Candidates battle it out to replace Commons Speaker Bercow

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UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The nine MPs vying to replace John Bercow as Commons Speaker have been quizzed by journalists in Westminster.

Mr Bercow – who has held the office since 2009 – is standing down on 31 October, with MPs to elect his replacement on 4 November.

Several Tory candidates accused Mr Bercow of being biased – something he has always denied.

One hopeful, deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, suggested there was a drugs problem in Parliament.

Questioned on whether there was an issue with alcohol at Westminster, Sir Lindsay said: “It’s not just drink we’ve got to catch out, there is a drug problem, and I genuinely believe that counselling and real support should be available for all staff and members.”

  • Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down

Asked to clarify what he meant, he added: “I think, I believe there will be a drug problem – there is a drug problem right across this country.

“I don’t believe that somebody who walks in here may not be tempted into drugs, and what I’m saying is that we should have health and wellbeing in place for drink and drug counselling and real support for anybody.”

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