9.30am: Michael Martin is no longer Speaker of the House. The Chair is immediately assumed by the Father of the House, currently Alan Williams, the Labour MP for Swansea West since 1964.
9.30-10.30: There is a one-hour window for nominations to be Speaker to be formally lodged with the clerks at the Table Office. Nominations must be in writing, and must consist of a signed statement of intent by the candidate, accompanied by not fewer than twelve and not more than fifteen signatures of other Members, of which at least three must be from a different party than their own. No Member can nominate more than one person.
11am: Lists of the candidates are placed in the lobby and published.
2pm: Each candidate is permitted to address the House. The order of speaking will be decided by lot (arranged by the Father of the House). After all the candidates have spoken, proceedings will move directly to the first ballot.
The presiding member (Alan Williams) will not be allowed to vote.
4pm: The first secret ballot takes place in the lobbies. Each member will be provided with a ballot paper with the list of candidates in alphabetical order. After half an hour the ballot will be declared closed.
4-5pm: Counting takes place by the Clerk of the House, and as soon as possible the results of the first ballot are announced to the House. If any candidate has received more than half the votes cast, the Presiding Member will put the question to the House that the member becomes the Speaker.
If no candidate has received more than half the votes, the candidate who received the fewest votes is removed, as well as any candidates who received less than 5% of the votes, and any candidates who have voluntarily withdrawn.
There is then a second ballot, and so on, until a candidate gets more than 50% of the House's support.
Dragging to the Chair: Once a candidate is agreed, they will immediately become the Speaker-Elect, and will be conventionally dragged to the Chair by their supporters.
The appointment needs to be approved by the Crown, through the commissioners in the Lords. If the Lords is still in business when a candidate is agreed, he or she can be confirmed straight away, and can ascend the Chair as Speaker.
Blimey, that’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? There must be a way to simplify matters. I’ve a cunning plan to ensure the strongest candidate gets in, a candidate that will lay down the law and that the rest of the House wouldn’t dare cross, it will also go a long way to ‘reconnecting’ Parliament with the electorate and would also make bloody good TV.
Erect a wrestling ring in the central lobby and gather all the MPs around it, perhaps a few of the Lords who haven’t fallen asleep on the red leather following a particularly gruelling liquid lunch could shuffle out as well. All the candidates, having been nominated by ten MPs of any political colour will then enter the ring.
Upon the chiming of the division bell, combat commences, no holds barred, foreign objects, such as the mace or despatch boxes, introduced to the ring by the watching MPs may be used with impunity. Candidates for Speaker are eliminated by being propelled over the top rope and having both feet touch the floor. Once eliminated, losing candidates must leave the lobby.
Once there is only one candidate left in the ring, he or she will be declared the winner. This procedure to be carried out annually, with the added bonus that the Speaker will have the opportunity, once a year, to challenge any MP of their choice to a loser leaves Parliament ‘Hell in a Cell’ cage match.
Watch the food allowance bills drop and the expenses claims for home multi-gyms skyrocket.
With the current candidates, under this scheme my money would be on Widders, I bet she fights really dirty.