HC Deb 23 October 2000 vol 355 cc1-106
The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair)

I have to inform the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the resignation of the right hon. Betty Boothroyd, lately Speaker of this House, gives leave to the House to proceed forthwith to the election of a new Speaker.

Sir Edward Heath (Old Bexley and Sidcup)

The House may be assisted if I make a short statement about the procedure this afternoon. The first business of the House must be to elect a Speaker. Under Standing Order No. 1, whenever it is necessary to proceed forthwith to the choice of a Speaker, it falls to the Member with the longest continuous service in the House to preside. It is also laid down that when a motion has been made that a certain Member do take the Chair, further nominations are to be made in the form of amendments to that motion.

The Standing Order therefore means that all I can preside over is the election of a Speaker by the means laid down in the Standing Order. Although that procedure may sound complex, it is exactly the same as that adopted by the House in deciding on any motion to which amendments are offered. First, the motion is moved. If there are amendments, they are then moved and decided on. Once an amendment has been carried, the main question, as amended, is put to the House for decision. If no amendment is carried and no more are forthcoming, the main question is put for decision. I hope that that will be helpful.

Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)

Sir Edward, you and I have sat under eight Speakers in 15 Parliaments over 50 years, and you know, better than any of us, the importance of the Speaker to the work of Parliament. We are in some difficulty today. We do not know the names of the candidates because they have never been put on the Order Paper. We do not know who will move them or second them. We did not know what statement you would make until you made it. Officially, we will not know of any proposal of the kind that I hope you will allow me to make until I have the chance to make it.

I draw your attention, Sir Edward, to paragraph (3) of Standing Order No. 1, which says: A Member taking the chair— that is yourself, Sir Edward— under the provisions of paragraph (1) of this order shall enjoy all those powers which may be exercised by the Speaker during proceedings… Therefore you have absolute power, as the Speaker has, to accept an amendment if you choose to do so.

I am not asking you, Sir Edward, to support the proposal, but the House should have the opportunity to do so. There was very wide consultation at a meeting this morning and out of 150 people, only one was opposed to the idea of a ballot. We are a sovereign body, and when the House wishes it can pass an Act though both Houses in a single day and get Royal Assent, and there is no reason why we should not tackle the question now.

The Clerk advises me that the form of words that I should use in making my proposal are as follows: That notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Election of Speaker), the process of nomination and election shall be as follows:

  1. (a) That nominations for the position of Speaker be opened immediately and be submitted to the Clerk of the House, each one to be supported by a Mover and Seconder and accompanied by a consent form signed by each person nominated.
  2. (b) That Ballot papers be printed immediately containing the names of all the nominated candidates together with the names of the movers and seconders of each.
  3. (c) That each Mover and Seconder be then invited to speak in support in support of their candidate, in alphabetical order by name of that candidate, followed by others who may wish to speak and ending with the candidates themselves also in alphabetical order.
  4. 3
  5. (d) That the House then adjourn to allow ballot papers to be issued in the No Lobby and members having marked them with the name of the person for whom they wish to vote, signed with their own names, would then place them in Ballot Boxes in the Aye Lobby.
  6. (e) That the Clerk of the House would act as the Returning Officer for the counting of the Votes and would report the result to the Father of the House showing the votes cast for each candidate and the names of those members who had voted for each.
  7. (f) That the House would proceed to a division to decide which of the two candidates with the largest number of votes would become Speaker.
  8. (g) The successful candidate would then take the Chair as Speaker Elect in the normal way.
I am not suggesting that that is a perfect system—some Members have suggested alternative votes and exhaustive ballots—but it is practical.

I have given the Clerk nomination forms and ballot papers and know that he has prepared them in case the proposal is carried. I hope that you, Sir Edward, will allow the House to decide. The House must have the Speaker it wants and the Speaker must enjoy the authority that he or she needs to do the job that we are about to elect him or her to do.

Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

May I support the point of view put by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn)? This is the most important vote that the House faces in this Parliament, and two arguments have been put against altering the procedure in the way that he suggests. One is that there has been a previous opportunity to do so and that the Procedure Committee has considered that. However, I am quite sure that the Procedure Committee did not consider the possibility of there being 12 candidates and the complexity that we face, so that we now have to make a game theory decision on who we vote for at each point.

The second argument is that we should not change the rules midway through a contest. Probably the House was surprised when Speaker Boothroyd chose to stand down—disappointed, perhaps, as well—but it seems to me that it is more important that the House can choose by a transparent and visibly fair procedure that it supports overwhelmingly rather than stick with an antiquated procedure, which would bring the House into disrepute.

Mr. Paul Marsden (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

May I support the proposal made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn)? We are about to take a momentous decision and I urge you, Sir Edward, not to go down the route of antiquated precedent but, rather, to abide by what I think is a substantial majority in the House who support your allowing us to have a free, fair, open and democratic ballot.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. As someone who does not support this last-minute change to the rules, may I seek your guidance for those of us who are prepared to stick with the existing rules until they are properly changed? I ask you to guide the House as to your thoughts on the sequence in which you propose to put the main proposition and, more important, the amendments. Some indication of that would help those of us who wish to give consideration to the votes that we are about to cast.

Sir Edward Heath

I should like to deal with the point that has just been raised, among others. I quite understand the anxiety that many Members have about the present system. I not only understand but have considerable sympathy with it. On the other hand, I believe that my powers under the Standing Order do not extend to presiding over a debate and a decision on other possible methods of election. In any case, even if I had the authority to act in that way, I believe that we would become very confused if we tried to change the rules in the middle of our proceedings. However, as I am sympathetic to the concern of Members, there may be a way in which I can help without straining the limits of my powers.

It may assist the House if I announce in advance the order in which I shall call Members to propose candidates—that is, the order of all those who have notified me that they wish to take part in the debate. I do so with two provisos. First, if any amendment is carried and the main question as amended thereafter is agreed to, no subsequent amendments can be proposed. Secondly, the list that I am about to read out is not necessarily exhaustive. If no amendment moved by a Member whose name is on the list is carried, other Members may catch my eye to put forward other candidates. Perhaps I may now give the list of those who have notified me already.

I will first call Mr. Snape to move that Mr. Martin do take the Chair. That will be seconded and debated. Thereafter, we may proceed to other candidates. Mr. Winnick is to propose, as an amendment, Sir Alan Haselhurst; Mr. Wigley is to propose, again as an amendment, Mr. Beith; Mr. David Davis is similarly to propose Mrs. Dunwoody; Mr. MacGregor is to propose Sir George Young; Mr. O'Neill is to propose Mr. Menzies Campbell; Mr. Maxton is to propose Dr. David Clark; Mr. Wilkinson is to propose Mr. Nicholas Winterton; Mr. Cann is to propose Mr. McWilliam; Mr. Tom King is to propose Mr. Lord; Mrs. Shephard is to propose Sir Patrick Cormack; and Mr. Martin Bell is to propose Mr. Shepherd. That covers all those who have notified me of their wish to speak.

Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall)

Notwithstanding the statement that you have just made, Sir Edward, I hope that you recognise that when the procedures of the House do not even reflect the views of its Members, let alone those who send us here, we have a problem.

As the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis) said, the Procedure Committee examined the question following the previous election of a Speaker in 1992. I was a member of the Procedure Committee. It was then thought inappropriate to examine the issue soon after a large majority had elected the Speaker—the bulk of the House voted in that Division. I put it to you, Sir Edward, that it is always an inappropriate time to do so; it is no more inappropriate today than it was then. Indeed, we all have a collective responsibility for not examining the issue at the time. Even the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), who spoke in the previous debate, did not raise questions about the procedure.

This time, it is clearly the view of the House that the procedure that we are about to follow is not likely to result in a clear statement. Even if we proceed as you have indicated, Sir Edward, we are likely to leave a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration in the House, whoever is elected. I know that I will not be popular with whoever takes the Chair some time this afternoon—or, perhaps, in the early hours of the morning—but I still believe it is important that we review the procedure.

We are fortunate that we are likely to be back in the Chamber electing a Speaker following the dissolution of Parliament in a matter of months, so the appointment is a temporary one. I hope that, during that period, the House will agree that my colleagues on the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons should be given a remit to look again at the procedures and make them more democratic.

Mr. Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Usually, I support my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), and I do so on this occasion with one proviso.

We are approaching the season of gunpowder, treason and plot, as always at this time of the year. I estimate that as many as 100 Members of Parliament, including Ministers, cannot be present but ought to be aware of any proposed change to the procedure. I know of at least three Ministers who have had to go abroad on Government business and very much regret that they cannot be present.

There is no proxy vote; there is no pairing system; there is nothing on the Order Paper; and nothing has come from the Whips to say that the change will be made or the debate will be held. There has been no indication other than my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield's rising to his feet. Making such a change would be out of order in any other parliamentary business. Suddenly, the House, ad hoc, says that it is going to debate and vote on the issue. I put it to you, Sir Edward, that that would be out of order. We should carry on and debate any changes later.

Mr. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. I believe that there is almost certainly a majority in the House now in favour of a change in the rules to allow the ballot to go ahead on a fully democratic basis. That being the case, and although you have said that you are not permitted to allow a debate and a vote to take place on the proposal of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), we in this House make our own rules: Standing Orders exist only to guide us. Therefore, I should like to move that we set aside Standing Order No. 1 until the House has had an opportunity to arrive at a view and vote on the right hon. Gentleman's proposal.

Sir Edward Heath

I must tell the hon. Gentleman that such a motion requires notice.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. May I ask you a question of fact? On what basis and by what criteria was the sequence of names decided?

Sir Edward Heath

It was done at my discretion. That has always been the case, but my predecessors have never announced in advance who has been chosen and where they are placed. I was hoping that my doing so would be helpful to the House.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard (South-West Norfolk)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. It is indeed helpful for the House to know the order in which you will call the candidates, and it is, of course, open to you to use your discretion. However, the problem with comparing today's procedures with those over which your predecessors presided is that they are not comparable—today, the House faces an unprecedented number of contenders for the speakership. That is why I support the proposal made by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) that, because we face an unprecedented situation, the House itself should control the way in which this extremely important matter is handled.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. We know that you are in an extremely difficult position, but, on the important issue facing us today, it would be entirely wrong to go ahead on the stated basis when it is quite clear that the majority of the House is not in favour of doing so. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Some Members say no, but let us put it to the test and have a vote on the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn).

If you cannot do that, Sir Edward, I put it to you that when the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), resigned on the lawn of No. 10 Downing street, several points of order were raised and it was ruled from the Chair that it was in order to move, as an emergency resolution, That this House do now adjourn. Would it be possible to move such a motion in the event of your not allowing the House to divide on the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield?

Sir Edward Heath

I am sorry, but I am not prepared to accept a dilatory motion; I am sure that the House as a whole does not want that.

Mr. Gordon Prentice (Pendle)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. You control the batting order, which is crucial, and you have read out the names of the candidates and those who are proposing them, but I am none the wiser as to what informed that decision. You say that you have discretion; indeed you do, and that is what is wrong with the system of election. The system we use should be open and transparent, and people here and outside should be able to understand it.

An hour or so ago, we held hustings in Committee Room 10. We carried out a straw poll among the approximately 150 Members present, the result of which was an almost unanimous decision—there was one exception—that there should be a ballot of the candidates. People do not want to elect the new Speaker using a discredited system that would not have been out of place in eastern Europe before the wall came down.

Mr. Peter Bradley (The Wrekin)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. I suggest that we are confronted with a matter of principle. It is also a matter of democracy. Further, it is a matter that unites Members on both sides of the House. It is important, too, that the people who are looking in on our proceedings—those who send us here—understand and recognise the way in which we comport ourselves in this place, which should conform to their understanding of democracy.

I urge you to accept, Sir Edward, that it cannot be in conformity with the spirit of the Standing Orders that you intend to operate this afternoon that we should elect the champion of Back Benchers and the champion of the House through a system of smoke and mirrors. That person could not expect to command either the respect or authority following such an election. I urge you to think again, Sir Edward, and to bear in mind the fact that almost unanimously those who have spoken this afternoon would urge you to ensure that we have a free, open, democratic and accountable form of election.

Mr. David Wilshire (Spelthorne)

I would not go as far as the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) and say that there is a majority either for or against what you have proposed, Sir Edward, or for or against what the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) has proposed. It has become clear to me over the past 20 minutes that the House is deeply divided on the matter. I have no idea where the majority lies, but, given the fact that the House is divided, there is a real risk that unless the House expresses where its majority lies, whatever system we use will undermine the very person that we must not undermine when we come to choose the next Speaker.

Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South)

I agree with the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire). You tried to be helpful, Sir Edward, by announcing the batting order for the candidates, but, far from being helpful, it will undoubtedly mean that this afternoon's proceedings will cause more of a problem.

Both you, Sir Edward, and the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) have two last duties to perform on behalf of the nation and this Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman has given you the opportunity to listen to what the House is saying and to accept that his proposition is made in the right sense, will result in the right decision and will enable the right person to occupy the Chair. I fear that anything short of that will seriously undermine the credibility of the successful candidate.

There will be many in the House and outside who will not understand why we have come to the decision that we have. The only sensible way forward is to accept the proposition of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield, listen to what the House is saying and at least test whether the right hon. Gentleman, for once, is speaking for the whole House and for the majority of the country.

Mr. Martin Bell (Tatton)

If there were ever a sitting of this place that needed prayers before it, this is surely it. I hope to have an opportunity to propose the name of the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd). As he is 12th in the batting order, I fear that it is unlikely that I shall be able to do so. As we should be a model of democracy, can we not now choose a democratic procedure for the election of Speaker?

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. It strikes me that anyone who comes through the process this afternoon under our current rules will have the support of the House. The problem is that with a plethora of candidates it is extremely likely that we shall arrive at a point when there are no more amendments to be made, and the main motion may be lost. That may be the situation, given the number of candidates. If at that stage it was clear that we could then re-examine the rules, the House could then adjourn. Is that a potential way forward?

Sir Nicholas Lyell (North-East Bedfordshire)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. There is no doubt that the House is master of its own procedure. It is therefore open to you, under Standing Order No. 1, to accept the proposal in the name of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn). There is plainly a great deal of support for it, even if there is also a good deal of opposition. May I ask you, Sir Edward, to accept the proposal and put it to the test?

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)

I am probably unique in that I am the only candidate who has withdrawn. However, that leaves 12 other candidates to be proposed and seconded.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) had the courtesy to telephone to discuss his proposal with me, and I have a great deal of sympathy with it. The only problem that occurs to me—from a dispassionate point of view, as I now have—is that under his proposal, the two leading candidates could, even together, receive only minority support in the House. We might have two significant minority candidates going forward to the final selection. That does not seem a suitable solution, so we may have to consider a system of additional vote, which I would not normally support, but it seems that even the proposition of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield is flawed.

Sir Edward Heath

Some of the complications of the proposed system are now emerging clearly. For us to go over to a new system will take considerable time and a great deal of investigation. What has been proposed so far as a simple solution is not simple at all. On the other hand, providing the names of those who wish to be considered and their proposers and seconders, as I have done, gives the House far more information than it has ever had in the past and provides a foundation for taking decisions today. Therefore, I cannot accept the proposals that have been made from various quarters. We should get on with our business, and I call Mr. Snape to propose Mr. Martin.

2.58 pm
Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East)

I beg to move, That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker. All of us present today recognise the importance of the matter before us, even if we cannot agree on the procedures. As elected Members of the House, we recognise the primacy of the occupant of the Chair and the formidable powers that we, by our decisions today, will grant to that person.

Many of us on both sides recognise that the power and status of the House have diminished considerably over the years. That process did not start in 1997 or even in 1974, when I was first elected. It has been going on for many years. All of us are aware of the feeling often expressed by our constituents that we are somehow out of touch and have no real knowledge of society's problem. To refute that premise is one of reasons that I urge colleagues on both sides of the House to support my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) today, for understanding the problems of poverty and deprivation perhaps comes easier to my hon. Friend than to others.

My hon. Friend was born at the end of the second world war in a Glasgow tenement as one of the five children of a mother who faced life as a single parent after the break-up of the marriage, and following the awful experiences of a father who was three times torpedoed during the second world war. My hon. Friend was an apprentice sheet metal worker before coming to the House, although he says that at the time he would have preferred to be a carpenter. Going to work as he did then, clad in a second-hand boiler suit and a pair of boots, gives him a deep knowledge of some of the problems facing many of our electors and many people in the United Kingdom. Although I am glad that his sartorial awareness has improved since those days, his experiences are not ones that can readily be put aside.

My hon. Friend was elected to the old Glasgow corporation in 1973. It is understandable, given his own experiences, that the provision of decent housing was his major political passion. My hon. Friend helped to form a housing association in the city that is one of the biggest community-based associations in Glasgow today.

Since being elected to the House in 1979, my hon. Friend has served on many of the House's Committees. All hon. Members know that much of the work of those Committees is unreported, unheralded and unobserved by a media obsessed with plots, counter-plots, trivia and tittle-tattle. As Chairman of the Administration Committee in the last Parliament, my hon. Friend knows that the duties and responsibilities of the Chairman lie outside as well as inside the Chamber.

My hon. Friend insisted that proper child care facilities were provided in the building for the many members of our staff who have child care responsibilities. Some hon. Members may believe that that is not the main or even a primary responsibility of the Speaker. [Interruption.] "Hear, hear" say some of the chauvinists opposite. Many Labour Members believe that the provision of proper child care for the staff of the House is no less a responsibility of the Speaker than any other. [Interruption.] Well, Opposition Members need not listen if they do not want to, but they will have to hear me in the end. Thanks largely to my hon. Friend's efforts, the Parliamentary Commissioner approved a voucher scheme to provide child care in the House.

Hon. Members who have come to the House comparatively recently know how confusing it all too often is. Although we talk about training and modernisation, we leave many new Members to find out what goes on for themselves. My hon. Friend's consideration for others, his fairness when occupying the Chair as Deputy Speaker and his willingness to assist us all with advice and guidance have convinced me and many of my colleagues of his attributes.

There has been much press comment on our procedures today. Doubtless there will be even more tomorrow. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) has already given his view of our proceedings. It sometimes seems that no proceedings are complete without a dissenting view from my right hon. Friend. As one of his great admirers for all the years that I have been here, I tell him that he has had almost 50 years as a Member of Parliament to change some of those procedures. I concede that he has been distracted by his membership of many Labour Governments during that time, but it seems that every time a procedural matter arises, my right hon. Friend, albeit adroitly and lucidly, finds some reason for us not to proceed.

The candidature of my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn has not been without criticism from the press, anxious as always to give us their opinions. On Sunday, one distinguished scribe claimed that my hon. Friend, by his action as Chairman of the Administration Committee in banning unaccompanied journalists from the Terrace, had prevented journalists from buying hon. Members a drink. If that were true, it would be a very serious matter. My hon. Friend's actions actually prevented them from buying each other drink. He perhaps also inadvertently prevented them from putting the wrong name on their expense accounts when they got back to the office.

My hon. Friend would agree that, while preserving the best of our traditions, we need to modernise some of our procedures. The sight and sound of the occupants of the Chair announcing at 11.30 pm, "the Ayes to the right: 245; the Noes to the left: 3," convinces many people outside that we need our heads examining for behaving in such a manner. Such behaviour does nothing to convince the people of this country that we are a 21st century Administration, and that the House is capable of updating its procedures. No one wishes to stifle debate; indeed, it is usually the only weapon available to Back Benchers. However, we need a Speaker who will confront and change some of our more absurd practices.

My hon. Friend continually demonstrates his even temper, calmness and gentle humour. Occasionally, when hon. Members get carried away, his oft-used phrases, such as "The hon. Gentleman should know better" or even "It's no' nice", have calmed hon. Members, as well as bringing smiles all round. My hon. Friend is held in respect and affection on both sides of the House. His apprenticeship as Deputy Speaker has demonstrated his skill and ability. I commend his candidature to the House.

3.5 pm

Ann Keen (Brentford and Isleworth)

Since my election in 1997, I have always regarded it as an honour to address the House, but today it is even more so, as I rise to second my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin). It is easy for new Members to be over-awed by the House, and I am only one of many hon. Members elected at that time who were made to feel more at ease and valued because of my hon. Friend's patience, understanding and, of course, knowledge.

One of the first things that I did when asked to second my hon. Friend's nomination was to read the report of the election that took place in 1992. There are few with greater experience and knowledge of parliamentary procedures than my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn). That has most certainly been demonstrated today. I hope that he does not mind that I shall refer to the contribution that he made at the election of the Speaker in 1992. He said that it was the first task of the new Parliament to elect a Speaker. The disadvantage at that time was that the large number of new Members had not been able to enjoy the experience of judging the contenders' ability for that post.

Today, however, every Member has been able to witness the ability of my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn to calm the House, which frequently needs that ability, and to do so in such a way that helps all Members in difficulty rather than putting them down. He has always shown fairness to those holding different political views. He has also shown his loyalty to Parliament. That is why he has such large support today.

In 1992, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield rightly asked for a Speaker who would not only chair proceedings in the Chamber, but look after the interests of the staff who work in the House and on whom we rely so heavily. Many of the staff, in more than one discipline, say that if they could do so they would support my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn. I believe that that is because they know that he respects them. He listens to them and they have confidence in him. My hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) referred to the introduction of child care vouchers. They are very important, and are appreciated by the staff of the House, but there is much more to do.

Finally, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield said in 1992 that he wanted Parliament to be a workshop, not a museum. I put it to the House that my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn fits that bill completely. He has served an apprenticeship as an engineer, a trade union official and, finally—most certainly—as a Deputy Speaker. He will ensure that the House is efficient. He will ensure that Back Benchers, the Opposition and minority parties are given their deserved rights in this workshop. He will ensure that this workshop is modernised. My hon. Friend has a record of representing the underprivileged. He has always had to work hard for improvement and change, and he will not stop doing so now. I am proud to second his nomination.

3.9 pm

Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

I want to speak to the substantive motion and the principle behind it, rather than the amendment, which I shall deal with later if necessary.

I am sure that all the candidates would be impartial and totally fair in exercising their duties, but impartiality is not enough in the Speaker that we seek today. The powers of the House are widely considered to be in decline. That perception is real; history and politics have ensured that the House's powers are in decline. That decline must be arrested and reversed. That is the task of the person we elect today.

The balance of power between Parliament and the Executive has tipped against this House even more in recent years than the long-term trend would indicate. There is also a disparity of power between Front-Bench Members and Back-Bench Members of the House. Putting that disparity right is also a task of the Speaker whom we elect today.

The bypassing of Parliament is well understood. Ministers go to television studios or on the "Today" programme and announce matters before they appear before the House. A Speaker can do something about that. Private notice questions, applications under Standing Order No. 24, and the right of individuals to raise questions that could be debated in emergency by the House are all matters with which the Speaker can and should deal.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

What, even when the Tory Government were in power?

Mr. Davis

I shall shortly give way to the pensioner from Bolsover.

The disparity of power between Members on the Front Benches and those on the Back Benches has been very apparent in past years. Decisions are made on the timetabling of the business of the House. Many believe, with reason, that timetabling is a reasonable approach to the business of the House. This is just about the only House in the western world where such timetabling is done not by the Speaker but by the Executive. That practice has long been wrong—it was wrong under a Tory Government, just as it is under a Labour Government.

Many aspects of recent legislation have changed the rights of our citizens—the right to trial by jury, the right to freedom of information and to a number of other matters, including a passport. Those issues should be decided by the House, and a future Speaker should take that matter in hand.

My point is simple and short. I have said already that our candidates will all be fair, but they should also have strength, independence, integrity and a passionate commitment to the House of Commons. That is what we need from any candidate whom we elect today.

3.12 pm
Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)

I shall continue the theme that the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis) has introduced. This will be one of my last speeches in the House of Commons before I go into politics and, if I may, I want to put to the House my fears for this place. I do not attribute them to any one Government or any one Prime Minister, and I do not want that to be misunderstood.

The people who elect us to Parliament ask us certain questions. They ask, "When we go to war, do you have a say in it?" and the answer is that we do not. We were not consulted, in terms of a vote, about the bombing in Iraq or Kosovo—[Interruption.] No, statements were made. There was also Sierra Leone. That is a royal prerogative. We could not even start electing a Speaker without instructions from the Queen, so the royal prerogative is very strong.

Then we come to the laws made in Brussels. I have been on the Council of Ministers, and was its President once. When Ministers go to Brussels and agree to laws in secret, they repeal the laws that we have made and we have no say, either before the Minister goes or when he comes back.

Patronage is on a massive scale. Every Prime Minister has done it—almost 1,000 peers have been made by Prime Ministers since the war. There is no consultation with the House of Commons about the patronage exercised by the Prime Minister of the day. We must face the fact that we are, to a large extent, an impotent House of Commons. I can give a practical example of that. We have been in recess since July, and during that time there has been a fuel crisis, a Danish no vote, the collapse of the euro and a war in the middle east, but what is our business tomorrow? The Insolvency Bill [Lords]. It ought to be called the Bankruptcy Bill [Commons], because we play no role.

I am very concerned because many young people believe that this is an impotent Parliament. They go on the streets in Prague or Seattle rather than come to the Palace of Westminster, because we do not do the job that we were elected to do. We have a president, and we do not have a House of Representatives.

I fear that, in the world in which we live—I lay no blame at anyone's door, because that is not my purpose, certainly not during this period of my political life—globalisation means that multinational companies have much more power than countries. Ford is bigger than South Africa; Toyota is bigger than Norway. When I went to America last year to celebrate my golden wedding anniversary, I met an old Governor of Ohio, who said "You will never have democracy when big business buys both parties and expects a pay-off, whoever wins."

I believe that it is our job to reverse that. It is for the Commons to decide. Whoever becomes Speaker—I think all the candidates have qualities that they would bring to the job—we must use this period, that of the first Parliament of the 21st century, to restore the power of the people who elected us. We must not be content to be managed and to become a sort of audience, as if we were on the BBC's "Question Time".

For that reason, I hope that some part of the debate will go beyond the personal qualities of which we have heard from proposers and seconders, to the whole central question of whether the House of Commons can survive if it allows itself to be powerless in the face of the really big decisions that will influence the future of this country.

3.16 pm
Mr. Andrew Rowe (Faversham and Mid-Kent)

I had not intended to speak, but I think that a mistake is creeping into the debate: a sense that, somehow, the future of the House depends either on the attitude of the Government or on the qualities of the Speaker. In fact, what the House's future depends on is the quality of Back Benchers. Because both—or all—the major parties are trying to tighten their control over the selection of candidates and the way in which they are preferred, and seeking above all this mythical quality of loyalty, individual Back Benchers are ceasing to feel able to say and do what they want.

I am a fine one to talk. I have been far too loyal to my party for far too long. As my impending retirement approached, however, I realised rather too late how much power an individual Back Bencher, or a group of individual Back Benchers, can exercise when using this place as it could be used. I regret that it took me so long to realise that, but I am a slow learner.

We must not fool ourselves into thinking that the future of the House depends either on some magic Zebedee of a Speaker leaping in to solve all its problems, or on some change of heart on the part of Governments, who will always try to control the House of Commons. What we need is a much clearer perception of what Back Benchers can and ought to achieve, and the fact that their prime loyalty is to their constituency associations and not to their parties.

Sir Edward Heath

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) has been proposed and seconded. I now give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

3.18 pm
Mr. Michael J. Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)

I submit myself to the House, and welcome you to the Chair, Sir Edward. Certainly, every time you are in the Chair you achieve a better turnout than any of the Deputy Speakers.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) for his kindness, and also for his friendship during the 21 years for which I have been a Member of Parliament. I also thank my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ann Keen) for her kind words. When it became clear that a Speaker was required, she was a very staunch supporter.

I pay tribute to Speaker Betty Boothroyd. Betty's advice was, "Be firm, especially with the senior Members. Don't let them pressurise you and try to pull rank", but the thing that I remember her for is that, every day at conferences, her concern was always about the House. She always put the House of Commons first. I wish her every success.

As hon. Members know, the last election brought in many new Members on both sides of the House. I felt a deep obligation to give assistance and help to those new Members, regardless of the party that they came from. I feel that I carried out that duty to the full. I do not think that I could be criticised for denying anyone any help or assistance, either from the Chair or in the Tea Room. I would like to be remembered as a Deputy Speaker who was always fair and helpful.

My apprenticeship has been one of serving the House as a Chairman of Standing Committees, the Administration Committee and the Scottish Grand Committee. I have never sought to be a Whip, a Front-Bench spokesman or a Minister.

Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Quite right.

Mr. Martin

Come to think of it, no one ever invited me to take those posts. I have enjoyed defending the rights of the House.

Modernisation has been talked about a lot in the current Parliament. I will match the hours that any hon. Member keeps in the House because, when hon. Members leave, the Deputy Speakers still have half an hour of Adjournment debate to go, but I am not proud of the fact that, when we go to New Palace yard, men and women who work for us in this building go to their homes and many of them as parents know that their sleep will be broken because they have to get their children out to school. Whenever we talk about hours, we must always consider the staff who work for us so well in the House.

There are new proposals from the Administration Committee to look at creche facilities. The Modernisation and Procedure Committees are looking at our voting system. Back Benchers should fight for these changes. I as Speaker will never interfere with those matters. I give the assurance that I will embrace the democratic decisions of the House. Change for the sake of change is no way in which to conduct our affairs, but, by the same token, to oppose change for the sake of tradition is equally wrong.

A Speaker has a clear duty to every section of the House, especially to Back Benchers, the minority parties and the Opposition parties. The House must hold the Executive to account. I am firmly of the view that the Speaker's duty is to serve the House, not the Executive power.

It says much for the House—and, indeed, for the political system to which we all belong—that someone from the poverty of Glasgow can stand before you seeking the great office of Speaker. My origins should be no reason for me being elected; nor should they be a reason to debar me. I submit myself to the House.


Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Sir Alan Haselhurst".

Let me make it clear that I do not disagree with a single word that was said about my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin); moreover, I, like the rest of the House, listened with much interest to what he said. My hon. Friend and I have known each other for 21 years, and I hope that our friendship will not be broken by the fact that I am not supporting him today. There is only one vacancy: no one—not even my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn)—is suggesting that there should be a job share.

I do not wish to argue about whether we should continue the practice of the past 30 years of ensuring that the new Speaker is from a different party from that of the previous one. Although I realise that that practice dates back only 30 years and not to ancient times, I simply say to my right. hon. and hon. Friends that we should perhaps bear it in mind.

Why am I nominating the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst)? As hon. Members will know, he was first elected as an hon. Member in 1970. Although he lost his seat at the 1974 general election, he returned to the House faster than some of us retreads, being returned for Saffron Walden in 1977. I have seen in some press reports comments by one or two hon. Members suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman has been too strict an occupant of the Chair. Conversely, one leader—I think that it was in today's edition of The Independent—said that he had occasionally not shown sufficient force in that role. Although hon. Members can make their own judgment on the point, I believe that, occasionally, the occupant of the Chair has to show some strictness—and I say that as one who has occasionally been the subject of that strictness.

What basic qualities are required of a Speaker? I agree with the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe) that decisions on the House and its future are not for the Speaker, but for hon. Members, and that it is for the House to decide our practices and policies. Therefore, we should not take the view that it is the occupant of the Chair who will decide how we conduct our business.

The first and foremost quality for a Speaker—hon. Members have said it before, but it should be said again—is absolute impartiality when occupying the Chair. At the same time, the Speaker must be in full control, even at times when the House is in a very bad mood, as sometimes happens. The Speaker must also be able to understand the changing mood of the House.

The Speaker must also defend the rights of Back Benchers. Although that point has been made many times before, I make it again because it is important. The Executive—whether this one or a previous one—are strong, and, as hon. Members know, the Executive can largely control the business of the House. Back Benchers need to be defended, and I hope that whoever occupies the Chair in this place will do just that.

Hon. Members can decide for themselves whether it is a virtue for a Speaker not to have held ministerial office. My hon. Friend the Member for Springburn said that he has not held such office. The right hon. Member for Saffron Walden, too, has not held such office. Hon. Members can decide for themselves whether such a person is better able to appreciate the difficulties and frustrations of Back Benchers than is someone who has held such office.

The Speaker is also our ambassador and representative at parliamentary gatherings overseas, and on other, similar occasions.

I believe that we need a Speaker who respects the history and traditions of this place. I am not one of those who believes that we can say that the House's traditions are not important and cast them aside. At the same time, however, we need a Speaker who appreciates the need for change. In the past few weeks, we have had many lectures from the media on that subject and on our business. Although the media never take the opportunity to lecture themselves, they have been lecturing us on all our weaknesses and blemishes. We should never forget, however, that the importance of this place cannot be underestimated, and that, if it did not exist, all our freedoms would not last for five minutes.

Finally, it has been suggested that the House of Commons requires a figure of glamour—someone with tremendous charisma. I have looked back at previous Speakers over the past 30 years. Betty Boothroyd is indeed a hard act to follow: she was an outstanding Speaker. However, if I were asked who were the other two best Speakers in the past 30 years—who best defended the right of Back Benchers and showed the greatest impartiality between Back Benchers and the Executive—my reply would be Selwyn Lloyd and Lord Weatherill. Before they were elected, would the press have said that Selwyn Lloyd and Lord Weatherill were glamorous figures of great charisma? Probably not. They would have been written off, like a number of today's nominees. Yet in the Chair, they demonstrated impartiality. Moreover, like Betty Boothroyd—and this is not to criticise any of the other Speakers of the past 30 years—Selwyn Lloyd and Lord Weatherill showed how to defend the House of Commons from the Speaker's Chair.

It is my view that the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden is in the same tradition. He has all the necessary qualities as Speaker, and I believe that he would serve the House without fear or favour. I therefore have much pleasure in putting his name before the House for consideration as Speaker.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Peter Brooke to second.

3.31 pm
Mr. Peter Brooke (Cities of London and Westminster)

You, Sir Edward, will be pleased to hear that the last time I followed the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) in this Chamber, it was on Second Reading of an ageism Bill. It is an equal pleasure to follow the hon. Gentleman's eloquence today.

There is a sentence in "The Wrong Box" by Robert Louis Stevenson, to the effect that "it was a bottle of the worst whisky in Hampshire"—and only those familiar with that county could recognise the full force of that superlative. Whatever our opinions, this election is the greatest event to occur in this constituency today—and only those familiar with this constituency can recognise the full force of that superlative.

The speakership of this great House is the greatest gift this House can bestow on any Member. Many are called, yet few are chosen. Yet so great a gift is it that to be runner-up in this contest is a greater privilege than to be the Speaker of 100 other legislatures. Because it is so great a gift, it is a serious business on which we are engaged.

I read in the public prints that the principle of the office passing evenly from party to party is now enshrined in our constitution. If it is, it clearly stands to the advantage of my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst). However, if the principle had been so enshrined eight years ago, I wonder why we held an election then. Surely no one would wish to sit as Speaker in this House unless they were the best man or woman to do so, which, over the past eight years, Speaker Boothroyd pre-eminently turned out to be.

So it is by the test of excellence and appositeness that our candidates must be measured, not by the more usual coinage of party label. By these nobler tests, my right hon. Friend starts with the considerable advantage of having been already long tested in the Chair. The opportunity afforded to us by Speaker Boothroyd of holding this election in this Parliament was specifically intended for an informed electorate to use its knowledge of already familiar candidates. Unlike that moment in 1972 when The Wall Street Journal reported that the recession was now so bad that the Mafia had had to lay off two judges in New Jersey, a deputy speakership of this House is no sinecure.

Because I have been taking a controversial private Bill through the House, I can testify that my right hon. Friend yields to no prior holder of his office in upholding by a robust and upstanding firmness the principle of the rules of order and the embargo on repetition. Yet I can also testify that he strains the cricketing principle of the benefit of the doubt to the extremities of scepticism before he intervenes on a fellow Back Bencher. He owes those qualities to his long Back-Bench experience and, appropriately, to his enjoyment of the confidence of colleagues who retained him as secretary of the all-party cricket group, even after his ascent to the Deputy Speaker's Chair.

My right hon. Friend and I share the coincidence of having been elected to the House in 1977 for our present seats, in seats in which there had also been by-elections in 1965, although my right hon. Friend had also served in the 1970 Parliament, when you, Sir Edward, were Prime Minister.

When we choose a Chairman of Ways and Means, beyond the acceptability of the candidate must lie the desirability of that candidate's being a foil to the Speaker. Not for nothing did our last two Speakers proceed to the Chair from a deputy's role. In all human affairs, there is virtue in a successor's not being a precise simulacrum of the predecessor whom he or she follows. In such variety do institutions breathe, live and grow. To borrow an analogy from cricket, our most recent Speaker was, mutatis mutandis, an Ian Botham—colourful, and an all-rounder with a perpetual capacity to surprise. My right hon. Friend, however, is a Leonard Hutton—neat, tidy, solid, classical and a central figure of immense reliability.

We must come to the point of making up our own minds. When Professor Joad—as he then was not—sat his scholarship exam at Oxford, he was asked to write for three hours on the question, "Can a good man be happy on the rack?". He wrote a single sentence in a minute and a half: "If he were a very good man and it were a very bad rack, yes; if not, no." The rack, which, like the inventions of the White Knight in Alice, is of our own devising, is, for that reason, a very good rack, to which my right hon. Friend has volunteered to subject himself. Like Joad's character, he is a very good man indeed. Most important of all, he is his own man, and I am delighted to second his nomination.

Sir Edward Heath

Sir Alan Haselhurst has been proposed and seconded, so I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

3.37 pm
Sir Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden)

I last spoke in the House on 29 October 1996, so I hope that hon. Members will recognise that I may be a little rusty. I could not then have imagined that my next speech would be made in these circumstances. I feel obliged to acknowledge the endless uncertainties of political life, which conspired to make me the 63rd Chairman of Ways and Means. That wholly unexpected elevation brought me for the first time into regular contact with Speaker Boothroyd. In the previous Parliament, judging from afar, I had never had cause to doubt her qualities in the Chair, but having gained the privilege of seeing her conduct of the office of Speaker close at hand, I soon became aware of the diligent and conscientious way in which she approached her many duties. The love that Speaker Boothroyd expressed for the House when she accepted nomination eight years ago was always evident in our working meetings. She coupled it with intuitive human insight and lashings of good sense. Betty Boothroyd was a huge personality, and a great Speaker.

Hon. Members often come to the Chamber with speeches in our hands that we may never have the chance to deliver. That feeling has been hovering around me—and, I suspect, others—today. I have always found speaking in the House an extremely daunting experience, because I respect this place above all as the most formidable of democratic debating chambers. I bow to the experience and knowledge that the hon. Members around me collectively represent.

I have, however, never had any doubt about wanting to be part of this place. It was a tremendous moment for me when, in the early hours of June 1970, with my parents present, I was declared to be the Member for Middleton and Prestwich—towns now represented respectively by the hon. Members for Heywood and Middleton (Mr. Dobbin) and for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis). I have to say, however—with no disrespect to the people who gave me my first chance in public life, and for whom I have the greatest affection—that what I felt then could not match the emotion and thrill I felt on being returned for Saffron Walden, because by then I had knowledge of what this House was all about, what it meant to me and how important a place I believed it to be.

Thus, Sir Edward, in 1977 I was able to resume my meteoric career on the Back Benches. Never privileged with nor burdened by office, I have had plenty of opportunity to observe and understand the frustrations and constraints of Back-Bench life. I have always been restless to see improvements in the support given to Back Benchers. The power of the Executive has grown and grown, while the capacity of the legislature to check it has not increased commensurately. Arguably, it has diminished. The constituency work load has become steadily more demanding. More and more Members have found it difficult to cope while spending a proper amount of their time undertaking the scrutiny process.

There is another factor: that is family life. When I was originally elected, I was a bachelor. In my first Parliament, I revelled in being here all hours. By 1982, when I had three small children, I took rather a different view and was not always the first to be looking for overtime. I firmly believe that those are issues that the House must address, if only to demonstrate to the public that we are doing an effective job on their behalf and that this is the place—above all others—where their interests will be served.

However, it is for the House as a whole to determine the way in which it wishes to go forward. It is not easy to find a prescription that unites us all—and certainly not one that an individual Speaker can impose. The Speaker should seek only to be a guide—perhaps a catalyst. The Speaker can, however, be a conductor and try to ensure that the pace of our proceedings is more lively, to maximise opportunities for Back Benchers.

So I present myself to the House, Sir Edward, as a moderate moderniser, hopefully gauging the mood of the House and anxious to work with the grain of reform and renewal; as someone who passionately believes that debate and argument over the affairs of this nation must be joined pre-eminently here and not elsewhere; and, I hope, as a convinced champion of individual and minority interests in this House.

I am most grateful to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and to my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) for their willingness to put forward my name and for their generous remarks.

In the 1970 Parliament, I shared with Harold Wilson the distinction that we were the only two Yorkshiremen to represent Lancashire seats. It is asking much, I know, for the House to contemplate two Yorkshire-born Speakers in a row, so it is perhaps in the guise of Essex man that I should, in accordance with ancient custom, submit myself to the will of the House. If chosen, I will serve it faithfully and with resolution.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert "Sir Alan Haselhurst".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 140, Noes 345.

Division No. 299] [3.44 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Boswell, Tim
Allen, Graham Bradshaw, Ben
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Brady, Graham
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Brinton, Mrs Helen
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bennett, Andrew F Burstow, Paul
Betts, Clive Campbell—Savours, Dale
Body, Sir Richard Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) McIntosh, Miss Anne
Chope, Christopher McLoughlin, Patrick
Clappison, James Major, Rt Hon John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Cohen, Harry Mates, Michael
Cohen, Harry Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Collins, Tim May, Mrs Theresa
Cran, James Miller, Andrew
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Curry, Rt Hon David Morley, Elliot
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Moss, Malcolm
Day, Stephen O'Hara, Eddie
Donaldson, Jeffrey Page, Richard
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Paice, James
Faber, David Pearson, Ian
Fallon, Michael Pickles, Eric
Fraser, Christopher Pollard, Kerry
Gale, Roger Pope, Greg
Gapes, Mike Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Gardiner, Barry Prior, David
Garnier, Edward Randall, John
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Robathan, Andrew
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Robertson, Laurence
Gray, James Robinson. Peter (Belfast E)
Green, Damian Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Greenway, John Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Grieve, Dominic St Aubyn, Nick
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Grogan John Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Hague, Rt Hon William Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Haselhurst, Rt Hon Sir Alan Spicer, Sir Michael
Hayes John Spring, Richard
Heald, Oliver Steen, Anthony
Healey John Stinchcombe, Paul
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Streeter, Gary
Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David Swayne, Desmond
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Syms, Robert
Hill Keith Tapsell, Sir Peter
Hoey, Kate Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Hoyle, Lindsay Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Hurst, Alan Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Thompson, William
Jamieson, David Tipping, Paddy
Jenkin, Bernard Trend, Michael
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Trimble. Rt Hon David
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Kidney, David Viggers, Peter
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Walker, Cecil
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Walter, Robert
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Wardle, Charles
Laff, Mrs Jacqui Waterson, Nigel
Lansley, Andrew Webb, Steve
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Wells, Bowen
Lidington, David Whitney, Sir Raymond
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Whittingdale, John
Llwyd, Elfyn Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Loughton, Tim Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Luff, Peter Winnick, David
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Tellers for the Ayes:
McCartney, Robert (N Down) Mr. Peter Snape and
Ann Keen.
Abbott, Ms Diane Baker, Norman
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Banks, Tony
Ainger, Nick Barnes, Harry
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'tty NE) Barron, Kevin
Alexander, Douglas Beard, Nigel
Allan, Richard Begg, Miss Anne
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Bell, Martin (Talton)
Ashton, Joe Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Atkins, Charlotte Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Benton, Joe Dean, Mrs Janet
Bercow, John Denham, John
Bermingham, Gerald Dismore, Andrew
Berry, Roger Dobbin, Jim
Best, Harold Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Blackman, Liz Donohoe, Brian H
Blears, Ms Hazel Doran, Frank
Blizzard, Bob Dowd, Jim
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Drew, David
Borrow, David Drown, Ms Julia
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Bradshaw, Ben Efford, Clive
Brake, Tom Ellman, Mrs Louise
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Ennis, Jeff
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Etherington, Bill
Browne, Desmond Fearn, Ronnie
Buck Ms Karen Field, Rt Hon Frank
Burden, Richard Fitzpatrick, Jim
Burgon, Colin Fitzsimons, Mrs Loma
Butler, Mrs Christine Flint, Caroline
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Flynn, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent Follett, Barbara
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Galbraith, Sam
Canavan, Dennis Galloway, George
Cann, Jamie George, Andrew (St Ives)
Casale, Roger George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Caton, Martin Gerrard, Neil
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Gibson, Dr Ian
Chaytor, David Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Chisholm, Malcolm Goggins, Paul
Clapham, Michael Golding, Mrs Llin
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Graham, Thomas
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Grocott, Bruce
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Hain, Peter
Clwyd, Ann Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Coaker, Vernon Hall. Patrick (Bedford)
Coffey, Ms Ann Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Coleman, Iain Hancock, Mike
Colman, Tony Hanson, David
Connarty, Michael Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Harris. Dr Evan
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Cooper, Yvette Henderson. Doug (Newcastle N)
Corbett, Robin Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hepburn, Stephen
Corston, Jean Heppell, John
Cotter, Brian Hodge, Ms Margaret
Cousins Jim Home Robertson, John
Cox Tom Hood, Jimmy
Crausby, David Hope, Phil
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Hopkins, Kelvin
Cryer, John (Homchurch) Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Cummings , John Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Howells, Dr Kim
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Curtis—Thomas, Mrs Claire Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Dalyell, Tam Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Humble, Mrs Joan
Darvill, Keith Hume, John
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Hutton, John
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Iddon, Dr Brian
Davidson, Ian Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Jenkins, Brian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Johnson, Miss Melanie(Welwyn Hatfield)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly) Johnson Smith,
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Dawson, Hilton Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Mon) Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Naysmith, Dr Doug
Jones. Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Jones, Marlyn (Clwyd S) O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Keeble, Ms Sally Olner, Bill
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Organ, Mrs Diana
Kelly, Ms Ruth Osbome, Ms Sandra
Kemp, Fraser Palmer, Dr Nick
Khabra, Piara S Perham, Ms Linda
Kilfoyle, Peter Pickthall, Colin
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Pike, Peter L
Kingham, Ms Tess Plaskitt, James
Kirkwood, Archy Pond, Chris
Kumar, Dr Ashok Pound, Stephen
Lammy, David Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Laxton, Bob Prescott, Rt Hon John
Leigh, Edward Prosser, Gwyn
Lepper, David Quinn, Lawrie
Levitt, Tom Rapson, Syd
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Raynsford, Nick
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Linton, Martin Roche, Mrs Barbara
Livingstone, Ken Rogers, Allan
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Lock, David Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Love, Andrew Rowlands, Ted
McAllion, John Roy, Frank
McAvoy, Thomas Ruane, Chris
McCabe, Steve Ruddock, Joan
McCafferty, Ms Chris Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) Ryan, Ms Joan
McDonagh, Siobhain Salmond, Alex
Macdonald, Calum Salter, Martin
McDonnell, John Sanders, Adrian
McFall, John Sarwar, Mohammad
McGrady, Eddie Savidge, Malcolm
McGuire, Mrs Anne Sawford, Phil
McIsaac, Shona Shaw, Jonathan
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Sheerman, Barry
Mackinlay, Andrew Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McLeish, Henry Shipley, Ms Debra
MacIennan, Rt Hon Robert Short, Rt Hon Clare
McNamara, Kevin Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
McNulty, Tony Skinner, Dennis
MacShane, Denis Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Mactaggart, Fiona Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McWalter, Tony Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
McWilliam, John Smith, Miss Geraldine
Mahon, Mrs Alice (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Mallaber, Judy Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Marek, Dr John Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Martlew, Eric Southworth, Ms Helen
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Spellar, John
Maxton, John Squire, Ms Rachel
Meale, Alan Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Merron, Gillian Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Michael, Rt Hon Alan Steinberg, Gerry
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Stevenson, George
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Mitchell, Austin Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Moffatt, Laura Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Moonie, Dr Lewis Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Moran, Ms Margaret Stuart, Ms Gisela
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Swinney, John
Mountford, Kali Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Mudie, George Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Mullin, Chris Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Whitehead, Dr Alan
Timms, Stephen Wicks, Malcolm
Todd, Mark Wilkinson, John
Touhig, Don Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Trickett, Jon Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Truswell, Paul Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Wilson, Brian
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Woodward, Shaun
Twigg, Derek (Halton) Woolas, Phil
Tynan, Bill Worthington, Tony
Tyrie, Andrew Wray, James
Vaz, Keith Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Vis, Dr Rudi Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Walley, Ms Joan Wyatt, Derek
Ward, Ms Claire Tellers for the Noes:
Watts, David Sir David Madel and
Welsh, Andrew Mr. Bill Rammell.
White, Brian

Question accordingly negatived.

3.56 pm
Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Alan Beith".

I crave the House's indulgence in allowing someone who once broke the Speaker's Chair to nominate someone to occupy it. It is a reflection on the House that those of us who entered as revolutionaries are in danger of departing as mere reformers. I also hope that the House will see that the fact that I shall stand down at the coming election does not detract at all from the idea that I should propose a Speaker, but adds weight to the nomination, because I cannot be said to stand to gain in any shape or form if the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) is successful.

I have an excellent perspective from which to commend the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed. I have sat behind him on this Bench—as he has sat in front of me—for the last 26 years. In that length of time, one overhears quite a few conversations, and I can say quite honestly that I have never heard the right hon. Gentleman say anything malicious about any Member in any part of the House.

Equally, I have a certain insight. Mind you, Sir Edward, the process of overhearing works in two ways. When I was a young Member and new in the House, I said to my colleague Dafydd Elis-Thomas—now a Member of the other House—something less than complimentary about the then leader of the Liberal party, Jeremy Thorpe. It was quite a shock for me when the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed very gently chided me—in perfect Welsh.

In fact, I have a choice today between supporting a Welsh-speaking non-Welsh Speaker, the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, and a non-Welsh speaking Welsh Speaker. the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody)—among many other non-Welsh possibilities.

I advocate the election of the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed for three reasons, which I am sure that he, as a lay preacher, will appreciate—and none of them is to do with the Welsh language. First, I believe that, as part of the checks and balances in this House, the speakership should move around the House and not just be shared between the two largest parties.

It was my belief in such checks and balances that led me last week to support as Deputy Presiding Officer in the National Assembly for Wales our Labour colleague, the hon. Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek). I have no doubt that Labour Members in this Chamber will recognise the merit of having a Speaker from the other side of the Chamber, and if they do not do so now, they may see the benefit in future. It is certainly valuable to have such checks and balances, so that not everything goes in one political direction.

I further believe that Members from the smaller parties should not automatically be ruled out for our most senior appointment if they are worthy candidates. In the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed we have such a candidate.

My second reason for proposing the right hon. Gentleman is his experience, which equips him to do the job. He has been a Member of the House since 1973, and represents a constituency in north-east England, so he is aware of the challenges that face so many Members whose constituencies are well away from the home counties. He has 20 years' experience on the House of Commons Commission, and as a reformer, he has successfully fought for the principle that the House, not the Government of the day, should run the buildings in which we work.

In that capacity, the right hon. Gentleman helped, in the face of Treasury opposition, to secure the allowance that provides pensions for Members' secretaries and researchers. We need a Speaker who takes the side of the House against the Executive, whichever party is in power. The right hon. Gentleman has fought to make this a more family friendly House, supporting the provision of a creche and a child care allowance, and advocating sensible working hours. In that capacity, he has developed good working relations with Members from all parties, which is a prerequisite for being Speaker.

The right hon. Gentleman was, of course, a candidate for his party's leadership, and the very characteristics that may have detracted from that candidature may equip him to be an effective Speaker. He is a patient person, he has a balanced view, he can see both sides of an argument, and he can dispassionately form a considered judgment. Those are not necessarily the main attributes necessary for a party leader, but they are essential qualities for the Speaker of the House.

Thirdly, I propose the right hon. Gentleman on account of his strength of character and personality, which equip him to do an outstanding job. He is transparently fair, and that is essential for any Speaker. His strength of character grows out of his deeply held personal convictions, and that is a strength that any Speaker needs to withstand the pressures of the Executive, of vested interest, and, indeed, of political colleagues. The right hon. Gentleman has the deep, quiet strength to do the job.

May I also refer to the strength and dignity that the right hon. Gentleman showed when he suffered two tragic bereavements, in which he had the sympathy of the whole House. He ably demonstrated at that time that he could ride the storms of life and still carry the responsibilities of office. He also has respect for this institution, while not being blind to its shortcomings. He is a reformer at a time when reform must surely be high on our agenda.

Finally, as I am the retiring Member for Caernarfon, a seat held by David Lloyd George for 53 years, it gives me great pleasure to propose that we elect a Liberal— well, at least, a Liberal Democrat—as Speaker. My grandmother, who was for 13 years president of Pwllheli Liberal association, would be smiling from her grave. I have not had a political change of heart, but I hope that we all recognise a good person when we see one, and I urge fellow Members to elect the right hon. Gentleman as a worthy Speaker of the House.

4.4 pm

Jackie Ballard (Taunton)

It is my privilege and pleasure to second the nomination of my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). As Members have heard, he has been a Member of this place since 1973, which is long enough to know the institution. He is a natural parliamentarian and has become part of the institution, but he has not become institutionalised, and as someone who still thinks of herself as something of a revolutionary, I think that that is particularly important.

In this media and image-conscious age, sometimes the image and the person do not match, but my right hon. Friend's image is one of reliability, of being a safe pair of hands, of loyalty and of competence. In this case, the man matches the image, but two more qualities should be added to that list: he has a keen sense of humour and a passion for democracy. Both are much needed in the Speaker of this place.

As a Member from the 1997 intake and a Back Bencher, what I hope for most in the Speaker is someone who will defend the rights of Back Benchers and of the House against any overbearing Executive. When I was elected, I appreciated the encouragement and advice of Speaker Boothroyd and I know that my right hon. Friend has the ability and the commitment to give such encouragement and advice to all Back Benchers. As a Liberal, he is used to being independent of mind and of action. That is also essential in a Speaker.

In my view, the House needs not modernisation but something much more radical. The House needs to reform itself, and we can do that with the help of a reforming Speaker. However, we must judge the candidates today not on their verbal commitments to reform, but on their past practical commitment and examples. My right hon. Friend has a track record that will withstand any scrutiny. He was a distinguished member of the House of Commons Commission for many years, but even before that he showed a commitment to the welfare of the staff of this place when he successfully moved an amendment to a Government motion on Members' allowances to create a ring-fenced allowance for pensions for Members' staff.

My right hon. Friend is a fair-minded man, as the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) has said. He is an open-minded man and, in my view, admirably suited to the Speaker's Chair. I am proud to support his nomination and hope that he will have the support of all Members of the House.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Alan Beith has been proposed and seconded, so I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

4.7 pm

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I begin by warmly thanking my kind proposer and seconder and by echoing the tributes to Betty Boothroyd and her speakership. I had the privilege of working with her for about 20 years in various capacities, but particularly in the House of Commons Commission. It is sometimes not recognised what a large, submerged portion of work the Speaker engages in—work that is not apparent when the Speaker takes the Chair. I saw a newspaper report that there was a cushy job going in the House of Commons involving three hours work a day. Well, I can testify from Speaker Boothroyd's hard work—day and evening long—that there is a lot more to it than that, and that much work goes on behind the scenes.

Indeed, in those capacities it was my pleasure often to meet and work with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin), whom I count as a friend. I have worked with him for many years, especially when he was Chairman of the Administration Committee and I served on the Commission. We did not always agree, but I have to say that in those days, the Administration and Accommodation and Works Committees were not hotbeds of reform or modernisation. I have a great and warm respect for his personal qualities, so it is rather strange to have entered what seems a little like a fairground boxing ring to contend with him. That is the nature of the procedure: we are proposed in turn, one by one—although I advise Members who want an early tea that the proceedings can be brought to a close quite quickly by electing me. By doing so, they would elect the first Speaker from the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency since 1656—and he had the benefit of a bit of help from Oliver Cromwell, which is not available today. Indeed, we had our last Liberal Speaker in the 1920s, and he probably had a bit of help from Lloyd George. That is not available, either.

The Speaker is the servant of the House, so all the commitments that we make at hustings, meetings and in the Chamber about reforms that we should like to achieve are subject to a proviso: it is the House that decides. In my experience, there are many roadblocks on the way to reform in the House. It is my hope that the Speaker will not be one of them. The Speaker should enable the House to release its potential to be more effective in the service of our constituents, in the scrutiny of legislation and in holding the Executive to account. Frankly, some of our ways do not assist that. The Speaker who is ready to support the House in seeking to make the procedures more effective would do the nation a service.

We should use time productively and effectively. I express personal views, which any Speaker would have to submit to the House, as the House makes the decisions, but I do not find the notion of very long debates attended by very few Members, which are little regarded outside the House, particularly contributive to effective scrutiny. Such debates are one of the factors that discourage some people from serving in the House, and make it difficult for some to continue to do so. We must not be an exclusive institution.

Although the Speaker is dependent on the will of the House concerning some changes that can be made, Speakers can do other things. There are private notice questions, emergency debates and procedures to stand over debates when the range of opinion has not been properly represented. Some of those have not been used all that often in recent times. There are opportunities for the occupant of the Chair to make use of those procedures to help Back Benchers and to give them the chance to express their concerns. A reforming spirit behind the way in which we use our Standing Orders can do some good.

Whoever wins this election will as their first duty lay public claim to the liberties and freedoms of the House of Commons. There must be some substance to that claim. We are not simply reclaiming the 16th and 17th-century freedoms of the House. We must lay claim to freedoms that make the House effective and enable it to challenge the Executive and legislate well. Some reforms are necessary to that task.

I have been honoured to serve in this House and look forward to continuing to do so. It is an honour and a privilege. I am proud to be a Member—but one can be proud of an institution and still recognise that it needs to change, to make itself more effective and to renew itself. The House is not our property; it is the legislature of the people of the United Kingdom. It is not run for our benefit as Members; it is their institution, in which we should stop regarding them as strangers and recognise them as the people who elect us and whom we are here to serve. I have sought in 27 years to work for parliamentary democracy in this place, and I pledge myself to continue to do so.

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 83, Noes 409.

Division No. 300] [4.13 pm
Allan, Richard Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Allen, Graham Hancock, Mike
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Harris, Dr Evan
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Harvey, Nick
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Heath, David (Somerton & Frome,)
Baker, Norman Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Ballard, Jackie Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys MôM)
Bell, Martin (Talton) Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Brake, Tom Keetch, Paul
Breed, Colin Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
Brinton, Mrs Helen (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Burden, Richard King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Burnett, John Kirkwood, Archy
Burstow, Paul Livsey, Richard
Cable, Dr Vincent Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Campbell—Savours, Dale Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Chidgey, David Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Chope, Christopher Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Mitchell, Austin
Colman, Tony Moore, Michael
Cotter, Brian Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Cousins, Jim Mullin, Chris
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Oaten, Mark
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Pearson, Ian
Davidson, Ian Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Denham, John Rendel, David
Donaldson, Jeffrey Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Drown, Ms Julia Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Fearn, Ronnie Salmond, Alex
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Sanders, Adrian
Flynn, Paul Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Foster, Don (Bath) Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
George, Andrew (St Ives) Stinchcombe, Paul
Gidley, Sandra Stunell, Andrew
Gorrie, Donald Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple—Morris, Peter
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Wallace, James
Tipping, Paddy Webb, Steve
Tonge Dr Jenny Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Trimble, Rt Hon David Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield) Tellers for the Ayes:
Tyler, Paul Mr. Lembit Öpik and
Walker, Cecil Mr. Elfyn Llwyd.
Abbott, Ms Diane Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clwyd, Ann
Ainsworth. Robert (Cov'try NE) Coaker, Vernon
Alexander, Douglas Coffey, Ms Ann
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Cohen, Harry
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Coleman, Iain
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Collins, Tim
Ashton, Joe Connarty, Michael
Atkins, Charlotte Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Banks, Tony Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Barnes, Harry Cooper, Yvette
Barron, Kevin Corbett, Robin
Beard, Nigel Corbyn, Jeremy
Begg, Miss Anne Corston, Jean
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Gran, James
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Crausby, David
Bennett. Andrew F Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Benton, Joe Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Bermingham, Gerald Cummings, John
Berry, Roger Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Best, Harold Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Betts, Clive Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Blackman, Liz Dalyell, Tam
Blears, Ms Hazel Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Blizzard, Bob Darvill, Keith
Blunt, Crispin Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Borrow, David Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Boswell, Tim Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Dawson, Hilton
Bradshaw, Ben Day, Stephen
Brady, Graham Dean, Mrs Janet
Brazier, Julian Dismore, Andrew
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Dobbin, Jim
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Browne, Desmond Donohoe, Brian H
Browning, Mrs Angela Doran, Frank
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Buck, Ms Karen Dowd, Jim
Burgon, Colin Drew, David
Butler, Mrs Christine Duncan Smith, Iain
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Campbell. Alan (Tynemouth) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (Cbridge) Edwards, Huw
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Efford, Clive
Canavan, Dennis Ellman, Mrs Louise
Cann, Jamie Ennis, Jeff
Caplin, Ivor Ethenngton, Bill
Casale, Roger Evans, Nigel
Cash, William Fabricant, Michael
Caton, Martin Field, Rt Hon Frank
Cawsey, Ian Fisher, Mark
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Fitzpatrick, Jim
Chaytor, David Flight, Howard
Chisholm, Malcolm Flint, Caroline
Clapham, Michael Follett, Barbara
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Foster. Michael J (Worcester)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Fox, Dr Liam
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fraser, Christopher
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Gale, Roger
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Galloway, George
Clelland, David Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry Kumar, Dr Ashok
Garnier, Edward Ladyman, Dr Stephen
George, Bruce (Walsall S) Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Gerrard, Neil Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Gibb, Nick Lammy, David
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Lansley, Andrew
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Goggins, Paul Laxton, Bob
Golding, Mrs Llin Leigh, Edward
Graham, Thomas Lepper, David
Greenway, John Leslie, Christopher
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Letwin, Oliver
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Levitt, Tom
Grocott, Bruce Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Grogan, John Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Hain, Peter Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Linton, Martin
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Livingstone, Ken
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Lock, David
Hammond, Philip Loughton, Tim
Hanson, David Love, Andrew
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Luff, Peter
Hayes, John McAllion, John
Heal, Mrs Sylvia McAvoy, Thomas
Heald, Oliver McCabe, Steve
Healey, John McCafferty, Ms Chris
Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Hepburn, Stephen McDonagh, Siobhain
Heppell, John Macdonald, Calum
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael McDonnell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia McFall, John
Home Robertson, John MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Hood, Jimmy McGuire, Mrs Anne
Hope, Phil McIntosh, Miss Anne
Hopkins, Kelvin Mclsaac, Shona
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Howells, Dr Kim Mackinlay, Andrew
Hoyle, Lindsay Maclean, Rt Hon David
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) McLeish, Henry
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) McLoughlin, Patrick
Humble, Mrs Joan McNamara, Kevin
Hume, John McNulty, Tony
Hurst, Alan Mactaggart, Fiona
Hutton, John McWalter, Tony
Iddon, Dr Brian McWilliam, John
Illsley, Eric Mahon, Mrs Alice
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Mallaber, Judy
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Maples, John
Jamieson, David Marek, Dr John
Jenkin, Bernard Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Jenkins, Brian Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Martlew, Eric
Johnson Smith, Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Maxton, John
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Meale, Alan
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Merron, Gillian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Michie, Bill (She'd Heeley)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Jones, Marlyn (Clwyd S) Miller, Andrew
Keeble, Ms Sally Moffatt, Laura
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Moran, Ms Margaret
Kelly, Ms Ruth Morley, Elliot
Kemp, Fraser Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Key, Robert Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Khabra, Piara S Mountford, Kali
Kidney, David Mudie, George
Kilfoyle, Peter Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Kirkbnde, Miss Julie
Naysmith, Dr Doug Spellar, John
Nicholls, Patrick Spicer, Sir Michael
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Squire, Ms Rachel
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Starkey, Dr Phyllis
O'Hara, Eddie Steen, Anthony
Olner, Bill Steinberg, Gerry
Organ, Mrs Diana Stevenson, George
Osborne, Ms Sandra Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Ottaway, Richard Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Palmer, Dr Nick Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Paterson, Owen Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Perham, Ms Linda Streeter, Gary
Pickles, Eric Stringer, Graham
Pickthall, Cohn Stuart, Ms Gisela
Pike, Peter L Sutcliffe, Gerry
Plaskitt, James Swayne, Desmond
Pollard, Kerry Swinney, John
Pond, Chris Syms, Robert
Pope, Greg Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Taylor, Ms Dan (Stockton S)
Pound, Stephen Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Prior, David Thompson, William
Prosser, Gwyn Timms, Stephen
Quinn, Lawrie Todd, Mark
Rammell, Bill Touhig, Don
Randall, John Townend, John
Rapson, Syd Trickett, Jon
Raynsford, Nick Truswell, Paul
Redwood, Rt Hon John Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Covty NW) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Tynan, Bill
Rogers, Allan Tyne, Andrew
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Vaz, Keith
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Vis, Dr Rudi
Rowlands, Ted Walter, Robert
Roy, Frank Ward, Ms Claire
Ruane, Chris Wardle, Charles
Ruddock, Joan Waterson, Nigel
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Watts, David
Ryan, Ms Joan Wells, Bowen
St Aubyn, Nick Welsh, Andrew
Salter, Martin White, Brian
Sarwar, Mohammad Whitehead, Dr Alan
Savidge, Malcolm Whittingdale, John
Sawford, Phil Wicks, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian Wilkinson, John
Shaw, Jonathan Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Shipley, Ms Debra Wilshire, David
Short, Rt Hon Clare Wilson, Brian
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Skinner, Dennis Woodward, Shaun
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Woolas, Phil
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Worthington, Tony
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Wray, James
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Wyatt, Derek
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Mr. Peter Snape and
Soames, Nicholas Ann Keen.
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen

Question accordingly negatived.

Sir Edward Heath

I call Mr. David Davis to move the amendment in favour of Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody.

4.26 pm
Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody".

Before I start the substantive part of my speech, may I add my tribute to Speaker Boothroyd's term of office? She took charge of the House at a most difficult time for a Speaker, when televising of proceedings had recently started and there were difficult Parliaments. She carried out that duty with enormous skill and capacity.

Notwithstanding what I shall say now, I was impressed by the performance of all the candidates at the hustings this morning. Candidates took seriously the arguments in favour of the reform and progress of the House of Commons.

I laid out earlier my ideal template for the speakership, but that is not the only template. In the 19th century, Delane, the great editor of The Times, called for a Speaker who was of imperturbable good temper, tact, patience and urbanity. Everybody will recognise the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) in that description.

Nevertheless, I return to my own template, which was that of a Speaker of strength, independence, integrity, passionate commitment to the Commons in its role of scrutinising Government and holding them to account and, within that, a relentless commitment to the rights of Back Benchers. In the House of Commons, it has often been the Back Bencher who has stood up for the liberties of the individual. I look back to the predecessor of the Deputy Prime Minister and myself, William Wilberforce, onwards through Rathbone and a number of others of whom we should be proud. They could have done their task only with the assistance of the Speaker of the House at the time.

The Speaker must be not just independent of the Government of any persuasion, but determined that that Government will subject themselves to the democratic will of the House of Commons. It has already been said by a number of hon. Members that that is not just the function of the Speaker. It also falls to the Members of the House, but it falls to them under the leadership of the Speaker and subject to the powers that he or she exercises. The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), the previous candidate, spoke eloquently of some of those.

The position of Speaker requires a passionately committed House of Commons man or woman. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich meets that template perfectly. I believe that she will deploy her formidable personality in defending the rights of the House. She has shown great independence in her role as Chairman of the Transport Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs. Again, the Deputy Prime Minister will have particular interest in that.

We will need the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich to do that in the future. We will need a reforming Speaker, and she will be that. She has made a major contribution to the Liaison Committee's report proposing reforms to enhance the powers and effectiveness of the Select Committees and to make them more independent of the Whips—a point that has come up several times today.

In addition, when the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich spoke this morning, she proposed a Speaker's Conference to reform radically and update the House of Commons. If she is chosen today, she would oversee such a Conference, which would have to balance the need to make the House more family friendly—no one disputes that need—with that of making it do its job more effectively. Achieving that golden mean will require imagination and experience. The hon. Lady has the experience: she has served the House for a total of 30 years; 26 of them continuously. She has served in government; she therefore understands only too well the pressures and imperatives of office. However, it was long enough ago for her not to be biased by it today.

The hon. Lady understands the Select Committee system and the Chamber. She has played an active part in both. She has eminently chaired the Transport Sub-Committee and been a Deputy Speaker in Westminster Hall. She brings a keen intellect and imagination to those tasks. The hon. Lady has served the House diligently for many years.

The House needs a reforming Speaker; circumstances demand a reforming Speaker. I commend the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich to the House for the post.

4.31 pm
The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Marjorie Mowlam)

Self-evidently, this is an important day for the House of Commons. As other speakers have said, Parliament is central to the democracy of this land; it is the last port of call for the voice of citizens to be heard. Over several Parliaments, we have been accused of not performing a vital task. Today, we have the chance to begin the process of restoring power to elected Members speaking for their constituents, improving legislation and holding the Executive to account.

I have the honour of seconding the motion that my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) become Speaker. With a strong Executive, it is crucial to have an independent, gutsy, hard-hitting Speaker to stand up for the House, its Members and the people whom it represents. Those qualities are matched by my hon. Friend's experience in the House. As Deputy Speaker in Westminster Hall, Chairman of the Transport Sub-Committee and member of the Chairman's Panel, my hon. Friend's knowledge of the House's rituals and procedures is second to none.

My hon. Friend has always been a formidable campaigner and advocate in a range of Front-Bench positions, beginning as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in 1967 and ranging across foreign affairs, health, media and, of course, transport. I know from civil servants to whom I have spoken how much they look forward to appearing before the Transport Sub-Committee when my hon. Friend chairs it, and how much they enjoy being faced by her indirect, faltering, diffident and benign questioning!

Surely we want a Speaker who is like my hon. Friend: who is clear, decisive, speaks her mind and is able to speak for the House. Anyone who knows her realises that she is passionate, forthright and independent. As others have said, she respects the House and the values that it represents.

Flicking through Hansard, as one does, I came across a memorable passage, which is taken from my hon. Friend's last foray into elections for Speaker, in April 1992. She was not standing on that occasion, but she nominated my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, West (Miss Boothroyd), whom she praised for her witty, hard-hitting public persona and for being very much in charge and keeping us all in place. That was true of my right hon. Friend Member for West Bromwich, West, who will be greatly missed. In turning those words back on my hon. Friend, I can only say, "It takes one to know one."

Hon. Members should be in no doubt about how hard my hon. Friend will work on their behalf, irrespective of their attitudes, beliefs or individuality. In the 13 years that I have spent in the House, I have come to respect her many qualities and singular character. She has been thoughtful and attentive to me and other hon. Members across the political spectrum and to the many staff who work here. She does not do that in public. When the going got tough in Northern Ireland, she would call, not necessarily to agree with what I was doing, but always to offer solidarity and support from one Member to another. I also like her direct, honest and straightforward approach to life in the House. She is a hard-working Member who does the business. She stays late for Division after Division. She is never seen slipping out; she is always seen standing in the taxi queue after voting and doing her duty to the House.

My hon. Friend values the House and the work that it does, but that does not mean that she is against change. She and I agree on the need to reform the workings of the House for all of us—women and men—and especially on the need for more women to be elected. I believe that a woman Speaker constitutes a good mentor and encourages other women into the House.

I support my hon. Friend, but that does not mean that I agree with all that she supports—far from it. We have differences of opinion on many issues, such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, but we discuss and argue the points. That shows that it is perfectly possible to hold different views, but to remain friends, as many hon. Members know. She does that all the time.

At a time when we need to increase public confidence and respect in our political system, we must make up our minds: do we want someone who will put the House in order and put its independence first? My hon. Friend will certainly do that.

Sir Edward Heath

Mrs. Dunwoody has been proposed and seconded. I give her the opportunity to submit herself to the House.

4.36 pm
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

The House of Commons is periodically faced with a decision that can help to shape its future, its commitment to democracy and the way in which it protects the interests of those who send us here. Impossible though it may seem, legislation does not spring ready polished and perfected from the loins of any Government of whatever colour. It needs to be carefully scrutinised; it needs to be carefully evaluated and, above all, it needs to be improved. That is the reason why the House of Commons has, over the years, taken to itself the power not only to examine the legislation that is presented to it, but to think deeply about its effects because what we do here affects the lives of all our constituents at every level. We produce legislation that carries sanction, that affects not only the way in which children are educated and people are cared for, but the future of the country and its role in the world.

I have deep faith in the ability of the House of Commons to keep those powers inviolate because we know that that is our role. We are very disparate; we come in all sizes and shapes. Some of us are perhaps not as thin as others, but we have the experience and variety, and the faith of those who put us here, to be capable of carefully considering what is presented to us and improving it on every level. I have seen many Parliaments, and each is different from its predecessor, but I have also seen something that has disturbed me: the gradual erosion, under many names, of the rights of Back-Bench Members. Sometimes that is called a procedural change; sometimes an alteration of view, but Back-Benchers have certainly seen a gradual slipping away of that power.

What I want, and what I believe the House of Commons and, indeed, the United Kingdom want, is a Parliament that not only knows its worth, but can hold up its collective head and say, "We have done the very best that we can do for you who elected us. We have exercised our power of judgment. We have concerned ourselves with what is good, what is bad and what is unacceptable and we have taken a view. We give an undertaking that we will never fail as a collective body to continue to exercise that individual judgment."

This is a great honour for me. I would not like hon. Members to be misled by the high quality and status of those who have proposed and seconded me. I do not come garlanded, with powerful groups behind me. Impossible though it may seem, I may not be everyone's automatic choice, but in my time in this place I have learned to appreciate that people on both sides of the House have something to contribute. They are sent here because of their ability, and because they represent a cross-section of the United Kingdom, are responsible and are capable of exercising judgment.

Any Speaker who comes to office now will face great challenges, because there are those who prefer the smooth passage, the uninterrupted arrangement, the careful management of our time and, ultimately, of our programme. We must always remember that, inadequate though we are, we are still individuals with families and homes and, indeed, constituencies to look after. We have that power. We in the House of Commons have the right to change our parliamentary year—we can vote that through when we want. We have the right to change our working day. We have the right to call a Speaker's Conference to consider carefully the constitutional changes that we demand, and to put those changes to the House and ask for its support. We have all those rights, which have been hard fought for over a long period, and we must never easily let go of them.

I do not come to hon. Members as a perfect parliamentarian. I do not come as the choice of those who know how I will react. I come as someone who, from the bottom of my heart, will serve the House in every way that I am able. I will serve the House, because to me Parliament is one of the most important things in our democratic country. We must protect it; we must improve it. We must take back the power that others seek to take away from us. Above all, we must never forget that we are here to do a job for those who have elected us. I pledge that hon. Members will always have my support in performing that task in the best way possible.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody".

Question put, That the amendment be made: —

The House divided: AYES 170, Noes 341.

Division No. 301] [4.43 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Gale, Roger
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Gapes, Mike
Bell, Martin (Tatton) George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Gill, Christopher
Bennett, Andrew F Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Bercow, John Godman, Dr Norman A
Best, Harold Golding, Mrs Llin
Blunt, Crispin Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Brady, Graham Graham, Thomas
Brazier, Julian Gray, James
Brinton, Mrs Helen Grieve, Dominic
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Browning, Mrs Angela Hague, Rt Hon William
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hain, Peter
Butterfill, John Hammond, Philip
Cable, Dr Vincent Hayes, John
Cash, William Heald, Oliver
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Chaytor, David Hoey, Kate
Chidgey, David Hopkins, Kelvin
Chope, Christopher Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Clappison, James Humble, Mrs Joan
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jenkin, Bernard
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Collins, Tim Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Corbyn, Jeremy Kidney, David
Cousins, Jim King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Cox, Tom Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Cummings, John Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Lansley, Andrew
Dalyell, Tam Leigh, Edward
Davidson, Ian Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lidington, David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Livingstone, Ken
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Day, Stephen Llwyd, Elfyn
Donaldson, Jeffrey Loughton, Tim
Donohoe, Brian H Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Duncan Smith, Iain McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McDonnell, John
Ellman, Mrs Louise McIntosh, Miss Anne
Evans, Nigel MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Fabricant, Michael McLoughlin, Patrick
Fallon, Michael McWalter, Tony
Field, Rt Hon Frank Marshall—Andrews, Robert
Fisher, Mark Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Miller, Andrew
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Mitchell, Austin
Galbraith, Sam Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Stevenson, George
Mullin, Chris Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Stringer, Graham
Naysmith, Dr Doug Swayne, Desmond
Nicholls, Patrick Syms, Robert
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Tapsell, Sir Peter
O'Hara, Eddie Taylor, Ms Dail (Stockton S)
Paice, James Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Paterson, Owen Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Pickles, Eric Townend, John
Pike, Peter L Tredinnick, David
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Trend, Michael
Powell, Sir Raymond Trimble, Rt Hon David
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Viggers, Peter
Randall, John Walker, Cecil
Redwood, Rt Hon John Walley, Ms Joan
Robathan, Andrew Walter, Robert
Robertson, Laurence Wardle, Charles
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Wareing, Robert N
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Whitney, Sir Raymond
Sayeed, Jonathan Whittingdale, John
Sedgemore, Brian Wicks, Malcolm
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Shipley, Ms Debra Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Wilshire, David
Skinner, Dennis Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Wyatt, Derek
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Yeo, Tim
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Tellers for the Ayes:
Soames, Nicholas Mr. David Maclean and
Spicer, Sir Michael Helen Jones.
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Ainger, Nick Buck, Ms Karen
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Burden, Richard
Alexander, Douglas Burgon, Colin
Allan, Richard Burstow, Paul
Allen, Graham Butler, Mrs Christine
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Ashton, Joe Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Atkins, Charlotte Campbell—Savours, Dale
Baker, Norman Canavan, Dennis
Ballard, Jackie Cann, Jamie
Banks, Tony Caplin, Ivor
Barnes, Harry Casale, Roger
Barron, Kevin Caton, Martin
Beard, Nigel Cawsey, Ian
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Chisholm, Malcolm
Begg, Miss Anne Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Beresford, Sir Paul Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Bermingham, Gerald Clwyd, Ann
Berry, Roger Coaker, Vernon
Betts, Clive Coffey, Ms Ann
Blackman, Liz Cohen, Harry
Blears, Ms Hazel Coleman, Iain
Blizzard, Bob Colman, Tony
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Connarty, Michael
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Borrow, David Cooper, Yvette
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Corbett, Robin
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Corston, Jean
Bradshaw, Ben Cotter, Brian
Brake, Tom Crausby, David
Breed, Colin Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Curry, Rt Hon David Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Curtis—Thomas, Mrs Claire Hume, John
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Hurst, Alan
Darvill, Keith Hutton, John
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Iddon, Dr Brian
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Illsley, Eric
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly) Jamieson, David
Dawson, Hilton Jenkins, Brian
Dean, Mrs Janet Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Denham, John Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Dismore, Andrew Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Dobbin, Jim Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys MOP)
Doran, Frank Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Keeble, Ms Sally
Dowd, Jim Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Drew, David Keetch, Paul
Drown, Ms Julia Kelly, Ms Ruth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Kemp, Fraser
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Edwards, Huw Khabra, Piara S
Efford, Clive King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Ennis, Jeff Kingham, Ms Tess
Etherington, Bill Kirkwood, Archy
Fearn, Ronnie Kumar, Dr Ashok
Fitzpatrick, Jim Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Lammy, David
Flint, Caroline Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Flynn, Paul Laxton, Bob
Follett, Barbara Lepper, David
Foster, Don (Bath) Leslie, Christopher
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Levitt, Tom
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Foulkes, George Linton, Martin
Galloway, George Livsey, Richard
Gardiner, Barry Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Garnier, Edward Lock, David
George, Andrew (St Ives) Love, Andrew
Gerrard, Neil Luff, Peter
Gibb, Nick McAllion, John
Gibson, Dr Ian McAvoy, Thomas
Gidley, Sandra McCafferty, Ms Chris
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Goggins, Paul McDonagh, Siobhain
Gorrie, Donald Macdonald, Calum
Green, Damian McFall, John
Greenway, John MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Grocott, Bruce Mclsaac, Shona
Grogan, John McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Gummer, Rt Hon John Mackinlay, Andrew
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) McLeish, Henry
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie McNamara, Kevin
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) McNulty, Tony
Hancock, Mike Mactaggart, Fiona
Hanson, David Mahon, Mrs Alice
Harris, Dr Evan Mallaber, Judy
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Mendelson, Rt Hon Peter
Healey, John Maples, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Hepburn, Stephen Martlew, Eric
Heppell, John Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Maxton, John
Hodge, Ms Margaret Meale, Alan
Home Robertson, John Merron, Gillian
Hood, Jimmy Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Hope, Phil Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Moffatt, Laura
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Moore, Michael Soley, Clive
Moran, Ms Margaret Southworth, Ms Helen
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Squire, Ms Rachel
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mountford, Kali Steinberg, Gerry
Mudie, George Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Oaten, Mark Stinchcombe, Paul
O'Brien, Bill (Nomranton) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Streeter, Gary
Olner, Bill Stuart, Ms Gisela
Öpik, Lembit Stunell, Andrew
Organ, Mrs Diana Sutcliffe, Gerry
Osborne, Ms Sandra Swinney, John
Ottaway, Richard Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Palmer, Dr Nick Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Pearson, Ian Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Perham, Ms Linda Taylor, Sir Teddy
Pickthall, Colin Temple—Morris, Peter
Plaskitt, James Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Pollard, Kerry Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Pond, Chris Thompson, William
Pope, Greg Timms, Stephen
Pound, Stephen Todd, Mark
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Touhig, Don
Prescott, Rt Hon John Trickett, Jon
Prior , David Truswell, Paul
Prosser, Gwyn Turner, Dennis (Wolverhlon SE)
Quinn Lawrie Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Rammell Bill Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Rapson Syd Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Raynsford Nick Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Tyler, Paul
Rendel, David Tynan, Bill
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Tyrie, Andrew
Roche, Mrs Barbara Vaz, Keith
Rogers, Allan Vis, Dr Rudi
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wallace, James
Roy, Frank Ward, Ms Claire
Ruane, Chris Waterson, Nigel
Ruddock, Joan Watts, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Webb, Steve
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Wells, Bowen
Ryan, Ms Joan Welsh, Andrew
Salmond, Alex White, Brian
Sanders, Adrian Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sarwar, Mohammad Wilkinson, John
Savidge, Malcolm Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Sawford, Phil Wilson, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Short, Rt Hon Clare Woodward, Shaun
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Woolas, Phil
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Worthington, Tony
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Wray, James
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Mr. Peter Snape and
Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

Sir Edward Heath

I call the right hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. MacGregor) to move the amendment in favour of the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young).

4.55 pm
Mr. John MacGregor (South Norfolk)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert thereof "Sir George Young".

One of the difficulties in a contested election such as this one, when there are so many candidates, is that all hon. Members have many friends among the candidates, the proposers and the seconders on both sides of the House. We also recognise that all the candidates have particular claims and merits. However, although many of us are torn one way or the other by that, we have finally and invidiously to name one choice as our preferred candidate.

I am proposing my right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young) simply because I believe that he has the widest experience for the job. At the start of this Parliament, I had the great privilege of seconding Speaker Boothroyd, and she has indeed proved to be an outstanding Speaker. I am now proposing my right hon. Friend because the qualities that he has demonstrated in plenty over the years in the House would, I am sure, make him an equally outstanding, although different candidate.

I should like very briefly to make four points, the first of which is on my right hon. Friend's personal qualities. Anyone who has had any dealings with him, in public or in private, will testify to his approachability, his fairness, his ability to get on with everyone and his delightful sense of humour, which would stand him in good stead when, in difficult moments, the temperature and the temper of the House require it. However, he has also frequently demonstrated his firmness in seeing issues through. That quality will ensure his authority and his ability, when necessary, to command the House.

Throughout all the party battles in which my right hon. Friend has been engaged in the House, he has fought his case not only vigorously, but always courteously and in a manner that has won him respect and friends across party boundaries. He has also shown his independence of mind and his willingness to detach himself from the party line, as in his opposition as a Back Bencher to—dare I say it—the community charge. It is those qualities that have brought my right hon. Friend support from both sides of the House in this election.

Secondly, my right hon. Friend has wide experience of all the various roles in the House. I heard what the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) said on that matter—that hon. Members can have differing views on it. I believe that it is very valuable to have a Speaker who has wide experience of all the various roles.

My right hon. Friend has shown his independence of the Executive. However, among the candidates, because of his ministerial jobs, he has unrivalled knowledge of how the Executive work. I think that that matters, because knowledge of how the Executive work enables someone who is championing the House to deal with them better. Indeed, all four Speakers in my time in the House, since 1974, have had Front-Bench experience. My right hon. Friend knows the ropes and will not let the Executive get away with anything. I am certain that he will always put the House first.

My right hon. Friend's experience in the Whips Office is equally relevant.

Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)

It disqualifies him.

Mr. MacGregor

Then it also disqualified Speaker Boothroyd, who occasionally was heard to observe to Whips, "I know what you're up to, because I was in the Whips Office once."

My right hon. Friend also knows the frustrations of opposition, on both the Front and the Back Benches. He has considerable experience of being a Back Bencher. Indeed, hon. Members who have recently been elected to the House may not know that, in 1989, he was The Spectator's Back Bencher of the year. It could be said of him, therefore, that he has made a successful transition from Government to Opposition, and from Government to Back Bencher.

Thirdly, and crucially, I share the concerns about the perceived decline in the standing and importance of this House, particularly the democratic dangers of being sidelined by the Executive, and hence the need to strengthen the House's control over the Executive. This has been commented on so widely that I do not think that I need to elaborate further, except to say that my right hon. Friend's credentials in this respect are clear from the contributions that he has made in various ways as shadow Leader of the House, and in his lectures outside the House, such as that given to the Hansard Society earlier this year. He will give high priority to strengthening the powers of Parliament and, within that, the role and career of the Back Bencher.

Finally, it was a 16th-century Speaker, Speaker Yelverton, who said that one of the qualities required of the Speaker was "a carriage majestical". I do not know whether a bicycle qualifies, but in every other way my right hon. Friend has a carriage majestical. The role of the Speaker as ambassador for the House, here and abroad, and increasingly in the media, at conferences and in meeting delegations has greatly increased, and my right hon. Friend has the stature to be a worthy successor to Speaker Boothroyd in that respect.

My right hon. Friend is not one to blow his own trumpet. Indeed, his modesty is such that he has probably been listening rather blushingly to what I have been saying about him. However, these are the qualities and qualifications that have led me to believe that he is the right choice for Speaker. Above all, he is a House of Commons person through and through.

We are engaged in a byzantine process this afternoon. I fully recognise the difficulties that you face, Sir Edward, but I have much sympathy with the proposal of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn). In this process, we face complex decisions. I am simply voting for the person whom I think will make the best Speaker, and that is why I am delighted to propose my right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Hampshire.

Sir Edward Heath

I call on Mrs. Helen Jackson to second.

5.1 pm

Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

I did not really ever expect to be in this position, and I am vaguely looking for Betty to give me some moral support. However, she is not here, but you are instead, Sir Edward.

I was going to start by suggesting that the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young) stands head and shoulders above any other candidate, but then thought that that would be a bit corny. That is something that he cannot help, any more than he can help which school his parents sent him to which was, I understand, quite expensive, so we have to consider his other attributes.

To Labour Members, the right hon. Gentleman is, first and foremost, a Tory. I have heard many people over the past few days say that to all intents and purposes, that disqualifies him from even putting his name forward for Speaker of this House. I think that that is wrong. Labour Members are dead proud of our thumping majority, and we can do whatever we like if it comes to a vote. We will do so tomorrow, and I hope that we will continue to do so for many years. However, I believe that this is not the day to thump our thumping majority, but to think about who we want sitting in the Speaker's Chair for the foreseeable future.

Betty was an Opposition Member when she was elected on my first day in Parliament. Whoever is elected today—and there have been some powerful speeches—should have clear support across the Chamber. It relieves us all a little from the dominance of the party machine. Each one of us comes here as a representative of all our constituents, however they vote. Although we get tied down in the party machine, as Members of this Parliament we represent everyone.

Apart from that, the right hon. Gentleman has some endearing parliamentary experiences. It must have been interesting to have been sacked by Margaret Thatcher because of his views on the poll tax. It was a great shame that he could not take the rest of his party with him, but we are living to pick up the pieces.

The right hon. Gentleman believes in winning arguments through debate, not shenanigans or silly behaviour. He has even been known to hold up the progress of a debate until someone appropriate could appear on our side of the Dispatch Box to let it continue. He does what he believes in, and he acts on what he says. That is partly why he founded the bicycle club, and we should have to be careful to watch the bicycling mileage allowance if he became Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman also has a sense of humour.

My support for the right hon. Gentleman arises mainly as a result of my work with him on the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons. I would describe him as a rebel—a skilful, Front-Bench rebel. He has not had the majority support of his own side for his role on the Committee, but, partly because of his work, that Committee has ensured that the House has made some progress on Westminster Hall and Thursday evening sittings—both of which he supports—and on our appalling and unsocial hours.

It has been fascinating and good to hear supporting statements by the other candidates today in favour of modernising the House. I feel like suggesting to some Members on my own side of the House that we little babes have clearly had some impact. The time for words or for good intentions has passed. I do not want to spend any more time in Parliament asking futile questions every month of the Chairman of the House of Commons Commission, which, because of its archaic and inane Committees, has to run this place as if it were a sort of ex-military machine.

Only one candidate knows not what he will say about modernising the House and bringing it into the 21st century but what he will do, and that candidate is the right hon. Gentleman. On that basis, I second his nomination.

Sir Edward Heath

Sir George Young has been proposed and seconded, and I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

5.7 pm

Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire)

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr. MacGregor) and to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Helen Jackson) for their kind words. I have never claimed a penny in bicycle mileage allowance, and I do not propose to do so. Whoever takes the Chair has a hard act to follow in Betty Boothroyd.

My constituents are used to having their Member of Parliament contest the election for Speaker. The Member for Andover in 1705, one John Smith, threw his hat into the ring. The court declared for Mr. Smith, but others declared for a Mr. Bromley, described as a man of grave deportment, and good morals but looked upon as a violent Tory. A week before the vote, a contemporary noted: The Election of the Speaker is still very uncertain, for at least twenty of Mr. Smith's friends are absent. In the vote, 81 placemen voted for Smith, including his fellow Member for Andover, whom Queen Anne presented with a purse of 1000 guineas as a token of her satisfaction of his choice. However, 17 placemen voted against Smith, including the secretary to Prince George, who received the news of his dismissal as he voted in the Lobby. John Smith became the first Speaker of Great Britain and one of the first to sign the treaty of Union with Scotland. His successor as Member for Andover won with a majority of 10, having received 24 votes to his opponent's 14.

Three hundred years later, the core responsibilities of the Speaker remain the same: to protect the rights of Members of this House and to enable them to hold the Executive to account. However, although those responsibilities remain unchanged, the environment in which they need to be exercised has changed dramatically. More recently, the terms of trade have shifted away from the House towards the Executive; they need to be shifted back. Other institutions now rival Parliament with claims to power and influence. We have 24-hour media, demanding instant news; pressure on Members' time has grown tenfold; and our constituents are more numerous and, rightly, more demanding. I ask myself whether the House has fully adjusted to those changed circumstances.

I believe that a strong Parliament is good for the country and good for government. If the House loses influence, the Government can drop their guard and are no longer properly held to account. If the institution of which we are collective members loses influence, it affects our ability individually to represent our constituents.

The heart of Parliament is this Chamber. I believe it needs to beat more strongly—sending oxygen around the rest of the body politic. It needs to be more relevant to the lives of our constituents and more challenging to the Executive. Parliament is the buckle between the people and their Government; it has become loose.

Some say that Parliament should be modernised; I prefer the word "strengthened". Do we need a career structure outside Government for independent-minded Back Benchers, so that the Government do not hoover up most of the talent? Should we hold the Government more effectively to account on their expenditure? Could Opposition time be put to better effect than taking it in Opposition days and half-days, rather than by the right to demand statements when the Government are reluctant to volunteer them? If we have shorter hours—I have been kept out of my bed later and more often than most people—how do we do that without prejudicing the quality of our work? Those are two sides of the same coin.

The answers to these and other questions are for the House, and the Speaker is the servant of the House; but the Speaker has influence and can act as a catalyst in this process of strengthening Parliament. I would like to play a part in that. I have been both Whip and rebel. I have been an inner-city Member and, now, a rural Member. I have had a three-figure majority and a five-figure majority. My four children have grown up while I have been a Member.

For my 26 years in this place, I have been in the Conservative party, but—to repeat a familiar phrase—not run by the Conservative party. [Laughter.] I have sat, with others, on the House of Commons Commission, with its budget of £150 million and responsibility for thousands who work here. I think that we could have more cohesive management of the separate Departments and indeed of the building, for the benefit of Members and of those people who work and visit here.

For a post that no one wants, the speakership is doing rather well. For those of us who are unsuccessful, Mullin, Chris there is another high-profile job currently available, which, by tradition, no one wants—full-time manager of the English football team.

Sir Edward, I regard all the candidates as my friends. We all have different interests and qualities. I, along with them, am happy to submit to the judgment of the House.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Sir George Young".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 241, Noes 317.

Division No. 302] [5.13 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Allen, Graham Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Bradshaw, Ben
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Brady, Graham
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Brake, Tom
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Brazier, Julian
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Breed, Colin
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Brinton, Mrs Helen
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Baldry, Tony Browning, Mrs Angela
Ballard, Jackie Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Burnett, John
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Burstow, Paul
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Butterfill, John
Bennett, Andrew F Cable, Dr Vincent
Bercow, John Campbell—Savours, Dale
Beresford, Sir Paul Caplin, Ivor
Betts, Clive Cawsey, Ian
Blackman, Liz Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Chidgey, David
Blunt, Crispin Chope, Christopher
Body, Sir Richard Clappison, James
Boswell, Tim
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Key, Robert
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Coaker, Vernon Kirkwood, Archy
Collins, Tim Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Cran, James Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Lansley, Andrew
Curry, Rt Hon David Letwin, Oliver
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lidington, David
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Day, Stephen Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Denham, John Llwyd, Elfyn
Donaldson, Jeffrey Lock, David
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Loughton, Tim
Duncan, Alan Luff, Peter
Duncan Smith, Iain Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Evans, Nigel MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Faber, David McIntosh, Miss Anne
Fabricant, Michael MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Fallon, Michael Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Fearn, Ronnie McLoughlin, Patrick
Field, Rt Hon Frank MacShane, Denis
Fisher, Mark Mactaggart, Fiona
Fitzsimons. Mrs Lorna Madel, Sir David
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Major, Rt Hon John
Foster, Don (Bath) Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Fox, Dr Liam Maples, John
Fraser, Christopher Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Garnier, Edward Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Gibb, Nick Marshall—Andrews, Robert
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Mates, Michael
Gorrie, Donald Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Gray, James Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Green, Damian May, Mrs Theresa
Greenway, John Miller, Andrew
Grieve, Dominic Mitchell, Austin
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Grogan, John Morley, Elliot
Gummer, Rt Hon John Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Hague, Rt Hon William Moss, Malcolm
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Nicholls, Patrick
Hammond, Philip Norman, Archie
Harris, Dr Evan Oaten, Mark
Harvey, Nick O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Hayes, John Öpik, Lembit
Heald, Oliver Page, Richard
Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David Paice, James
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Paterson, Owen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Pearson, Ian
Hill, Keith Pickles, Eric
Hodge, Ms Margaret Pike, Peter L
Hoey, Kate Pope, Greg
Horam, John Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Prior, David
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Hoyle, Lindsay Rammell, Bill
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Randall, John
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Raynsford, Nick
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Jamieson, David Bendel, David
Jenkin, Bernard Robathan, Andrew
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Robertson, Laurence
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Keeble, Ms Sally St Aubyn, Nick
Keetch, Paul Sanders, Adrian
Kelly, Ms Ruth Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas Tredinnick, David
Soley, Clive Trend, Michael
Spelman, Mrs Caroline Trimble, Rt Hon David
Spicer, Sir Michael Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Spring, Richard Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Tyler, Paul
Steen, Anthony Tyrie, Andrew
Straw, Rt Hon Jack Vaz, Keith
Streeter, Gary Viggers, Peter
Stringer, Graham Walter, Robert
Stuart, Ms Gisela Wardle, Charles
Stunelt, Andrew Waterson, Nigel
Swayne, Desmond Webb, Steve
Syms, Robert Wells, Bowen
Tapsell, Sir Peter Whitney, Sir Raymond
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Whittingdale, John
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Willetts, David
Temple—Morris, Peter Wilshire, David
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Thompson, William Yeo, Tim
Timms, Stephen Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Tipping, Paddy Tellers for the Ayes:
Todd, Mark Mr. Richard Ottaway and
Tonge, Dr Jenny Mr. Martin Salter.
Abbott, Ms Diane Chaytor, David
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Chisholm, Malcolm
Ainger, Nick Clapham, Michael
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Alexander, Douglas Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Allan, Richard Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Ashton, Joe Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Atkins, Charlotte Clwyd, Ann
Banks, Tony Coffey, Ms Ann
Barnes, Harry Cohen, Harry
Barron, Kevin Coleman, Iain
Bayley, Hugh Colman, Tony
Beard, Nigel Connarty, Michael
Begg, Miss Anne Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Cooper, Yvette
Benton, Joe Corbett, Robin
Bermingham, Gerald Corbyn, Jeremy
Berry, Roger Corston, Jean
Best, Harold Cotter, Brian
Blears, Ms Hazel Cousins, Jim
Blizzard, Bob Cox, Tom
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Crausby, David
Borrow, David Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cummings, John
Bradshaw, Ben Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Curtis—Thomas, Mrs Claire
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Dalyell, Tam
Browne, Desmond Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Darvill, Keith
Buck, Ms Karen Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Burden, Richard Davidson, Ian
Burgon, Colin Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Butler, Mrs Christine Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Dawson, Hilton
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Dean, Mrs Janet
Canavan, Dennis Dismore, Andrew
Cann, Jamie Dobbin, Jim
Casale, Roger Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Cash, William Donohoe, Brian H
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Doran, Frank King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Dowd, Jim Kingham, Ms Tess
Drew, David Kumar, Dr Ashok
Drown, Ms Julia Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Lammy, David
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Edwards, Huw Laxton, Bob
Efford, Clive Lepper, David
Ellman, Mrs Louise Leslie, Christopher
Ennis, Jeff Levitt, Tom
Etherington, Bill Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Fitzpatrick, Jim Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Flint, Caroline Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Flynn, Paul Linton, Martin
Follett, Barbara Livingstone, Ken
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Livsey, Richard
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Foulkes, George McAllion, John
Galbraith, Sam McAvoy, Thomas
Galloway, George McCabe, Steve
Gapes, Mike McCafferty, Ms Chris
Gardiner, Barry McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
George, Andrew (St Ives) McDonagh, Siobhain
George, Bruce (Walsall S) McDonnell, John
Gerrard, Neil McFall, John
Gibson, Dr Ian McGuire, Mrs Anne
Gidley, Sandra Mclsaac, Shona
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Godsiff, Roger Mackinlay, Andrew
Goggins, Paul McLeish, Henry
Golding, Mrs Llin McNamara, Kevin
Graham, Thomas McNulty, Tony
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McWalter, Tony
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) McWilliam, John
Grocott, Bruce Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hain, Peter Mallaber, Judy
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Marek, Dr John
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Hancock, Mike Martin, Michael J
Hanson, David Martlew, Eric
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Maxton, John
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Meale, Alan
Healey, John Merron, Gillian
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Michie, Bill (Shefld Heeley)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Hepburn, Stephen Moffatt, Laura
Heppell, John Moran, Ms Margaret
Home Robertson, John Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Hood, Jimmy Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hope, Phil Mountford, Kali
Hopkins, Kelvin Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Mudie, George
Howells, Dr Kim Mullin, Chris
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Humble, Mrs Joan Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Hume, John Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hurst, Alan Naysmith, Dr Doug
Hutton, John O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Iddon, Dr Brian O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Illsley, Eric O'Hara, Eddie
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Olner, Bill
Jenkins, Brian Organ, Mrs Diana
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Osborne, Ms Sandra
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Palmer, Dr Nick
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Perham, Ms Linda
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Mon) Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Plaskitt, James
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Pollard, Kerry
Jones, Marlyn (Clwyd S) Pond, Chris
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Pound, Stephen
Kemp, Fraser Powell, Sir Raymond
Khabra, Piara S Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kidney, David Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kitfoyle, Peter
Prescott, Rt Hon John Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Prosser, Gwyn Stinchcombe, Paul
Quinn, Lawrie Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Rapson, Syd Sutcliffe, Gerry
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Swinney, John
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Taylor, Ms Dan (Stockton S)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Rogers, Allan Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Touhig, Don
Rowlands, Ted Trickett, Jon
Roy, Frank Truswell, Paul
Ruane, Chris Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Ruddock, Joan Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Ryan, Ms Joan Tynan, Bill
Salmond, Alex Vis, Dr Rudi
Sarwar, Mohammad Walley, Ms Joan
Savidge, Malcolm Ward, Ms Claire
Sawford, Phil Watts, David
Sedgemore, Brian Welsh, Andrew
Shaw, Jonathan White, Brian
Sheerman, Barry Whitehead, Dr Alan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Wicks, Malcolm
Shipley, Ms Debra Wilkinson, John
Short, Rt Hon Clare Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Skinner, Dennis Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Wilson, Brian
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Smith, Miss Geraldine(Morecambe & Lunesdale) Woodward, Shaun
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Woolas, Phil
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Worthington, Tony
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Wray, James
Southworth, Ms Helen Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Spellar, John Wyatt, Derek
Squire, Ms Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry Tellers for the Noes:
Stevenson, George Mr. Peter Snape and
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

5.26 pm
Mr. Martin O'Neill (Ochil)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Menzies Campbell".

In proposing the name of Ming Campbell, I realise that I am breaking the tradition by nominating a member of a minority party. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) pointed out in his letter to The Times last week, however, there is no sufficiently clear tradition to tie the House to any course of action.

Nevertheless, it has to be remembered that the election of Speaker Boothroyd did end the precedent in the post-war period of the holder of the office always coming from the majority party. I would point out that, in part, Betty Boothroyd's success was the result of a recognition that the winner-takes-all rule that so often applies in our proceedings should not be employed in the election of the Speaker. It is for this reason that I would urge friends on the Government Benches to consider a candidate from ranks other than our own. In future Parliaments—certainly not the next one—it could be in the interests of a Labour Opposition to call on such a precedent.

That, however, is not the sole reason for proposing Ming Campbell; indeed, everything that I have said so far could apply to a member of the Conservative party. I happen to believe that Back Benchers—whose champion we expect the Speaker to be—will be better represented by someone from the most politically excluded of all groups; the minority party.

With nearly 50 Members—47 to be exact—the Liberal Democrats are not the minuscule minority that once they were. The increase in their numbers is in no small way due to the credibility of such Members as Menzies Campbell. In a bipartisan Chamber such as this, it is still no mean feat to achieve the status and authority that Ming Campbell now enjoys. His work in the House—and, in particular, in the areas of foreign affairs and security—has done much to contribute to the consensus in this country which has seen us through so many of the international travails of recent years.

It has been suggested that Menzies Campbell enjoys support from elsewhere in the Labour ranks, and that this may be to his disadvantage. As far as I am concerned, all I can say is that, on this subject, No. 10 has employed the same method of consultation as usual—namely, extrasensory perception. Certainly, Ming has brought to his work in this House all the skills of advocacy that we would expect from a distinguished silk at the Scottish Bar.

However, the House needs more than the services of a hired legal gun in the post of Speaker and more than a mastery of procedure. We know that "Erskine May" is the guide and record of precedent, but not the sole repository of wisdom. We need a Speaker who can nudge and cajole the House, while never forgetting that if we the Members want—as I do—to end a lot of the flummery and the arcane procedures, such as the process of this election, it is up to us as Members to decide, and it is for the Speaker to ensure that our wishes become a reality. The House needs someone whose authority, independence and political acuity make them a match for the serried ranks of the Executive. Those who care for this House and its good standing must know that, in electing Menzies Campbell to be Speaker, we should be electing such a person. I urge my colleagues and friends to do so.

5.30 pm
Mr. Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

I am delighted to second the nomination of Menzies Campbell. He is a very old friend of mine. I have known him and his family—I almost planned to say "the Ming dynasty", but it did not sound so good this morning—much longer than my short time in this place.

I have learned already that there are four parts to the job of Speaker. I did not know until today that we were so much interested in holding the Executive to account. We have certainly had much time before this afternoon to do so. Nevertheless, we try to make the Speaker hold the Executive to account—at least to do his or her best to do so.

We also hope that the Speaker will make this a modern Chamber. It seems to me, as a relative newcomer, that much of our activity still belongs in the 19th century rather than the 21st. Although we may hope that a Speaker will modernise, he or she does not have the authority to do so.

The Speaker must also run a Department with a budget of £150 million. In some ways, I suppose that he or she is a chief executive behind closed doors.

Finally, in a role that has not been much touched on, the office of the Speaker is the focus for democratic parliamentary life in the world, as the mother or father of all Speakers.

To be a good Speaker, it seems that one needs to understand the nature of this place and to have lived in it long; to have immense wit and charm; to be quick-minded; and to have integrity, ability and great wisdom. I think that Menzies Campbell has those qualities in abundance. I urge the House to be different for a change and to allow a Liberal Democrat a chance to be passed the baton.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Menzies Campbell has been proposed and seconded, and I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House if he so wishes.

5.31 pm
Mr. Menzies Campbell (North-East Fife)

I formally submit myself to the will of the House, and in doing so I should acknowledge that it is a great honour even to have been considered worthy of nomination.

As we have heard, it is customary to pay tribute to the previous Speaker, and this I gladly do along with all those who have already done so. Madam Speaker Boothroyd has left an indelible mark on this House of Commons. She may not have left a wig, but she has most certainly left a pair of particularly elegant shoes, which it will take someone of some character to aspire to fill.

I never expected to get to Westminster: I joined the Liberal party in 1959. That could hardly have been described as a promising career move. I entered the House only in 1987, at the fifth attempt. I began to feel that I was on course to test to destruction the myth of Robert the Bruce and the spider. My baptism as a candidate was in the general election of February 1974. I hope, Sir Edward, that you will not take offence at the recollection. To stand as a Liberal in a Labour-held west of Scotland industrial constituency took, may I say, a certain amount of independence.

Even when I became a candidate for my present constituency, it took three elections and 11 years to get here. I found, as others both before and since have found, that to be a Back Bencher is often a continual exercise in frustration. For those who have not had the experience, to be a Back Bencher as a member of a minority party is even more an exercise in frustration. It is self-evident to me that a Speaker drawn from a minority party would find it difficult not to reflect that experience in dealing with Back Benchers of all parties.

I am very grateful to my proposer and seconder for the generous way in which they have put the case on my behalf, and in terms—I suspect—rather better than I deserve. Much has been said and written in recent weeks about the relationship between the House and the Government and the Speaker. I have not issued a manifesto or attended hustings—not because I disapprove of them or those who have participated in them, but because I thought it right to conduct myself within existing conventions. I suspect that this will be the last election of any Speaker to which those conventions apply.

I shall now say a little about the relationships to which I have just referred. Our constitution is based on entitlements. I believe that the country is entitled to expect a House of Commons composed of Members of Parliament who will rigorously—and sometimes brutally—hold the Government to account. In turn, Members are entitled to a framework in which they can do that effectively. However, in my experience, it is the quality and the intensity of scrutiny that make scrutiny effective, and not necessarily the length of time devoted to it. I do not believe that overtired and harassed Members of Parliament, concerned about their families, are likely to fulfil that responsibility of scrutiny—or any of the other obligations imposed on us—as effectively as the electorate would want and are entitled to expect.

Being a Member of Parliament will never be a comfortable job—nor should it be. It is a job that requires sacrifices in return for the privileges it bestows. However, we should not regard self-inflicted discomfort as a badge of courage. Members of Parliament are entitled to something—or rather someone—else: a Speaker who will facilitate their holding the Government to account by using the powers of the Chair to their fullest extent for that purpose; a Speaker who will neither obstruct nor countenance any delay in reforms that the House in its wisdom may decide to implement.

The blunt, unvarnished truth is that, no matter how eloquent the words of proposers, seconders or even candidates themselves, the decision the House makes today is a matter of trust. A candidate who seems to be well qualified today might fail to fulfil expectations, and one who appears less qualified might grow into the job. To chair our proceedings, to manage the House of Commons Commission and to represent the House both at home and abroad—those are onerous responsibilities. If the House were to place its trust in me, I should strain every sinew to ensure that that trust was not misplaced.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Menzies Campbell".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 98, Noes 381.

Division No. 303] [5.37 pm
Allan, Richard Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Allen, Graham Fearn, Ronnie
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Field, Rt Hon Frank
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Fisher, Mark
Baker, Norman Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Ballard, Jackie Flynn, Paul
Beard, Nigel Galbraith, Sam
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret George, Andrew (St Ives)
Bell, Martin (Tatton) George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Gidley, Sandra
Bradshaw, Ben Godman, Dr Norman A
Brake, Tom Gorrie, Donald
Breed, Colin
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Sanders, Adrian
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Livsey, Richard Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Stinchcombe, Paul
Lock, David Stunell, Andrew
Macdonald, Calum Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Major, Rt Hon John Temple-Morris, Peter
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Thompson, William
Mates, Michael Tipping, Paddy
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Tonge, Dr Jenny
Mitchell Austin Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Moonie Dr Lewis Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Moore, Michael Tyler, Paul
Oaten, Mark Tyrie, Andrew
O'Neill, Martin Viggers, Peter
Öpik, Lembit Wallace, James
Palmer, Dr Nick Webb, Steve
Pearson, Ian Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Pollard, Kerry Wyatt, Derek
Pope, Greg Tellers for the Ayes:
Radice, Rt Hon Giles Mr. Paul Keetch and
Rendel, David Mr. Don Foster.
Abbott, Ms Diane Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Ainger, Nick Campbell, Mrs Anne (Cbridge)
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Canavan, Dennis
Alexander, Douglas Cann, Jamie
Ancram, R1 Hon Michael Casale, Roger
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Cash, William
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Caton, Marlin
Ashton, Joe Cawsey, Ian
Atkins, Charlotte Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Chaytor, David
Banks, Tony Chisholm, Malcolm
Barnes, Harry Chope, Christopher
Barron, Kevin Clapham, Michael
Bayley, Hugh Clappison, James
Begg, Miss Anne Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Bennett, Andrew F Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Bercow, John Clelland, David
Beresford, Sir Paul Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey
Bermingham, Gerald Clwyd, Ann
Berry, Roger Coaker, Vernon
Best, Harold Coffey, Ms Ann
Betts, Clive Cohen, Harry
Blackman, Liz Coleman, Iain
Blears, Ms Hazel Collins, Tim
Blizzard, Bob Colman, Tony
Blunt, Crispin Connarty, Michael
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Body, Sir Richard Cooper, Yvette
Borrow, David Corbett, Robin
Boswell, Tim Corbyn, Jeremy
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Corston, Jean
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cousins, Jim
Brady, Graham Crausby, David
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Cummings, John
Browne, Desmond Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Browning, Mrs Angela Curtis—Thomas, Mrs Claire
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Dalyell, Tam
Buck, Ms Karen Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Burden, Richard Darvill, Keith
Burgon, Colin Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Butler, Mrs Christine Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Butterfill, John
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Humble, Mrs Joan
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly) Hurst, Alan
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Hutton, John
Dawson, Hilton Iddon, Dr Brian
Day, Stephen Jamieson, David
Dean, Mrs Janet Jenkins, Brian
Dismore, Andrew Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Dobbin, Jim Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Donaldson, Jeffrey Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Donohoe, Brian H Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Doran, Frank Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Mein)
Dowd, Jim Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Drew, David Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Drown, Ms Julia Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Kemp, Fraser
Edwards, Huw Key, Robert
Efford, Clive Khabra, Piara S
Ellman, Mrs Louise Kidney, David
Ennis, Jeff Kilfoyle, Peter
Etherington, Bill King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Evans, Nigel Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Fitzpatrick, Jim Kumar, Dr Ashok
Flight, Howard Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Flint, Caroline Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Follett, Barbara Lansley, Andrew
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Lawrence. Mrs Jackie
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Laxton, Bob
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lepper, David
Fox, Dr Liam Leslie, Christopher
Fraser, Christopher Letwin, Oliver
Gale, Roger Levitt, Tom
Galloway, George Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Gapes, Mike Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Gardiner, Barry Linton, Martin
Garnier, Edward Livingstone, Ken
Gerrard, Neil Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Gibb, Nick Llwyd, Elfyn
Gillen, Mrs Cheryl Loughton, Tim
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Love, Andrew
Godsiff, Roger Luff, Peter
Goggins, Paul McAllion, John
Golding, Mrs Llin McAvoy, Thomas
Graham, Thomas McCabe, Steve
Gray, James McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Green, Damian McDonagh, Siobhain
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McDonnell, John
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) McFall, John
Grocott, Bruce MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Hain, Peter McGuire, Mrs Anne
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) McIntosh, Miss Anne
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Mclsaac, Shona
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Hammond, Philip Mackinlay, Andrew
Hanson, David McLeish, Henry
Hayes, John McLoughlin, Patrick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia McNamara, Kevin
Heald, Oliver McNulty, Tony
Healey, John Mactaggart, Fiona
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David McWalter, Tony
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hepburn, Stephen Mallaber, Judy
Heppell, John Maples, John
Heseitine, Rt Hon Michael Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool 5)
Home Robertson, John Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Hood, Jimmy Martlew, Eric
Hope, Phil Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Hopkins, Kelvin Maxton, John
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) May, Mrs Theresa
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Meale, Alan
Hoyle, Lindsay Merron, Gillian
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Michie, Bill (SheId Heeley) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Soley, Clive
Miller, Andrew Southworth, Ms Helen
Moffatt, Laura Spellar, John
Moran, Ms Margaret Spicer, Sir Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Squire, Ms Rachel
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon) Steen, Anthony
Moss, Malcolm Steinberg, Gerry
Mounttord, Kali Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mudie, George Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Stringer, Graham
Naysmith, Dr Doug Stuart, Ms Gisela
Nicholls, Patrick Sutcliffe, Gerry
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Swayne, Desmond
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Swinney, John
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Syms, Robert
O'Hara, Eddie Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Olner, Bill Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Organ, Mrs Diana Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Osborne, Ms Sandra Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Ottaway, Richard Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Paterson, Owen Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Perham, Ms Linda Timms, Stephen
Pickles, Eric Todd, Mark
Pickthall, Colin Touhig, Don
Pike, Peter L Townend, John
Plaskitt, James Tredinnick, David
Pond, Chris Trend, Michael
Pound, Stephen Trickett, Jon
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Truswell, Paul
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Turner, Dennis (Wolvernlon SE)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Prior, David Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Prosser, Gwyn Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Quinn, Lawrie Tynan, Bill
Randall, John Vaz, Keith
Rapson Syd Vis, Dr Rudi
Raynsford, Nick Walley, Ms Joan
Redwood, Rt Hon John Ward, Ms Claire
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Waterson, Nigel
Robertson, Laurence Watts, David
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Welsh, Andrew
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) White Brian
Roche, Mrs Barbara Whitehead, Dr Alan
Rogers, Allan Whittingdale, John
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Wicks, Malcolm
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Rowlands, Ted Wilkinson, John
Roy, Frank Willetts, David
Ruane, Chris Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Ruddock, Joan Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Ryan, Ms Joan Wilshire, David
Salmond, Alex Wilson, Brian
Sarwar, Mohammad Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Savidge, Malcolm Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Sawford, Phil Woodward, Shaun
Sedgemore, Brian Woolas, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan Worthington, Tony
Sheemian, Barry Wray, James
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Tellers for the Noes:
Skinner, Dennis Mr. Peter Snape and
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Ann Keen.
Smith, Angela (Basildon)

Question accordingly negatived.

5.49 pm

Sitting suspended.

6.5 pm

On resuming—

Sir Edward Heath

I call Mr. Maxton to move the amendment in favour of Dr. Clark.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Dr. David Clark".

I begin my remarks by making it clear that I add my voice to those who have expressed concerns about the way in which this election is taking place. That is in no way a criticism of you, Sir Edward, or the decision that you took. You have carried out your task so far with dignity, efficiency and fairness. However, in a modern democracy it is absurd that we should elect the Speaker of our legislature in such an arcane manner. We are elected by secret ballot; we should elect our Speaker in the same way. My right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) has made it clear that if elected as the new Speaker, he will ask the Procedure Committee to consider the matter urgently and produce a more efficient and fairer way in which to elect someone for this important post.

The election of the new Speaker of the House of Commons is always a significant event in the history of Parliament. Perhaps rarely has it had more significance than today. We have already seen more changes in our constitution in the past three and a half years than in the previous 50—the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, a Welsh Assembly and a London Assembly, and major changes in the House of Lords, with more to come. At the same time, the world outside is changing at an astonishing rate.

It is vital that as those changes take place, the House must change if it is not to become a quaint historic anachronism. We need a new Speaker who has the ability to control the House, to act as the chairman of an increasingly complex organisation and to be our ambassador both to the people who elect us and to the rest of the world. However, this time we must also elect a Speaker who will work with the House to change it and bring it fully into the 2Ist century. I believe that in my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields we would have such a Speaker.

The son of a gardener, my right hon. Friend left school at 16 to work in forestry. Attending night school, he obtained the qualifications necessary to enter Manchester university and to gain BA, MSc and PhD degrees. I mention that only to show that he has the determination and intelligence to succeed in any task that he is given. He first entered Parliament in 1970, when he was elected Member for Colne Valley. He lost that seat in 1974, but was returned in 1979 to represent South Shields. He has been the Member for South Shields ever since, and is thus one of the most experienced Members. He was a member of the shadow Cabinet for many years in opposition, covering several portfolios. In 1997 he was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in which post he served for a year. His work in bringing information technology more rapidly into government and on the Freedom of Information Bill was appreciated by many of his colleagues, if not by all those in the Cabinet.

Since then my right hon. Friend has been a Back Bencher. He understands how the House of Commons works from both sides—as a member of the Executive and from the Back Benches. Despite perhaps feeling some resentment about the way in which he was treated, he has loyally supported the Government, but he has not done so with total blindness. He voted against those measures in the Freedom of Information Bill that he thought betrayed the concept that he advocated when in government.

I have known my right hon. Friend since he re-entered Parliament in 1979. Over the years I have learned to appreciate his quiet intelligence, his advice, his composure and his subtle humour. He will stay calm when the House is rowdy. He will avert impending rows with a quick wit. He will bring intelligence to all the decisions. He will take advice but remain his own man. Thus he has the attributes needed for any Speaker in any age. So do some of the other candidates who have been proposed, but my right hon. Friend would bring to the job an understanding of the modern world and the revolutionary changes that are transforming it. He knows that if the House is to retain the respect of those who elect us, it must change quickly.

The Speaker can play only a limited role in that. However, he can and must set the tone: lead change, not thwart it. He must work with others in the House to move us from the 18th and 19th centuries, where so many of our customs are stuck, into the democratic world of the 21st century. I believe that my right hon. Friend is the person best suited to do that.

6.11 pm
Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford)

I wish to second the nomination of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark). I do so as someone who has never been a close friend or ally of his. Indeed, before we were all new Labour, he and I were on opposite wings of the party. However, he always had my respect as a person of integrity and ability who was willing to engage in debate and listen to the opponent's argument.

As others have said, today's election is about much more than who occupies the Speaker's Chair; it is about the role itself. While in this place, the Speaker must exercise his or her authority with dignity and impartiality. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend would do so with courage and consistency. However, the Speaker usually occupies the Chair for only about 10 hours a week. Most of his or her powers are exercised behind closed doors. Our ability to act effectively as legislators depends profoundly on the Speaker's skills in creating the framework for debate and dealing with the usual channels.

Someone who has been in government working with the Chief Whip and Cabinet colleagues has the advantage of knowing the tricks of that trade. Someone who has been involuntarily returned to the Back Benches has an added advantage. As a Back Bencher, my right hon. Friend knows how difficult but vital it is to be an effective scrutineer. I have no doubt that he will use his considerable skills and experience to champion Back Benchers' interests.

For all those reasons, I support my right hon. Friend. I do so most of all because I want a Speaker who will lead the reform of the House, who will support a package of reforms that will deliver sensible working hours, and who understands that MPs should not have to set aside family responsibilities to do their job. It is emblematic of this place that we have a pink ribbon for our swords and paperclips for our letters, but no computers and no child care facilities.

My right hon. Friend has a long track record of support for modernisation. His is the most radical reform agenda before us today—an agenda that would revitalise the Chamber, quicken the pace of debate and deepen our scrutiny. Not only would that lead to more effective and fulfilling roles for Back Benchers and to better government, it might just lead to a revival of public interest and support. Far too many people see our Parliament as the preserve of political junkies playing out old rituals. Many of us will never be either the great stars or, I hope, the great bores of this place, but we all deserve to be heard without fear or favour when we represent our constituents and voice the concerns of ordinary people.

In my right hon. Friend we have a man who would enable us to exercise our democratic duties in this place in ways fit for the 21st century. I second the amendment in support of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields.

Sir Edward Heath

Dr. David Clark has been proposed and seconded. I now invite him to submit himself to the House if he so wishes.

6.15 pm
Dr. David Clark (South Shields)

I willingly submit myself as a candidate for Speaker. I do so with considerable trepidation but with a feeling of great honour, because I am a House of Commons person. I believe passionately in representative democracy, and it is a great honour to be nominated. It is also unexpected, because a few months ago the thought had not even crossed my mind. It was only because a few colleagues suggested that I would be a suitable candidate that I felt it appropriate to allow my name to go forward.

The job of Speaker is obviously a difficult position to try to fill. Clearly, the two main demands of the job are almost contradictory. The Speaker is the servant of the House, but is at the same time the protector of the House—protecting it as an institution, protecting its reputation and protecting its Members. The job description is particularly challenging.

I would bring to the job judgment and integrity based on my belief in representative democracy. Several right hon. and hon. Members have highlighted the challenges that representative democracy faces today. I submit that we may need to do other things to meet some of those challenges.

I would also bring judgment and integrity based on experience. I came to the House rather unexpectedly in 1970—I was the only gain for my party at that election, but I was also the only loss for my party in 1974. I claim no credit; it was a pure accident. When I came to the House in 1970, we were nearer to the end of the second world war than to the new millennium. It has been brought home to me how the rest of the world has changed a great deal over the years, but although we have had changes in the House, we have not been as courageous as we might have been in modernising this institution sufficiently.

I bring 25 years' experience of the House. I sat for too long on the Opposition Front Bench and for too short a time on the Government Front Bench, but I shall not go on about that. I was proud to be in the Cabinet and to spearhead two aspects of Government policy: information technology and freedom of information. I passionately believed in that policy, not for any academic reasons, but for the simple reason that information technology and freedom of information enable Members of Parliament, as representatives of the people, to engage and re-engage our constituents, and to challenge those who try to undermine our representative democracy.

I have no illusions. I am one of those strange people who knew what it was like here but came back because I loved it so much. I was one of the retreads. Being an MP is not only a privilege, but a unique job. We all know that to do that job we need eight days a week and 25 hours a day—but we must now look at the way in which we arrange our working lives, so that we can better match the demands made of us by our constituents. The way in which we in the House appear on television often does not convey the message that we are businesslike, and I think we should think about that very deeply.

Select Committees are still young institutions, and I believe the time has come to strengthen them so that we can challenge the Executive. I was a member of the Executive, and I happen to believe that there is nothing wrong with being challenged robustly by a representative of the people. That, I think, is a counterbalance to the advice that one is given by civil servants.

I also believe that we must become much more family friendly, and I think we could do much more to try to achieve that.

I see the task as a difficult task. I see the task as a daunting task. I see the task as to speak up for the ordinary Member of Parliament. I also see the task as to give the Government space in which to govern, because if the Government cannot govern, the House will suffer as well. In the end it is a question of balance; it is a question of judgment; and in the end, the Speaker is merely a servant and a defender of the House.

I can pledge only this: I shall be my own man, and I shall fight for the rights of Members of the House—and by fighting for the rights of Members of the House, I shall fight for the rights of the citizens who send them to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 192, Noes 296.

Division No. 304] [6.22 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Betts, Clive
Ainger, Nick Blackman, Liz
Allan, Richard Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Allen, Graham Borrow, David
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Bradshaw, Ben
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Brake, Tom
Atkins, Charlotte Breed, Colin
Baker, Norman Brinton, Mrs Helen
Ballard, Jackie Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bell, Martin (Talton) Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Burden, Richard
Bennett, Andrew F Burstow, Paul
Berry, Roger Butterfill, John
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Key, Robert
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Caplin, Ivor Kirkwood, Archy
Caton, Martin Kumar, Dr Ashok
Cawsey, Ian Laxton, Bob
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Chaytor, David Linton, Martin
Chidgey, David Livingstone, Ken
Clappison, James Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Llwyd, Elfyn
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Lock, David
Clelland, David McDonnell, John
Cohen, Harry Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Cooper, Yvette McLoughlin, Patrick
Corbett, Robin MacShane, Denis
Corbyn, Jeremy Major, Rt Hon John
Cousins, Jim Maples, John
Gran, James Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Cummings, John Martlew, Eric
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Maxton, John
Dalyell, Tam Miller, Andrew
Darvill, Keith Mitchell, Austin
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Davidson, Ian Moran, Ms Margaret
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly) Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Morley, Elliot
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B' ham Hodge H) Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Denham, John Mullin, Chris
Drown, Ms Julia Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Edwards, Huw Naysmith, Dr Doug
Fisher, Mark Oaten, Mark
Flynn Paul O'Hara, Eddie
Foster, Rt Hon Derek O'Neill, Marlin
Foster, Don (Bath) Palmer, Dr Nick
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Pike, Peter L
Foulkes , George Pond, Chris
Galbraith, Sam Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Gapes Mike Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Gardiner, Barry Prior, David
George, Andreew (St lves) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
George, Bruce (Walsall S) Rammell, Bill
Gidley , Sandra Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Bendel, David
Godman, Dr Norman A Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Golding, Mrs Llin Ruddock, Joan
Gorrie, Donald St Aubyn, Nick
Greenway, John Salter, Martin
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Sanders, Adrian
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Savidge, Malcolm
Grogan, John Sheerman, Barry
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Harvey, Nick Shipley, Ms Debra
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Home Robertson, John Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Hoyle, Lindsay Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Iddon, Dr Brian Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Jamieson, David Soley, Clive
Jenkin, Bernard Southworth, Ms Helen
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Squire, Ms Rachel
Jones, Ms Jenny(Wolverh'ton SW) Steen, Anthony
Steinberg, Gerry
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Stinchcombe, Paul
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Stringer, Graham
Kelly, Ms Ruth Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dart (Stockton S)
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Wareing, Robert N
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Wells, Bowen
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) White, Brian
Thompson, William Whitehead, Dr Alan
Todd, Mark Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Tonge, Dr Jenny Worthington, Tony
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Wyatt, Derek
Tyler, Paul
Tyne, Andrew Tellers for the Ayes:
Walley, Ms Joan Mr. Terry Lewis and
Wafter, Robert Mr. Hilton Dawson.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Donohoe, Brian H
Alexander, Douglas Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Dowd, Jim
Ashton, Joe Drew, David
Banks, Tony Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Barnes, Harry Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Barron, Kevin Efford, Clive
Bayley, Hugh Ellman, Mrs Louise
Beard, Nigel Ennis, Jeff
Begg, Miss Anne Etherington, Bill
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Fearn, Ronnie
Benton, Joe Fitzpatrick, Jim
Bermingham, Gerald Flight, Howard
Best, Harold Flint, Caroline
Blears, Ms Hazel Follett, Barbara
Blizzard, Bob Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Blunt, Crispin Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Galloway, George
Brady, Graham Gerrard, Neil
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Goggins, Paul
Browne, Desmond Graham, Thomas
Buck, Ms Karen Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Burgon, Colin Grocott, Bruce
Cable, Dr Vincent Gummer, Rt Hon John
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Canavan, Dennis Hancock, Mike
Casale, Roger Hanson, David
Cash, William Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Chisholm, Malcolm Hayes, John
Healey, John Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Chope, Christopher Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hepburn, Stephen
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Heppell, John
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hodge, Ms Margaret
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hood, Jimmy
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hope, Phil
Clwyd, Ann Hopkins, Kelvin
Coaker, Vernon Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Coffey, Ms Ann Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Coleman, Iain Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Colman, Tony Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Connarty, Michael Humble, Mrs Joan
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hutton, John
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Jenkins, Brian
Corston , Jean Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Cotter, Brian Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Crausby, David Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Jones, Helen (Warnrigton N)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Jones, Marlyn (ClwydS)
Curry, Rt Hon David Keeble, Ms Sally
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Keetch, Paul
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Kemp, Fraser
Day, Stephen Khabra, Piara S
Dean, Mrs Janet Kidney, David
Dismore, Andrew Kilfoyle, Peter
Dobbin, Jim King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Rogers, Allan
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lammy, David Roy, Frank
Lansley, Andrew Ruane, Chris
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Lepper, David Ryan, Ms Joan
Levitt, Tom Salmond, Alex
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Samar, Mohammad
Livsey, Richard Sawford, Phil
Love, Andrew Sayeed, Jonathan
Luff, Peter Sedgemore, Brian
McAllion, John Shaw, Jonathan
McAvoy, Thomas Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
McCabe, Steve Skinner, Dennis
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McDonagh, Siobhain Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Macdonald, Calum Soames, Nicholas
McFall, John Spellar, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Spicer, Sir Michael
McGuire, Mrs Anne Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
McIntosh, Miss Anne Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mclsaac, Shona Stewart, David (Inverness E)
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Mackinlay, Andrew Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Maclean, Rt Hon David Stuart, Ms Gisela
McLeish, Henry Stunell, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin Sutcliffe, Gerry
McNulty, Tony Swayne, Desmond
McWalter, Tony Swinney, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice Syms, Robert
Mallaber, Judy Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Temple-Morris, Peter
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Meale, Alan Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Merron, Gillian Touhig, Don
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Tredinnick, David
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Trickett, Jon
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Truswell, Paul
Moffatt, Laura Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Moore, Michael Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Mountford, Kali Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Mudie, George Tynan, Bill
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Vaz, Keith
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Vis, Dr Rudi
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Wallace, James
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Ward, Ms Claire
Olner, Bill Waterson, Nigel
Öpik, Lembit Watts, David
Organ, Mrs Diana Webb, Steve
Osborne, Ms Sandra Welsh, Andrew
Paterson, Owen Whittingdale, John
Pearson, Ian Wicks, Malcolm
Perham, Ms Linda Wilkinson, John
Pickles, Eric Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Pickthall, Colin Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Plaskitt, James Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Pope, Greg Willis, Phil
Pound, Stephen Wilshire, David
Powell, Sir Raymond Wilson, Brian
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Prosser, Gwyn Woolas, Phil
Quinn, Lawrie Wray, James
Rapson, Syd Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robertson, Laurence Tellers for the Noes:
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Mr. Peter Snape and
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Ann Keen.
Roche, Mrs Barbara

Question accordingly negatived.

6.33 pm
Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Nicholas Winterton".

We all know my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton). More important, the country knows him as a man of courage and integrity. When I take schoolchildren around the House and we go to the Queen's Robing room, I point out that two frescoes are missing. Two of King Arthur's knightly virtues are not portrayed on the walls. I jokingly say to the constituents that it is no surprise because they are the two virtues that are the rarest among politicians—fidelity and courage.

My hon. Friend has both in abundance. Above all, he has shown through a long and distinguished career a total devotion to his constituents, a fidelity to Parliament and the courage at all times and in all circumstances to fight for them, to put them first and to put their interests before his own.

You will remember, Sir Edward, when my hon. Friend was elected to the House in September 1971. I remember thinking then that he had a great future and I think it still. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it is the hour when Parliament must choose an individual who will be respected throughout the country for his devotion to Parliament.

My hon. Friend has had a long apprenticeship and in any normal walk of life that would be an advantage. It should be here. After all, he showed when he took Sir Arthur Vere Harvey's seat at the by-election a professionalism that is the hallmark of politics today. Not for nothing did he win his seat in the 1967 Warwickshire county council election. Not for nothing did he fight two losing campaigns in Newcastle-under-Lyme and then come to a by-election, which is the crucible of politics, in Macclesfield and win. He fought and he won.

My hon. Friend was of the generation that you will understand, Sir Edward: those of us who had their formative experiences in the armed forces of the Crown. You were a gunner, I flew aeroplanes, and my hon. Friend was in tanks. There is no more demanding environment than to be in a tank and to learn to get on with all sorts of conditions and people. It has been my hon. Friend's characteristic throughout his career.

There have been differences with those who set the Government's agenda; there have been differences of opinion with respected colleagues; but always my hon. Friend has fought with integrity for his point of view and above all for the interests of his constituents. When he came to the hustings, and I think that those who came to the hustings should have priority in our attentions, he twice used an important word: "integrity". That is what we demand of the Speaker.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) pointed out the challenges that Parliament faces. It is a fact that the integrity of Parliament is coming increasingly into question. No one has ever impugned my hon. Friend's integrity. He has shown, for example, on the Select Committee on Health, which he chaired, a total devotion to getting the health service right, even if that was unpopular in Government circles.

My hon. Friend has also been notable as senior member of the Speaker's Panel. I served with him briefly when he chaired the Committee considering the Greater London Authority Act 1999. There could have been no other measure harder to chair in the previous Session, but he did it with fairness, good humour and great wisdom.

Last but not least, my hon. Friend has an interest in international affairs. He has championed the democratic rights of the Falkland islanders. He was formerly the chairman of the Falkland Islands all-party group of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and a member of the CPA executive. It is symbolic. Although the Falkland Islands has perhaps the smallest legislature of the member countries of the Commonwealth, my hon. Friend took on the challenge and supported it.

Not only does our Speaker have to be a household word in the land, and have a voice that will carry with conviction—as my hon. Friend's will—to all the corners of the country, but he must have the personality to represent the United Kingdom around the globe. Speaker Boothroyd's last activity as Speaker was to go to Ukraine and to the Baltic states, and what better ambassadress could we have had? I doubt that we could possibly have had a better one. However, if my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield goes to such places, he will take not only a different style, but my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Mrs. Winterton)—who, as the lady of integrity that she is, undoubtedly will pay her own way.

I warmly commend my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield to the House and ask the House to support the amendment.

Sir Edward Heath

I call Mr. Stephen Pound to second the amendment.

6.41 pm
Mr. Stephen Pound (Ealing, North)

Of all the speeches that we have heard in this long and winding day, as we meander with a mazy motion through this labyrinth of protocol and procedure, the one that seemed to find most favour with the House was that of the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Butterfill), who stood up and said that he was not standing. Although I have been tempted by the throne myself—any job that involves an element of hair covering has its attractions to me—I should like to rule myself out for all time. Nevertheless, I am honoured to second the nomination of the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton).

There are those who—unkindly, unfairly and outrageously—say that the only ground for nominating the hon. and gallant Gentleman to the Speaker's Chair is to shut him up. I will have no truck with that—although I have heard more than I wish to know about the Congleton to Macclesfield bypass. The House would be deprived of an original, fresh and idiosyncratic voice were the hon. and gallant Gentleman to become Speaker, but that is no reason not to support him.

Today, the hon. and gallant Gentleman, with the individualism that characterises his every word, described himself as a "traditionalist-progressive". I took that not as an oxymoron, to mean a revolutionary reactionary or something like that, but as an expression of his wish to combine the best of both worlds. He is a traditionalist, in that he undoubtedly reveres and respects the great traditions of this great House, but he is also sufficiently progressive to realise that nothing stands still, that nothing must stand still, and that even an institution such as this one can and—dare I say it—must improve.

Can there be a finer example of that combination of qualities than the hon. and gallant Gentleman's chairmanship of the Select Committee on Health, when—in an alliance almost as unlikely as that between the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) and me—with the late and greatly missed Audrey Wise, the Committee produced the report on maternity services? It was one of the most ground-breaking and revolutionary reports that the House has ever seen, taking the interests of the woman to be paramount.

It is no secret—even to hon. Members who have been elected to the House recently and have no glorious tradition of coming in and out of the House or various by-elections to refer to—that the forces of the then Government were not pleased with the hon. and gallant Gentleman. They even—I do not know whether this is unparliamentary language—manoeuvred him from the chairmanship of that Committee.

While the hon. and gallant Gentleman chaired that Committee, he sought neither to find favour with the Government nor to curry favour with the Opposition. However, he represented the voices of women and of ordinary Back Benchers. That particular example shows how the man can go beyond what some unfairly see as his stereotypic presentation.

The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood referred to the hon. and gallant Gentleman as a household name. As is well known, I am not even a household name in my own household. Nevertheless. I can offer a view on the hon. and gallant Gentleman from the perspective of the most lowly worm.

The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood also mentioned the Committee that considered the Greater London Authority Act 1999, which had more than 1,000 amendments and clauses. That legislation was steered through by the hon. and gallant Gentleman not only with great good humour, but, above all, with an unfailing and irrefragable respect for the lowliest Back Bencher. Even the most newly arrived Back Benchers had their chance to speak on that Committee. Although, in my case, that fact was regretted as soon as I had spoken, he thought sufficiently of us and our rights to ensure that we were able to do that.

Although I would not claim to be as one with the hon. and gallant Gentleman politically—he is a tad liberal for my taste—as the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood said, in his every action, both within and outside this place, there has been an unbroken line of integrity and of unflinching and unchanging morality. That is precisely the type of quality that one looks for in the Speaker of this place.

It has also been said, somewhat ungraciously, that if we were to elect the hon. and gallant Gentleman as Speaker, we would have a Bill and Hillary scenario in which we would be getting two for the price of one. I would not in any way compare the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Congleton (Mrs. Winterton) with the President and the First Lady of the United States of America.

Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes)

Who would be Monica?

Mr. Pound

I shall not mention the name that I just heard from the Cleethorpes side of the House.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman and the hon. Member for Congleton are a team, and we have seen that team in action. We have also come to respect that team. It matters not whether we agree or disagree with them, they work well together.

Today, however, we are considering the case for the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I think that that case is proven. He is the man whom no Government functionary would ever choose for Speaker. He is a paid-up member—he is almost the shop steward—of the awkward squad. I see that he is sitting next to the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth), who would have been the first choice for Speaker of many of the more iconoclastic hon. Members.

Nevertheless, for all that we find the hon. and gallant Gentleman occasionally to be brutish if not short in his contributions, none of us would doubt for a moment that he speaks his mind without fear or favour. He never ceases to represent his constituents to his best. Every single time that he has been put to the test in relation to the rights of the Back Bencher against those of the Executive, the Back Bencher has won out.

From my worm's eye perspective, I have great pleasure in seconding the nomination of the hon. Member for Macclesfield, and have probably cost myself a lot of friends in doing so—[Interruption.] It is said that that pre-supposes that I had any friends to start with.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Nicholas Winterton has been proposed and seconded. I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

6.50 pm
Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

Thank you, Sir Edward, for giving me the opportunity of submitting myself to the will of the House.

Sir Edward, I think that I am right in saying that you entered the House of Commons in 1950 when Earl Winterton was the Father of the House, and I entered the House when you were Prime Minister. Whether either of those facts will do me any good today, I have my doubts.

I am now in my 30th year of unbroken service, and I have served for all that period, for whatever reason—as I said at the hustings this morning—as a Back Bencher in this House of Commons. For me, the House of Commons, its institutions and its Committees have been my total political life, and I have enjoyed it through all its vicissitudes. In many ways, I share the view of Edmund Burke, who said: You choose a member indeed, but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol but he is a Member of Parliament. That is what I have sought to be.

Of course, I accept, as my seconder, the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound) said, that constituency duties and responsibilities and heavy involvement have become increasingly important since Edmund Burke represented Bristol. The parliamentary timetable and the parliamentary week should take those matters into account. Whoever takes the Chair has the prime and vital task not only of guaranteeing the meaningful independence and integrity of the House but, as my proposer and seconder have already said, of safeguarding the rights and concerns of every Member, irrespective of political party affiliations or, in the case of the hon. Member for Tatton (Mr. Bell), of none.

The hon. Member for Ealing, North was very generous in referring to my chairmanship of the Committee considering the Greater London Authority Bill. In addition, as the longest-serving member of the Speaker's Panel, I hope that I have established a record of total impartiality, integrity and independence. My time chairing the Select Committee on Health has been referred to. It was a fantastic Committee because of the co-operation of all its members, who were seeking to do the job that Select Committees are there to do.

Speaker Boothroyd rightly emphasised that the requirement of effective scrutiny and the democratic process must take priority over the convenience of Members. However, let me say to those on both Front Benches that that is a message not to Back Benchers, who are burdened with long hours, but to the Government, who should not seek to put too much badly drafted legislation through the Commons in unseemly haste, riding roughshod over the legislature in the process.

I would welcome more private notice questions from Back Benchers as part of their individual responsibility of holding the Government to account and representing their constituencies. Let us modernise our procedures where that can be done without undermining the essential roles of amending legislation and opposition. Although Lord Randolph Churchill said that the duty of an Opposition is to oppose, opposition does not come simply from Opposition parties—it sometimes comes from within political parties. Such opposition should be heard and given a say, otherwise Parliament will become a pathetic poodle of the Government of the day and of the establishment. That is not the purpose of this place.

The Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons, on which I sit, and the Select Committee on Procedure, which I have the honour to chair, have both contributed to bringing the procedures and practices of this place more up to date. I am convinced that they will continue to do so. Having been, as it were, almost challenged by a previous candidate, I am sure that the Procedure Committee, whatever the outcome of the speakership election, will wish to consider the Standing Orders covering the election of the Speaker.

I was questioned on my next point this morning at the hustings. Despite my initial reservations about it, the Westminster Hall experiment has, in my view, been a great success. The Speaker of the House has always had the opportunity to comment on, and contribute to, the continuing debate on modernisation and changes in procedure. I am in favour of a Speaker's Conference, but the Speaker is the servant of the House and the House, surely, is its own master, as long as it is prepared to exercise that power. Again, I share the view of Edmund Burke, who said: The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. Surely it is the Speaker's difficult task to guard against such delusion, not only in the House's dealings with the Executive, but in respect of outside bodies, international organisations and, as was said earlier, large corporations.

In the 30 years that I have been a Member of this House, I have experienced the art and intrigue of the Executive—I fear to my disadvantage. However, it did me a lot of good because it merely encouraged me to defend the rights of Back Benchers and the role of Parliament all the more robustly. Let us use the Select Committees more positively, as the Liaison Committee has recommended, not only to hold the Government of the day to account, but to assist the Government to produce better drafted and considered legislation through the production of draft Bills and the development of business sub-committees for the proper programming of the Standing Committee stage of Bills.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) for his supportive and generous remarks in proposing me. Like me, he has always been a Back Bencher, and he believes fervently in the role and purpose of this House. I also thank the hon. Member for Ealing, North for his most entertaining and flamboyant speech. It was a pleasure to listen to it, not just because I was involved, but because it was a very good contribution. He was forthright and positive, and I was delighted at the way in which he seconded me. We got to know each other well during the Committee stage of the Greater London Authority Bill, on which he spoke with great commitment and knowledge.

Finally, it is a great honour even to be proposed and seconded as Speaker. I think that there is a great deal more that Members wish to say. I hope that the House, in considering the nominations for Speaker, will be zealous in its power, role and integrity. I guarantee and promise that I will strive to uphold that authority whenever abuses and threats are made to the integrity of this House. Let us use the new millennium to help to rebuild the power and authority of our parliamentary democracy in this House. I offer myself as the servant and the voice of the House.

Sir Edward Heath

The original question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Nicholas Winterton".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 116, Noes 340.

Division No. 305] [7 pm
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Donaldson, Jeffrey
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Drew, David
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Duncan, Alan
Bell, Marlin (Tatton) Duncan Smith, Iain
Bercow, John Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Blunt, Crispin Fabricant, Michael
Body, Sir Richard Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Brady, Graham Fox, Dr Liam
Brazier, Julian Fraser, Christopher
Brinton, Mrs Helen Gale, Roger
Browning, Mrs Angela Gill, Christopher
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Gillian, Mrs Cheryl
Butterfill, John Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Cash, William Gray, James
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Green, Damian
Chope, Christopher Greenway, John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hague, Rt Hon William
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Collins, Tim Hayes, John
Gran, James Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Curry, Rt Hon David Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Curry, Rt Hon David Hunter, Andrew
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Jenkin, Bernard
Day, Stephen Johnson, Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Lansley, Andrew Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Leigh, Edward Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Letwin, Oliver St Aubyn, Nick
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Sayeed, Jonathan
Lidington, David Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Spicer, Sir Michael
Loughton, Tim Steen, Anthony
Luff, Peter Streeter, Gary
McCartney, Robert (N Down) Swayne, Desmond
McIntosh, Miss Anne Syms, Robert
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Tapsell, Sir Peter
Maclean, Rt Hon David Taylor, John M (Solihull)
McLoughlin, Patrick Taylor, Sir Teddy
Major, Rt Hon John Thompson, William
Mates, Michael Tipping, Paddy
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Townend, John
Mitchell, Austin Tredinnick, David
Moss, Malcom Trend, Michael
Nicholls, Patrick Walter, Robert
Norman, Archie Waterson, Nigel
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Wells, Bowen
Ottaway, Richard Whitney, Sir Raymond
Paice, James Whittingdale, John
Paterson, Owen Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Pickles, Eric Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Portilo, Rt Hon Michael Wilshire, David
Prior, David Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Randall, John Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David Tellers for the Ayes:
Robertson, Laurence Mr. John Wilkinson and
Mr. Stephen Pound.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Burstow, Paul
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Alexander, Douglas Cable, Dr Vincent
Allan, Richard Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Allen, Graham Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)
Ashton, Joe Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Atkins, Charlotte Campbell—Savours, Dale
Baker, Norman Canavan, Dennis
Ballard, Jackie Casale, Roger
Banks, Tony Caton, Martin
Barnes, Harry Cawsey, Ian
Barron, Kevin Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Bayley, Hugh Chidgey, David
Beard, Nigel Chisholm, Malcolm
Begg, Miss Anne Clapham, Michael
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Bennett, Andrew F Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Bermingham, Gerald Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Berry, Roger Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Best, Harold Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Betts, Clive Clelland, David
Blears, Ms Hazel Clwyd, Ann
Blizzard, Bob Coaker, Vernon
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Coffey, Ms Ann
Borrow, David Cohen, Harry
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Coleman, Iain
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Colman, Tony
Brake, Tom Connarty, Michael
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Cooper, Yvette
Browne, Desmond Corbett, Robin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Corbyn, Jeremy
Buck, Ms Karen Corston, Jean
Burden, Richard Cotter, Brian
Burgon, Colin
Crausby, David Humble, Mrs Joan
Cummings, John Hutton, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) lddon, Dr Brian
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Illsley, Eric
Curtis—Thomas, Mrs Claire Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Darvill, Keith Jamieson, David
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Jenkins, Brian
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Davidson, Ian Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Dawson, Hilton Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Dean, Mrs Janet Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Denham, John Keeble, Ms Sally
Dismore, Andrew Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Dobbin, Jim Keetch, Paul
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Kelly, Ms Ruth
Donohoe, Brian H Kemp, Fraser
Doran, Frank Khabra, Piara S
Dowd, Jim Kidney, David
Drown, Ms Julia Kilfoyle, Peter
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Kirkwood, Archy
Edwards, Huw Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Efford, Clive Lammy, David
Ellman, Mrs Louise Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Ennis, Jeff Laxton, Bob
Etherington, Bill Lepper, David
Fearn, Ronnie Leslie, Christopher
Fisher, Mark Levitt, Tom
Fitzpatrick, Jim Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Flint, Caroline Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Flynn, Paul Livsey, Richard
Foster, Don (Bath) Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Llwyd, Eifyn
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lock, David
Foulkes, George Love, Andrew
Galloway, George McAllion, John
Gapes, Mike McAvoy, Thomas
Gardiner, Barry McCabe, Steve
George, Andrew (St Ives) McCafferty, Ms Chris
George, Bruce (Walsall S) McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Gerrard, Neil McDonagh, Siobhain
Gidley, Sandra Macdonald, Calum
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McDonnell, John
Godsiff, Roger McFall, John
Goggins, Paul McGuire, Mrs Anne
Golding, Mrs Llin Mclsaac, Shona
Gorrie, Donald Mackinlay, Andrew
Graham, Thomas McNamara, Kevin
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McNufty, Tony
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Mactaggart, Fiona
Grocott, Bruce McWalter, Tony
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Mallaber, Judy
Hancock, Mike Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Hanson, David Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Martlew, Eric
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Maxton, John
Healey, John Meale, Alan
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Merron, Gillian
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Hepburn, Stephen Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Heppell, John Miller, Andrew
Hodge, Ms Margaret Moffatt, Laura
Hood, Jimmy Moore, Michael
Hope, Phil Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Hopkins, Kelvin Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Morley, Elliot
Howells, Dr Kim Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Hoyle, Lindsay Mountford, Kali
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Mudie, George Soley, Clive
Mullin, Chris Southworth, Ms Helen
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Spellar, John
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Squire, Ms Rachel
Naysmith, Dr Doug Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Oaten, Mark Starkey, Dr Phyllis
O'Hara, Eddie Steinberg, Gerry
Olner, Bill Stewart, David (Inverness E)
O'Neill, Martin Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Öpik, Lembit Stinchcombe, Paul
Organ, Mrs Diana Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Osborne, Ms Sandra Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Pearson, Ian Stringer, Graham
Perham, Ms Linda Stuart, Ms Gisela
Pickthall, Colin Sutcliffe, Gerry
Pike, Peter L Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Plaskitt, James Taylor, Ms Dan (Stockton S)
Pond, Chris Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Pope, Greg Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Powell, Sir Raymond Temple-Morris, Peter
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Timms, Stephen
Prosser, Gwyn Todd, Mark
Quinn, Lawrie Tonge, Dr Jenny
Radice, Rt Hon Giles Touhig, Don
Rammell, Bill Tnckett, Jon
Rapson, Syd Truswell, Paul
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Rogers, Allan Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Rowlands, Ted Tyler, Paul
Roy, Frank Tynan, Bill
Ruane, Chris Vis, Dr Rudi
Ruddock, Joan Wallace, James
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Walley, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Ward, Ms Claire
Ryan, Ms Joan Watts, David
Salmond, Alex Webb, Steve
Salter, Martin White, Brian
Sanders, Adrian Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sarwar, Mohammad Wicks, Malcolm
Savidge, Malcolm Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Sawford, Phil Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Sedgemore, Brian Willis, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Shipley, Ms Debra Woodward, Shaun
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Woolas, Phil
Skinner, Dennis Worthington, Tony
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Wray, James
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Wyatt, Derek
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Mr. Peter Snape and
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

7.12 pm
Mr. Jamie Cann (Ipswich)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. John McWilliam".

My hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam) became an MP in 1979. I arrived rather later, in 1992, and bumped into him almost immediately. He befriended me and became my mentor; he taught me all I know—not much, some would say, but he did his best. That is all that one can ask of a friend.

We were friends too when we were both members of the Select Committee on Defence and we went to Bosnia—it was in December or January and the temperature was about 15 deg below. Our party split up. I was sent up the mountain—three hours up the mountain—to visit Royal Engineers who were based in a derelict factory. I was there for two days. Funnily enough, John was in the warmth of Banja Luka in the battalion headquarters mess. However, our friendship survived that.

I am not asking hon. Members to vote for John because he is my friend, but for three main reasons. The first is his varied experience in the House. At present, he is Chairman of the Committee of Selection, so I advise Members to be nice to him. In opposition, he was shadow deputy Leader of the House. He has been a senior Labour Whip—so he knows where the bodies are buried—he has served on numerous Select Committees; he has been a senior member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen; and he is one of the Deputy Speakers in Westminster Hall.

In all those jobs, he has shown himself to be efficient and friendly and firm but fair. When people tell me that he is a hard Chairman, I say that, yes, he is a hard Chairman, but he is fair because he is hard with everybody—if they deserve it.

Secondly, John McWilliam's career has not just been inside the House; it has been outside too. Hon. Members would not think so to look at him, because he does not look old enough, but he came to this place in 1979. Before that, he had attended Napier college and Herriot-Watt college studying courses in science and technology. For several years, he was a telecommunications engineer. He was a member of the regional council of his union. For a period, he was treasurer of Edinburgh city council and he was an audit commissioner in Scotland. He has experience inside and outside this place.

Thirdly, my hon. Friend is not just a man of public affairs—he is an angler; he walks; he reads; he is a historian; he likes music; he has a wife and daughters; he has a huge, slavering dog; he lives in his constituency; he is a man of the people—one might say that he is a man in the round. Too many people in this place have become institutionalised. He loves the place, but it does not have a grip on him as it does on some others—taking us away from contact with the ordinary people whom we represent.

All in all, my hon. Friend is a man who is well qualified for the onerous duties of the Speaker. I urge hon. Members to support the amendment.

7.17 pm
Mrs. Helen Brinton (Peterborough)

I am delighted to second the nomination of John McWilliam as Speaker of the House. John is a truly genuine moderniser, with a clear understanding of the benefits as well as the limitations of modern technology and with a wealth of experience of the procedures of the House. He has been—I shall now read a huge list—a former shadow deputy Leader of the House, a senior Labour Whip, a member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen and a Deputy Speaker in the new Westminster Hall. He sat on the Select Committees on Defence and on Liaison. Currently, he is chairman of the all—party parliamentary information technology group.

Before entering Parliament in 1979, as Member for Blaydon, John McWilliam worked as a telecommunications engineer and served as a regional council member of the communications workers union. He is a former city treasurer of Edinburgh. He has a wealth of experience not only inside the House, but, more important—because we need to relate to people outside—of the world outside.

What is important to me and to Members on both sides of the House is that John is a fair and independent-minded colleague, who has a clear understanding of the procedures of the House. That is absolutely vital for the job of Speaker.

I have known John as a colleague for many years and have always found him to be both impartial and fair. Indeed, when I first served on a Committee that he chaired, he was quick and clear in calling me to order—despite our friendship—and in instructing me about House and Committee procedures.

John understands the nonsense in procedure. More important, he understands how to put it right. He defends from the Chair the right of Back Benchers and minorities to have their say. Sometimes, he is prepared to do that not in a pussyfooting way, but in a very outspoken way indeed—in the tradition of Speakers Weatherill, Thomas and Boothroyd.

It is my belief that we should now accept that we are actually in the 21st century—not in the 18th—and that it is time that the occupant of the Speaker's Chair was seen to embody modern principles. John McWilliam is such a person. I believe that he has the courage and the drive to transform the House as it enters the 21st century.

For example, in this age of equality and the striving towards it, it is vital that we have facilities for families, babies and older children so that women—and, yes, men—are not put off entering the House and playing the fullest part in it. That is something that I feel very strongly about. I know that Members on both sides—both male and female—also feel strongly about it.

I am very pleased that there is now a technical solution, which has been suggested and supported by my hon. Friend, to the problem of a Member feeding her child while serving in Committee or taking part in a debate in the Chamber. A Room on the Committee Corridor and one adjacent to the Chamber could be set aside so that individual Members can feed their children and be kept up with the debate while they are away from it. My hon. Friend also believes that it is high time that we had a creche and a more predictable parliamentary year that is more geared to school holidays. I know that many Members on both sides—both male and female—would welcome that.

I believe that we need a senior, experienced Member in the Speaker's Chair who, while understanding and honouring the traditions of the House, has a real vision of how it must change in the future and who commands respect across all the parties. That is why I ask hon. Members to support John McWilliam today.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. John McWilliam has been proposed and seconded. I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

7.21 pm
Mr. John McWilliam (Blaydon)

Thank you, Sir Edward, for this opportunity. It is a great honour and privilege to submit myself to the House and to my peers, a vast number of whom have suffered from or enjoyed my chairmanship over many years. I have always sought to be firm, I have always sought to be fair and I have always applied Standing Orders, even those with which I did not agree.

I have also always sought to make certain that the views of individual Members—regardless of their party and regardless of how aberrant those views might appear to their party or how popular those views might be—have been properly aired and that Members have listened to them. One of the worst things that we can do is shout down our colleagues and not to listen to them, and one of the most terrible things that Parliament could ever do would be to stifle debate and to stop the discussion of ideas with which we might not agree. However, the worst thing of all would be to produce a House that did not have clear, vigorous, entertaining and informative debates in which principles were not clearly enunciated. It is sometimes difficult to ensure that debate does not degenerate into mere personal abuse, but, if one uses one's common sense, such problems can be headed off.

Speaker Boothroyd is a splendid example and the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) said that her shoes would be very hard to fill. I am afraid that they will not fit those of us who are left in the race, because I am fairly certain that no one has shoes that size. Speaker Boothroyd's will be a hard act to follow because Betty was a good friend, a superb Speaker, a marvellous servant of the House and a superb ambassador in the rest of the world for democratic politics. She also worked very hard in the Commonwealth to promote the speakership and the role of democracy. It will be an incredibly hard act to follow, but it is a pleasure, at least, to be given the opportunity to put my name forward so that my colleagues can judge whether I am a suitable candidate.

Criticisms have been made that the House has become a poodle and a creature of the Executive. The Speaker can only lead in trying to counter such a development, because it is up to individual Members to have the courage to stand up and follow that lead if they do not want the House to be brought into disrepute. There are people in the governance of the country—not elected Members and not the Government, but people in the civil service and other institutions—who would dearly love to suppress the influence of Members and that of the House. That is something against which we must all fight, but it is up to the courage and the will of individual Members to do that. As I said, the Speaker can only lead.

Those Members who think that I unfairly called them to order in the past now have a chance for revenge, but those who are genuinely contrite about the fact that they were out of order now have a chance to show that contrition. I submit myself to the House.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. John McWilliam".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 30, Noes 309.

Division No. 306] [7.26 pm
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) McDonnell, John
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) McWilliam, John
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Moran, Ms Margaret
Butterfill, John Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Cann, Jamie O'Hara, Eddie
Chope, Christopher Pickles, Eric
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Cummings, John Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Dalyell, Tam Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Temple—Morris, Peter
Day, Stephen Thompson, William
George, Bruce (Walsall S) White, Brian
Gorrie, Donald Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Hunter, Andrew Tellers for the Ayes:
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Mrs. Helen Brinton and
Llwyd, Elfyn Mr. Eric Martlew.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Cash, William
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Caton, Martin
Alexander, Douglas Cawsey, lan
Allan, Richard Chidgey, David
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Chisholm, Malcolm
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Clapham, Michael
Ashton, Joe Clappison, James
Baker, Norman Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Ballard, Jackie Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Banks, Tony Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Barnes, Harry Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Barron, Kevin Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Bayley, Hugh Coaker, Vernon
Beard, Nigel Coffey, Ms Ann
Begg, Miss Anne Coleman, Iain
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Connarty, Michael
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Bennett, Andrew F Cooper, Yvette
Benton, Joe Corbett, Robin
Best, Harold Corbyn, Jeremy
Betts, Clive Corston, Jean
Blears, Ms Hazel Cotter, Brian
Blizzard, Bob Crausby, David
Blunt, Crispin Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Curry, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Brake, Tom Darvill, Keith
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Browne, Desmond Davidson, lan
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Buck, Ms Karen Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Burden, Richard Dawson, Hilton
Burgon, Colin Dean, Mrs Janet
Burnett, John Denham, John
Burstow, Paul Dismore, Andrew
Butler, Mrs Christine Dobbin, Jim
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Cable, Dr Vincent Donohoe, Brian H
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Doran, Frank
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Dowd, Jim
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Drew, David
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Canavan, Dennis Edwards, Huw
Casale, Roger Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise McAllion, John
Ennis, Jeff McAvoy, Thomas
Etherington, Bill McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Fearn, Ronnie McDonagh, Siobhain
Fitzpatrick, Jim McFall, John
Flint, Caroline McGuire, Mrs Anne
Foster, Don (Bath) McIntosh, Miss Anne
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Mclsaac, Shona
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Galloway, George McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Gapes, Mike Mackinlay, Andrew
Gardiner, Barry McNamara, Kevin
Gerrard, Neil McNulty, Tony
Gibb, Nick Mactaggart, Fiona
Gidley, Sandra Mc Walter, Tony
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Mahon, Mrs Alice
Goggins, Paul Major, Rt Hon John
Graham, Thomas Mallaber, Judy
Green, Damian Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Grocott, Bruce Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Meale, Alan
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Merron, Gillian
Hancock, Mike Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Hanson, David Michie, Bill (Shefld Heeley)
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Harris, Dr Evan Miller, Andrew
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Moffatt, Laura
Healey, John Moore, Michael
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Morley, Elliot
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Mountford, Kali
Hepburn, Stephen Mudie, George
Heppell, John Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hodge, Ms Margaret Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hood, Jimmy Oaten, Mark
Hope, Phil Olner, Bill
Hopkins, Kelvin Öpik, Lembit
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Organ, Mrs Diana
Hoyle, Lindsay Osborne, Ms Sandra
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Paterson, Owen
Hurst, Alan Pearson, lan
Hutton, John Perham, Ms Linda
Iddon, Dr Brian Pickthall, Colin
IlIsley, Eric Pike, Peter L
Jamieson, David Plaskitt, James
Jenkins, Brian Pope, Greg
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Pound, Stephen
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Powell, Sir Raymond
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Prior, David
Keetch, Paul Prosser, Gwyn
Kelly, Ms Ruth Quinn, Lawrie
Kemp, Fraser Rapson, Syd
Khabra, Piara S Redwood, Rt Hon John
Kilfoyle, Peter Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Rendel, David
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Robertson, Laurence
Kirkwood, Archy Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Kumar, Dr Ashok Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Roche, Mrs Barbara
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Rogers, Allan
Lammy, David Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lepper, David Rowlands, Ted
Leslie, Christopher Roy, Frank
Levitt, Tom Ruane, Chris
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Ruddock, Joan
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Livsey, Richard Ryan, Ms Joan
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Salmond, Alex
Love, Andrew Sanders, Adrian
Luff, Peter Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm Tonge, Dr Jenny
Sawford, Phil Touhig, Don
Shaw, Jonathan Trickett, Jon
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Truswell, Paul
Skinner, Dennis Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Tynan, Bill
Spellar, John Tyrie, Andrew
Spicer, Sir Michael Vaz, Keith
Squire, Ms Rachel Vis, Dr Rudi
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Wallace, James
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Waterson, Nigel
Steinberg, Gerry Watts, David
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Webb, Steve
Stinchcombe, Paul Whitehead, Dr Alan
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Whittingdale, John
Straw, Rt Hon Jack Wicks, Malcolm
Stuart, Ms Gisela Wilkinson, John
Sutcliffe, Gerry Willis, Phil
Swayne, Desmond Wilshire, David
Syms, Robert Winterton Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Woodward, Shaun
Taylor, Ms Dart (Stockton S) Woolas, Phil
Taylor, David (NW Leics) Worthington, Tony
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Wray, James
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Timms, Stephen Wyatt, Derek
Todd, Mark Tellers for the Noes:
Mr. Peter Snape and
Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

7.37 pm
Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael. J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Michael Lord".

I have pleasure in moving the amendment proposing that my hon. Friend the Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North (Mr. Lord) should occupy the position of Speaker in this House. I am sure that I am not the only hon. Member who, as we approach the end of this marathon performance, is unhappy about the procedure used and the manner in which it is evolving, and uneasy about the way in which we have moved through the various stages. With great respect to my hon. Friends the Members for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) and for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd), as well as other hon. Members in favour of whom an amendment may be moved, we are now moving into a possible contest between two current Deputy Speakers.

This electorate has been described as sophisticated. The House will be pleased to know that that certainly shortens my speech, as no one has any excuse for not knowing the qualities of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North, having been able to observe him in the Chair—that is the fairest judgment that the House can make. I have great admiration for Betty Boothroyd, but in a sense she did the House a disservice, as she may have concealed from it the difficulties involved in the role of Speaker, which she carried off with considerable aplomb and skill. I have had the privilege of serving in the House for more than 30 years, and have seen six Speakers in the Chair, three from the Conservative party and three from the Labour party. I observed their characters and the different and considerable qualities that they brought to the position of Speaker. At one time or another, I witnessed each Speaker risk losing both the confidence of the House and control of it. Hon. Members who have seen only Betty Boothroyd in the Chair may not appreciate how fragile order is in the House, and may not realise how challenging and difficult the job of Speaker is.

Most of the early comments in the debate were rather inaccurate, but our remarks are becoming more accurate as we become better informed. For instance, hon. Members have referred to the tradition of alternating between the parties. That is not correct. The reality is that the Government party has tended to nominate the Speaker, and that rule was broken only in the case of Betty Boothroyd.

Speakers have sometimes come in in the mid-term of a Parliament and sometimes at a new Parliament. I have not found a case where a Speaker has come in in the last year of a Parliament. Every Member knows that this will be a difficult, contentious, argumentative and lively Session—possibly the last of this Parliament. It will be exceptionally challenging for the occupant of the Chair. Good humour, common sense and basic courage will be needed, as well as the qualities for which everyone has called: impartiality, fairness, integrity and respect for the traditions of the House. Those will be needed in full measure. It is the most daunting time at which to take over the responsibility of the Chair and the good name of this Parliament.

I am concerned about how this Parliament will proceed because our democracy depends ultimately on the willingness of this House to accept order and the authority of the Chair. I am delighted that the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed) is to second the motion. I understand that the fact that he sports a black eye at the moment has nothing to do with the tensions of this contest; he may have some more to say about how he incurred that injury.

I make no personal criticism of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin), who has occupied the Chair. However, it is interesting that he and the last candidate were the only two whose proposer and seconder came exclusively from the Labour side. On earlier occasions, the importance of a candidate having bipartisan support has been clear. The way in which the election may go is no secret, and I worry as to whether the integrity of the bipartisan approach can be sustained. That is no criticism of individuals or of their impartiality; it is an unfortunate feature of the present situation.

My hon. Friend the Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North will speak for himself; I will not detain the House by discussing his qualities. I would not be standing here if I did not have a high regard for his abilities. However, I did not know whether he would be any good as a Deputy Speaker. I was pleased when he was proposed to be a Deputy Speaker because he had been a Back Bencher, served on Select Committees and been on the Chairman's Panel. In my humble experience in life, I have found that one does not really know how people will perform in a particular role—whatever their qualifications, hopes and ambitions, or the enthusiasm of their supporters—until one actually sees them doing it.

Every single Member has seen my hon. Friend the Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North in the Chair. If they consider him to be a candidate, his qualification is that he has been able to show how he would discharge that responsibility in the Chair. In the present circumstances, I happen to believe that he is the best candidate to occupy the Chair. I have the greatest pleasure in proposing him.

Sir Edward Heath

I call on the seconder, Mr. Andrew Reed.

7.45 pm
Mr. Andrew Reed (Loughborough)

It is always humbling to speak in this House, and I feel honoured to take part on a day such as today. However, as a new Member, I would like to think that I can read the mood of the House and I will therefore keep my comments extremely short.

I am appalled at the way in which we have conducted our business today. This is a House matter and one on which we thought that, at last, the House could have its say. The way in which we have conducted our business has made the Football Association look competent in finding an England manager. With a new Speaker and a new House, there will be an opportunity to make sure that, in future, we do not have to go through this ridiculous and ludicrous process again.

I agreed to second the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North (Mr. Lord) and I was told that it would be a good clean fight. That has been the case and everyone who has spoken today is to be congratulated on the way in which they have conducted themselves.

In a sense, I should be grateful to the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North for not recognising me very early in my time in the House. Fortunately, it was not in this Chamber that our paths first crossed. I play rugby, which is the explanation for the black eye that I am sporting today. I played on Saturday and came a bit of a cropper with my opposite fly-half, who had absolutely not a scratch to show for the elbow that he managed to put in my eye. [Interruption.] No, it was not my wife, who I hope is watching.

I first met the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North at a game between the parliamentary rugby team from this House and our colleagues from New Zealand, held at Salford rugby league ground. On the previous evening, we had used the Granada studios to hold a mock debate with our New Zealand compatriots to show what things were really like. I was the only Member of Parliament from our House; the rest were others from the parliamentary team. Unfortunately, I was the only person on our team whom the hon. Gentleman did not recognise that evening.

The hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North has made amends for that in the time that we have spent since in building our friendship through the all-party rugby union group, of which he is president and I am secretary, and—just as important for both of us in terms of the way in which we share our faith—the parliamentary Christian fellowship.

There are some great strengths to be brought to the post of Speaker. Like most Back Benchers, I have spent my time trying to catch the Speaker's eye well past prime time—as this evening, in the seven to nine o'clock slot. It is at that stage that we appreciate the work of all the Deputy Speakers, who keep us in order. More important for those of us who feel that we have a contribution to make, the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North—and the other Deputy Speakers, to be fair—have always made sure that we have had a fair hearing and a chance to get our point of view across.

The skills that are required for the job include integrity, honesty and the need to make sure that Back Benchers' views are heard. Those of who us intend to stay on the Back Benches a little longer would want those to continue. The Speaker's is an extremely difficult job, particularly—as the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) said—at this time in a Parliament. It will not be easy for someone to slot into the position as we go into a general election, when the heated debates that we see at Prime Minister's Questions are carried over into other debates in the House.

I hear that the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North has been described as "solid". I am not sure whether some of those who have said that have meant it negatively or positively. However, at this crucial stage in the Parliament, that quality will make a positive contribution to the way in which the House is run. The hon. Gentleman's integrity, and the trust that people have in him, mean that he will be able to conduct the business of the House efficiently. He will make sure that every one of us has a role to play in bringing the Executive to account.

There has been a lot of talk today about modernisation. With a young son aged 18 months, I would be one of the first to say that the hours of the House need to be organised so that we can at least see our families more often and in a better way than we do currently. That would also allow us to serve our constituents much better. We could spend time learning about things in our constituencies, and could bring them to the House when scrutinising Bills. The hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North has made clear his support for modernisation, but every candidate has done so. It is down to us as a House at last to grasp the issue. We failed to do so earlier today when we were not even able to secure a vote on the way in which we have treated ourselves today.

I hope that the new Speaker will allow the House to take the matter by the neck and to sort it out over the next six months. I hope that, following the general election, we return to a House of which the British people can be proud, and which they can understand—for at the moment, they do not. Watching today's debate, they will be horrified that we are spending such a long time going round in circles yet again. I hope that this election will be the catalyst for such changes. I believe that the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North has the skills to steer the House through a very difficult period and I recommend him to the House.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Michael Lord has been proposed and seconded, and I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House if he so wishes.

7.51 pm
Mr. Michael Lord (Central Suffolk and Ipswich, North)

I am happy to submit myself to the House for the election of Speaker. After not being allowed to address the House for three and a half years, it seems strange to be doing so. It was not always thus, as hon. Members will know. Originally, the Speaker was just as his title suggested, and represented the House's views to the sovereign of the day. Today, in speaking for the first time for a long time, I speak not on behalf of my constituents but for myself, which I find extremely difficult to do.

I should first like to thank my proposer and seconder for their encouragement, support and very kind words. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) is one of the wisest and most senior Members. His encouraging me to put my name forward and his staunch support throughout have been invaluable. The hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed), my friend, is not quite so senior but has many other things on his side—and I do not just mean youth. He has integrity and sincerity, and I know will go on to make huge contributions in the House. Despite his black eye, he is very gentle. I am truly grateful to both Members.

I should like to pay a brief tribute to our previous Speaker, Betty Boothroyd. It was a great honour and privilege to serve as one of her Deputy Speakers. Her advice was invaluable, her support for all her deputies unwavering. Most of all, as I know the House will agree, she was fun. She will be hugely missed by both the House and the nation, and I hope that she enjoys her retirement.

Our previous Speaker was famous for her high kicks in years gone by. Although I cannot possibly match her high kicks on the stage, I have in my time been responsible for many a high kick on the rugby field. If there is one unique thing about me among the candidates, it is that I am the only one who has played rugby against the South African Springboks. It is not a happy experience, from which one is lucky to emerge with only a black eye.

Perhaps it was on the sports field that my basic instinct for fairness was reinforced. To continue briefly in that sporting vein, applying it to the House of Commons, any referee worth his salt appreciates the need to judge quickly the mood of the game, not to interfere unnecessarily and to allow the game to flow. At the same time, of course, he must always maintain control without having to resort to red cards.

A memory, too, is important to the Speaker of the House. I do not know whether hon. Members realise that that was not always so. There was a time when the Speaker simply pointed to a Member without having to know their name. On one occasion, in its infinite wisdom, the House chose a cross-eyed Speaker. Every time the Speaker pointed, three people stood up. Since then, we have had to remember Members' names.

This is not the occasion on which to deal in detail with the problems that the House of Commons faces. The next Speaker, whoever that may be, will want to champion the rights of Back Benchers, ensure proper scrutiny of Government and maintain the importance of the House at the centre of our nation's democracy and decision making. I, too, would certainly want to take up those challenges as toughly as anyone who has spoken today.

This is the mother of Parliaments and in many ways it is still the envy of the world. The beauty of our system lies in its simplicity. Each Member works for and listens to their constituents, coming to the House of Commons to speak on their behalf. Although we are in the Palace of Westminster, this is a simple House of Commons. If Members of Parliament are doing their jobs properly and are heard in the House, we surely have the simplest and best possible form of government. Back Benchers must be heard, and more often than they are at present. Their voices should be heard in more parts of our daily affairs.

I am particularly tired of the constant belittling of this House and the denigration of its Members by some sections of the press. The House and its new Speaker should, as far as they are able, do everything possible to counteract that tendency, which creates an entirely false impression of the work that we do here and of the quality of Members of Parliament. Such a tendency is a very corrosive influence in our national life.

Three and a half years ago, the House entrusted me with the role of Deputy Speaker, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. For three and a half years, all Members have seen me do that job. Only they know which qualities they want in the next Speaker. If they decide that I have those qualities, and decide to trust me, I will do everything in my power to repay that trust. I do not believe that the House will be disappointed.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Michael Lord".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 146, Noes 290.

Division No. 307] [7.57 pm
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Fearn, Ronnie
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Fox, Dr Liam
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Fraser, Christopher
Ballard, Jackie George, Andrew (St Ives)
Bercow, John Gibb, Nick
Beresford, Sir Paul Gidley, Sandra
Blunt, Crispin Gill, Christopher
Body, Sir Richard Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Boswell, Tim Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Brady, Graham Gorrie, Donald
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gray, James
Browning, Mrs Angela Green, Damian
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Greenway, John
Burnett, John Gummer, Rt Hon John
Butterfill. John Hague, Rt Hon William
Campbell-Savours, Dale Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Cash, William Hammond, Philip
Chapman, Sir Sydney Hayes, John
(Chipping Barnet) Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Chope, Christopher Horam, John
Clappison, James Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth Hunter, Andrew
(Rushcliffe) Jack. Rt Hon Michael
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Collins, Tim Jenkin, Bernard
Gran, James Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
Curry, Rt Hon David (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Dalyell, Tam Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Davidson, Ian Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Lansley, Andrew
Day, Stephen Leigh, Edward
Donaldson, Jeffrey Letwin, Oliver
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Duncan Smith, Iain Lidington, David
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Faber, David Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Fabricant, Michael Lord, Michael
Loughton, Tim Steen, Anthony
Luff, Peter Stinchcombe, Paul
McCartney, Robert (N Down) Streeter, Gary
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stunell, Andrew
McIntosh, Miss Anne Swayne, Desmond
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Syms, Robert
Maclean, Rt Hon David Tapsell, Sir Peter
McLoughlin, Patrick Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Major, Rt Hon John Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Malins, Humfrey Taylor, Sir Teddy
Maples, John Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Thompson, William
May, Mrs Theresa Tipping, Paddy
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Townend, John
Moss, Malcolm Tredinnick, David
Nicholls, Patrick Trend, Michael
Page, Richard Tyler, Paul
Paice, James Viggers, Peter
Paterson, Owen Walter, Robert
Pickles, Eric Wardle, Charles
Prior David Waterson, Nigel
Randall, John Wells, Bowen
Redwood, Rt Hon John Whitney, Sir Raymond
Rendel, David Whittingdale, John
Robertson, Laurence Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Wilkinson, John
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham) Willetts, David
Ruffley, David Wilshire, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
St Aubyn, Nick Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Sayeed, Jonathan Wyatt, Derek
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Yeo, Tim
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spicer, Sir Michael Tellers for the Ayes:
Spring, Richard Mr. Tom King and
Mr. Andrew Reed.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Burgon, Cohn
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Burstow, Paul
Alexander, Douglas Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Allan, Richard Cable, Dr Vincent
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Ashton, Joe Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Baker, Norman Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)
Banks, Tony Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Barnes, Harry Canavan, Dennis
Barron, Kevin Casale, Roger
Bayley, Hugh Caton, Martin
Beard, Nigel Cawsey, lan
Begg, Miss Anne Chidgey, David
Bell, Martin (Talton) Chisholm, Malcolm
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Clapham, Michael
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Bennett, Andrew F Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Bermingham, Gerald Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Berry, Roger Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Best, Harold Clelland, David
Betts, Clive Clwyd, Ann
Blears, Ms Hazel Coaker, Vernon
Blizzard, Bob Coffey, Ms Ann
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Coleman, Iain
Borrow, David Connarty, Michael
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Brake, Tom Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Breed, Colin Cooper, Yvette
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Corbett, Robin
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Cotter, Brian
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Cox, Tom
Browne, Desmond Crausby, David
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Cummings, John
Buck, Ms Karen Cunningham, Jim (CoVtry S)
Burden, Richard Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith Kirkwood, Archy
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Kumar, Dr Ashok
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Lammy, David
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Dean, Mrs Janet Laxton, Bob
Denham, John Lepper, David
Dismore, Andrew Levitt, Tom
Dobbin, Jim Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Donohoe, Brian H Livsey, Richard
Doran, Frank Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Dowd, Jim Llwyd, Elfyn
Drew, David Love, Andrew
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) McAllion, John
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) McAvoy, Thomas
Efford, Clive McCabe, Steve
Ellman, Mrs Louise McCartney, Rt Hon lan
Ennis, Jeff (Makerfield)
Etherington, Bill McDonagh, Siobhain
Fitzpatrick, Jim Macdonald, Calum
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna McDonnell, John
Flint, Caroline McFall, John
Foster, Don (Bath) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Mclsaac, Shona
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Gapes, Mike Mackinlay, Andrew
Gardiner, Barry McNamara, Kevin
George, Bruce (Walsall S) McNulty, Tony
Gerrard, Neil Mactaggart, Fiona
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McWalter, Tony
Goggins, Paul Mahon, Mrs Alice
Graham, Thomas Mallaber, Judy
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Grocott, Bruce Marshall—Andrews, Robert
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Martlew, Eric
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Meale, Alan
Hancock, Mike Merron, Gillian
Hanson, David Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Healey, John Miller, Andrew
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Moffatt, Laura
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Moore, Michael
Hepburn, Stephen Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Heppell, John Morley, Elliot
Hodge, Ms Margaret Mountford. Kali
Hood, Jimmy Mudie, George
Hope, Phil Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hopkins, Kelvin Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Oaten, Mark
Hoyle, Lindsay O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Olner, Bill
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) O'Neill, Martin
Humble, Mrs Joan Opik, Lembit
Hutton, John Organ, Mrs Diana
Iddon, Dr Brian Osborne, Ms Sandra
Illsley, Eric Pearson, Ian
Jamieson, David Perham, Ms Linda
Jenkins, Brian Pickthall, Colin
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Pike, Peter L
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Plaskitt, James
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Pond, Chris
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Pope, Greg
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pound, Stephen
Keeble, Ms Sally Powell, Sir Raymond
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Keetch, Paul Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kelly, Ms Ruth Prosser, Gwyn
Kemp, Fraser Quinn, Lawrie
Khabra, Piara S Rammell, Bill
Kilfoyle, Peter Rapson, Syd
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Raynsford, Nick
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Rogers, Allan Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Taylor, Ms Dad (Stockton S)
Rowlands, Ted Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Roy, Frank Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Ruane, Chris Temple-Morris, Peter
Ruddock, Joan Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Timms, Stephen
Ryan, Ms Joan Todd, Mark
Salmond, Alex Tonge, Dr Jenny
Sanders, Adrian Touhig, Don
Samar, Mohammad Trickett, Jon
Savidge, Malcolm Truswell, Paul
Sawford, Phil Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Shaw, Jonathan Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Skinner, Dennis Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Tynan, Bill
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Vis, Dr Rudi
Smith Jacqui (Redditch) Watts, David
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Webb, Steve
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) White, Brian
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Whitehead, Dr Alan
Soley , Clive Wicks, Malcolm
Southworth, Ms Helen Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Spellar, John Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Squire, Ms Rachel Willis, Phil
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Steinberg, Gerry Woodward, Shaun
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Woolas, Phil
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Worthington, Tony
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Wray, James
Straw, Rt Hon Jack Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Stringer, Graham Tellers for the Noes:
Stuart, Ms Gisela Mr. Peter Snape and
Sutcliffe, Gerry Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

8.10 pm
Mrs. Gillian Shephard (South-West Norfolk)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Sir Patrick Cormack".

It is a privilege to propose the name of my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) for election as Speaker.

The election comes at a time which is particularly important for Parliament, and therefore and by definition for the future of the democratic process in our country. The House, in the words of The Times leader last Friday, has become increasingly sidelined by the executive, the courts, the media and by Europe. Perhaps there has not been a time in its history when it has been more in need of a doughty defender, who by definition would him or herself be a defender of the voice of the electorate between elections, because that is what the House should be.

The successful candidate should therefore be able to demonstrate, first, independence and impartiality. That my hon. Friend has consistently done so throughout his more than 30 years as a Member, is a fact to which his colleagues, and perhaps more particularly successive generations of Whips, can certainly attest. However, through his work for The House Magazine, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the all-party arts and heritage group, his impartiality is also well known and respected by Members on both sides of the House.

My hon. Friend has a well-earned reputation for his respect for Parliament, his knowledge of parliamentary procedure and his desire at all times that the House, when appropriate, should have its say and also its way. In a note circulated to all colleagues he states as his prime purpose to do what he can to restore Parliament to the centre of the nation's public life and the Chamber to the centre of Parliament's. He is on record, passim in the Official Report, but also in his own publications, as being passionate about the centrality of the House to the democratic process.

My hon. Friend recognises of course that all successful institutions must adapt to changing times, but in the case of Parliament, only in a way which enhances and not diminishes its democratic role. It is at this moment in its history that the House needs a passionate defender of its rights, and those of its Members, and I strongly believe that my hon. Friend has both the passion and the strength required.

Clearly the qualities that my hon. Friend so obviously possesses would be of little use had he not also demonstrated for many years now his ability and authority in the Chair. As a member of the Chairmen's Panel from 1983 to 1997, he has won respect and admiration for his fairness, patience and knowledge.

The route to the Speaker's Chair can take at least two paths. There is the one which leads via the Government or Opposition Front Bench, for which there are certainly distinguished precedents or—I believe this to be more correct and preferable—the one leading from a multiplicity of Back-Bench activities. I make that point because I see the role of Speaker, as does my hon. Friend, as defender of the House against the Executive when such a defence is needed.

As a former member of the Modernisation Committee, my hon. Friend has a positive attitude to improving procedure and protecting and enhancing the role of Back Benchers. He rightly believes, however, that such change is a matter for the House itself, working through a Speaker's Conference that he would initiate.

Finally, the House has become accustomed, during the period in office of Madam Speaker Boothroyd, to colour, wit and humour in the Chair. It would be sad if her successor as the representative of parliamentary democracy in our country—that representative role is increasingly important—were not able to demonstrate likewise colour, wit and humour. That my hon. Friend would certainly be able to do. I urge the House to support the amendment.

8.14 pm
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

Let us be candid: few of my right hon. and hon. Friends think that the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) is a paragon of virtue.

Mr. Pound


Mr. Dalyell

My hon. Friend denies that.

The hon. Member for South Staffordshire has a tendency towards pomposity, but that is not unique in this assembly. There are 649 others who have a tendency towards pomposity.

However, the hon. Gentleman has some rare virtues. First, those who have sat under him in Committee know that he is a formidable and fair Chairman. He is also a distinguished member of the Speaker's Panel. When working under him in Committee, one understands that he has qualities that should be considered for the speakership. Those of us who were at the hustings this morning organised by my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) will recognise that the hon. Gentleman gave a performance of considerable quality.

I suppose, secondly, that this is a delicate matter as far as you and I are concerned, Sir Edward, but the hon. Gentleman has another quality, and that is that he is a brave man. He was brave enough on many occasions to take on Margaret Thatcher in her heyday. He defied her on the abolition of the Greater London council and on many other matters during those years. These are things that we do not forget. When we are in the adversity of opposition, it is heartening to see some Members sticking up for what they think is right, against a formidable Prime Minister and a disciplinarian machine that is backing her up. That is why many Labour Members have a great deal of time for the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Gentleman, thirdly, would represent the House in a distinguished way when the Speaker goes abroad. As a member of the all-party arts and heritage group—I hasten to say that we pay our own way—I have travelled with him on six occasions. Sometimes there have been difficult speeches to make in places such as Prague and Athens. He has always been a credit to the House when he has spoken.

Much has been said in the past six hours about getting home early. I would not do the hon. Gentleman's cause much good by going on any longer. However, he is a Member who should be considered. Members should reflect on whether he is worth a vote.

8.18 pm
Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire)

I shall try not to be too pompous. I am sure that I speak for every Member in congratulating you, Sir Edward, on a marathon sitting. You said at the beginning—I think that your views have been echoed in all parts of the House—that you were less than entirely happy with this form of procedure. I think that I am not being too controversial when I say that most of us who have sat through these proceedings—I have heard every syllable uttered—feel that whoever is Speaker after today would be well advised to ask the appropriate Committee to take an early look at the way in which the Speaker is chosen in future, and perhaps to consider the Canadian system, where the election is conducted entirely by secret ballot, supervised by the Clerks.

It is indeed a great honour merely to be proposed for the office of Speaker, and I am deeply grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) and to my friend, the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), for their generous remarks when proposing me. It is quite something to be thought, even by a few colleagues, to be a worthy successor to Madam Speaker Boothroyd. Whoever succeeds her will have a daunting task, and not just because of her own formidable qualities.

As Madam Speaker Boothroyd said in her valedictory address, there is much to be done to redeem Parliament's reputation and influence. My right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Norfolk referred to the statement that I issued. It must be the new Speaker's prime purpose to help put Parliament back at the centre of the nation's public life, and the Chamber at the centre of Parliament's. Far too many of those whom we represent do not see Parliament's relevance to their daily lives. Far too many of those who provide them with their information ignore it, and to be honest, far too many of us on both sides of the House seek to exercise our influence through the media, to the neglect of our responsibilities here.

Those are problems that cannot be tackled by the Speaker alone, but the Speaker has a central and pivotal role in tackling them. Scrupulously and rigorously impartial, the Speaker is not in the Chair to make life easy for either Government or Opposition, but rather to give each hon. Member—we are all equal here—a proper opportunity to pursue a question or defend a cause, regardless of party, position or seniority.

Of course, the Speaker cannot dictate the business of the House, but as a Back Bencher who has made three successful applications for emergency debates in my time here, I am well aware that the Speaker can help to ensure that we debate the issues that trouble those who send us here. One of the reasons for Parliament's loss of influence is that we are far too often seen to be discussing the arcane, rather than the urgent. One of the reasons that our institution is under increasing criticism is that we often seem to be too subservient.

I sometimes think that we too rarely recall what has been achieved in the past by individual crusading Members—people such as Eleanor Rathbone, Alan Herbert, Sydney Silverman and my own great parliamentary hero, William Wilberforce. Courageous, innovative, independent-minded Members should always feel that they have an ally in that Chair.

There are, rightly, strict limitations on the power of the Speaker who, at the end of the day, must never go against what the House directs, but I would wish to encourage attendance and spontaneity in every major debate by setting aside a period when hon. Members could genuinely catch the Speaker's eye.

Because I am so concerned at the decline in Parliament's influence, I would wish to establish a standing Speaker's Conference which would include representatives from each party, with a broad agenda to include the relationship of Chamber to Committees and the structure of the parliamentary day and year. In that context, it is clearly important that we recognise that Parliament's hours of sitting have changed many times over the centuries, and that Members of Parliament have personal and family obligations.

Like Madam Speaker Boothroyd, I am very conscious of the Speaker's public role as the voice and representative of the Commons. Only the Speaker can represent this place and all its Members, and remind the courts and other public bodies of the rights and duties of the elected House in a sovereign Parliament.

Whoever wins the approbation of the House today will have a difficult task. It will not be easy, either, for any of the candidates to forsake a gregarious parliamentary life for the relative loneliness of the Chair, although for me at least, the thought of no more Whips makes that prospect bearable.

I know that there are those who see me primarily as a traditionalist. It is true that I love this place, but I see no point in clinging to the trappings of a great legislative assembly if we do not introduce reforms that will bring more effective power back to the Chamber. I have no desire to become the curator of a museum to democracy.

I would, however, like to play a part in a totally and fiercely non-partisan way in injecting new life into that democracy—a democracy that has often been improved and reformed in the past by those who understood its roots and cherished its history. I hope, Sir Edward, that even at this late hour, the House will consider giving me the opportunity to join their number.

Sir Edward Heath

The original Question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Sir Patrick Cormack".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 130, Noes 287.

Division No. 308] [8.25 pm
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Gorrie, Donald
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Gray, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Green, Damian
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Greenway, John
Bercow, John Grieve, Dominic
Blunt, Crispin Hague, Rt Hon William
Body, Sir Richard Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Boswell, Tim Hayes, John
Brady, Graham Healey, John
Brazier, Julian Horam, John
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Browning, Mrs Angela Jenkin, Bernard
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Burnett, John Kidney, David
Burstow, Paul King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Butterfill, John Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Campbell-Savours, Dale Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Lansley, Andrew
Chope, Christopher Leigh, Edward
Clappison, James Letwin, Oliver
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Lidington, David
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Collins, Tim Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Cran, James Llwyd, Elfyn
Curry, Rt Hon David Loughton, Tim
Dalyell, Tam Luff, Peter
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Day, Stephen McIntosh, Miss Anne
Donaldson, Jeffrey MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Duncan, Alan Maclean, Rt Hon David
Duncan Smith, Iain McLoughlin, Patrick
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Major, Rt Hon John
Faber, David Mitchell, Austin
Fearn, Ronnie Moss, Malcolm
Flight, Howard Nicholls, Patrick
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Oaten, Mark
Fox, Dr Liam Paice, James
Fraser, Christopher Paterson, Owen
George, Andrew (St Ives) Pickles, Eric
Gill, Christopher Prior, David
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Randall, John
Raynsford, Nick
Robertson, Laurence
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Thompson, William
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham) Tipping, Paddy
Ruffley, David Townend, John
St Aubyn, Nick Tredinnick, David
Salmond, Alex Trend, Michael
Sayeed, Jonathan Walter, Robert
Sheerman, Barry Waterson, Nigel
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Wells, Bowen
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Whittingdale, John
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Wigley, Rt Hon Datydd
Spicer, Sir Michael Wilkinson, John
Steen, Anthony Willetts, David
Stinchcombe, Paul Wilshire, David
Streeter, Gary Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Swayne, Desmond Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Syms, Robert Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, lan (Esher & Walton) Tellers for the Ayes:
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Sir Raymond Powell and
Taylor, Sir Teddy

Mr. Gerald Howarth.

Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Connarty, Michael
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Alexander, Douglas Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Cooper, Yvette
Ashton, Joe Corbett, Robin
Baker, Norman Corston, Jean
Ballard, Jackie Cotter, Brian
Barnes, Harry Cox, Tom
Barron, Kevin Crausby, David
Bayley, Hugh Cummings, John
Beard, Nigel Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Begg, Miss Anne Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Darvill, Keith
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Benton, Joe Davidson, Ian
Bermingham, Gerald Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Berry, Roger Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Best, Harold Davis, Rt Hon Terry
Betts, Clive (B'ham Hodge H)
Blears, Ms Hazel Dawson, Hilton
Blizzard, Bob Dean, Mrs Janet
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Denham, John
Borrow, David Dismore, Andrew
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Dobbin, Jim
Brake, Tom Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon Donohoe, Brian H
(Dunfermline E) Doran, Frank
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Dowd, Jim
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Drew, David
Browne, Desmond Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Eagle, Maria (L pool Garston)
Buck, Ms Karen Edwards, Huw
Burden, Richard Efford, Clive
Burgon, Colin Ellman, Mrs Louise
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Ennis, Jeff
Cable, Dr Vincent Etherington, Bill
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Fitzpatrick, Jim
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Flint, Caroline
Canavan, Dennis Foster, Don (Bath)
Casale, Roger Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Caton, Martin Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Cawsey, lan Galloway, George
Chidgey, David Gapes, Mike
Chisholm, Malcolm Gardiner, Barry
Clapham, Michael Gerrard, Neil
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Goggins, Paul
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Graham, Thomas
Clelland, David Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Coaker, Vernon Griffiths, Win (Bddgend)
Coffey, Ms Ann Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Coleman, Iain Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike Michie, Bill (Shefld Heeley)
Hanson, David Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet Miller, Andrew
Harris, Dr Evan Moffatt, Laura
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Moore, Michael
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Morley, Elliot
Hepburn, Stephen Mountford, Kali
Heppell, John Mudie, George
Hodge, Ms Margaret Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hood, Jimmy Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hope, Phil O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hopkins, Kelvin O'Hara, Eddie
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Olner, Bill
Hoyle, Lindsay O'Neill, Martin
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Öpik, Lembit
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Organ, Mrs Diana
Humble, Mrs Joan Osborne, Ms Sandra
Hutton, John Pearson, Ian
Iddon, Dr Brian Perham, Ms Linda
Illsley, Eric Pickthall, Colin
Jamieson, David Pike, Peter L
Jenkins, Brian Plaskitt, James
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Pollard, Kerry
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Pond, Chris
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Pope, Greg
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Pound, Stephen
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Keeble, Ms Sally Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Prosser, Gwyn
Keetch, Paul Quinn, Lawrie
Kelly, Ms Ruth Rammell, Bill
Kemp, Fraser Rapson, Syd
Khabra, Piara S Rendel, David
Kilfoyle, Peter Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Rogers, Allan
Kumar, Dr Ashok Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lammy, David Rowlands, Ted
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Roy, Frank
Laxton, Bob Ruane, Chris
Lepper, David Ruddock, Joan
Leslie, Christopher Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Levitt, Tom Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Lewis, lvan (Bury S) Ryan, Ms Joan
Livsey, Richard Sanders, Adrian
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Sarwar, Mohammad
Love, Andrew Savidge, Malcolm
McAllion, John Sawford, Phil
McAvoy, Thomas Sedgemore, Brian
McCabe, Steve Shaw, Jonathan
McCafferty, Ms Chris Skinner, Dennis
McCartney, Rt Hon lan (Makerfield) Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McDonagh, Siobhain Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McDonnell, John Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
McFall, John Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McGuire, Mrs Anne Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Mclsaac, Shona Smith, John (Glamorgan)
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mackinlay, Andrew Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
McNamara, Kevin Southworth, Ms Helen
McNulty, Tony Spellar, John
Mactaggart, Fiona Squire, Ms Rachel
McWalter, Tony Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Mahon, Mrs Alice Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mallaber, Judy Steinberg, Gerry
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Stewart, lan (Eccles)
Martlew, Eric Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Maxton, John Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Meale, Alan Stringer, Graham
Merron, Gillian Stuart, Ms Gisela
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dad (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics) Vis, Dr Rudi
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Walley, Ms Joan
Temple-Morris, Peter Watts, David
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Webb, Steve
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) White, Brian
Timms, Stephen Whitehead, Dr Alan
Todd, Mark Wicks, Malcolm
Tonge, Dr Jenny Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Touhig, Don Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Trickett, Jon Willis, Phil
Truswell, Paul Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Tumer, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Woodward, Shaun
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Woolas, Phil
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Wray, James
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill Tellers for the Noes:
Vaz, Keith Mr. Peter Snape and
Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

Sir Edward Heath

I call Mr. Martin Bell to move an amendment in favour of Mr. Richard Shepherd.

8.37 pm
Mr. Martin Bell (Tatton)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Question, to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Richard Shepherd".

Sir Edward, the hour calls for brevity. Brevity is in my nature, and the cause for which I rise is simply stated. It is to suggest that the name of the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) be inserted as an amendment, by nature of the quality of the man.

What a debate we have had. The speeches have been short and of high quality. The whipping was either non-existent or indiscernible. Would that it were always so. The challenges that the House faces have been widely stated. They include an erosion of its authority, reputation and influence by a more assertive judiciary, a more aggressive press and the burgeoning power of the Executive. If we wish to complain about that, the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves. It is up to us. We can make a difference because in the end we do not represent parties; we represent people, every one of us. I think that this is a time when we can make a difference. I cannot imagine a more important debate and series of votes than those taking place tonight.

I honestly believe that we have an opportunity. I mention the name of the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills because he is the right man for this time. He is widely respected on both sides of the House. His proposer and seconder come from different sides of the House. For 18 years he has been a tireless champion of many causes of liberty and libertarian causes, such as freedom of information. The fight now is for the freedom of the people and of the House, which now has to be campaigned for as much as ever.

I shall mention something that Wentworth said in 1575, when he criticised the subservience of the House to the power of the Executive, which was then the royal family. He said: There is nothing so necessary for the preservation of the prince and state as free speech, and without it it is a scorn and mockery to call it a Parliament house, for in truth it is none but a very school of flattery and dissimulation. For that, the Queen had him locked up in the Tower of London the next day.

The cause is less conspicuous now, but the need is as urgent as it ever was to restore the dignity and reputation of the House. I believe that there is a man who, as Speaker, would be eminently well qualified to do the job. That man is the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills and I commend his name to the House.

8.40 pm
Tony Wright (Cannock Chase)

It gives me great pleasure to second the nomination of the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd). If I may breach a parliamentary convention, I shall call him my hon. Friend, because we have campaigned together on causes that should engage everyone in the House. He is concerned about the rights of citizens, and he campaigns against official secrecy, to protect whistleblowers, and for the freedom of information.

I remember above all an occasion in the last Parliament when Sir Richard Scott had delivered his devastating report, alleging that Ministers had behaved as they should not have behaved. That produced a motion of censure in the House. It was a difficult moment because it required hon. Members to choose between Parliament, accountability, sovereignty—all those fine words that we use—and the pressures of party, Whips and discipline. On that day, two hon. Members in the Government party voted for Parliament, and one of them was the person whom I am seconding. He does not just talk about the rights of Parliament; he protects those rights and asserts them when it matters.

If one theme has been constant throughout the contributions, including those by all the candidates, it is that something is wrong with the House of Commons that must be put right. The question before the House is: how determined is it to put that right?

I commend my hon. Friend to the House because I believe that the moment has arrived for a shock to the system. Whatever else my hon. Friend would be, he would be a shock to the system. Either hon. Members believe that we have reached a point when a shock is required, or they believe that business as usual will do. That is the choice. This institution has arrived at that moment. It is no good saying that it will be the job of some future Speaker whom we may elect to put matters right. The job of putting them right rests with all of us in the House now. It is no good talking afterwards about the glories of Parliament and the need for reform, unless we are prepared now to administer the shock to the system that may produce that change.

I know that the person whom I am recommending is said to be an outsider. My goodness, he is. He is as far away from the usual channels as it is possible to get, and that is why I recommend him to hon. Members.

Sir Edward Heath

Mr. Richard Shepherd has been proposed and seconded. I now invite him to submit himself to the House if he so wishes.

8.44 pm
Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)

In a sense, I am the least qualified of all the candidates who have stood in front of hon. Members today. In fact, my disqualifications fill a long sheet. I am one of the few Conservative Members to have lost the Whip. I have tried to vote against my party when I thought that it was wrong. It is claimed that I am emotional, and it is true that in Parliament I am emotional. I am emotional because I profoundly believe in the purpose of the House, and I think that that view is shared by many people. I hope that in that emotionalism I have used argument, reason, principle and conscience. Those are things that I think unite many Members.

In a sense, the House is experiencing a crisis. With the redevelopment of our constitution, we are in a remarkable state—a state in which the House of Lords, no less, is more vital and more vibrant, and checks authority and the executive power more meaningfully than is done here. How can it be that we, the elected representatives of the people, no longer effectively challenge Government? That is what we are asking people to reflect on.

I sense a great discontent among ourselves, on both sides of the House. We do not discuss measures that are timely, or matters that are important. We had only one Standing Order No. 24 emergency debate during the eight years in which the previous Speaker was Speaker. How can we be timely? How can we reflect the needs of those who sent us here?

I am mindful that I can stand in this House on equal terms with anyone—with a head of Government, with a Minister—because I, like such people, have been elected by an individual constituency. We should never forget that that is the first trust that sends us here.

To whom do we owe our allegiance? My party is very vigorous in trying to get rid of people, and a long time ago when it was trying to get rid of Winston Churchill, he was asked to whom he owed his allegiance. He said first to his country, then to his constituency, and thirdly to his party.

When party becomes so aggressive that it consumes our conscience—when we no longer discuss the politics that are the laws that form the way in which we live; when we accept that the House of Lords will now be dealing with legislation and the points that we raise with regard to that legislation, and that ultimately the Executive will deal not with us, the elected representatives, but with the appointees who now sit at the other end of this Parliament—there is a crisis, in a sense. We ought to assert and affirm that our first intent is to represent those who sent us here.

I have seen Members on both sides of the House in both Lobbies—I have been through more than one Lobby on occasions such as this—whose tears have flowed, and whose conscience has been sensitive; yet they have voted against issues that they have stood for during their parliamentary careers.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) said that he was leaving this place to take up politics. Most of us came here because we believed in politics. We believed that this was the fulcrum where we could dispose of the business of our country. If I am given the honour of representing this House, I want to ensure that each one of us—wherever we come from, and whomever we represent—is able to do just that.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 136, Noes 282.

Division No. 309] [8.48 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Lansley, Andrew
Baker, Norman Leigh, Edward
Ballard, Jackie Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Lidington, David
Bercow, John Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Blunt, Crispin Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Body, Sir Richard Loughton, Tim
Boswell, Tim Luff, Peter
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Brady, Graham McIntosh, Miss Anne
Brake, Tom MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Brazier, Julian Maclean, Rt Hon David
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter McLoughlin, Patrick
Browning, Mrs Angela Major, Rt Hon John
Bruce, lan (S Dorset) Maples, John
Burnett, John Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Butterfill, John Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Mitchell, Austin
Cash, William Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Cawsey, Ian Mullin, Chris
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Nicholls, Patrick
Chidgey, David Oaten, Mark
Chope, Christopher Opik, Lembit
Clappison, James Paterson, Owen
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Pearson, lan
Collins, Tim Pickles, Eric
Cooper, Yvette Prior, David
Cotter, Brian Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Curry, Rt Hon David Randall, John
Dalyell, Tam Robertson, Laurence
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Ruffley, David
Day, Stephen Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Donaldson, Jeffrey St Aubyn, Nick
Duncan, Alan Salmond, Alex
Duncan Smith, Iain Sayeed, Jonathan
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Sheerrnan, Barry
Faber, David Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Fearn, Ronnie Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Fisher, Mark Shepherd, Richard
Flynn, Paul Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Fraser, Christopher Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
George, Andrew (St lves) Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Gibb, Nick Spicer, Sir Michael
Gill, Christopher Steen, Anthony
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Stunell, Andrew
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Swayne, Desmond
Gorrie, Donald Syms, Robert
Gray, James Tapsell, Sir Peter
Green, Damian Taylor, lan (Esher & Walton)
Grieve, Dominic Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Hague, Rt Hon William Thompson, William
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Todd, Mark
Hayes, John Tonge, Dr Jenny
Horam, John Townend, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Tredinnick, David
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Trend, Michael
Jenkin, Bernard Tyrie, Andrew
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Walter, Robert
Key, Robert Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whittingdale, John Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Wilshire, David Tellers for the Ayes:
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton) Sir Teddy Taylor and
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield) Mr. Eric Forth.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Davidson, lan
Alexander, Douglas Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Ashton, Joe Dawson, Hilton
Banks, Tony Dean, Mrs Janet
Barnes, Harry Denham, John
Barron, Kevin Dismore, Andrew
Bayley, Hugh Dobbin, Jim
Beard, Nigel Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Begg, Miss Anne Donohoe, Brian H
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Doran, Frank
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Dowd, Jim
Benton, Joe Drew, David
Bermingham, Gerald Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Best, Harold Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Betts, Clive Edwards, Huw
Blears, Ms Hazel Efford, Clive
Blizzard, Bob Ellman, Mrs Louise
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Ennis, Jeff
Borrow, David Etherington, Bill
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Fitzpatrick, Jim
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Flint, Caroline
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Foster, Don (Bath)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Browne, Desmond Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Foulkes, George
Buck, Ms Karen Gapes, Mike
Burden, Richard Gardiner, Barry
Burgon, Colin Gerrard, Neil
Burstow, Paul Gidley, Sandra
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Cable, Dr Vincent Goggins, Paul
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Graham, Thomas
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Grocott, Bruce
Canavan, Dennis Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Casale, Roger Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Caton, Martin Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hancock, Mike
Chisholm, Malcolm Hanson, David
Clapham, Michael Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Healey, John
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Clelland, David Henderson, lvan (Harwich)
Clwyd, Ann Hepburn, Stephen
Coaker, Vernon Heppell, John
Coffey, Ms Ann Hodge, Ms Margaret
Coleman, Iain Hood, Jimmy
Connarty, Michael Hope, Phil
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hoyle, Lindsay
Corston, Jean Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Cox, Tom Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Crausby, David Humble, Mrs Joan
Cummings, John Hutton, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Iddon, Dr Brian
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Illsley, Eric
Darvill, Keith Jamieson, David
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Prosser, Gwyn
Keeble, Ms Sally Quinn, Lawrie
Keetch, Paul Rammell, Bill
Kelly, Ms Ruth Rapson, Syd
Kemp, Fraser Raynsford, Nick
Khabra, Piara S Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Kidney, David Rendel, David
Kilfoyle, Peter Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Rogers, Allan
Kumar, Dr Ashok Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Roy, Frank
Lammy, David Ruane, Chris
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Ruddock, Joan
Laxton, Bob Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Lepper, David Ryan, Ms Joan
Leslie, Christopher Sanders, Adrian
Levitt, Tom Sarwar, Mohammad
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Savidge, Malcolm
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Sawford, Phil
Livsey, Richard Sedgemore, Brian
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Shaw, Jonathan
Lock, David Skinner, Dennis
Love, Andrew Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McAllion, John Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McAvoy, Thomas Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
McCabe, Steve Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McCafferty, Ms Chris Smith, John (Glamorgan)
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McDonagh, Siobhain Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Macdonald, Calum Soley, Clive
McDonnell, John Spellar, John
McFall, John Squire, Ms Rachel
McGuire, Mrs Anne Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mclsaac, Shona Steinberg, Gerry
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Mackinlay, Andrew Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
McNamara, Kevin Stinchcombe, Paul
McNulty, Tony Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Mactaggart, Fiona Straw, Rt Hon Jack
McWalter, Tony Stringer, Graham
Mahon, Mrs Alice Stuart, Ms Gisela
Mallaber, Judy Sutcliffe, Gerry
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Martlew, Eric Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Meale, Alan Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Merron, Gillian Temple-Morris, Peter
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Timms, Stephen
Miller, Andrew Touhig, Don
Moffatt, Laura Trickett, Jon
Moore, Michael Truswell, Paul
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Morley, Elliot Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Mountford, Kali Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Mudie, George Tumer, Neil (Wigan)
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Tyler, Paul
O'Hara, Eddie Tynan, Bill
Olner, Bill Vaz, Keith
O'Neill, Martin Vis, Dr Rudi
Organ, Mrs Diana Walley, Ms Joan
Osborne, Ms Sandra Watts, David
Perham, Ms Linda Webb, Steve
Pickthall, Colin White, Brian
Pike, Peter L Whitehead, Dr Alan
Plaskitt, James Wicks, Malcolm
Pollard, Kerry Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Pope, Greg Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Pound, Stephen Willis, Phil
Powell, Sir Raymond Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Woodward, Shaun Tellers for the Noes:
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James Mr. Peter Snape and
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth) Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

Sir Edward Heath

I understand that two of the tellers from earlier this evening wish to make a report to me.

Mr. Snape

Sir Edward, we have to report that in the Division on the amendment to insert "Dr. David Clark", the numbers reported in the No Lobby should have been 257 and not 296.

Sir Edward Heath

I will ensure that the outcome of the Division is accurately recorded in Votes and Proceedings. I understand that it makes no difference to the overall result.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

On a point of order, Sir Edward. More than six hours ago, I raised a point of order to establish what would happen if all the motions were negatived, including the main motion. I am concerned that the House is about to apply to the merits of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) a different test from the one that it has just applied to all the other candidates for whom we have voted.

I believe that it is important, perhaps most of all for the sake of the authority of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn, that the House should understand that the judgment that it is about to make on his merits or otherwise as Speaker should be exactly the same as the judgment made on all the other candidates. The House ought to have an opportunity to divide, if it wishes—as I wish it to do—in exactly the same way as it has on all the other candidates. If the motion is then negatived, we should have an opportunity to adjourn, to return to the proposal made by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), or to see whether there is some different way of electing a Speaker.

Question put: That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 370, Noes 8.

Division No. 310] [9.7 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Ainger, Nick Benton, Joe
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Bermingham, Gerald
Alexander, Douglas Berry, Roger
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Best, Harold
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Betts, Clive
Ashton, Joe Blears, Ms Hazel
Atkins, Charlotte Blizzard, Bob
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Ballard, Jackie Body, Sir Richard
Banks, Tony Borrow, David
Barnes, Harry Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Barron, Kevin Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bayley, Hugh Brake, Tom
Beard, Nigel Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Begg, Miss Anne Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Beith, Rt Hon A J Browne, Desmond
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Buck, Ms Karen Fitzpatrick, Jim
Burden, Richard Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Burgon, Colin Flint, Caroline
Burnett, John Flynn, Paul
Burstow, Paul Foster, Don (Bath)
Butler, Mrs Christine Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Cable, Dr Vincent Foulkes, George
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Galloway, George
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Gapes, Mike
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Gardiner, Barry
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth v) Gerrard, Neil
Campbel—Savours, Dale Gibson, Dr Ian
Canavan, Dennis Gidley, Sandra
Caplin, Ivor Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Casale, Roger Goggins, Paul
Cash, William Golding, Mrs Llin
Caton, Martin Gorrie, Donald
Cawsey, Ian Graham, Thomas
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Chidgey, David Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Chisholm, Malcolm Grocott, Bruce
Clapham, Michael Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hancock, Mike
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hanson, David
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Harris, Dr Evan
Clelland, David Haselhurst, Rt Hon Sir Alan
Clwyd, Ann Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Coaker, Vernon Healey, John
Coffey, Ms Ann Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Coleman, Iain Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Connarty, Michael Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hepburn, Stephen
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Heppell, John
Cooper, Yvette Hill, Keith
Corbyn, Jeremy Hodge, Ms Margaret
Corston, Jean Hood, Jimmy
Cotter, Brian Hope, Phil
Cox, Tom Hopkins, Kelvin
Crausby, David Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cummings, John Hoyle, Lindsay
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Dalyell, Tam Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Darvill, Keith Humble, Mrs Joan
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Hurst, Alan
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Hutton, John
Davidson, Ian Iddon, Dr Brian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Illsley, Eric
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Jamieson, David
Dawson, Hilton Jenkins, Brian
Dean, Mrs Janet Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Denham, John Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Dismore, Andrew Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Dobbin, Jim Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Donaldson, Jeffrey Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Donohoe, Brian H Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Doran, Frank Keeble, Ms Sally
Dowd, Jim Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Drew, David Keetch, Paul
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Kelly, Ms Ruth
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Kemp, Fraser
Edwards, Huw Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Efford, Clive Key, Robert
Ellman, Mrs Louise Khabra, Piara S
Ennis, Jeff Kidney, David
Etherington, Bill Kilfoyle, Peter
Fearn, Ronnie King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David Plaskitt, James
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Pollard, Kerry
Laxton, Bob Pond, Chris
Leigh, Edward Pope, Greg
Lepper, David Pound, Stephen
Leslie, Christopher Powell, Sir Raymond
Levitt, Tom Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Prescott, Rt Hon John
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Prosser, Gwyn
Linton, Martin Quinn, Lawrie
Livsey, Richard Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Rammell, Bill
Lock, David Rapson, Syd
Love, Andrew Raynsford, Nick
McAllion, John Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
McAvoy, Thomas Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
McCabe, Steve Rendel, David
McCafferty, Ms Chris Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
McCartney, Rt Hon lan (Makerfield) Rogers, Allan
McDonagh, Siobhain Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Macdonald, Calum Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McDonnell, John Rowlands, Ted
McFall, John Roy, Frank
McGuire, Mrs Anne Ruane, Chris
Mclsaac, Shona Ruddock, Joan
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Mackinlay, Andrew Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McNamara, Kevin Ryan, Ms Joan
McNulty, Tony Salmond, Alex
Mactaggart, Fiona Salter, Martin
McWalter, Tony Sanders, Adrian
McWilliam, John Sarwar, Mohammad
Mahon, Mrs Alice Savidge, Malcolm
Mallaber, Judy Sawford, Phil
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Sayeed, Jonathan
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Sedgemore, Brian
Marshall. Jim (Leicester S) Shaw, Jonathan
Marshal-Andrews, Robert Sheerman, Barry
Martlew, Eric Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Short, Rt Hon Clare
Maxton, John Skinner, Dennis
Meale, Alan Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Merron, Gillian Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Miller, Andrew Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Moffatt, Laura Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Moore, Michael Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Moran, Ms Margaret Soley, Clive
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Southworth, Ms Helen
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Spellar, John
Morley, Elliot Squire, Ms Rachel
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mountford, Kali Steinberg, Gerry
Mudie, George Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Mullin, Chris Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Stinchcombe, Paul
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Naysmith, Dr Doug Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Oaten, Mark Stuart, Ms Gisela
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Stunell, Andrew
O'Hara, Eddie Sutcliffe, Gerry
Olner, Bill Swayne, Desmond
O'Neill, Martin Tapsell, Sir Peter
Öpik, Lembit Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Organ, Mrs Diana Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Osborne, Ms Sandra Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Palmer, Dr Nick Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Perham, Ms Linda Temple-Morris, Peter
Pickthall, Colin Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Pike, Peter L Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen Watts, David
Tipping, Paddy Webb, Steve
Todd, Mark White, Brian
Tonge, Dr Jenny Whitehead, Dr Alan
Touhig, Don Wicks, Malcolm
Trickett, Jon Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Truswell, Paul Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Willis, Phil
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Winnick, David
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Woodward, Shaun
Twigg, Derek (Halton) Woolas, Phil
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield) Wray, James
Tyler, Paul Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Tynan, Bill Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi Tellers for the Ayes:
Walley, Ms Joan Mr. Peter Snape and
Ward, Ms Claire Ann Keen.
Bercow, John Viggers, Peter
Blunt, Crispin Wilshire, David
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Tellers for the Noes:
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Dr. Julian Lewis and
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Mr. David Maclean.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

Whereupon SIR EDWARD HEATH left the Chair, and MR. MICHAEL J. MARTIN was taken out of his place and conducted to the Chair by MR. PETER SNAPE and ANN KEEN. [Applause.]

9.20 pm
Mr. Speaker-Elect (standing on the upper step)

Order. I understand that the Speaker-Elect normally makes some formal remarks before taking the throne. It has been a long day and I do not want to keep hon. Members, but the House owes a debt of gratitude to the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath), the Father of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I hope that the House will allow me to say that my thoughts are with my wife Mary, my son Paul, my daughter Mary and my grandson Ryan. Family is important to me and I will endeavour to see that families are included in the proceedings of the House. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

Before I assume the Chair as Speaker-Elect, I thank the House once again for its confidence in me. I pray that I shall prove worthy of that confidence and that all of us will maintain the high tradition of this place. I also ask hon. Members for their prayers.

9.21 pm
The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair)

It is my pleasure to be the first Member of Parliament to offer you congratulations on your election, Mr. Speaker-Elect. Much has been made of your origins in hardship and difficulty, and your upbringing in Scotland in poverty which, no doubt, will give you a special insight into the position of many people. However, I want to lay stress not on your origins but on your qualities, integrity and worldly wisdom.

A moment or two ago, Mr. Speaker-Elect, you said that no Labour leader had ever offered you a Government or Front-Bench job. On behalf of this Labour leader, may I say that I realise what a great oversight that was? I know that you feel a sense of joy and pride for your constituents in Glasgow, Springburn. Back in the 1980s, when you and I sat on Committees together, you told me what a tough training ground in politics Glasgow was, especially for speeches. When you made a good speech in Glasgow, people did not applaud—they just let you live.

You follow a long line of people who have recently fulfilled the office with great distinction, not least Betty Boothroyd, who was a superb Speaker and enjoyed a fantastic reputation in the House and the whole country. You know—as we all do—that that will be a hard act to follow. You are the 156th occupant of the Chair. As we have just seen, the House follows the tradition that people become Speaker only with great reluctance. That is not surprising, given that a number of your predecessors died in battle or were beheaded. However, the post has possible advantages, as I believe that one Speaker was canonised.

On behalf of the House, may I offer my congratulations to the other Members who were candidates in the election for Speaker? I listened to their outstanding speeches. It is a tribute to the strength of the House that there were so many able and fitting candidates from both sides. Of course, I pay tribute to the Father of the House who did as we expected and handled our proceedings with great tact, skill and efficiency.

Today, there are enormous pressures on Speakers. In years gone by, Mr. Speaker-Elect, your predecessors had their words and judgments recorded in Hansard. However, since our proceedings have begun to be broadcast, Speakers have become familiar figures, nationally and, indeed, internationally. I know that your predecessor received regular correspondence from the United States, from people who were avid watchers of Prime Minister's Question Time—there is no accounting for taste. You can take comfort from the fact that, although such letters are frequently critical of the two main combatants, they are unfailingly complimentary about the Speaker and, no doubt, will continue to be so.

The context of your job, Mr. Speaker-Elect, is changing; not just because of the 24-hour scrutiny by the media, but because of our new devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I hope the House will forgive me if I say that this is the first time that the House has met since the tragic death of our colleague and friend Donald Dewar. It is right that we acknowledge not just the tremendous contribution that he made to the new Parliament in Scotland, but the contribution that he made here in this House for 26 years. He was a parliamentarian of extraordinary distinction and he was one of your fellow Members of Parliament in Glasgow. He will be sorely missed.

Your election today is the clearest reflection of the respect that this House has for you. It is based on your genuine popularity, the affection that is felt in all parts of the Commons, and on your inherent sense of fairness. During your time as Deputy Speaker—a post you filled with distinction—you have occupied the Chair with good humour and a style of gentle persuasion that has been a most effective way of exercising your authority.

I can say also with some confidence that, some time during the first 18 months of your occupancy of the Chair—I am not sure when—we shall have a newly elected House of Commons, and there will be some new faces for you to identify; although, I hope, not too many.

Today has been an extremely important day both for the House of Commons and for our democracy. We do not elect a new Speaker very often. The job, for all its hazards, has historically rather more job security than either that of Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition. It is a job which traditionally people have filled until the day comes when they decide that they want to retire.

This House has shown its great confidence in you, in that, from an unprecedentedly wide range of candidates, you have been chosen to occupy the highest office that this House, by election, can bestow. I offer you again my warmest congratulations and every good wish for the future.

9.27 pm
Mr. William Hague (Richmond, Yorks)

I, too, wish to offer you my congratulations on your election and your great achievement today, Mr. Speaker-Elect. No matter how many right hon. and hon. Members voted for you or against you, you are now Speaker of the whole House of Commons.

I, too, should like to echo the words of thanks of the Prime Minister to my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath), as Father of the House, for the unflappable—not to say completely immovable—way in which he has conducted proceedings today.

Nevertheless, the large number of candidates on this occasion has raised a legitimate question about the procedures used for this purpose; a question that I believe that the House should consider during your speakership. Fears were expressed that the procedures today would be a shambles. I do not think that they have been a shambles—although it will not always be the case that the losing of 39 votes is completely irrelevant to the outcome—but the system used may not have been ideal.

Having listened to every speech made in the debate today, I believe, along with the Prime Minister, that the House of Commons can be proud of the diversity, abilities and integrity of all of the candidates who have participated today, and none of them should regret having done so.

Your position is far more than ceremonial, Mr. Speaker-Elect, as you know. The Speaker is at the same time the servant and the master of the House. You are now the custodian of our rules, our privileges and our traditions. You will need to use your keen sense of the House and to be able to judge the occasion. You must discard, as you well know, your former affiliations and become the independent champion of the rights of Back Benchers and of all parties in the House.

We are all well aware of the concern that has been expressed today by most of the candidates, their proposers and seconders that the Commons is no longer the place that it was. Many of us will look to you, as Speaker, to follow the example set by your predecessor in resisting all attempts to bypass, marginalise or downgrade the House of Commons. We look to you robustly to defend the position of the House of Commons at the centre of our national life as the independent democratic forum of the British nation.

I have long experience of your chairmanship in Committee, Mr. Speaker-Elect. Indeed, when I was a junior Minister, I debated a Bill for many months with the late Donald Dewar, who was a charming, thorough and utterly forensic opponent. Your experience of such chairmanship is immense. I recall that it was characterised by fairness, generosity, patience and calm. You will now need those qualities in abundance. Your qualities of patience and calmness will be sorely tested, but the challenge of maintaining them in the face of every provocation is now before you. The challenge of championing the rights of the House of Commons when they are so often under threat is now before you. The challenge of maintaining the impartial conduct of our proceedings is now before you. As you rise to those challenges, Mr. Speaker-Elect, we wish you very well.

9.30 pm
Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Inverness, West)

May I entirely associate my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Liberal Democrat party with the sincere and warm expression of congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker-Elect, on this historic night for you and, as you said, for your family? In particular, I associate those remarks with my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell). Following this election, they will respect you and your integrity as I know, from the reactions to the proposers and seconders, the House respects each of them. I pay great tribute to both of them, too.

I also associate myself entirely with the tributes paid to the Father of the House, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath). At one point in the first half hour of the election, as the points of order flowed on, I thought that he might break the deadlock by offering himself as a compromise candidate. He chose not to do so.

As has been acknowledged, for many of us in the House—not least for a Glaswegian like yourself, Mr. Speaker-Elect—the last few days have been a tale of two cities. So many of us last week paid tribute to a Scot and a Glaswegian—through and through, like you—who had assumed one of the great offices in the land. Now he is gone. This week, here is another Glaswegian who has assumed one of the great offices in the land. It is a reflective and ironic moment for many of us, not least yourself.

To say something personal, if I may indulge in one thought further, the first time that our new Speaker and I met was on the opposite sides of a picket line at Lochaber high school in Fort William when I was about 15 years old. The cleaners at the school had gone on strike and the NUPE regional representative had come to pay a state visit. We were on opposite sides of the picket line for a most curious reason. The school was closed because the cleaners were on strike and those of us who were pupils were delighted and were supporting them from the other side of the picket line. It is a happy memory.

The debate on the election of a new Speaker has been fascinating, with so many good speeches and so many worthy candidates. You have a full in-tray, Mr. Speaker-Elect, with suggestions for change, modernisation and progress in our proceedings and procedures. All of us who know you know that you will take that seriously.

Finally, I enter one specific plea, which you would expect from the Liberal Democrat Benches. I mentioned Donald Dewar and what he set up and then presided over in Edinburgh. He recognised the multi-faith, multi-faceted nature of politics in our country. It is important that in its practices and procedures this Chamber recognises that too. We wish you well; all good luck.

9.34 pm
Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

On behalf of my colleagues in the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru, I warmly congratulate you, Mr. Speaker-Elect, on your elevation. As I recall, our parliamentary paths first crossed when you reported me to the House for appearing in an education Committee that you were chairing. Unfortunately, the Committee of Selection had by some oversight omitted to make me a member of that Committee. You came to the House to ask for powers to deal with me—powers which, as Chairman of the Committee, you did not have. In your current, or soon-to-be-occupied, position, you will have such powers, so I might be more careful about which Committees I gatecrash in future. I am sure that you will use your powers wisely.

Like many of us, Mr. Speaker-Elect, you will have noted the seven hours that it has taken the House to reach such a decisive and successful conclusion. Perhaps you will look north and recall that, when only one day old, the Scottish Parliament, presided over in distinguished fashion by Donald Dewar, managed to elect its Presiding Officer in only half an hour. I am sure that the desirable outcome that we have achieved today would not have been different had we used different procedures, but I suspect that there is a more efficient system available. Perhaps a new legislature—the Scottish Parliament, in which your son serves—might hold some lessons that would inform the proceedings of this House.

I take issue with one comment you made when offering yourself to the House, Mr. Speaker-Elect. You said that your background should not be a reason for voting for you, or for voting against you, but I happen to think that your background is a substantial reason for electing you to the Chair that you now occupy. All your achievements in life, including the high office that you are now to hold, have been the result of your own efforts and those of your colleagues. I am sure that your background and the wisdom that you have gathered in your struggles through life will stand you in excellent stead to be a most distinguished occupant of the Chair.

9.36 pm
Sir Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden)

At the risk of testing the patience of the House by addressing it twice in one day, Mr. Speaker-Elect, I should like to offer you my personal congratulations on your election as Speaker. Having had the pleasure of working with you for the past three and a half years, I wish you well. I am sure that you will conduct your office in a most distinguished manner.

On the last occasion that a Speaker was chosen, there was one defeated candidate who felt, out of courtesy, that he should speak. On this occasion, you and the House will be aware that there are rather a lot of defeated candidates, but I think that I can say—at least on behalf of the many on this side of the House—that we shall not test the House's patience by contributing individually. Therefore, on behalf of my colleagues who have fallen before you in the course of today's proceedings, I salute your success and wish you well. You will have the support of the House and we trust that yours will be a happy and successful tenure in the office of Speaker.

9.37 pm
Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)

Mr. Speaker-Elect, today's events have worldwide significance: it has been announced on the nine o'clock news that Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq have adopted the system that we adopted today for the election of their leaders. I have no doubt that that is, in part, the result of the influence of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath). Although, sadly, I failed to persuade him today, I believe that one good feature has emerged.

Every single speech by a candidate dealt with the same theme: the importance of the House of Commons. If every school studying citizenship received a copy of today's Hansard, students would have a better education in the way in which we perceive our work. Every speech made has been outstanding. I feel sure that, having gone through the problems associated with the selection, you, Mr. Speaker-Elect, will feel strengthened in reinforcing the power of the House in the months and years that lie ahead.

9.39 pm
Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Mr. Speaker-Elect, as no party leader now speaks for me, I should like to add my words of congratulation to you on your election. It is a great honour for you personally, a great honour for Mary and your family, a great honour for your native city of Glasgow and a great honour for Scotland. Much has been said about the great responsibilities and onerous duties to the House that accompany your new position. I hope that you will work hard to protect the rights of Members of Parliament and to ensure that the Government are accountable to Parliament.

This may be my last opportunity to address this Parliament. You, Mr. Speaker-Elect, will be the fifth Speaker during my time in the House. When I was first elected in October 1974, Selwyn Lloyd was Speaker. Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, and I was a quarter of his majority. Gradually, through the loss of by-elections, that majority was eroded and eventually there was no majority. That Government were defeated on the Floor of the House by a vote.

That scenario is most unlikely to repeat itself during the lifetime of this Parliament because of the size of the Government's majority. However, a Government who have a majority that is perhaps too large are not necessarily a good thing for democracy. Sometimes Governments with very large majorities behave arrogantly and treat Parliament as a mere rubber stamp. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker-Elect, will not allow that to happen. Parliament will not do its job unless Members are considered first and foremost as representatives of people rather than mere puppets of any party.

Members have a right and a duty to tell their party and their Government when they have it wrong. Should it be thought that this is becoming rather too political, I remind the House that I am only one of three Members of this Parliament who is not a member of any political party. I am unique in the Scottish Parliament in that I am the only Member who is not a member of any party. That is because last year I was given a free transfer from what used to be called the people's party. That was not exactly of my own volition.

I hope, Mr. Speaker-Elect, that you will ensure that Members of all parties and of none will have the opportunity to speak up for the people whom they represent. I place on record my thanks to all Members past and present whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with over the past 26 years. I have had the privilege of representing my constituents for more than a quarter of a century in this place, and I hope that I will have the privilege of continuing to represent them for many years in the Scottish Parliament.

9.42 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

Here, there are 659 Members of many faiths and of none, and of many Christian denominations. I happen for the time being to be chair of the Christian fellowship. Your election, Mr. Speaker-Elect, is more momentous in one more respect than those that have been mentioned. I think that, for the first time since the Reformation, a Roman Catholic has been elected to chair the House. On behalf of other Christian denominations and of all other Members from different faith backgrounds, we welcome that. Another old tradition has been broken. We are now much more a representative House, where the highest offices can go to Members whatever their faith background, than we were before you were elected.

9.43 pm
Caroline Flint (Don Valley)

I congratulate you on your successful election, Mr. Speaker-Elect. I say as chair of the all-party group on childcare that it has been gratifying to hear many Members on both sides of the House entering the election and saying that child care and family friendly policies can be part of the workings of the House. You said, Mr. Speaker-Elect, that you have met many members of the staff who have families to go to but who stay with us until the early hours of the morning. Scrutiny is part of Parliament's work, but so is a modern Parliament for modern families. It is great that that has been acknowledged by candidates from all parties.

The Prime Minister

I have to signify that it is Her Majesty's pleasure that this House should present their Speaker on this day at 11.15 pm in the House of Peers for Her Majesty's royal approbation.

9.44 pm

Sitting suspended.

11.18 pm

On resuming—

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners.

The House went; and having returned:

Mr. Speaker

I have a script to read.

I have to report to the House that this House has been to the House of Peers, where Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify by her Lords Commissioners her approbation of the choice of myself as Speaker to this House.

My first duty in the House is to repeat my respectful acknowledgements of and my grateful thanks for the great honour it has done me and the confidence that it has conferred on me, and to renew the assurance of my entire devotion to the service of the House.

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