The speaker of the HoCs

the speaker of the HoCs

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The Speaker of the House of Commons
The proceedings in the chamber of the House of Commons are chaired by the Speaker or on
of the deputy Speakers. Speakers are chosen by their fellow MPs at the start of each new
Parliament or when the previous Speaker retires or dies.
Although Speakers are elected MPs, they are not permitted to speak on behalf of their
constituents in the Commons and they do not take part in debates since they are supposed
to be impartial. The Speaker votes in the House only in the event of a tie and, even then, is
guided by precedent ­ by the decisions of Speakers in similar previous cases.
As well as representing the HoCs on ceremonial and formal occasions, it is the Speaker's job
to see the procedural rules of the House (contained in the Standing Orders) are followed
and to decide which MPs are called upon to speak. In attempting to preserve order, there
are a number of sanctions at the Speaker's disposal. First ,MP's can be directed to withdraw
remarks made in `unparliamentarily language'. Second, if these instructions are ignored,
MPs can be suspended for the House. Third, in the event of a serious general disorder in
the chamber, the Speaker can suspend the entire proceedings.
In 1985, the Speaker of the HoCs, Bernard Weatherill, suspended proceedings for 20
minutes following continued protests from a group of Opposition Labour MPs against the
gov'ts refusal to agree to a debate on the dispute in the coal industry.

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