Pressure grows on Sir Michael

WHAT now for Sir Michael Lord after his drubbing in the vote to be the new speaker of the House of Commons?

WHAT now for Sir Michael Lord after his drubbing in the vote to be the new speaker of the House of Commons?

The North Ipswich and Central Suffolk MP had been one of three deputy speakers of the House of Commons since 1997 - but after finishing bottom of yesterday's poll this position is now very much in doubt.

He is therefore likely to be left with the option of facing life on the backbenches of the House of Commons . . . or retiring from Westminster at the next general election by which time he will be 71.

Since he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983, Sir Michael has never been a high-profile MP. Even in his early years he was never the easiest to contact . . . except if we wanted to talk about an issue he was passionate about such as a proposal in the 1980s to dual the A140.

Since he was elected as a deputy speaker, Sir Michael has kept out of party political issues - but he was never one to comment on party issues even before he held that position.

He never told his constituents how he voted in party leadership elections, pointing out it was a secret ballot and his constituents voted for him to use his own judgement.

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He refused to talk to The Evening Star about his expenses - and did not comment on his campaign to be speaker until political correspondent Graham Dines had made many calls to his office.

Eventually he did send a copy of his speech outline his speakership qualities to us - but they clearly failed to convince his fellow Honourable Members as only nine voted for him in the first ballot!

Sir Michael's constituency includes the Whitton and Whitehouse areas of Ipswich as well as the urban fringe of north Ipswich extending to Kesgrave and Rushmere.

Half his voters live in the greater Ipswich area - yet at election times he has always seemed to concentrate more on the rural areas of “High Suffolk” around small market towns like Debenham, Eye, and Framlingham.

But the countryside is traditional Tory territory - and the Conservatives have also done well in North Ipswich and Kesgrave recently - so Sir Michael's seat has never been seriously threatened.

That has not silenced critics - when we ran a story about his campaign to be the new speaker, comments on our website suggested readers were keen for him to retire.

Penny Watch wrote: “He cannot be serious - we need a fresh new face not someone who is part of the old school and the fact that he even thinks he should be the speaker screams why we need a reform and OUT OUT OUT with the old and that means you Sir Michael.”

Stanley Ransome wrote: “Why does a 70 year old man who is probably incredibly rich enough to retire still find he needs a job?”