Sir Lindsay Hoyle under pressure: What is the job of the Commons Speaker and what happens next?

Credit: PA

By ITV News Producer Hannah Ward-Glenton

The Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle is under pressure over his handling of a debate on Gaza on Wednesday evening.

The vote resulted in MPs passing Labour’s amendment calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” amid scenes of chaos after Sir Lindsay upended parliamentary convention by selecting Labour’s bid to amend an SNP motion on the Israel-Hamas war.

His decision sparked fury from the Conservative and SNP benches, some of whom stormed out of the chamber and accused him of helping Sir Keir Starmer avoid another damaging revolt over the Middle East issue.

Sir Lindsay issued an apology after a day of acrimony but continues to face calls to resign.

So, what exactly is Sir Lindsay's role and could he be sacked? ITV News explains.

What is the Speaker of the House of Commons?

The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates that happen in the House of Commons chamber.

They control the debate, decide who can speak and chooses which amendments are debated and voted on.

The Speaker is an MP who has been elected to the position by other MPs.

Sir Lindsay has held the position since November 4, 2019, having been a Labour MP for Chorley since 1997 and having served as Deputy Speaker to John Bercow for nine years.

When he took up the role he said it would be "an honour" to serve in Parliament, and added that the Speaker must be "trusted".

"I've a proven track record of being impartial, independent and fair," he said at the time.

The Speaker must be politically impartial so must resign from the political party and remain separate from political issues once appointed to the role.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Credit: PA

Will Sir Lindsay Hoyle be sacked?

More than 50 MPs signed a parliamentary motion tabled by a Tory MP declaring no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle following the chaos in the chamber on Wednesday.

The motion was presented as an early-day motion (EDM), which is a way for MPs to express their views and draw attention to specific events or campaigns.

EDMs are rarely debated but they can generate huge amounts of public interest and media coverage depending on the issue.

The number of signatures does not impact whether or not an EDM will be debated.

What happens next?

Multiple MPs expressing their unhappiness over the Speaker's actions does not mean that he will be removed from office, but Sir Lindsay Hoyle's position is now in question and he may have to fight to win over his critics.

SNP and Conservative party members came together in criticism of Sir Lindsay on Wednesday, and have continued to express their unhappiness in discussion in the chamber and in media interviews on Thursday.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt has the power to allot parliamentary time for a no-confidence vote. Credit: PA

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for a no-confidence vote in the Speaker, while Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said trust in Sir Lindsay has been “eroded” after the events of Wednesday evening.

SNP Leader Humza Yousaf said Sir Lindsay's position appeared untenable and suggested that he had "bent the rules".

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and Tory Chief Whip Simon Hart would have to grant parliamentary time for a no-confidence vote to take place.

An overwhelming majority in a no-confidence vote would typically prompt a government official to resign.

How would a new Speaker be chosen?

A new Speaker is elected by secret ballot and they must also be re-elected after each general election.

If a candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, their election to the role as Speaker is put to the House as a question.

If no candidate received more than half of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, along with anybody who received fewer than 5% of the votes, and MPs vote again.

Sir Lindsay only served as Speaker for a couple of weeks after being elected before the last general election on November 4, 2019, and he was then reinstalled in the position in December.

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…