As the longest serving woman MP in the House of Commons, who has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable in our society, Harriet Harman has the experience, moral compass and dogged determination to make a worthy Speaker.
A sitting MP since 1982, she has held a raft of senior ministerial and cabinet positions, and even two brief stints as acting Labour leader.
A former solicitor general, she is currently chair of the Human Rights Joint Committee. In 2017, she held onto her seat with 78 per cent.
In a Commons rocked by defections, purges and resignations, Harman is one of the few grandees with decades’ worth of experience at the helm of government.
The high esteem she is held in by her colleagues is evident in the swirling rumours, rumours she has attempted to put down, that she could be the one to lead a National Unity Government in this time of constitutional crisis.
Harman has made it her life’s mission to campaign for women’s rights and help some of our most marginalised groups. But she pledges to remain neutral if voted in as Speaker.
It’s a position she says is more vital than ever; both in the need to defend democracy, and the task of mending the fractured relationship between parliament and people, riven in the three years since the EU referendum.
That is not to say Harman hasn’t made errors of judgement. She voted to go to war in Iraq and, at least among her constituents, she is unlikely ever to live down that bulletproof jacket.
Although she strikes a more conciliatory and reasoned tone than some of her colleagues, there is fire there, too.
Regardless, she has shown herself to be deeply committed to her constituency and public service. Being an MP is a hard job that can come at huge personal cost.
Pregnant during her first election campaign, Harman was a trailblazer for many female MPs. It takes a certain type of person to stay in one job for 37 years under intense scrutiny, when many others stay a few terms and go onto highly paid, cushy jobs.
For all the reasons above, we’re backing Harriet as Madam Speaker.