The district’s MP has announced that she will be standing as a candidate as the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing confirmed the news on her Twitter page, shortly after John Bercow announced to Members of Parliaments that he will stand down as Speaker today (Monday, September 9).

Mr Bercow who has held the position since 2009, confirmed he would not stand at the next general election, if one is called early, or remain his post beyond Thursday, October 31.

At around 4:20pm this afternoon, Dame Eleanor tweeted: “A historic moment. Speaker Bercow has said that he will step down.

“He has been a friend of mine for 32 years and has achieved an enormous amount during his tenure. I wish him well.

“There will be a vigorous campaign to succeed him and I am happy to confirm I will be a candidate.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The Conservative MP told The House: “I will try to become Speaker when he finally decides to go. I am fortunate to have had five years’ experience in the Speaker’s chair.

“There is a lot to be done to take our democratic system onto the next stage.”

She argued that too much testosterone in the Chamber has made set piece events such as Prime Minister Question’s (PMQs) overly “aggressive”.

Announcing his resignation in the House of Commons, Mr Bercow said: “At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last,” he said.

“This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the house votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this parliament ends.

“If the house does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday, 31 October.”

Who can be the new Speaker?

A candidate for Speaker must be a sitting Member of Parliament and be nominated by at least twelve and at most fifteen Members of Parliament.

A minimum of three votes must be from a political party different to that of the candidate in order to qualify.

The House of Commons then holds a vote using a secret ballot, where MPs are only allowed to cast one vote only.

The MP who receives an absolute majority is the winner.

If no candidate wins a majority then the individual with the fewest votes is eliminated, until a winner is cast.

Who other the other confirmed candidates?

Chris Bryant

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Welsh Labour Party MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant, has set out his intention to run.

In an interview with The House, the backbencher argued the next Chair must “tend to MPs’ wounds”, arguing “we’ve all been a bit bloodied and bruised of late”.

The MP for Rhondda is a regular during parliamentary debate and was most recently the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons until resigning on June 26th, 2016 Pete Wishart.

Mr Bryant is also a former vicar who married his partner in the first ever first civil partnership to be held in the Houses of Parliament in 2010.

Pete Wishart

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Holding the record as the longest serving SNP MP is Pete Wishart, who acts as the party’s shadow leader of the House.

Mr Wishart is well known for being a former rock musician and currently represents Perth and North Perthshire since 2005.

The Scotsman has already set out a manifesto for the Speakership, with plans to introduce electronic voting, allow clapping and relax clothing restrictions.

Sir Edward Leigh

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Tory backbencher Sir Edward Leigh also confirmed in a brief Tweet today he will also be pursuing the role of Speaker.

Before officially announcing himself as a candidate, Sir Edward shared his views on Mr Bercow’s career via social media.

He said: “Although on many occasions he has infuriated me, I am grateful that Mr Speaker has always been determined to give a voice to those who want to ask real questions of the executive.”

Known as “The Viscount” amongst fellow MPs, Sir Edward has vowed to be a “very traditional” Speaker, he was knighted in the Queen's 2013 Birthday Honours for "public and political service".

In March 2019, the Tory was one of 21 MPs who voted against LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education in English schools. 

Other rumoured candidates to be the Speaker include Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham Harriet Harman and current senior deputy speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.