By Evie Matthews |
On Monday, the longest serving leader of the House of Commons since 1943, John Bercow, chaired his last session as Speaker.
His replacement, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is widely expected to return the role to a traditional neutrality after some controversial decisions by Bercow.
Elected on Monday evening, Hoyle is the Labour MP for Chorley and has served as Deputy Speaker since 2010.
Bercow announced his departure in September, triggering a contest to replace him. There was avid speculation into who would, and who had the capacity, to fill Bercow’s indignant shoes.
Amongst these were four Labour MPs – Chris Bryant, Harriet Harman, Meg Hillier and Hoyle – and three Conservatives (Dame Eleanor Laing, Sir Edward Leigh and Dame Rosie Winterton).
However, Hoyle stood out as the front runner from the campaign’s inception and won the four-ballot race.
Having served as Deputy to Bercow since 2010, Hoyle is not an unfamiliar voice within the House of Commons. He has chaired Parliament several times, including Budget debates.
It was his diversity as a politician that arguably secured his win. His Labour roots and conservative style appealed to a coalition of MPs.
What does the Speaker do?
The occupation of Speaker has unsurprisingly sparked considerable interest. The elected MP is expected to be political impartial and shape the debates and passing of legislation within Parliament.
The position is as old as British democracy itself, originally serving as the monarch’s de facto representative in the Chamber.
With flippant mannerisms and an inability to mince his words, the former Conservative MP Bercow served as a ray of sunshine in an increasingly bleak political climate, the infamous recitation of ‘Order! Order!’ ringing sweet in every British person’s ear.
Nonetheless, he was not always to everyone’s taste, accused of bully-boy tactics, personal feuds and partisanship.
What is expected of Hoyle?
It is anticipated that the new Speaker will take a more traditional approach to the work, given that Hoyle regularly kept to timetabled proceedings when he served as Deputy.
Hoyle has a mixed voting record, which is particularly fitting for the role of Speaker. With no clear idea on what he stands for, it is sure to dilute criticism.
This seems to particularly be the case in regards to Brexit, showing no clear bias. Having blocked a pro-Remain plot to reverse Brexit, Hoyle was also the only candidate to abstain from discussing his vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The ambiguity of his beliefs seems fitting for the role’s requirement of objectivity, and shows promise of objectivity and cohesion amidst a politically turbulent climate that passes the doors of the House of Commons.