The position of deputy speaker in the House of Commons is vacant – and Tory backbenchers are falling over each other in the battle to make the silliest bid.
The vacancy has occurred after Nigel Evans quit the post to fight allegations of sexual criminality.
We have already heard that Nadine Dorries has made the priceless offer to put herself beyond Parliamentary debate by standing for election – now it seems that Peter Bone, he of the long-winded Parliamentary questions and the long-suffering wife, has also put his name in the hat.
For when he interrupted Paul Flynn during the debate on the Transparency of Lobbying Bill yesterday, saying “I am slightly worried that if he carries on for much longer we will not be able to grill the Leader of the House”, Mr Flynn responded that he would not want to deny the honourable gentleman — a possible future Deputy Speaker of the House — that privilege.
“I believe that he is one of the candidates,” said Mr Flynn. “It is fascinating to get these invitations. One from an honourable lady said, ‘Vote for me and you won’t have to put up with me on the benches. I will be silenced.’ Therefore, we are voting for the one we most want to silence and we think is most loathsome.
“It is a hard task, because we have a rich choice.”