North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara withdraws from Speaker election

Shailesh Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, has withdrawn from the contest to be the next Speaker.

In a tweet, the former Minister of State for Northern Ireland said he was pulling out from the race in order to avoid "split[ting] the vote". Mr Vara expressed his support for Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Sir Hoyle, the MP for Chorley, is strongly tipped to emerge victorious.

The remaining five candidates are Dame Rosie Winterton and Dame Eleanor Laing, who also both served as Mr Bercow’s deputies, Labour’s Meg Hillier and Chris Bryant (Rhondda), and Conservative Sir Edward Leigh.

How does the selection process work?

Candidates must submit their written nominations between 9.30am and 10.30am on Monday, with their signed declaration needing to be supported by between 12 and 15 MPs.

The Commons will meet as normal at 2.30pm and each candidate will give a speech – the order decided by drawing lots.

A secret ballot among MPs will take place once the speeches have concluded.

MPs can only vote for one candidate and the result will be announced in the chamber.

Any candidate who receives more than 50% of the votes will be proposed to the House as Speaker, although MPs will be asked to vote again if no candidate meets the threshold.

In the second round of voting, candidates who either came last or received fewer than 5% of the votes will not be on the ballot paper.

There is also a 10 minute period after each round for candidates to withdraw.

Ballots will continue until either one MP wins more than 50% of the votes or only one remains.

A motion is then put to the Commons proposing the winner as Speaker and they will take the chair if this is agreed. If not, a vote takes place.

Speeches of congratulation are expected to follow the votes.