09 Jan Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing elected as Chairman of Ways and Means for the House of Commons
Dame Eleanor has served as an MP for 22 years in Parliament, including the last six as a Deputy Speaker. She will be the first ever female MP to be elected to the role of Chairman of Ways and Means.
What does the Chairman of Ways and Means do?
The principal Deputy Speaker is the Chairman of Ways and Means, who is elected from the opposite side of the House from which the Speaker was elected. By convention, they chair the Budget debate, have responsibility for the selection of amendments during Committee of the Whole House and supervise the arrangement of business in Westminster Hall, the House of Commons’ parallel chamber.
The Chairman of Ways and Means also oversees the Panel of Chairs. The panel are responsible for chairing Public Bill Committees and other General Committees, as well as Westminster Hall debates.
All Deputy Speakers assist the Speaker in his duties in the chair and exercise this authority while doing so.
Once elected, Deputy Speakers remain in the office until the next general election, unless they resign or otherwise cease to be an MP. They also withdraw from an active political role.
How are Deputy Speakers elected?
The Deputy Speakers are elected using the single transferable vote system. As outlined in Standing Order No.2A, two candidates should come from the opposite side of the House to that of the Speaker.The first of these candidates will be electedthe Chairman of Ways and Means, and the second, the Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means. The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means must be elected from the same side of the House as the Speaker.
The four posts of the Speaker and the Deputies must include at least one man and at least one woman.