Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton would wear Yorkshire rose in Speaker's chair if elected to replace John Bercow

Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster. Photo: JPI Media
Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster. Photo: JPI Media
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Dame Rosie Winterton would wear a Yorkshire rose in the chair if elected as the next Commons speaker, she has revealed.

Dame Rosie flaunted her Yorkshire credentials during a hustings organised in Parliament today for journalists to question candidates bidding to take over from John Bercow when he stands down later this month.

When putting herself forward Dame Rosie, MP for Doncaster Central, said MPs needed to learn to “disagree better”.

Today she admitted there were “undoubtedly some tensions” in her Doncaster constituency over her standing, particularly over the issue of her losing her vote in the Commons if elected, but she said: “People are thinking that it would be quite good for a Yorkshire woman to be the Speaker of the House.”

“I would wear a Yorkshire rose badge to emphasise my approach of unity, stablisation and reaching out across the UK to show that Parliament is truly representative of the regions and countries.”

She added: “I think there’s an appetite for there to be a woman speaker and I think there’s an appetite to have somebody who is from outside London, for example, Yorkshire.”

It comes as both Houses this week celebrated the 90th birthday of Betty Boothroyd, who was born in Dewsbury and was the last Yorkshirewoman to be in the Speakers chair.

Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda and who is also standing as Speaker, said: “Betty Boothroyd, when I asked her about the difficulties of not being able to represent your seat in the same way - which obviously matter more for a constituency like Rhondda because of the multiple levels of deprivation that we suffer from - Betty said to me ‘Well, you just have to ruthlessly exploit every single opportunity you have.”

During the hustings current speaker Mr Bercow was described as a "playground bully" by an MP running to replace him as Commons speaker.

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, said he believes Mr Bercow has "tarnished the role of speaker with his biasness" and said he insults and demeans his colleagues.

The nine MPs who have put themselves forward to replace Mr Bercow as speaker took part in a hustings event in Westminster.

Candidates were asked about Mr Bercow and impartiality, and Mr Vara said: "No, Speaker Bercow has not been impartial.

"And frankly speaking, I think he's tarnished the role of the speaker with his biasness.

“I think what is required is that we need to rewrite the rule book, and make it absolutely clear what the speaker can and cannot do in difficult circumstances.

"And that is actually to protect the speaker as much as protecting Parliament.

"Because no matter how well intentioned the speaker may be, she or he may take a particular decision and those who are aggrieved by that decision, are going to feel that it is not fair."

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said he thinks Mr Bercow had been a "fantastic" speaker, but added: "The problem with John Bercow is that many of the excellent work he's done has been impaired by, A, having favourites, I think, in some ways.

"And, B, too often grandstanding remarks that frankly are a waste of space and time."

Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, said Mr Bercow is "perceived by a large part of the nation not to be impartial" and said the next speaker needs to be "more in the mould" of Baroness Boothroyd.

He said: “I’ve got nothing against [John Bercow] personally but I do believe that the next Speaker has to be more in the mould of Betty Boothroyd - who actually celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday - she had been a Labour MP but nobody for a moment thought she was anything but completely impartial, completely the servant of the House, completely the servant of all parts of political opinion.”

The election of the next Commons speaker will take place on November 4, after Mr Bercow, who has held the office since 2009, takes the chair for the final time on October 31.