New Speaker of the House of Commons Elected

  June 23, 2009 at 2:43 am by

View the image at BBC

The House of Commons has just elected Tory MP John Bercow as the new Speaker of the House in an ancient balloting process to replace the outgoing Speaker Michael Martin, forced to resign over the MPs expenses scandal. He is the first Speaker in 300 years to be forced from office and his successor will have a tough job to reform the British parliament. The role of the Speaker will be well-known to Royal watchers who follow ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament, but where does the Queen come into it all?

Though there’s been no official word on the expenses row from the Palace (as if there would be!), Her Majesty has apparently made it clear to the Prime Minister that parliament needs reform. Although the new Speaker is elected by Members of Parliament, he still needs to get the Royal “approbation” or Royal approval by going to the House of Lords where the Lord Commissioners appointed by the Crown will approve the choice in the name of the Monarch. The process is fairly quick, but when the new Speaker visits the House of Lords, he’ll petition “in the name and on behalf of the Commons of the United Kingdom, to lay claim, by humble petition to Her Majesty, to all their ancient and undoubted rights and privileges, especially to freedom of speech in debate, to freedom from arrest, and to free access to Her Majesty whenever occasion shall require”. Let’s hope the Queen doesn’t mind the idea of the Speaker popping in unannounced for a cuppa.

The new Speaker will enter into the Order of Precedence behind the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord President of the Council.

For threads about the State Opening of Parliament, click here and here.

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