The UK House of Commons is electing a new Speaker this Monday to replace John Bercow in what is probably the last major decision of this Parliament before it dissolves ahead of the country’s general election in just over five weeks, reports Bloomberg.
Bercow, 56, who is perceived by many as one of the most controversial recent speakers of the UK Parliament, in no small measure due to his rulings during the Brexit debates, stepped down from his role on 31 October - the original deadline for the country to leave the EU.
John Bercow had previously said he would be standing down on the Brexit deadline or in the case of an early general election being held.
Endowed with a pivotal role in Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Commons shapes the debates, selects amendments, rules on which motions are in order for the House to consider, orders politicians when to stop speaking, and generally oversees proceedings the often-raucous lower chamber.
Amendments have been one of the key tools MPs have resorted to in shaping the daily agenda and progress on the UK’s divorce from the EU.
That includes the Benn Act, which forced Johnson to request a delay to the 31 October deadline.
Thus, last month, John Bercow ruled not to allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold a second vote on his Brexit deal - two days after it was blocked by members - thus playing a key role in the PM’s failed effort to get it passed in time for the exit deadline.
John Bercow’s deputy Lindsey Hoyle, a Labour MP, is seen as the favourite to win the ballot to replace the speaker, according to bookmaker Ladbrokes.
Hoyle, 62, has said one of his first acts would be to call a summit with all the party leaders to find a way of taking the “nastiness” out of politics.
A surprise result, however, might be in store during the “exhaustive ballot” Parliament vote Monday.
If no candidate secures a majority, whoever has the fewest votes is eliminated, with MPs continuing to vote until one candidate gets a majority.
Labour member Harriet Harman and Eleanor Laing, who also were deputies for Bercow, are seen as the closest rivals to Hoyle among the eight expected candidates.
The upcoming election adds to the unpredictability, as some MPs may already be in their constituencies campaigning rather than in London to vote for the new speaker.
Official Campaign Launch
When Parliament dissolves on 5 November, ahead of the snap poll set for 12 December, it will mark the official start of the election campaign.
Among those voting for the new speaker, not all will return, as some, like Bercow, are stepping down, and others may lose their seats in the poll.
On 3 November Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said he won’t be standing again, following Culture Minister Nicky Morgan a few days earlier.
MPs voted by 438 votes to 20 on Tuesday, 29 October, to hold a general election on 12 December, as PM Boris Johnson pushed for an early poll in a bid to break the deadlock over his proposed terms for taking the country out of the EU.
Ahead of the snap vote, current polls show that Boris Johnson continues to soar ahead of Labour.
Support for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn grew by six points between 30 October and 1 November according to one poll from YouGov.
Latest Westminster voting intention (31 Oct - 1 Nov)— YouGov (@YouGov) November 3, 2019
Conservative - 39% (+3 from 29-30 Oct)
Labour - 27% (+6)
Lib Dem - 16% (-2)
Brexit Party - 7% (-6)
Green - 4% (-2)
Other - 7% (+1)https://t.co/cZPbP63BWT pic.twitter.com/kiGUqZ9P9E
The party is on 27 percent, still 12 points behind the Tories.
The Lib Dems have slipped three points to just 16 percent but the Brexit Party fell from 13 percent to seven.