Given he is a Conservative MP, Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has very few friends on the government benches. Perhaps it was his flirtation with the Labour Party which sealed his elevation to his current lofty perch in 2009 that irked those of a blue persuasion.
Few on the Tory benches will be sorry to see him go such has his apparent bias in the Brexit debates but is his retirement which is rumoured to be later this year, something they will live to regret?
Who are the leading contenders to replace the Right Honourable member for Buckingham?
Sir Lindsay Hoyle
When you’ve succeeded Den Dover as an MP, becoming Speaker of the House of Commons is a piece of cake.
For Hoyle, being an MP is a family business; his father Doug was an MP, representing Warrington North.
Currently chair of the Ways and Means Committee, he is also Deputy Speaker of the House and was knighted in 2018 for his services to parliament and politics.
Hoyle was a keen supporter of renaming Heathrow airport following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as supporting the building of a new national children’s hospital in her name.
Odds on Sir Lindsay Hoyle being the next Speaker: 8/11
The MP for Camberwell and Peckham is the notional representative of the Trotter family. A lawyer by profession, Harman was deputy leader of the Labour Party and Chairman of the Labour Party under Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, as well as interim Leader of the Opposition.
An impressive CV for the second female Speaker? Needing a majority to include independent and Conservative MPs may be a tough ask, particularly as more than a few have taken a bloody nose courtesy of the Right Honourable lady down the years.
Harman is the longest-ever continuously serving female MP.
Odds on Harriet Harman being the next Speaker: 5/1
Dame Eleanor Laing
The serving MP for Epping Forest is currently the First Deputy Speaker although her copybook was blotted when she was caught up in the expenses scandal after saving £180k in Capital Gains Tax on the sale of a second home. It might bother the public but I’m not sure it is going to worry people who ‘suffered’ to similar degrees.
Odds on Eleanor Laing being the next Speaker: 10/1
In a position seen as a largely archaic, what better incumbent could there be but a wannabe Victorian Poor House owner? With his monocle in place, the tall investment banker – not that isn’t rhyming slang – will surely be unforgettable in the position of Speaker?
It may not yet appeal to the man whose own designs on the Prime Minister’s job fell apart when he badly misjudged the mood of his party in calling for a vote of confidence in Theresa May.
Misjudging the mood of the Conservative Party? It would be an almost seamless transition from the current incumbent.
Odds on Jacob Rees-Mogg being the next Speaker: 16/1
An MP who has run out of parties to represent. Carswell is too right-wing to be a Labour or Liberal member after taking the principled stand to defect from the Conservative party to UKIP and then resigned the whip.
Carswell seems unlikely to gather much cross-party support having made most of the party’s cross at some point in his career. He, like most of the other candidates, was caught up in the expenses scandal for close to a six-figure sum.
His most noted contribution to conservative politics was the Great Repeal Bill in 2008, formulated with Daniel Hannan, a MEP.
Odds on Douglas Carswell being the next Speaker: 25/1
Probably the most interesting contender of all, the ‘Beast of Bolsover’ was first elected to the House of Commons in 1970. Forty-nine years later, he remains an active member.
The scourge of many a Conservative and Labour leader, Skinner’s firebrand rhetoric may be dimmed by age, but the sharpness of his tongue is no less diminished. If nothing else, Skinner would oversee the most interesting of Parliaments.
Odds on Dennis Skinner being the next Speaker: 40/1