Suffolk MP wants to be Speaker

A SUFFOLK MP has thrown his hat into the ring in the contest to succeed Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Graham Dines

SIR Michael Lord has thrown his hat into the ring in the contest to succeed Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons.

The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP says he has the “strength, experience and enthusiasm” to embrace much need change in the Commons and promises he would dedicate the coming years to make the House “once again the respected and vital centre of our national life.”

Sir Michael, who celebrated his 70th birthday last year, has served as one of the deputy Speakers for 12 years and tried unsuccessfully for the top job when Betty Boothroyd stepped down in 2000.

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Speaker Martin is resigning this weekend following months of criticism of his role in trying to keep secret MPs' expenses and challenging in courts a Freedom of Information request to make the details public.

Sir Michael, who lives at Mellis near Eye, says strength will be needed “to stand up to the government when it seeks to bypass the House of Commons” and “to protect the interests of backbenchers whose contributions at the moment are too often neglected.

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In a CV which he has circulate, Sir Michael said: “As someone who in my youth played rugby against the South African Springboks, I am used to coping with the roughest of confrontations and able to insist on fairness being done in the toughest of circumstances.”

It is his proposed tough stand against the executive who will Sir Michael the support of backbench MPs. “Governments must no longer be allowed to make major Statements in schools, hospitals or TV studios before making them to the House. Even under existing rules there are ways the Speaker could deal with this.”

He wants a Speaker's Conference to be convened to examine the hours and days that the House sits,

Other MPs who are planning to contest the vacancy are Labour's Frank Field and Margaret Beckett, and Tories John Bercow, Ann Widdecombe, and Sir George Young.”

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