Will Labour be able to stop a Tory from being next Speaker?
Last Saturday I suggested that people should consider getting on the former LIb Dem leader, Sir Ming Campbell, in the then William Hill next speaker market following reports in that morning’s Daily Mail of a possible LAB-LD agreement to support him.
At the time Ming was not even listed as a runner on the Hill market but I got through on the phone, as did others, and got a Â£100 bet on at 33/1. Sadly that price didn’t last long and within an hour or so the market was taken down and it has not returned.
Well according to Sam Coates in the Times this morning a source described as “a senior Labour backbencher close to the Prime Minister and Nick Brown, the Chief Whip” has been urging the Lib Dems to join Labour MPs in getting behind a Ming candidature as a way of stopping a Tory replacing Michael Martin whenever he steps down.
So far so good except that the election, whenever it happens, is going to be held under new rules that will make it harder for the whips to have an influence. For MPs will decide in a secret ballot and who knows what they will do?
In any case, of course, there is not a vacancy though the Times story does suggest that something might be afoot.
It’s argued that the Tories would prefer a new speaker to be chosen at some stage after a general election when they would hope to have many more MPs in the house. So if Michael Martin has decided to step down then Labour would like the change to happen before the general election. Who knows?
One thing’s for sure – when betting on the next speaker resumes Ming’s price will be a lot tighter than 33/1. My guess is that he’ll be favourite.