Widdecombe loses out in Speaker vote
Ann Widdecombe lost out in the race
to become the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons.
The Maidstone backbencher
polled 30 votes in the second round on Monday and was
The Conservative MP John Bercow won the ballot, polling 322
votes in the final round to beat fellow Tory Sir George Young
(271) into second place.
He replaces Michael Martin, who left the post during the
MPs' expenses row.
Ms Widdecombe had urged MPs to
back her pitch with a well-received speech setting out her
thoughts on how the job should be done.
Making clear that she would only be a temporary Speaker until
the next election, the former minister - among the favourites for
the job - said her key priority would be to clean up
Speaking third in the debate after
Margaret Beckett and Sir George Young on Monday afternoon, the
Maidstone MP sought to make the fact she could be a short-term
appointment an advantage over fellow candidates.
"What is unique about me is that I
am proposing myself as an interim Speaker rather a permanent one or
long term appointment. I have become convinced that what we need
between now and the next election - and after the next election
will be too late - is the restoration of the reputation of
Parliament with the public," she said.
"If we go into the election without
that being achieved then I think there will be considerable
consequences for our democracy which could be very
"We need somone in these
extraordinary circumstances who has proven capable of connecting
with the public, someone who the public knows and who the public
trusts, recognises and is willing to listen to."
Read Paul's live blog on the contest
She also made clear that any
overhaul of the allowances' system should not deter people of
"modest means" from entering Parliament.
"Whoever is Speaker will not only
have to clean up the mess but will in doing so have to bear in mind
that however much we tighten the system and come down on those who
have erred, we should always put it as a core principle that people
of modest means should not be deterred from entering the House,"
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