We’ve split the field of runners and riders to be Speaker into four main categories: grandees, mavericks, big-hitters and outsiders. The odds are the latest available from Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and the FT (we don’t take bets I’m afraid).
Before rushing to the bookies, remember that the debate is at a very early stage and dark horses often do well. Finally, if you think that expenses mess will convince MPs to pick a big reformer, you may be disappointed. Never underestimate the ability of MPs to elect someone completely inappropriate.
- Sir George Young – Ladbrokes 8/1, FT 4/1, PP 5/1
Former Tory minister, popular in the Commons, head of the Standards and Privileges Committee. Gathered 200 votes when he ran in 2000. The establishment’s choice. But is he a reformer?
- Sir Alan Haselhurst – Ladbrokes 4/1 FAV, FT 6/1, PP 11/4
A well regarded deputy Speaker. Another Tory frontrunner for the job. But prospects damaged over some controversial expenses claims for upkeep of country home.
- Sir Menzies Campbell- Ladbrokes 10/1, FT 10/1, PP 5/2 FAV
The former Liberal Democrat leader is respected by many MPs across the Commons. Impeccable manners, approachable, experienced and open to reform (although he has some explaining to do over some expense claims). But there remains big doubts over whether the Commons will elect a Lib Dem Speaker, particularly after the party moved against Michael Martin.
- Frank Field – Ladbrokes JFAV 4/1, FT 10/1, PP 4/1
Well liked in parts of the Commons for his lively intellect and forthright views. But his rebellious streak means he has plenty of enemies. Would Gordon Brown allow it? The bookies seem to think so.
- John Bercow – Ladbrokes 8/1, FT 20/1
An independent soul who is brimming with ambition to become Speaker. But distrusted by many Tory MPs. Outsider.
- David Davis -Ladbrokes 33/1, FT 25/1, PP 10/1
The former Tory frontbencher has certainly proved his maverick credentials. Backed the motion to oust Martin, which may have lost him some more traditional votes. Some doubt whether he even wants the position. (UPDATE: Davis won’t be running: “There is one guarantee I can give you – it won’t be me. Under no circumstances. If they try to drag me to the chair I think I’m big enough to resist it.”)
THE BIG HITTERS
- Vince Cable – Ladbrokes 10/1, FT 15/1, PP 10/1
Saint Vince, the Lib Dem deputy leader, is one of a handful of MPs who could win popular support for a radical shake-up of Commons practices. But he is perhaps the Lib Dem’s biggest asset in the general election. Has yet to give any sign that he wants the job. Nick Clegg would never let him run – would he? (UPDATE: Vince says no. “It is a kind suggestion, but I am happy doing what I do and I am going to stick at it.”)
- Ken Clarke – Ladbrokes 14/1, FT 12/1, PP 10/1
The former chancellor seems to be enjoying his return to the Tory frontbench. Likely to be a popular public choice as Speaker. Loves the Commons. But would he give up the chance at another cabinet job? And does he really want to make another run for office that relies on the votes of MPs?
Sylvia Heal - Ladbrokes 14/1, FT 20/1
Even more obscure than the other obscure deputy Speakers. And could there be a third successive Labour speaker?
Richard Shepherd – Labrokes 14/1, FT 16/1, PP 14/1
Libertarian. Tory. Won more than a 100 votes in the last Speaker election Read more