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The Role of the Speaker in the 20th Century




Baroness Boothroyd was Speaker of the house of commons from April 1992 until October 2000. She describes her approach to the job of Speaker: how she routinely briefed herself for the business of the House, and how she approached some of the more difficult decisions required of the Speaker, including the selection of amendments, the use of the casting vote and allowing members to make personal statements. She comments on some issues concerning the management of the House's business during her time in the chair: the practice of government ministers to anticipate official statements in the media before they are made in the House; the length of ministerial answers at question time and the decision on the access of Sinn Fein members to the facilities and services of the House. She refers to the functions of the Speaker outside the chamber: chairing the house of commons commission; receiving Speakers and other public figures from other countries and representing the house of commons abroad.