The era of John Bercow as Speaker is no more. This evening MPs voted for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to succeed Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons. Elected by secret ballot through a series of knockout rounds, Hoyle was triumphant with 325 votes, following four rounds of voting. Chris Bryant came second with 213 votes.
Although it was a crowded field, going into the contest Hoyle was the frontrunner. As deputy speaker under Bercow, the Labour MP for Chorley had impressed colleagues with his no frills approach to the role. Compared with Bercow’s style, Hoyle earned a reputation as a fair and neutral speaker. During the hustings, Hoyle continued to show that he was a very different candidate to Bercow – refusing to say whether he voted leave or remain in the EU referendum. The runner-up, Chris Bryant, made similar pledges to Hoyle when it came to a different approach to Bercow. However, many Tory MPs felt that they knew for sure Hoyle would be true to his word as they had seen him previously operate as deputy speaker – something they hadn’t had the opportunity to do with Bryant.
After the result was announced, Hoyle appeared to make a reference to Bercow’s legacy. He said he hopes ‘the tarnish is polished away’ from the House of Commons and respect restored:
‘We’ve got to make sure that the tarnish is polished away. That respect and tolerance for everyone who works here will be shown… This House will change for the better.’
On hearing the news, Boris Johnson welcomed the result. The hope within government is that the arrival of Hoyle will see neutrality restored to the role of Speaker.