Lindsay Hoyle being dragged to the speaker's elevated green chair (Photo Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)
Lindsay Hoyle, veteran Labour lawmaker, has been selected as the new speaker of UK House of Commons, replacing John Bercow. Hoyle, a Labour MP for 22 years and Bercow's deputy since 2010, beat out six other contenders in a protracted day of voting, winning the support of 325 of 540 members in the fourth and final round of votes on Monday. After the final vote, Hoyle was dragged to the speaker's elevated green chair, in keeping with parliamentary tradition.
Hoyle will not have too long to get comfortable as parliament will be dissolved late Tuesday for the December 12 election, However, Hoyle is set return to sit in the speaker's green chair after the elections. Hoyle will now give up his party affiliation and stand as 'speaker seeking re-election' in the gerneral election. Rival parties are traditionally not expected to field a candidate to contest his seat in elections.
If Prime Minister Boris Johnson succeeds in his goal of winning a majority in the December election - as opinion polls suggest - the next speaker's job could be fairly straightforward as chair of debates. But if he fails and there is another minority government, the new arrival will have to arbitrate between yet another group of divided MPs.
The role of speaker was once little-noticed but has been more and more prominent and important during the Brexit turnmoil and the tussle between parliament and the government. John Bercow became one of the most well known faces of the British politics with his shouts of "Order! Order!" during Brexit debates almost getting viral.
Bercow, who held the post since June 2009, stood down on Thursday, having enraged the ruling Conservatives with a series of decisions they saw as trying to stymie Brexit. The 56-year-old vehemently denied ever taking sides in the parliamentary tumult over Britain's stalled withdrawal from the European Union, but earned praise from pro-Europeans and a global following with his rulings and outsized personality.
Bercow became a key player in the chaotic process of Britain's exit from the European Union. With the Commons divided over how, when and even if Brexit should happen, Bercow oversaw more than three years of crucial debates that defined the course of Brexit. His supporters say he has empowered ordinary MPs by granting time for emergency debates and amendments, which had the effect of pressuring or even tying ministers' hands. But critics accused him of subverting centuries of parliamentary tradition with the aim of frustrating Brexit.
Bercow, who was a Conservative MP before he took on the politically neutral role of speaker, has also been accused of failing to tackle a culture of bullying.
But it was his colourful personality and eccentric performances in parliament that gave him an international profile. A social media mash-up by German television of footage of Bercow calming rowdy MPs has been seen more than a million times. A Belgian newspaper called him "irreplaceable".