Sir Edward Leigh MP bids to replace Speaker John Bercow

Sir Edward Leigh Image copyright House of Commons
Image caption Sir Edward Leigh announced his plans after speculation the current speaker will retire this summer

Veteran MP Sir Edward Leigh has announced he intends to stand as the next House of Commons Speaker when John Bercow steps down.

The Conservative MP for Gainsborough announced he would be a "traditional speaker" who did not speak very much.

Labour MP Chris Bryant has also said he would stand for the role.

There has been speculation Mr Bercow will announce his retirement this summer although he has not spoken publicly about his plans.

Sir Edward has represented Gainsborough since 1983 and was a junior minister in the Department of Trade and Industry in the early 1990s.

'Rigidly impartial'

In a statement announcing his intention to stand for the role, which is elected by MPs in a secret ballot, he said: "I would be a traditional Speaker who does not speak much.

"Like a judge I would, by my conduct and dress, submerge my personality into the office.

"I would be rigidly impartial."

Image caption John Bercow is the longest-serving Speaker since World War Two

He said having spent 36 years in parliament on the backbenches, his priority "would be to maximise opportunities for backbenchers" and "prioritise serious debate".

Mr Bercow, who was elected in 2009, has come in for growing criticism in recent months from pro-Brexit MPs.

In January, they accused him of ignoring the advice of his officials about parliamentary procedure over Brexit.

The role of the Speaker is to be in charge of keeping order in the House of Commons.

They pick MPs to speak in debates and can suspend those who deliberately break the rules.

The position is an impartial role, and once elected, the Speaker is expected to resign from their party.

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