Speaker of the British House of Commons election, 2009
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The 2009 election of the Speaker of the House of Commons occurred on 22 June 2009 following the resignation of Michael Martin as Speaker following the MPs' expenses scandal. Martin was the first Speaker since Sir John Trevor in 1695 to be forced from office. It was the first Speaker election since 11 May 2005, and the first contested election of a Speaker since 23 October 2000.
Conservative MP John Bercow was elected as the new speaker, after three rounds of voting.
Under the new rules for the election of the Speaker, introduced in 2001, candidates needed to be nominated by at least twelve Members of Parliament, at least three of them members of a party different from that of the candidate. Each member was allowed to nominate only one candidate. After the candidates' speeches, the House voted by secret ballot, with an absolute majority required for victory. If no candidate won a majority, then the individual with the fewest votes was eliminated, as were any candidates who receive less than five percent of the votes cast. The House continued to vote until one member received the requisite majority under a voting system known as the exhaustive ballot. Then, the House voted on a formal motion to appoint the member in question to the Speakership. The Father of the House, Alan Williams, was the presiding officer of the Commons during the election process.
The final stage of appointment of a new Speaker is a formality but has constitutional significance. The Queen must signify her approval of the new Speaker, which is done by the appointment of a Royal Commission.
The following individuals all confirmed their intention to stand for election to the office of Speaker, and were all in turn confirmed as nominated candidates by the Parliamentary authorities on the morning of the election:
- Margaret Beckett (Labour)
- Sir Alan Beith (Liberal Democrat)
- John Bercow (Conservative)
- Patrick Cormack (Conservative)
- Parmjit Dhanda (Labour)
- Sir Alan Haselhurst (Deputy Speaker/Conservative)
- Sir Michael Lord (Deputy Speaker/Conservative)
- Richard Shepherd (Conservative)
- Ann Widdecombe (Conservative)
- Sir George Young (Conservative)
All 10 of the above candidates appeared at a Hansard Society hustings on 15 June. This was the first full hustings to take place for a Speaker election, although there was a hustings for the 2000 speaker election, which several of the candidates did not attend.
Candidate who withdrew prior to nomination
The following candidate announced his candidacy, only to withdraw before the election was held:
The result of the first secret ballot was announced at approximately 17:10 (16:10 UTC) on 22 June 2009, after the nominated candidates had all addressed the House of Commons. The result of the second ballot was announced at approximately 18:55 (17:55 UTC). Following the result of the second ballot, Beckett, Haselhurst and Beith withdrew their candidacies after their support fell, leaving a straight runoff in the third round between Bercow and Young. The result of the third ballot was announced around 20:30 (19:30 UTC). Conservative MP John Bercow won, with 54% of the final vote.
|Candidate||First Ballot||Second Ballot||Third Ballot|
|Sir George Young||112||18.9||174||29.0||271||45.7|
|Sir Alan Haselhurst||66||11.1||57||9.5||Withdrew|
|Sir Alan Beith||55||9.3||46||7.7||Withdrew|
|Sir Michael Lord||9||1.5||Eliminated|
Following the final vote, a voice vote was taken on the formal motion to elect John Bercow Speaker of the House, which carried without any audible opposition. After this, Bercow was dragged to the Chair (as per House custom) by Charles Walker and Sandra Gidley, and gave an inaugural speech.
- At the time of the election, the full house had 646 seats. Two of these were vacant, five Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats, and Alan Williams was not eligible to vote. Turnout is thus based on 638 possible voters.
- "2 June 2009". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 617–641.
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