Election of Deputy Speakers in the Commons

8.30Standing Order No 2A provides for the election of the three Deputy Speakers at the start of each Parliament by secret ballot.1 Nominations, to be submitted between 10 am and 5 pm the day before the election, require the support of between six and ten Members and the candidate's declaration that they are willing to stand.2 No Member may sign more than three nominations. In a ballot to be held between 11 am and 12 noon, Members number the candidates in order of preference and the votes are counted under the single transferable vote system, with the constraints that two Deputy Speakers (the Chairman of Ways and Means and the Second Deputy Chairman) should come from the opposite side of the House to that from which the Speaker was drawn, that the First Deputy Chairman should come from the same side of the House as that from which the Speaker was drawn, and that among the Speaker and three Deputies there should be at least one man and one woman. The Standing Order gives the Speaker power to vary timings and to give final directions on any matter of doubt arising from the conduct of a ballot or from an individual ballot paper.3

The first election was held on 8 June 2010, and the Speaker announced that those elected would take office the following day.4

Pending the election of Deputy Speakers, orders have been made at the start of each Parliament since 2010 allowing temporary Deputy Speakers to be appointed. In each case two were duly nominated by the Speaker.5


  1. 1. Standing Order No 2A was passed by the House in March 2010 following a statement by the Speaker and reports by the Procedure Committee, see HC Deb (2 July 2009) 495, c 496; HC 1080 (2008–09); HC 341 (2009–10); CJ (2009–10) 294.
  2. 2. Candidates were permitted to include a statement of up to 500 words; the Procedure Committee had recommended that this should be in the form of a curriculum vitae rather than a personal manifesto: HC 341 (2009–10) paras 48, 57, 58.
  3. 3. In 2017, the Speaker announced that, in a case where there was only one Deputy Speaker candidate from the Government benches, and more than two candidates from the Opposition Benches, then the candidate from the Government side would not be included on the ballot paper and would instead be declared elected as First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, as in the case of Select Committee Chair elections where there is an unopposed candidate: HC Deb (27 June 2017) 626, c 300. In that case the Member elected as First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means was a woman, ensuring that the gender requirement in the Standing Order was met.
  4. 4. HC Deb (8 June 2010) 511, c 182; the Speaker used the powers in the Standing Order to lengthen the voting time to two hours, from 10 am to 12 noon, HC Deb (27 May 2010) 510, c 302.
  5. 5. Votes and Proceedings, 26 March and 21 June 2015, 25 May 2017. In 2015, the motion to permit the nomination of temporary Speakers was agreed at the end of the session preceding the General Election. In 2017, the motion was moved without notice, HC Deb (21 June 2017) 626, c 33. Prior to the election of Deputy Speakers in 2010 it was customary for the House to appoint the Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputies by motion, without notice.