John Bercow: How Sir Lindsay Hoyle has transformed the Speaker of the House role and brought back some order

One has just been found guilty of bullying junior staff members during his tenure as Speaker of the House while the other commands near-universal respect with a firm but fair approach to dealing with rowdy politicians.

By Ellie Double
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 3:52 pm

When it comes to the cut-throat world of politics, Lancashire’s own Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his predecessor John Bercow are about as much alike as chalk and cheese.

In the wake of Bercow being branded a bully by a Parliamentary review, we examined the contrasting styles of the past and present Speaker of the House and looked at how Sir Lindsay looked to reshape the role, and the conduct of the House itself, since taking over from Bercow.

In 2019, Chorley native, Sir Lindsay Hoyle took the speaker’s seat, at the time saying “this house will change, but it will change for the better” in a speech after being physically ‘dragged to the chair’ as a part of the speaker’s induction ritual.

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Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons

Prior to his 2019 election as speaker, Sir Lindsay told the Lancashire Post: “People have seen how I operate.

“My style will be about neutrality in the chair, reaching out to all parts of the chamber and making sure that all MPs have the same voice.

“I would show MPs the respect they deserve”

Mr Bercow, meanwhile, has been accused of being a “serial bully”, with a report by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, stated that Mr Bercow had shown “threatening conduct” towards staff.

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Sir Lindsay previously stated to the Lancashire Post, ahead of his 2019 election as speaker: “We all need to stand up to racism and bullying and show that we’ll not tolerate it - we are all the same, there is no difference between us.”

Sir Lindsay’s demeanour in the House of Commons is calmer than that of his predecessor’s, with Bercow infamously telling Michael Gove to “be a good boy”.

Here’s a rundown of Sir Lindsay’s best moments of the “firm but fair” Speaker of the House:

One video of him telling Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “Sit Down” reaching 3.6 million views and 22.8 thousand likes on the video streaming platform, TikTok. He gave SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford multiple chances to revoke a statement, branding Boris Johnson a liar, before ordering him to leave, saying: “I don’t want to have to throw you out, I’m going to give you this chance, please.” After Boris Johnson repeatedly asked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer questions about about a contract row at PMQs, Sir Lindsay’s withering putdown: “Prime Minister, this is Prime Minister’s Questions, not Leader of the Opposition question. These are the rules of the game and we all play by the rules of the game.” When the PM continued to press on the same point, Sir Lindsay cut him off, barking: “You may be the Prime Minister of this country but in this house I’m in charge. End of that.” Whilst undeniably successful in his role as speaker, he still holds his seat as Chorley MP, which he has held continuously since 1997. And most recently in his role as Chorley MP, Sir Lindsay has weighed into the controversial scoring of Josh Taylor’s win against Chorley’s Jack Catterall in the super lightweight boxing title, calling on the police to look into the matter.