Speaker (politics)

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers, Wellington 1984 (23565419019)
Speakers and presiding officers from various Commonwealth nations meet for a Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, 1984
Marshal's chair Sejm Plenary Hall
Marshal's chair in the Sejm, lower chamber of the Polish Parliament


The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the chamber or house.[1] The speaker often also represents the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England.[2][3]

By convention, speakers are normally addressed in Parliament as 'Mister Speaker', if a man, or 'Madam Speaker', if a woman. In other cultures other styles are used, mainly being equivalents of English "chairman" or "president". Many bodies also have a speaker pro tempore (or deputy speaker), designated to fill in when the speaker is not available.


The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the Australian House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia. The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the Parliament.


In Canada, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the individual elected to preside over the House of Commons, the elected lower house. The speaker is a Member of Parliament (MP) and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs. The Speaker's role in presiding over Canada's House of Commons is similar to that of speakers elsewhere in other countries that use the Westminster system. The Speaker does not vote except in the case of a tie. By convention, if required to vote, the Speaker will vote in favour of continuing debate on a matter, but will not ultimately vote for a measure to be approved.

The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada, the appointed upper house. The Speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, and presides over debates and voting in the "Red Chamber". The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Governor General of Canada from amongst sitting senators upon the advice of the Prime Minister. The Speaker has a vote on all matters. In the event of a tie, the matter fails.

At the provincial level, the presiding officer of the provincial legislatures is called the "Speaker" in all provinces except Quebec, where the term "President" is used. The presiding officer fulfills the same role as the Speaker of the House of Commons.


Parliamentarism in Italy is centered on the Presidents of the two Houses, vested in defense of the members and of the assembly as a whole;[4] so "the Speaker invites the representative of the Government not to deviate from the rules of parliamentary behavior".[5] Now constitutional community highlights changes also in this role.[6]


In Singapore, the Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore is the head officer of the country's legislature. By recent tradition, the Prime Minister nominates a person, who may or may not be an elected Member of Parliament (MP), for the role. The person's name is then proposed and seconded by the MPs, before being elected as Speaker.[7] The Constitution states that Parliament has the freedom to decide how to elect its Speaker.[8]

While the Speaker does not have to be an elected MP, they must possess the qualifications to stand for election as an MP as provided for in the Constitution.[9] The Speaker also cannot be a Cabinet Minister or Parliamentary Secretary,[10] and must resign from those positions prior to being elected as Speaker.

The Speaker is one of the few public sector roles which allow its office-holder to automatically qualify as a candidate in the Singapore presidential elections.[11]

United Kingdom

House of Commons. Speaker's Chair
Whilst presiding, the Speaker sits in a chair at the front of the House

The Speaker is the individual elected to preside over the elected House of Commons. The speaker is a Member of Parliament (MP) and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs.

The Lord Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Lords. The commonly used "Speaker of the House of Lords" is not correct. The presiding officer of the House of Lords was until recently the Lord Chancellor, who was also a member of the government (a cabinet member) and the head of the judicial branch. The Lord Chancellor did not have the same authority to discipline members of the Lords that the speaker of the Commons has in that house. The Lord Speaker is elected by the members of the House of Lords and is expected to be politically impartial.

United States


Both chambers of the United States Congress have a presiding officer defined by the United States Constitution. The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives presides over the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, and is elected to that position by the entire House membership. Unlike in Commonwealth realms, the position is partisan, and the Speaker often plays an important part in running the House and advancing a political platform; Joseph Gurney Cannon, speaker from 1903 to 1911, is an extreme example.

The Vice President of the United States, as provided by the United States Constitution formally presides over the upper house, the Senate. In practice, however, the Vice President has a rare presence in Congress owing to responsibilities in the Executive branch and the fact that the Vice President may only vote to break a tie. In the Vice President's absence, the presiding role is delegated to the most Senior member of the majority party, who is the President pro tempore of the United States Senate. Since the Senate's rules give little power to its non-member presider (who may be of the opposite party), the task of presiding over daily business is typically rotated among junior members of the majority party.


In the forty-nine states that have a bicameral legislature, the highest leadership position in the lower house is usually called the "Speaker" and the upper house is usually the "President of the (State) Senate. In Nebraska—the only state with a unicameral legislature—the senators elect one senator to serve as "Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature". In Tennessee, the senators elect a "Speaker of the Senate" who presides over the Tennessee Senate and serves as lieutenant governor.

Similar posts

The presiding officer for an upper house of a bicameral legislature usually has a different title, although substantially the same duties. When the upper house is called a senate, the equivalent title is often President of the Senate. Australia, Chile, the United States and many other countries have upper houses with presiding officers titled "president". In several American republics, the vice president of the country serves as the president of the upper house. This pattern is not universal, however. Some upper houses, including those of Canada, have a speaker.

The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, and Presiding Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly fulfill the same role as the speaker.

List of current speakers

See List of current presidents of legislatures

See also



  1. ^ As in case of disorders in the floor: Italian traditions knew cases of extreme contestation, not much different from tumults stigmatized in Ukrainian parliaments, Taiwanese and South Korean: Buonomo, Giampiero (2014). "I tre giorni della supercazzola". L’Ago e il filo edizione online.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  2. ^ Journal of the House of Commons: January 1559; 1559; accessed August 2015
  3. ^ Lee Vol 28, pp. 257,258.
  4. ^ Mancini and Galeotti believed that "in the enclosure of the House the exercise of presidential power should not be limits or obstacles whatsoever" (Mancini-Galeotti, Norme ed usi del Parlamento italiano, Roma, 1887, pag. 97).
  5. ^ (in Spanish) Sanciones disciplinarias y policía interna en el ordenamiento parlamentario italiano ‘’AA.VV., Derecho parlamentario sancionador’’, Eusko Legebiltazarra, Parlamento Vasco ed., 2005p. 236-271
  6. ^ F. Bilancia, L’imparzialità perduta (a proposito dei Presidenti di Assemblea parlamentare), in Aa.Vv., Studi in onore di Gianni Ferrara, vol. I, Giappichelli, Torino 2005, pp. 311 ss..
  7. ^ Lee, Min Kok (8 January 2016). "Halimah Yacob to be renominated as Speaker of Parliament: 7 things you may not know about the post". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  8. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, Art. 40(2).
  9. ^ "Speaker of Parliament". Parliament of Singapore. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  10. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, Art. 40(2).
  11. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, Art. 19(3)(a).

Further reading

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) (transl. Amma People Progressive Federation) is an Indian political party in the state of Tamil Nadu and in the union territory of Puducherry. The party was founded by T. T. V. Dhinakaran on 15 March 2018 as breakaway faction of the AIADMK and V. K. Sasikala assigned the post of Leader while T. T. V. Dhinakaran assigned the post of General Secretary.

List of positions of authority

The following is a list of positions of authority.

László Kövér

László Kövér (Hungarian: [ˈlaːsloː ˈkøveːr]; born 29 December 1959) is a Hungarian politician and the current Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary. He was the acting President of Hungary from 2 April 2012 to 10 May 2012, after the resignation of Pál Schmitt.

He is a founding member of Fidesz from 1988, and he served as Minister without portfolio for the Civilian Intelligence Services during the first Viktor Orbán administration. In 2000 he was appointed leader of the party, but he resigned from his position in the next year.

Paul Murphy, Baron Murphy of Torfaen

Paul Peter Murphy, Baron Murphy of Torfaen, KCMCO, KSG, PC (born 25 November 1948) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Torfaen from 1987 to 2015, and served in the Cabinet from 1999-2005 and again from 2007-2008 in the roles of Northern Irish and Welsh Secretary. Prior to joining the Cabinet he held the position of Minister of State for Northern Ireland from February 1997 until 1999. He was nominated for a life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours.

President of Congress

President of Congress may refer to:

ColombiaPresident of the Congress of ColombiaIndiaPresident of the All India Congress CommitteeSpainPresident of the Congress of DeputiesUnited StatesPresident of the Continental Congress

President of the European Parliament

The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. They also represent the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The president's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.

Presidents serve 2.5 year terms, normally divided between the two major political parties. Until 2018, there have been thirty presidents since the Parliament was created in 1952, fifteen of whom have served since the first Parliamentary election in 1979. Two presidents have been women and most have come from the older member states. The current president is David Sassoli from Italy.

Presiding Officer

In a general sense, presiding officer is synonymous with chairman.

Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (Scottish Gaelic: Oifigear-Riaghlaidh, Scots: Preses o the Scots Pairlament) is the President of the Scottish Parliament. He (or she) is a Member of the Scottish Parliament elected by the Scottish Parliament by means of an exhaustive ballot, and is ex officio the head of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. He is considered a figurehead of the Scottish Parliament and holds an office in Queensberry House.

The office of the Presiding Officer was established by an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Scotland Act 1998. The current Presiding Officer is Ken Macintosh, who was elected on 12 May 2016, following the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

Professional speaker

Professional speaker may refer to:

Keynote speaker

Motivational speaker

Public speaker

Speaker (politics)

Voice actor

Professional loudspeaker

Ramses Station rail disaster

The Ramses Station rail disaster occurred on 27 February 2019 in Ramses Station of Cairo, Egypt. Twenty-five people were killed and forty injured.

Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador is the presiding officer of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly.

The current Speaker of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly is Scott Reid since 2019.

Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)

The Speaker of the House of Commons is the presiding officer of the House of Commons, the United Kingdom's lower, but more influential, chamber of Parliament. John Bercow was elected Speaker on 22 June 2009, following the resignation of Michael Martin. He was since re-elected, unopposed, three times, following the general elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017.The Speaker presides over the House's debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may punish members who break the rules of the House. Unlike presiding officers of legislatures in many other countries, speakers remain strictly non-partisan and renounce all affiliation with their former political parties when taking office and afterwards. The Speaker does not take part in debate or vote (except to break ties; and even then, the convention is that the speaker casts the tie-breaking vote according to Speaker Denison's rule). Aside from duties relating to presiding over the House, the Speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and remains a constituency Member of Parliament (MP). The Speaker has the right and obligation to reside in Speaker's House at the Palace of Westminster.

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island is the presiding officer of the provincial legislature.

The Speakership is currently held by Colin LaVie. The Deputy Speaker is Hal Perry.

Past speakers have included Wilbur MacDonald, Greg Deighan and Nancy Guptill.

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is the presiding officer of the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Speaker of the National Assembly

Speaker of the National Assembly may refer to:

Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly

Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan

Speaker of the South African National Assembly

Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname

List of Speakers of the National Assembly of Zambia

Thomas MacNutt

Thomas McNutt redirects here. For the American political candidate and businessman Thomas McNutt, see Collin Street Bakery

Thomas MacNutt (August 3, 1850 – February 5, 1927) was a Canadian politician who held national as well as province-wide office, as a former member of the House of Commons of Canada and the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. He won a number of significant recognized awards and honours in his career. Thomas MacNutt was one of the original eight people who comprised the Independent party, the precursor to the Progressive Party of Canada.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.