Sat, 20 April 2024

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By Bishop of Leeds
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We must rebuild the standing of Parliament in the country

3 min read

This week MPs will elect three Deputy Speakers, including a new Chair of Ways & Means. Peter Bone sets out his stall


After the events of last year I believe we need to restore trust in Parliament. The new Deputy Speakers will need to support our excellent speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, in enforcing our standing orders and conventions fairly, accurately and impartially. The reasons why I should be considered for the role are as follows. 

  • I was first elected in 2005 and have never sought ministerial or shadow ministerial office. My aim has always been to be a parliamentarian and to constructively scrutinise the government of the day.
  • For the last ten years I have been a member of the Panel of Chairs. As such, I have regularly chaired Westminster Hall Debates, Bill Committees and Delegated Legislation Committees. I have also chaired the Commons when there has been a Committee of the Whole House.  During my chairmanship, I have always been scrupulously fair to members on both sides and nobody would know my own personal views on any particular issue. 
  • I was a founder member of the Backbench Business Committee, which has so successfully championed the role of backbench MPs, and helped to shape its ethos.
  • I was a member of the All-Party Group, Parliament First, which sought to strengthen the ability of Parliament to scrutinise government and to restore trust in this place after the expenses scandal.
  • I am a senior member of the Procedure Committee, which has steered a course of parliamentary reform, which has neither favoured the government or shadow government, but has improved the working of Parliament for everyone.
  • If elected, I will seek to support the excellent new Speaker in rebuilding the standing of Parliament in the country, following the events of last year.
  • Like many colleagues, I have had to deal with death threats, threats to my family and children and vile abuse. No colleague, on any side, and regardless of their views, should have to put up with this. I will use this experience to help put an end to this unacceptable behaviour and make sure all colleagues get the help and support they need, tailored to their specific circumstances.
  • In my view, Members of Parliament have a vital role in scrutinising the Government and dealing with their constituents’ problems and the challenges facing their communities. I do not believe that the House should be reduced in size. It should stay at 650 members – a view I have always expressed.

As someone who is regarded as having a detailed knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and has used many of the legitimate tricks of the book over the years, no doubt some will ask is this not the poacher turning gamekeeper? My answer would be who is in a better position to uphold the standing orders and conventions of the House than a former poacher, who knows every legitimate trick in the book.

I believe that all Members of Parliament are equal. It doesn’t matter what their background is, where their constituencies are, what their majorities stand at, or how long they have been in Parliament. We are all equal. If elected, I will treat all colleagues both fairly and equally and uphold the best traditions of the House.  

Peter Bone is Conservative MP for Wellingborough




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