Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Charles Manners-Sutton - Last Speaker Voted Out After an Election

I don't expect John Bercow to go the same way as Charles Manners-Sutton did in 1835 when he was the last speaker to be voted out, not by the people but by the MPs returned to the commons. But who is the poor unfortunate who is a footnote in history books.
Charles Manners-Sutton was the son of the 89th Archbishop of Canterbury (1805-1828) his namesake, part of the Duke of Rutland's extended family. His uncle Thomas Manners-Sutton was the 1st Baron Manners and Lord Chancellor of Ireland (1807-1827). Indeed from 1817-1827 this family had the Speaker, the leaders of the Lords Spiritual and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland all in their midst.
He was born in Screveton, Nottingham, the family seat of his mother who apparently eloped with his father. Manners-Sutton was one of that group of Etonians that rose to the highest level of UK political life. From there he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge before before called to the Bar at Lincolns Inn in 1805.
The following year he was returned as the MP for Scarborough a seat he would hold until 1832 when he was returned for one of the Cambridge University seats. He was appointed the Judge Advocate General in 1809 under Spencer Percival (the only Prime Minister to be assassinated) and retained the post under Lord Liverpool until 1817 when he was elected speaker follow the retirement of Charles Abbot through ill health.
The reason for his demise was that in 1832 his name was mentioned as a possible Prime Minister for an anti-reform ministry. This was a rebellion against the 1832 Reform Act which did away with the 'rotten boroughs', granted new seats to the large cities that had sprung up during the industrial revolution and increased eligibility to vote by 50-80%. When the Whigs where returned to power in 1835 they weren't happy with this and duly voted the speaker out. He was elevated to the Lords as Baron Bottesford, of Bottesford in the County of Leicester, and Viscount Canterbury, of the City of Canterbury. He died 10 years later aged 65 Southwick Crescent, Paddington.
As John Bercow has not been anti-reform, nor was his name mentioned as a possible Prime Minister in recent weeks I fully expect him to survive a vote on his Speakership this afternoon and not suffer the same fate as Manners-Sutton, who I expect will maintain that footnote of history status for some time yet.
This post has been sent via email therefore spacing and fonts may not appear at my usual standard. Also there may be links to other relevant blog entries or other content added later today along with adding the correct tagging.

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