Lancashire

Sir Lindsay Hoyle: Chorley reacts to Speaker election convention

Sir Lindsay Hoyle Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Sir Lindsay has been Chorley's MP for 22 years

Sir Lindsay Hoyle's election to the role of Speaker of the House of Commons has divided opinion in his home town of Chorley.

While the Labour politician has represented the Lancashire town for the last 22 years, as Speaker he will have to be impartial and rise above the fray of party politics.

Convention dictates the Speaker runs unopposed at general elections.

So while many shoppers in the town were pleased on a personal level for Sir Lindsay, not everyone was impressed by the fact they won't have a full slate of candidates to choose from on 12 December.

Image caption John Baker said it was "unfair voters wouldn't get a choice"

John Baker, 62, said the convention was "bizarre" and not good for the people of his hometown.

He said he would not vote for Sir Lindsay in the coming election and was sure the same could be said of other voters.

"It isn't fair. You have to have a choice, surely," he said.

Image caption Paula Mann said she hoped Sir Lindsay would "bring order to the House"

Paula Mann, 55 and from Whittle-le-Woods, agreed it "seems unfair", but said it was worth it to have a Northern accent chairing proceedings in the House of Commons.

"I watched the speaker elections and was really pleased he won - it is great for Chorley," she said.

"Hopefully, [Sir Lindsay] will bring order to the House."

Analysis - Mike Stevens, BBC Radio Lancashire political reporter

Traditionally, the main parties do not field candidates against the Speaker - who will be listed on ballot papers as 'The Speaker seeking re-election'.

However, the Green Party stood against John Bercow twice as did the Scottish National Party against Michael Martin.

And they have confirmed they will do it again, stating "the decision of who is to represent Chorley lies not with Westminster MPs, but the people of Chorley".

They may be the lone opposition though, as the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party have confirmed they will not oppose Sir Lindsay and it is not expected the Conservatives will either.

Image caption Anthony Rigby said he would not bother voting at all if it was not for Sir Lindsay

Anthony Rigby, 55 and from Coppull said he had no issue with the new speaker running unopposed, as if it had not been for Sir Lindsay, "I wouldn't vote at all".

"He works relentlessly for the town and the best MP we have ever had," he said.

"He helped sort out an issue my family was having in just two weeks.

"I know he has to be impartial now but he's the right man to be Chorley's MP."

Image caption Tom says he was "really unhappy" with the situation

For Conservative-voting Tom though, it is not an acceptable situation.

The 19-year-old, who did not want to give his full name, said he was "really unhappy" and wanted the Tories to defy convention and select a candidate for the seat.

"I like [Sir Lindsay] but I don't like Labour.

"I know he said he would still run constituency surgeries, but what can he do now in the House of Commons for people from Chorley?

"Not much from what I understand."

Commons Speaker

  • Chairs debates in the Commons Chamber
  • Chief officer and highest authority of the House
  • Elected by MPs
  • Must resign from their party and be politically impartial - even in retirement
  • Deals with constituency issues like normal MP
  • During election usually stands unopposed by largest parties

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