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Norfolk MP eyes up role of speaker of the House of Commons

PUBLISHED: 12:44 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 10 September 2019

North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK Parliament

North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham Photo: UK Parliament

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A Norfolk MP has set his sights on the role of speaker of the House of Commons after current speaker John Bercow announced he would step down at the end of October.

Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, speaks at the reception at Westminster to lobby for the dualling of the A47. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, speaks at the reception at Westminster to lobby for the dualling of the A47. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A Norfolk MP has set his sights on the role of speaker of the House of Commons after current speaker John Bercow announced he would step down at the end of October.

Sir Henry Bellingham, the MP for North West Norfolk, is thought to be an outsider for the role, but is said to be popular among pro-Brexit Conservatives.

Sir Henry told Sky News: "The speaker should be like a good referee or a really good umpire, they should never be the story."

The MP said he would also bring back ceremonial outfits including wigs for the clerks and speaker.

Speaker John Bercow announces that he will stand down during an an impassioned speech in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 9, 2019. Bercow has announced that he will stand down as Commons Speaker at the end of next month unless an election is called before then. See PA story POLITICS Bercow. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/PA WireSpeaker John Bercow announces that he will stand down during an an impassioned speech in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 9, 2019. Bercow has announced that he will stand down as Commons Speaker at the end of next month unless an election is called before then. See PA story POLITICS Bercow. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/PA Wire

He added: "If I do become speaker of course I'm an outsider, but I am a member of the chairs panel, I came quite close to becoming deputy speaker in 2013 and I do believe it needs someone with a lot of experience and I have had 30 years in the house, 15 years on the backbenches and 15 years as a front bencher so I think it does need someone with experience but also a change in approach."

Mr Bercow was at times a controversial speaker, and in recent months he has come under fire for a series of rulings in the chamber which were widely considered to favour Remain supporters.

Labour's Harriet Harman has also announced she will stand for the role, along with fellow Labour MP Chris Bryant and veteran Tory Sir Edward Leigh.

Current deputy speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has also thrown his hat in the ring.

Sir Henry ran for the role of deputy speaker in 2013, losing out to Eleanor Laing, Ms Laing MP for Epping Forest is also standing for the speaker role.

He has held his seat since 2001, however Sir Henry was first elected to the role in 1983, losing his seat in 1997 to Labour's George Turner.

The MP was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for political and parliamentary service under then prime minister David Cameron for whom he served as a junior foreign minister for 18 months.

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