Lindsay Hoyle has been selected by MPs as the new Speaker of the House of Commons, following four ballots. Hoyle, who was previously the Deputy Speaker, won the final ballot against Chris Bryant by 325 votes to 215 votes.
Other candidates who took part in the ballot were Meg Hillier, Edward Leigh, Rosie Winterton, Harriet Harman and Eleanor Laing.
Harriet Harman, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party, has said that MPs should be given six months maternity leave. Harman has submitted numerous proposals to the Speaker’s Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion, which is meeting next week.
“The reality is you cannot be on call for your constituency or voting when you are in labour and you should not have to be on duty when your baby is only a few weeks/months old. But the constituency must have a representative at all times. There needs to be a proper system of leave and cover”.
Harman, who has had three children during her time in Parliament, added:
“The baby needs time with the mother, the mother needs time with the baby and the constituency needs to be properly represented at all times”.
Harriet Harman, the 66-year old MP for Camberwell and Peckham, has become the longest continuously serving female MP in the history of the House of Commons.
Harman was first elected as an MP for the constituency of Peckham at a 1982 by-election and she has held the seat, and its successor of Camberwell and Peckham, since. She has held several roles, including the Secretary of State for Social Security, the Solicitor General and the Leader of the House of Commons. She has also been deputy leader of the Labour Party and has been its acting leader on two occasions.
Harriet Harman, the former deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has said that Jeremy Corbyn should resign as party leader. The comments come after a series of other senior Labour figures have also called on Corbyn to resign.
Harman, who was also the party’s acting leader, said:
“It’s with great regret but with absolute belief that it’s the right thing to do and I’m calling for Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as leader of the Labour Party”.
“I think it’s evident that he has failed as leader of the Labour Party”.
MPs and Peers have returned to Westminster to pay their respects to Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered last week.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said:
“In Jo’s tragic death, we can come together to change our politics, to tolerate a little more and condemn a little less. Jo’s grieving husband Brendan said: “Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”
Today, we remember Jo’s compassion and her passion to create a better world. In her honour, we recommit ourselves to that task”.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, added:
“May we and the generations of Members who follow us in this House honour Jo’s memory by proving that the democracy and freedoms that Jo stood for are indeed unbreakable, by continuing to stand up for our constituents, and by uniting against the hatred that killed her, today and forever more”.
Other contributions included:
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has clashed with Owen Smith, the newly appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, over the subject of the benefit cap.
Smith had said that it would be “foolhardy” to oppose the benefit cap, but that Labour would not support any further reductions to the level of the benefit cap. The previous benefits cap was supported by the previous Labour leaders, Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman.
Corbyn’s spokesman today though rejected this and confirmed that the benefits cap would be entirely abolished. In an interview with the New Statesman Corbyn also said:
“In my own constituency, the benefit cap has had the effect of social cleansing, of people receiving benefit but the benefit is capped, therefore, they can’t meet the rent levels charged and are forced to move. It’s devastating for children, devastating for the family and very bad for the community as a whole”.
The current benefits cap is £500 a week for couples, £500 a week for single parents with children and £350 for single adults with no children living with them. There are some exceptions for those with disabilities and special requirements.
Lord McConnell, the third person to become the First Minister of Scotland, has referred to the Labour Party’s leadership contest as “a shambles”.
Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour Party, admitted that there were some Conservatives who had signed up and paid £3 to vote in the election. She said:
“That is dishonest and that is shameful for people who purportedly believe in democracy and support democracy”.
She added that she was confident that the leadership election result would stand and said:
“I am absolutely certain that no court would decide that we had done anything other than apply the rules in a rigorous, fair, robust and even-handed way. So whoever is elected, they will be legally elected”.
Liz Kendall is the only one of the four candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party to back Harriet Harman in saying that she would support parts of the Conservative Party budget.
Harman in her role as acting leader of the Labour Party said that she understand how some parents were unable to afford to have more children and the party needed to listen to them as well as those on benefits.
Jeremy Corbyn rejected Harman’s stance and said that he would “not be willing to vote for policies which push more children into poverty” but didn’t comment on what he would do for parents who were unable to afford more children.
Tom Watson and Liam Byrne, both standing for re-election as Labour MPs, have refused to comment after it was revealed they had spoken a rally segregated into males and females. Jack Dromey, the wife of Harriet Harman, was also in attendance at the rally.
A Labour Party spokesman said that there was no enforced segregation but a photo appearing after the event showed that male and female members of the audience were sat separately. Tom Watson and Liam Byrne refused to comment when asked for details of why they continued to appear at the rally which took place in Birmingham on 2 May 2015.