Speakers and their deputies: A democratic deficit

logoMy article with Sean Kippin for Total Politics (15 October 2013), arguing that voters in the constituency of the House of Commons Speaker are disenfranchised by parliamentary custom. We suggested ways of reforming the office.


Tomorrow, MPs will elect a new Deputy Speaker to replace Nigel Evans, who resigned after being charged with sexual assault. There are two things we know for certain about the new Deputy. The first is that they will be a Conservative, as convention dictates Evans’ successor must be a governing party. David Amess, Henry Bellingham, Brian Binley, Simon Burns, Nadine Dorries, Eleanor Laing and Gary Streeter are all expected to stand. Liberal Democrats are eligible to put themselves forward, too, but it seems none feel they can command sufficient support.

The second thing we know is the new Deputy will remain a Conservative. In this, they will stand in contrast to their new boss, John Bercow, who resigned the Conservative whip on being elected in 2009 and for all intents and purposes exists above the fray of party politics. Most importantly, at general elections he is not opposed by the major parties in his Buckingham, constituency, effectively guaranteeing Bercow’s re-election…

Read the full article on the Total Politics website here.

Image: Institute for Government