Father of the House has key role in election of new Speaker

June 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

alanwilliams The MP with the longest continuous service will have a unique role in the election of a new Speaker this afteroon.

Alan Williams is the Father of the House, having been the MP for Swansea West since 1964.

As the Speaker stood down yesterday, Mr Williams will act as presiding officer, though he will not sit in the Speaker’s chair.

He will “invite all the candidates to address the House of Commons at 2.30pm in an order determined by lot,” according to the Parliament website.

“In the past candidates have usually confined themselves to an address of about 5-10 minutes, although there is no limit as to how long they can speak.

“Once everyone has spoken, the House will proceed to the first secret ballot.”

The candidate with the least amount of votes will be excluded, along with anyone with less than 5% of the votes.

MPs will then continue to vote, eliminating the least popular candidates, until there is a winner.

While Mr Williams is Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell actually first entered Parliament in 1959.

However, he was out of the Commons between 1964 and 1966.

Four 20th century Prime Ministers stayed on in the Commons to become Father of the House: David Lloyd George, Sir Winston Churchill, Ted Heath and Jim Callaghan.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was both Prime Minister and Father of the House.

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