Streeter makes his bid to be deputy Speaker
A Westcountry MP has concluded his bid to be Deputy Speaker of the Commons by calling for the winner to "enhance" Parliament.
Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, was among seven would-be deputy speakers attending a hustings in Westminster ahead of today's vote.
The long-serving MP, elected in 1992, told fellow parliamentarians and journalists that a good deputy Speaker was in the "background" and not the "story".
He likened the role, which comes with a £102,000 annual salary, to that of a football referee. "If the ref has a good game you do not notice him, because it is about the match, not the whistle," the 58-year-old said.
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Asked to sum up his pitch, Mr Streeter said he hoped the friendly nature of the campaign would put Parliament "in a good light".
He added: "The most important thing is we all love Parliament and whoever gets the crown, the most important thing is the reputation of Parliament is enhanced. And I'm sure that will happen."
The vacancy has emerged following the departure of Nigel Evans – the Lancashire MP accused of two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape.
Rivals include ex-Transport Minister Simon Burns – who once called Speaker John Bercow a "stupid, sanctimonious dwarf" – and Nadine Dorries, who temporarily lost the Tory whip after flying to Australia to take part in ITV reality show I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!
Of the ten-day campaign, contested only by Tories but voted for by MPs from all parties, Mr Streeter joked: "I remember when I was elected in 1992 I made what I thought it was quite a good speech and a senior member of Government was flowing with praise. And I thought I'm going to be Prime Minister before too long.
"And then someone else came along and said 'while you are in this place, Gary, many people will be nice to you and some of them will mean it'. It's been that kind of ten days for all of us."
Eleanor Laing, MP for Waltham Abbey, is the bookmakers' favourite to win.
In the hustings, Mr Burn said he wanted to tackle the "elephant in the room" and insisted the sour relations with the Speaker would not prevent him being able to work as his deputy.