Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill standing for Deputy Speaker

The Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill is one of five Conservative MPs standing for Deputy Speaker.

By Corinne Macdonald
Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 1:31 pm

The election for three new Deputy Speakers is taking place today (Wednesday January 8) due to the start of the new Parliament.

The result will be announced by the Speaker in the House of Commons as soon as possible after the count has finished.

Fellow Yorkshire MP Dame Rosie Winterton, the Labour MP for Doncaster Central, is the sole candidate from the same side of the House as Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and will therefore be elected First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, a role which must be from the same side as the Speaker.

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Robert Goodwill MP. Picture: Richard Ponter/ JPI Media

Mr Goodwill said: "I decided over Christmas, I've had a lot of experience as a minister and in the whip's office which would stand me in good stead as the Speaker and Deputy Speakers have to deal with more complex cases."

The MP said he would never have considered standing for the role whilst John Bercow remained Speaker as he said he had a tendency to 'hog everything."

He continued: "Lindsay Hoyle made it very clear he wants the three deputies to be more involved.

"I have a lot of respect for [him]."

Candidates must receive 10 sponsors from across the house, and Mr Goodwill has been nominated by former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt (Con), fellow Yorkshire MP Dan Jarvis (Lab), former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, newly elected Jacob Young (Con), Mrs Helen Grant (Con), Luke Pollard (Lab), Dr Lisa Cameron (SNP), Anna McMorrin (Lab), Scott Benton (Con) and Dame Eleanor Laing (Con).

Mr Goodwill said: "I've got a good spread of nominations, including Eleanor Laing who is also standing and I have personally nominated."

If successful he will no longer take part in votes in the House of Commons, though said the role would potentially free him up to be in his constituency more often.

"It will possibly give me a bit more flexibility to be in Scarborough and Whitby," he explained, "[The Deputy Speakers] don't participate in cotes which means I may be able to pinch the odd Monday and Thursday in Yorkshire if I'm not needed down here [in London.]"

How are the Deputy Speakers elected?

The Deputy Speakers are elected by a private ballot in which MPs number candidates according to preference.

What do Deputy Speakers do?

The principal Deputy Speaker is also the Chairman of Ways and Means, whose main role is to take the Chair in the Speaker's absence and perform their duties. They are also chairman of any Committee of the whole House.

The Chairman of Ways and Means also has three roles that the Speaker does not perform: supervision of arrangements for sittings in Westminster Hall, general oversight of matters connected with private bills and Chair of the Panel of Chairs.

They must come from the opposite side of the House of Commons to the Speaker, who in this case, Lindsay Hoyle, is Labour.

The other two Deputy Speakers are known as the First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, who must come from the same side of the House as the Speaker and the Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, who must come from the opposite side.

The two may take the Chair in the absence of the Chairman of Ways and Means.

Who are the other candidates?

- Sir David Amess, Southend West, Conservative

- Mr Peter Bone, Wellingborough, Conservative

- Mr Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley, Conservative

- Mr Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative

- Dame Eleanor Laing, Epping Forest, Conservative

- Dame Rosie Winterton, Doncaster Central, Labour