UK Politics

Conservative MP Eleanor Laing elected deputy Speaker

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Media captionEleanor Laing told MPs it had been a "demure and pleasant" contest

Eleanor Laing has been elected as one of the three deputy Speakers of the House of Commons.

The Conservative MP for Epping Forest beat six other challengers for the right to fill in for Speaker John Bercow in his absence.

In the final round of voting, she saw off Conservative Brian Binley by 273 votes to 240.

There has been a vacancy on Mr Bercow's team since Nigel Evans stood down to fight sex offence charges.

The other candidates, all Conservative MPs, were David Amess, Henry Bellingham, Simon Burns, Nadine Dorries, and Gary Streeter.

'Thank you'

Announcing the result of the ballot, which took place earlier on Wednesday, Mr Bercow said: "I congratulate the honourable lady warmly, and I may say on behalf of my colleagues and myself that we all greatly look forward to working with her.

"In the process, I should like, I'm sure on behalf of the whole House, to thank all of the candidates for participating in the election, and for a contest which showed the House at its best."

Ms Laing added: "May I also on behalf of all the candidates who took part thank each of the other candidates for the demure and pleasant way in which this election has been conducted, and may I thank the House for placing their confidence in me to let me become part of your team."

The deputy Speaker's position carries a salary premium of £36,360 in addition to the standard MPs' salary, so Ms Laing will now receive a total of £102,098 a year.

As a Conservative, Mr Evans could only be replaced by another governing-party MP under Commons rules - although no Lib Dems applied.

Ahead of the election, Ms Laing had said: "I'm passionate about freedom through democracy, about the dignity of the House of Commons, and about its vital, essential role as a forum for national debate.

"I would like to be part of the Speaker's team, not just to keep order in the chamber but to stand up for the rights of the backbenches... against overbearing governments."

The election was conducted under a system known as the single transferable vote, where voters list their preferred candidates in order on the ballot paper.

If no candidate secures 50% plus one of the votes in the ballot, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their preference votes re-distributed to other contenders. This process continues until a winner emerges.

Mr Bellingham came third with a final tally of 156 votes, Mr Streeter fourth with 95, and Mr Burns fifth with 70.

Mr Amess was sixth with 28 and Ms Dorries came last, gaining 13 votes in the first round.

Ms Laing was ahead of all the other candidates at each stage of vote-counting.

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