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Speaker of the House of Commons

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An election for a new Speaker of the House of Commons was held on Monday 4 November following John Bercow’s last day as Speaker on Thursday 31 October 2019.

Should candidates be asked to undergo an “impartiality” test ?

The position was contested by 7 Candidates as follows:

  • Chris Bryant
  • Harriet Harman
  • Meg Hillier
  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle
  • Dame Eleanor Laing
  • Sir Edward Leigh
  • Dame Rosie Winterton

The election started at 14:30 with statements from each candidate followed by the voting process which completed at 20:30

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Deputy Speaker, Chair of Ways and Means, and Labour MP for Chorley was elected by MPs as the next Speaker following four rounds of voting.

Vote Details
Candidate 1st Ballot 2nd Ballot 3rd Ballot 4th Ballot
Sir Lindsay Hoyle 211 244 267 325
Chris Bryant 98 120 169 213
Dame Eleanor Laing 113 122 127 -
Harriet Harman 72 59 - -
Dame Rosie Winterton 46 30 - -
Sir Edward Leigh 12 - - -
Meg Hillier 10 - - -

On being appointed as Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said:

It is a true honour to be elected as 158th Speaker of the House of Commons.

As an impartial, fair and independent Chair, I intend to maintain public trust in this most vital of institutions.

I believe that MPs provide an essential service and I will make sure they are properly supported in this challenging role.

Equally, I will ensure that parliamentary debate is often robust but always respectful.

Of course, the honour of becoming Speaker will never surpass the honour of representing the wonderful constituency of Chorley in the County Palatine of Lancashire, and my commitment to my constituents will not change.

Early Parliamentary General Election Bill

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The Prime Minister will present a Bill to Parliament today, 29 Oct 2019, to make provision for a Parliamentary General Election to be held in December 2019.

The passage of this Bill requires a simple majority and overrides the requirements of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

The Government has confirmed that it will not bring back the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill for further debate.

MPs have 6 hours of debate allocated with the Government wanting to complete all stages of the Bill in a single day.

Labour have just announced that they will back the call for a General Election in December with Jeremy Corbyn stating

“I have consistently said that we are ready for an election and our support is subject to a no-deal Brexit being off the table. We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to 31 January has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking no deal off the table has now been met. We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.”

This means that it becomes more or less certain that an election will be held in December.


The Bill as introduced:

Early Parliamentary General Election Bill 2019-20

Early General Election Bill (pdf)

Early General Election Bill Notes (pdf)

The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Tuesday 29 October 2019. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate.

MPs will next consider the Bill at Second Reading, to be followed by Committee of the Whole House and Third Reading. All to be completed in 6 hours.

(Expect the usual unrelated jibber-jabber – this is a vote on whether to hold an early General Election … so lets include as much unrelated stuff as possible to keep it going and show we are earning our salaries )

Update: 2nd Reading

The PM opened the debate on the 2nd reading of the Bill at 14:23. The debate proceeded until around 17:40 when it formally passed the 2nd Reading. The Bill now entered the next stage of its passage through Parliament, the Committee Stage, where each clause (part) and any amendments (proposals for change) to the Bill are debated.

A number of Amendments were selected from the many proposed.

Committee of the Whole House Amendments as at 29 October 2019 (pdf)

Chairman of Ways and Means’s provisional grouping and selection of Amendments

Selected amendments were

Amendment 2: This amendment would change the date of the proposed general election to Monday 9 December.

Amendment 3: This is a consequential amendment changing the title of the Bill if amendment 2 was made.

Amendment 14: This amendment has the effect of aligning the registration deadline for Scotland with the registration deadline in the rest of the United Kingdom, by removing the need for the St Andrew’s Day bank holiday in Scotland to be taken into account.

Rejected amendments varied from the attempt to allow 16-17 year olds to have a vote in the election, allow non-uk EU citizens to have a vote, a 2nd referendum etc. and can be read in the attached documents.

Further inconsequential debate continued until 20:00 when a vote on the amendments to the Bill were taken: For amendment 2, the result was 295 votes in favour with 315 votes against, so that the amendment was rejected.

Amendment 14 was accepted together with changes to Clause 1 and Clause 2 as it stands and made without a further vote.

The Committee Stage was completed and proceeded through the Report Stage and to 3rd Readin.

A further vote was taken on the 3rd Reading of the Bill which passed by 438 votes in favour with 20 votes against.

The Bill now goes to the House of Lords for approval and passes through the same process sequence in the House of Lords.

Update: House of Lords

The Bill completed all stages through the House of Lords on 30 October 2019.

Both Houses agreed on the text of the Bill which now waits for the final stage of Royal Assent This is when the Queen formally agrees to make the bill into an Act of Parliament (law). Royal Assent is scheduled for 31 October. This is when the Queen formally agrees to make the bill into an Act of Parliament (law).

Update: 31 October 2019

The Early Parliamentary General Election Act was given Royal Assent and became Law.

There will now be a General Election, to be held on Thursday 12 December 2019.

Under provisions in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, Parliament is dissolved automatically 25 working days before a general election. The date of the next general election is 12 December 2019, accordingly this Parliament will dissolve on 6 November 2019.

Following the general election on 12 December 2019, the next general election will be scheduled to take place on the first Thursday of May 2024 – 2 May 2024, Parliament will be dissolved on Tuesday 26 March 2024.

Parliament rejects call for General Election

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Today, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, called for an early General Election to be held on 12 December 2019.

Because of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the motion requires 2/3 of all MPs to agree in order to pass. Following debate, a vote was taken with the result 299 votes in favour and 70 votes against. Although there was a majority in favour, the numbers did not reach the majority required under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act and thus fails.

Following the vote, the PM notified Parliament of the Governments intention to present a short (one-line) Bill calling for a General Election to be held on Thursday 12 December 2019. If this Bill is passed, only requiring a majority of votes, it will circumvent the requirements of the Fixed Term Parliament Act and allow a General Election to be held.

Will there be a General Election in December 2019 ?

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MPs are due to debate and vote on a motion later today (28 October 2019), in the House of Commons, to hold an early General Election on December 12 2019. Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, an early election can only take place if it is supported by at least two thirds of MPs.

If agreed, the PM will attempt to pass the legislation for the current deal in the time before Parliament is dissolved (6 November 2019).

Labour have indicated that they will not support the motion.

The SNP and Liberal Democrats parties together have proposed their own plan to trigger an election. This, they say, could be achieved by introducing a Bill to amend the Fixed Term Parliament Act and setting a specific date of 9 December 2019 for the next General Election.

Back to Work (or not) ?

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The Queen re-opened parliament today (14 October 2019) following the short prorogation allowed by the Courts. The Queen’s Speech outlines the Government plans for the new session…

… though it is unclear how many any of the new Bills proposed by the Government will actually get through Parliament, based on the fact that a General Election is looming.

There now follows 5 days of debate in Parliament chatting about the contents of the speech.


My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

My Government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October. My Government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation [European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill].

My Ministers will work to implement new regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, seizing the opportunities that arise from leaving the European Union [Fisheries Bill, Agriculture Bill and Trade Bill]. An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system. My Government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain. The bill will include measures that reinforce this commitment [Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill]. Steps will be taken to provide certainty, stability and new opportunities for the financial services and legal sectors [Financial Services Bill and Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill].

My Government’s new economic plan will be underpinned by a responsible fiscal strategy, investing in economic growth while maintaining the sustainability of the public finances.

Measures will be brought forward to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce and resources, enabling it to deliver the highest quality care. New laws will be taken forward to help implement the National Health Service’s Long Term Plan in England, and to establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents [Health Service Safety Investigations Bill].

My Government will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care in England to ensure dignity in old age. My Ministers will continue work to reform the Mental Health Act to improve respect for, and care of, those receiving treatment.

My Government is committed to addressing violent crime, and to strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system. New sentencing laws will see that the most serious offenders spend longer in custody to reflect better the severity of their crimes [Sentencing Bill]. Measures will be introduced to improve the justice system’s response to foreign national offenders [Foreign National Offenders Bill]. My Government will work to improve safety and security in prisons and to strengthen the rehabilitation of offenders. Proposals will be brought forward to ensure that victims receive the support they need and the justice they deserve. Laws will be introduced to ensure that the parole system recognises the pain to victims and their families caused by offenders refusing to disclose information relating to their crimes [Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill].

A new duty will be placed on public sector bodies, ensuring they work together to address serious violence [Serious Violence Bill]. Police officers will be provided with the protections they need to keep the population safe [Police Protections Bill]. They will also be awarded the power to arrest individuals who are wanted by trusted international partners [Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill].

My Government will bring forward measures to protect individuals, families and their homes. Legislation will transform the approach of the justice system and other agencies to victims of domestic abuse [Domestic Abuse Bill], and minimise the impact of divorce, particularly on children [Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill]. My Ministers will continue to develop proposals to improve internet safety, and will bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards.

My Ministers will ensure that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work. My Government will take steps to make work fairer, introducing measures that will support those working hard [Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill]. To help people plan for the future, measures will be brought forward to provide simpler oversight of pensions savings. To protect people’s savings for later life, new laws will provide greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes [Pension Schemes Bill].

To ensure that the benefits of a prospering economy reach every corner of the United Kingdom, my Ministers will bring forward a National Infrastructure Strategy. This will set out a long-term vision to improve the nation’s digital, transport and energy infrastructure. New legislation will help accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes [Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill]. An aviation bill will provide for the effective and efficient management of the United Kingdom’s airspace Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill. Proposals on railway reform will be brought forward.

A white paper will be published to set out my Government’s ambitions for unleashing regional potential in England, and to enable decisions that affect local people to be made at a local level.

My Government is committed to establishing the United Kingdom as a world-leader in scientific capability and space technology. Increased investment in science will be complemented by the development of a new funding agency, a more open visa system, and an ambitious national space strategy.

My Ministers remain committed to protecting and improving the environment for future generations. For the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law. Measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive. Legislation will also create new legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new, world-leading independent regulator will be established in statute to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action [Environment Bill].

Proposals will also be brought forward to promote and protect the welfare of animals [Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill], including banning imports from trophy hunting.

The integrity and prosperity of the union that binds the four nations of the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance to my Government. My Ministers will bring forward measures to support citizens across all the nations of the United Kingdom.

My Government remains committed to working with all parties in Northern Ireland to support the return of devolved government and to address the legacy of the past.

My Government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom.

My Government will continue to invest in our gallant Armed Forces. My Ministers will honour the Armed Forces Covenant and the NATO commitment to spend at least two per cent of national income on defence.

As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, my Government will ensure that it continues to play a leading role in global affairs, defending its interests and promoting its values.

My Government will be at the forefront of efforts to solve the most complex international security issues. It will champion global free trade and work alongside international partners to solve the most pressing global challenges. It will prioritise tackling climate change and ensuring that all girls have access to twelve years of quality education.

Members of the House of Commons.

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

Other measures will be laid before you.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.


Further Information

Queen’s Speech 2019: background briefing notes

Queen’s Speech 2019: background briefing notes (pdf)

Queen’s Speech 2019: what it means for you