matter how fiercely we may disagree, we know that every member comes to this place with the best of motives, determined to solve, to serve the oldest Parliamentary democracy in the world.
"And to achieve our goals by the peaceable arts of reason and debate invigilated by an impartial Speaker, which was and remains one of our greatest gifts to the world."
Congratulating the new Speaker, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Sir Lindsay will "stand up for the principle" of parliamentary democracy.
Mr Corbyn said: "The job of Speaker is not just a ceremonial one. It is about the rights of backbenchers to be able to speak up."It is about the power of Parliament to hold the government to account. That is the whole principle and point of a parliamentary democracy, that we have a strong Parliament that can hold the executive to account. And I know you will stand up for that principle because that is what you believe in."
Mr Corbyn joked that Sir Lindsay had "eyes in the back of his head" after a photo emerged at the weekend of him watching the Rugby World Cup Final but not facing the television.He added: "You're going to need back in the eyes of your head. It's a difficult job, you don't know what's coming at you next and so I realised you've actually been in training in this.
"So I've been looking at a photograph of you at the weekend apparently watching the rugby cup final whilst at the same time not watching the television. So the only conclusion I can draw from this is that you literally do have eyes in the back of your head."