G7 Speakers recently met face-to-face at their annual conference which was held in Chorley in Lancashire. Aidan Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Law, reflects on the role of Speaker of the House of Commons.
The G7 Speakers’ Conference took place in Lancashire from the 17th to the 19th of September. It was hosted by Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the theme was ‘Secure versus Open Parliaments?’ Sir Lindsay welcomed Speakers and Presiding Officers representing Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the European Parliament.
The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons Chamber. The holder of this office is an MP who is elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament. Baroness Boothroyd, the first female speaker (1992 to 2000), referred to the office as “the top insider’s job in the Mother of Parliaments”
Sir Lindsay’s immediate predecessor has stated that the role involves “a duty to stand up for MPs individually, to champion Parliament institutionally and to try to make Parliament look more like the country we are charged to represent” In the words of other former speakers, the holder of the office “should be the servant of the House and not of the executive” and must “exercise a firm hand and throw out the people who break the rules.”
Richard Onslow, speaker from 1527/8 to 1571, is buried in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire. The Onslow Monument is inside Shrewsbury Abbey, a Parish Church in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield.