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The Speaker Election: Is Labour backing Margaret Beckett?

June 10th, 2009

Could this be a consolation for losing her cabinet place?

There’s a story just running on the First Post under the banner (Exclusive: Beckett for Speaker) which says “According to The First Post’s sources in the Labour Party, Margaret Beckett is ‘all but’ confirmed as favourite for the Speaker’s chair”.

This is the first time her name has been mentioned and she does not even figure on the main betting markets. I’ve just got bets on by phone at 20/1 from William Hill and 40/1 from Ladbrokes.

The First Post has got a pretty good record with its Labour links and I’m inclined to believe the reports that Beckett has “”all but made up her mind” to stand for election on June 22.”.

It would make sense. She’s had a long history in the house and was, at the death of John Smith in 1994, the leader of the Labour party.

Of course this election will be by secret ballot but an official endorsement from the whips, as it were, will go a long way to getting her elected.

The notion, that has been popular, that left-wing Tory, John Bercow, might attract Labour backing never really sounded feasible. It’s got to be a senior figure in the house.

Mike Smithson