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parrot_knight [userpic]

Madam Speaker Beckett?

June 10th, 2009 (04:23 pm)

This news will please [info] - personalnaraht:

Margaret Beckett almost certain to stand for Speaker of the House of Commons.

The article doesn't fill in as much detail as one might wish on the contest to be speaker: Conservative MPs actively pursuing the post include the former cabinet minister Sir George Young, who missed out on the chair last time round, the respected maverick tory backbencher Richard Shepherd - who sometimes seemed to spend as much time in the opposition lobbies as the government ones when Margaret Thatcher was in power - and Sir Patrick Cormack.


Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)

It certainly won't please those members of the south-west's farming community who hanged an effigy of her alongside the A386 for weeks during the foot and mouth crisis.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)

Another example, sadly, of how much this government ended up in many areas appearing to operate on autopilot rather than challenging the customs and (mal)practices inherited from their predecessors.

Posted by: Gramarye (gramarye1971)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)

Ladbrokes have her at 4-to-1 odds, right between John Bercow at 11-to-4 and Sir George at 6-to-1. Anyone up for a flutter? ^_^

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)

I'm not a gambling man, but that won't stop others...

Posted by: ePepys (e_pepys)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Cool. but...

This would mean the end of her career in party politics, but maybe that was already on the cards following her departure from Government.

It may also be an issue if the next election is close. If she is Speaker, she will be elected nearly-unopposed, but won't normally vote on divisions. Will some Labour MPs prefer another party's candidate just to let them lose that one vote?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 10th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Cool. but...

Margaret Beckett had expected to return to the cabinet this week, but it appears that there is no prospect of that under Gordon Brown, who wanted her to remain at minister of state level, which seems incredible for someone of her experience - though there was always a cabal within the Labour Party briefing against her, perhaps to be identified with the Brown circle.

The argument which you make about tied votes works for all parties, and in recent history hasn't been a calculation even when governments have had small majorities. 1992 saw Labour MPs happily sacrifice Betty Boothroyd to the speaker's chair even though the Conservatives had a small and vulnerable majority, and in 1976 Labour, with an evaporating majority, similarly ceded the speakership to George Thomas as it was their own side's turn and it would be unCommons-like to demand that the Conservatives take another turn. (Michael Martin is out of sequence - customarily Betty Boothroyd should have been succeeded by a Conservative, and Tony Blair and others on the Labour front bench were said at the time to prefer Sir George Young to Martin).