The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The New Deputy Speakers

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 9, 2010 @ 09:28

All hail the new Chairman of Ways and Means

Yesterday’s Deputy Speaker Election produced a rather interesting result. But then again, it was always likely to, as all of the candidates had never been a Deputy before – a rather unusual occurrence.

The election has brought Tory Nigel Evans, and Labour’s Dawn Primarolo and Lindsay Hoyle into the lofty Speaker’s chair. Lindsay Hoyle, in particular, becomes the Chairman of Ways and Means, in other words, the most senior Deputy, who will preside over the emergency Budget on June 22.

Nigel Evans is an entertaining enough character, and I am happy to see him there. He is a very sharp witted man, and will do a fine job of keeping the natives in check when the moment comes. He is as full of himself as Speaker John Bercow, but that is an asset for this job, not a liability. I’ve no doubt he will relish the job and enjoy sticking it to everyone as his new impartiality requires.

Lindsay Hoyle is also a fine choice. It’s good to see that his broad Lancashire accent has never held him back. Always been a bit of a character, especially when he hit the news for trying to deposit a small fortune in loose change. He also has his wits about him, and will play a very fine second fiddle to John Bercow.

Dawn Primarolo is a bit of  mystery, though. She has had a long career as a government minister. That doesn’t fit the usual career path of Speakership. Most Speakers and their deputies have been senior backbenchers, and have trodden a well-worn path of making friends and being seen as very fair to all sides. That cannot be said for her. But it would be unfair to say that she got the job because she is a woman, since she passed the threshold without any need for quota-filling. Nevertheless, there was only one other woman on the ballot…

I don’t know all that much about her, though. The jury is out on her style and charisma in keeping the House in order.

What makes the result so good is that it is truly a representation of the House, courtesy of a democratic ballot, conducted by STV, no less. In the past, we’ve been used to stitch ups between the whips, ensuring very little changes from election to election. Indeed, until yesterday, Parliament had had the same deputy Speakers for the last 10 years, and two of them since 1997.

Now, along with Speaker Bercow’s election last year, we have had yet another quiet revolution in British politics. It just remains to be seen whether any of it makes any difference.

But, at the very least, we are beginning to see a little more democracy in that so-called cradle of our democracy.


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