It’s easier to track the lies than anything accurate, especially from Boris Johnson

Monday

All political parties took a day off from campaigning to meet in the Commons for the election of the new Speaker. AKA a total shambles. In theory the whole process could have been wrapped up inside an hour with a simple preference voting system. Instead it dragged on for more than six. Proceedings opened with Ken Clarke, father of the house, inviting the seven candidates to speak for five minutes. Despite all of them promising to be the very opposite of John Bercow, not least in keeping things brief, at least three managed to talk well beyond their allotted time slot. Old habits die hard. Then came the first round of voting which took over an hour. Twenty minutes for MPs to walk 50 yards to the voting lobby to mark their cross and then well 50 minutes or so for the tellers to count the votes of the 570 MPs who had chosen to participate. Something you’d have thought would have taken five minutes tops. The first round knocked out just two candidates, Meg Hillier and Edward Leigh, who clocked up just 22 votes between them. On and on it went, with an extra 20 minutes needed for every subsequent round of voting to allow time to print new ballot papers because MPs couldn’t be relied on to remember just who was still in the running despite being told moments earlier. To help fill in the down time, Tory MPs got Ken Clarke to sign their order papers, while the Labour frontbench signed footballs and beer bottles. The last round was a straight contest between Lindsay Hoyle and Chris Bryant, which Hoyle won at a canter. Just as everyone had known he would when they first walked into the chamber earlier in the afternoon.

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