Britain’s MPs are voting to select a new speaker for the lower house. In the first round ballot, as no one gained more than 50% of the vote, the election goes to a second round.
At the start, ten candidates were standing for the job which is seen as vital in helping re build public trust in a political system badly damaged by a far-reaching expenses scandal. Although the former foreign secretary, Margaret Becket was favourite to be elected – the first round vote knocked her into third, behind Conservatives John Bercow and Sir George Young. The opposition Tories are keen to get one of their own into the vital job – it has been a Labour member at the parliamentary helm the last two times. The election arose after the previous incumbent, Michael Martin was forced to step down over his handling of the expenses scandal. He was the first speaker for over 300 years to have to resign as politicians blamed him for holding back much needed reforms of the allowances system.