Since John Bercow became Speaker of the House of Commons, the Conservative MP for Buckingham has brought no shortage of colour and controversy to the role. Like him or not, he has certainly made parliamentary proceedings more entertaining.
On June 22nd, he will celebrate ten years in the job and many believe he will step down in the not too distant future. In theory he could be challenged but – having survived a decade of plotting from hostile Tory MPs and their media outriders, a bullying scandal and even Nigel Farage bidding for his constituency in 2010 – Bercow will likely take the option to go at a time of his own choosing. That, I guess, would be after Brexit.
Whilst that barely restricts the timeframe, this seems a good moment to weigh up the Next Speaker political betting market. Ladbrokes are offering odds making Lindsay Hoyle an overwhelming favourite at a best price of 4/5.
After such a long term, it is hard to recall precisely how previous heats panned out. Bercow wasn’t favourite in 2009 – that was another Tory, Sir George Young – but was a prominent contender. In 2000, Michael Martin landed a gamble down from what, if memory serves, were big odds.
How will the next Speaker be chosen?
The electoral system is highly entertaining and ideal for in-play betting. Perhaps a dozen candidates will compete on a ‘winner stays on’ basis, with the House voting on a series of head-to-heads.
Bear in mind that process, and how MPs enjoy the sport of this particular election – it is perfect for plotting and tactical voting. Remember, for example, how Bercow got the job.