A new Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons will be elected on Wednesday. Eleanor Laing is said to be the favourite; but Mr S has been reading the runes for the other candidates.
Henry Bellingham surprised colleagues by giving a solid speech last week that, according to one backbencher, was ‘witty and had gravitas’. Bellingham, though, is probably too posh to pick up Labour votes.
I detect a growing element of ‘who does Simon Burns think he is’ among Tory MPs: Burns is just out of government and now he wants to march straight into a new paid job. Burns is probably seen as too close to the government to pick up significant numbers of Labour votes; but he does have a notoriously rocky relationship with John Bercow, which may win him the jokers’ vote.
Someone could come through the middle; David Amess, Gary Streeter and Brian Binley are hoping it will be them.
Labour Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will be crucial to the vote. His Labour colleagues want him to be the next Speaker; so they will not back a candidate with similar ambitions. David Amess has no such ambitions, and I hear that he will play up his working-class, ‘tin-bath’, credentials when the candidates address the Parliamentary Labour Party tonight.
Nadine Dorries is also running.
Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.