Norfolk MP considering standing for Commons deputy speaker role

Henry Bellingham MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Henry Bellingham MP. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has revealed he could throw his hat in the ring for the vacant job of deputy speaker in a move that would take away his right to a House of Commons vote.

Following the resignation last month of Nigel Evans, who is facing sex offence charges, Mr Bellingham said he was building support from colleagues and was likely to stand for the role chairing debates and running parliament.

The former foreign office minister, who lost his job in last year's reshuffle, said he was looking for a new challenge after years in frontbench and parliamentary private secretary roles.

'I am not going to beat about the bush: I enjoyed my role in government very much, but that came to an end,' he said.

The role would see him carry on as a backbencher, he said, but in a 'slightly different role' as the 'engine room' of parliament.

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'I will remain the MP for North-West Norfolk,' he said. 'I would be there to fight for the constituency flat out. We are impartial, because chairing procedures you have to be. You cannot ask questions or speak in debates, but I would have unprecedented access to ministers from the prime minister downwards.'

He admits that he is an outsider for the job, but said there was a positive response from the people he has spoken to.

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A number of other MPs, including former rail minister and Chelmsford MP Simon Burns and Mid-Bedfordfordshire MP and I'm a Celebrity contestant Nadine Dorries, have also publicly stated their interest in the job.

He said that he had a constructive relationship with speaker John Bercow – who would be his boss – which would be important.

Nominations close next Tuesday and Mr Bellingham said he was likely to stand unless the dynamics of the contest change in the interim.

'I have had a very positive response from people. I am going to pick up a reasonable amount of support. But I am not going to make any predictions. I am an outsider.'

He admitted that he did not know as many of the 2010 intake in the House of Commons as others might as he had been travelling in his foreign office role.

The whole of the House of Commons will have a vote.

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