Lindsay Hoyle – 2024 Speech Accepting Nomination to Remain as Speaker

The speech made by Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, in the House on 9 July 2024.

First, I thank my constituents of Chorley for returning me to this House and allowing me to put myself forward again as Speaker. It is an honour to serve the people of Chorley, as I have done steadfastly for the last 44 years, as a councillor on the local authority and then as their Member of Parliament for the past 27 years. I also thank my wife Catherine and daughter Emma, and the staff in the constituency office in Chorley, for all their support.

Of course, it was the first time in my political career that I campaigned without hearing the wise words of my late father Doug, giving me his opinions on how to campaign—he was always going to give me that, whatever the polls were doing and whatever needed to be said. I can still hear him now, saying, “Don’t stop now. You have to keep going.” I must say, after 25,000 steps a day during the campaign, I certainly did that.

I want to give a warm welcome to all the new Members of the House. I also welcome Sir Edward Leigh to his new role as Father of the House, and Diane Abbott to her place as Mother of the House. Sir Edward, you have served this place and your constituents for 41 years. Diane, you have served for 37 years, and broken many glass ceilings along the way. I thank the former Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley, and of course the former Mother of the House, Baroness Harriet Harman, for the support they gave me during my speakership.

Sir Edward, I know you are a man who respects traditions. Indeed, when you ran for Speaker in 2019, you were keen to bring back the use of the wig by the Speaker. Hopefully, though, you will look kindly on me and agree that I still have a decent enough head of hair, although not quite as luscious as that of the former Member for Lichfield—[Laughter.] You know I am only joking, Michael! I was thinking just the other day, Sir Edward, that you must be the only person who went to bed last Thursday evening as a father of six children, and woke up the father of 649.

On a serious note, it has been an absolute privilege to serve this House as the 158th Speaker. I must say that four and a half years have flown. With the authority of the Chair comes great responsibility, which is something I have never taken lightly or for granted.

I know from experience that decisions have consequences, but with experience comes wisdom, and if re-elected, I will be guided by that experience as I continue to be fair, impartial and independent.

To say that I had the most unusual speakership in the last Parliament is an understatement, from ensuring that the House could function during the covid pandemic —new Members might want to google the Rees-Mogg conga—to adapting technology developed during covid to allow President Zelensky to be the first world leader to broadcast to MPs in this Chamber. It was, of course, an honour to represent this House at the lying in state of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, to present the address to the new King in Westminster Hall, and to attend his coronation. Needless to say, in this role, you need staying power. I have already been Speaker during the tenure of three Prime Ministers, two monarchs—and one Jim Shannon! [Laughter.]

There has never been a dull moment; it is an incredible job, which I want to continue. There is so much more still to do, because I care about the reputation and the standards of this House. I care about enabling the Government to do their job in this Chamber, and about enabling the Opposition to hold the Government to account. I care about supporting Back Benchers to pursue issues that are important to their constituencies— as someone who was a Back-Bench Member for many years, I know how important that is—and I care about you individually, both as Members who have a job to do in this building and as people trying to do those jobs with constituents, staff and families to consider. I have worked tirelessly, and will continue to do so, to keep Members safe, which is the fundamental part of protecting democracy. On that basis, I submit myself to the House as your Speaker, seeking to be your champion.