The new Speaker of the House of Commons

This report from the UK think tank Institute for Government looks at key challenges for the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

The new Speaker of the House of Commons – the 158th in its history – will be elected on Monday. They take office at a time of unparalleled public attention and scrutiny of the role. This environment will provide both challenge and opportunity for whoever is elected. This report says the candidates campaigning to be John Bercow’s successor must set out a vision for how they would run the Commons as an institution and represent it to the outside world. It lays out nine key challenges. The first set are about the Speaker’s visible role: chairing debates, acting as a referee and ensuring the House’s rules and procedures are followed. In the last two years, some specific procedures have been used in unprecedented ways by MPs determined to assert their rights. The new Speaker will need to address broader questions about how to handle a more assertive Commons. The second set relate to the management and administration of the Commons. In that role, the new Speaker must work to address the bullying and harassment of staff in Parliament, as well as lead the Commons through the costly restoration work that the Palace of Westminster needs. The report says it is crucial the new Speaker set out how they intend to fulfil these different parts of the role – and consider how they will work with others to address the issues facing the Commons.

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