Out of order? The Speaker’s constituency is not up for grabs

John Bercow
John Bercow

More than 70,000 people will once again not be able to vote Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat, because their MP John Bercow is the 
Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mr Bercow’s Buckingham constituency, will not be contested by the three major parties at May’s general election, because of a long-standing political convention.

After the 2010 general election Mr Bercow promised to look into ways to make the system fairer, and admitted that some of his electorate were unhappy.

Buckingham Liberal Democrats also got involved, and lobbied their central party to field a Buckingham candidate this year.

But both lines of questioning fell on deaf ears, and the status quo will remain.

On Thursday, a Conservative bid to change the rules on electing commons speakers, which would give voters the opportunity to vote in secret was rejected in the House of Commons.

The move was seen by some as an attempt to oust Mr Bercow as Speaker after the election.

Mr Bercow said: “I will remain an independent in line with the convention that the Speaker is free of party ties, both during his or her tenure and once it has come to an end.

“I promised at the time of my re-election that I would refer the matter to the appropriate Commons authority.

In fulfilling this obligation, I have corresponded with both the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, who is the Minister responsible for political and constitutional reform, and the then chair of the Procedure Select Committee, Rt Hon Greg Knight MP.

“Partly as a result of these representations, the Procedure Committee has considered – as part of a wider report published in October 2011 – the Speaker’s Seat issue.

However, the committee concluded that “we are firmly persuaded that the advantages of the change are outweighed by the disadvantages.”

Many Buckingham constituency voters feel that by having a Speaker as their MP, they are missing out on having a full say on who gets in to Number 10.

One voter, who we agreed not to name said: “I feel disenfranchised from the voting system since we were moved from David Lidington’s constituency into John Bercow’s constituency prior to the last election.