The Commons speaker Michael Martin stepped down on 21 June and his successor John Bercow has been chosen by MPs in a series of votes in a secret ballot. He was among 10 contenders for the job. Here is a guide to the runners and riders and their results after the first round of voting.
JOHN BERCOW - ELECTED SPEAKER WITH 322 VOTES
Backbench Tory MP. Former right winger, who has moved towards the centre in recent years. Thought to have the backing of many Labour MPs for the Speaker's job but had been thought not popular enough with his own side to stand a chance, although bookmakers Ladbrokes had him at 3/1 to land the job. Said the next Speaker must be a "robust advocate of democratic politics" and that he would get out into the country to promote and explain "in a non-partisan" the role of Parliament and the work MPs do, as well as listening to the public's concerns.
SIR GEORGE YOUNG - 271 VOTES ELIMINATED IN THIRD ROUND
Conservative grandee and widely-respected chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee. One of the bookmakers' favourites to land the job of Speaker after missing out in 2000. But Eton-educated background may have counted against him in the eyes of Labour MPs. Ladbrokes made him 3/1 and he ran John Bercow a strong second - losing by 271 voters to 322 in the third round of voting.
First female foreign secretary who briefly led the Labour Party after John Smith's death and before the election of Tony Blair, Margaret Beckett is certainly not short of experience. Her late entry into the race to be Speaker came after she reportedly quit the government after asking to be given a full time cabinet seat as housing minister. She said she wanted to help Parliament deal with its "considerable problems". Not untouched by the expenses furore but commands respect on all sides of the House. Mrs Beckett was named the 2/1 favourite by bookies Ladbrokes on the eve of the poll but the writing was on the wall after finishing a distant third in the first round with 74 votes. She pulled out of the race after the second round, to leave the Bercow/Young vote-off.
SIR ALAN HASELHURST - PULLED OUT AFTER SECOND ROUND
Conservative MP and deputy speaker. Widely-respected figure who also served as deputy to former Speaker Betty Boothroyd. Another favourite at the bookmakers but being singled out by The Daily Telegraph for claiming £142,119 in second homes allowances since 2001, despite having no mortgage on the property, cannot have helped his chances as well as possibly seeming too much of an establishment choice after the events of the past few weeks. Pulled out of the contest after failing to build enough on his impressive 66 in the first round.
Veteran Lib Dem MP, with more than 30 years' experience. Former party leadership contender. Chairman of the constitutional affairs committee. Respected figure who was in the running for the job in 2000. Says the job of Speaker should be to "lead on reform" rather than defend the status quo and to strengthen MPs' ability to challenge the government. But asked if the new Speaker had to be "whiter than white", he joked: "Nobody is whiter than white." He said he had once claimed twice for the same television licence but immediately sent off a cheque when he realised his mistake. Never really got into the race and was another of those whose race ended at the second round when he pulled out after failing to build enough on his 55 votes in the first round.
Former shadow home secretary and one of the best-known and most widely respected members of the Commons. Plans to stand down at next general election and had ruled out becoming a permanent replacement for Michael Martin. But had hoped to pick up support from colleagues as a possible interim Speaker. She got 44 backers in the first round but that number fell to 30 in the second round and she was eliminated.
By his own admission not an "obvious choice" for the role of Speaker, Labour's Mr Dhanda says that as one of the few Asian MPs in the House he was spurred into action by the BNP winning seats in the European Parliament. The former fire services minister and MP for Gloucester stood on an agenda of reforming Parliament, including holding debates outside the chamber in provincial towns and cities. Has said he wanted to make Parliament "less macho" and improve facilities for MPs with children.
RICHARD SHEPHERD - 15 VOTES, ELIMINATED FIRST ROUND
Independent-minded veteran Tory MP, first elected in 1979. Has led criticism of Speaker Martin. Stood unsuccessfully for the Speakership in October 2000. Ladbrokes made him 14/1 but he failed to pull in the votes to make it past the first vote.
SIR PATRICK CORMACK - 13 VOTES, ELIMINATED FIRST ROUND
Veteran Tory backbencher who was in the running for the job last time. Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. Said he would bring "a robust impartiality" to the role. Expert on constitutional affairs but may have been seen as too much of a traditionalist to lead changes demanded by most MPs.
SIR MICHAEL LORD - 9 VOTES, ELIMINATED FIRST ROUND
The Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Sir Michael Lord stood for the Speakership when Betty Boothroyd won the post. He said: "I have got strong support, and I am very serious about the contest." However it turned out that the deputy Speaker failed to bring in a enough votes to get through the competitive first vote.
Former Labour minister Frank Field ruled himself out a week before the contest. Labour MP Tony Wright, chair of the public administration committee also said he did not want the job. Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, an early favourite with the bookmakers, ruled himself out of the running for the Speaker's job, as did his former party leader Sir Menzies Campbell. Former shadow home secretary David Davis also ruled himself out. Labour's Sylvia Heal, one of the current deputy speakers, also said she would not stand.
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