House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

House of Commons Procedure and Practice - 7. The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House - Contents and Intoduction

7. The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House


*    Historical Perspective

Great Britain


*    Governing Provisions

*    Procedural Role of the Speaker

Guardian of Rights and Privileges

Order and Decorum

No Appeals

Impartiality of the Chair

*      Casting Vote

Specific Duties

*    Administrative Role of the Speaker

*    Ceremonial/Diplomatic Role of the Speaker

*    Election of the Speaker as Presiding Officer

Election of the Speaker by Secret Ballot

Election of the Speaker During a Session

Election of the Speaker at the Opening of a Second or Later Session Within a Parliament

Campaigning for the Speakership

*    Tenure



*    Historical Perspective

*    Authority

*    Role

*    Method of Selection

*    Tenure


You know what we demand of you, Mr. Speaker. Perfection! We want fairness, independence, decisiveness, patience, common sense, good humour, upholding the traditions of the House, knowledge of the rules and an intuition for the changing mood and tone of the House as we move through our days.

John N. Turner, Leader of the Opposition

(Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 9)

The Speaker of the House of Commons holds a position which is one not only of historical significance but also of great responsibility. The holder of the office performs functions falling into three main categories. First, the Speaker presides over debate in the House and is responsible for enforcing and interpreting all rules and practices and for the preservation of order and decorum in the proceedings of the House. Second, the Speaker is the chief administrative officer of the House of Commons. Third, the Speaker is the representative or spokesperson for the House in its relations with authorities or persons outside Parliament. This chapter describes the Speakership from a general point of view and enumerates the specific powers, duties and responsibilities attached to the office of Speaker.

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