End of an era in the House of Commons
62-year-old Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle has been elected the new "Mister Speaker" in the British House of Commons. He replaced John Bercow, who the Guardian has called one of the most controversial and combative House speakers ever. Commentators look back on Bercow's term and ask what awaits the House of Commons once he's gone.
An unusually powerful speaker
John Bercow was the most powerful speaker the House of Commons has had in the last four centuries, The Evening Standard comments:
“In part that has been because he has been assertive of his rights, fond of the sound of his own voice and unafraid to irritate the last three occupants of Number 10. These talents would, however, have made only a marginal difference to our politics were it not for this central fact: during his long speakership no one party has had a commanding majority. ... Since it has been unclear whether the Government has a majority on key issues, from Brexit to tax to public spending control, it has mattered a great deal whether that majority has been tested. Mr Bercow has made sure it has been - relentlessly picking amendments and votes that expose where the executive cannot persuade more than 50 per cent of MPs to back it.”
John Bercow stood up to Johnson
Lindsay Hoyle has some big shoes to fill, Der Standard explains:
“Because in his ten years in office, John Bercow has not only set new standards in the venerable chamber in terms of publicity. The new speaker must also measure up against Bercow's stubborn insistence on letting the representatives of the people have their say against an increasingly authoritarian government. Under his aegis prime ministers had to answer the questions of the 'honourable friends' for a whole hour instead of just thirty minutes, as it used to be. Even the last backbencher could rely on Bercow's sonorous calls for order when a minister wanted to shut him up. Whether Bercow's successor will go to work with the same self-confidence no one knows. ... But one doesn't like to think about how Boris Johnson will push parliament around now that his opponent Bercow has left.”