London, Nov 4 (AFP/APP): British MPs will on Monday select the new speaker of the House of Commons, once an unremarkable event but one now charged with significance following the previous occupant’s role in Brexit.
Eight MPs are running to replace John Bercow, who placed himself front and centre of the Brexit saga by choosing amendments and introducing procedures that Leave-supporting MPs claimed were designed to frustrate Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Bercow also faced accusations that he fostered a culture of bullying within parliament. But his colourful personality and eccentric performances in parliament gave him an international profile and raised the status of the office.
Lindsay Hoyle, Bercow’s deputy since 2010, is the odds-on favourite to fill his shoes but other political heavyweights are also vying for the job.
Hoyle has been a Labour MP for 22 years and was Bercow’s deputy from 2010, since when his distinctive Lancashire accent has rung out from the speaker’s chair.
In a sign that he may follow a different path from Bercow, he recently rejected amendments that would have made it more difficult for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to force a general election, now due on December 12.
The 62-year-old is as unimpressed as his predecessor by rowdy MPs, once chastising Scottish Nationalists for humming the EU anthem “Ode to Joy” in the chamber.
Hoyle pledged in an interview published in the Sunday Times to repair what he claims has become a “toxic parliament”.
“I don’t want the abuse of each other and I think we have got to close that down quickly and make sure it is a calmer place to be,” he said.