Select Committee on Procedure Second Report


(a)The job of Deputy Speaker requires many of the qualities needed by the Speaker. The Deputies perform an immensely valuable role in the life of the House, very often without the acknowledgement which is their due (paragraph 2).
(b)We recommend that when a vacancy arises for a Deputy Speaker, first consideration should be given to senior members of the Chairmen's Panel who are willing to serve (paragraph 20).
(c)The view has often been expressed, both inside and outside the House, that career structures within the House should be developed and promoted as an alternative to Ministerial office. We echo this sentiment, and believe that a perception that service on the Chairmen's Panel will confer some justifiable advantage in terms of eligibility to become a Deputy Speaker is likely to act as a healthy incentive to suitably qualified Members to volunteer for membership of the Panel (paragraph 21).
(d)The House, having chosen its Speaker, must allow the Speaker some informal say in the composition of the team of deputies (paragraph 24).
(e)The principle of balance between the Government and Opposition benches in the Speaker's team is one which we strongly endorse (paragraph 29).
(f)We welcome the steps taken to ensure that appointments to Deputy Speakerships reflect the gender balance within the House; and we recommend that this convention be maintained, as far as reasonably possible, in future appointments (paragraph 30).
(g)The various proposals for formal choice of candidates by parties [which have been put to us] are also subject to the criticism which can be applied to a system of election by the whole House, namely that they do not, and cannot, take into account the need to create a unified team of Deputies who can work easily with each other and with the Speaker (paragraph 43).
(h)In our view the calibre of the individual Deputy Speakers appointed in recent years, and their ability to work as a team, indicates that the present system is broadly effective. We therefore do not recommend that it should be replaced by a system of election by ballot or one based on formal nominations by particular parties (paragraph 43).
(i)Notwithstanding the inevitable time constraints, we do believe it would be feasible for wider consultations [on suitable candidates] to be carried out. We recommend that the 'usual channels' should consult a representative sample of backbench Members and take soundings of the views of the smaller parties before finalising their decision on names to be put before the House (paragraph 45).
(j)We believe that, provided the 'usual channels' carry out this task [of identifying suitable candidates and consulting on their likely acceptability] conscientiously and on a basis of widespread consultation within the House, the names they put forward are likely to command the assent of a majority of Members (paragraph 49).
(k)We recommend that notice of motions for the appointment of the Chairman of Ways and Means, and the First and Second Deputy Chairmen of Ways and Means, should be given a minimum of one sitting day in advance; and that at the start of a Parliament, where formal notice is not possible, informal notice of such a motion should be given by the Government to the Speaker, to be communicated to the House in advance of the day of State Opening. We further recommend that the mover of the Government's motion (usually the Leader of the House) should in moving the motion briefly outline the consultations which have taken place and give some indication of the extent to which the nomination has cross-party support (paragraph 51).

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