Lindsay Hoyle was born on 10 June 1957, in Adlington. Hoyle is known to be softly spoken, in contrast to the belligerent Bercow. Hoyle has never declared his views on Brexit, a change after Remainer John Bercow’s decade-long reign. He is popular on both sides of the House and wants to position himself as the stable choice in unpredictable times. Hoyle is known for clashing with former PM Tony Blair over Gibraltar and student tuition fees. He has said of their differences: “I’m not anti-Tony; he made us electable and won three times. But there are principles and promises you don’t break.”
He is a colourful character who, apart from Boris the parrot, owns a rottweiler named Gordon after the former Labour PM Brown, a tortoise called Maggie after Mrs Thatcher and Betty, a terrier named after former Speaker Betty Boothroyd. After being dragged to the powerful seat for the first time as Speaker, as is tradition, Sir Lindsay told the House: “I stand by what I said.
“I stand firm, that I hope this House will be once a great respected House, not just in here but across the world. It’s the envy and we’ve got to make sure that tarnish is polished away, that the respect and tolerance that we expect from everyone who works in here will be shown and we’ll keep that in order.”
Hoyle father was Labour MP Doug Hoyle, who named him after Australian batsman Lindsay Hassett. In 1964, at the tender age of seven, Lindsay Hoyle drudged the long drives and farms of the Ribble Valley to deliver leaflets for his father, Doug, who was trying to become an MP. Not only was this his earliest exposure to campaigning, it was also his first experience of “child labour”, he tells me in his broad Lancashire accent.
It was another ten years before Doug Hoyle would enter parliament. His Commons career came to an end in 1997, by which point his son – then a 17-year veteran of Chorley council – was preparing to begin his.
Rather than inherit his father’s safe seat of Warrington North, Hoyle wanted to prove himself. “You’re always living in somebody else’s shoes if you’re not careful and what you have to do is step out of it and make your own name for yourself,” he says.
Few would dispute that Hoyle has gone on to stake his own reputation in parliament. Well-liked across the House as an able and effective deputy speaker, the Bolton lad has accumulated many admirers. A stickler for doing the right thing, he is keen not to indulge speculation about his future. But, like it or not, the Labour MP is the current frontrunner to take on one of the most coveted and high-profile jobs in British politics.
Lindsay Hoyle Biography and Profile
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, knighted in the 2018 new year’s honours list, was born 10th June 1957, in Adlington. He went to Anderton County primary school and Lord’s College in Bolton. He has lived in his constituency of Chorley all of his life. His second wife, Catherine Swindley, went to school in the area and succeeded him as a Labour councillor for Adlington in 1998. His eldest daughter, Emma, used to work at his constituency office. His second daughter, Natalie Lewis-Hoyle, tragically died aged 28 at the end of 2017.
Unsurprisingly, the Hoyle household was a political one. His mother, Lynda, served on the council until her husband was elected an MP in 1974. Hoyle became a councillor aged 22 – then the youngest to have done so in the local authority – though few in his party had given him much hope. “I thought, well, I like that challenge.”
Ahead of the 1997 election, he was selected from a crowded field to be the party’s candidate for Chorley. Prior to polling day, Hoyle received a call at home. It was Tony Blair. “Is Doug there?” the then Labour leader asked. “This is how good Tony Blair is, he didn’t expect me to pick that phone up. Just in case I did, he said, ‘is that Lindsay?’,” Hoyle recalls. Blair, ever the slick operator, exchanged pleasantries with Hoyle about his campaign, before being passed on to his father.
Doug Hoyle, a former chair of the Parliamentary Labour party, looked shocked after hanging up the phone. Blair had offered him a place in the House of Lords. “There’s no way I’m going to the Lords, I don’t believe in it,” he told his son.
Hoyle, whose mother passed away in 1991, encouraged his father to mull it over. Doug Hoyle did accept the offer and remains a Labour peer to this day. He has always voted to scrap the House of Lords whenever the opportunity has come up. His son is grateful for the time they’re able to spend together in Westminster. “It keeps him busy, keeps him going,” Hoyle says. “He moaned all the way through, it took him about two years to get over it and in fairness, he would say now it was the best thing he ever did.”
Hoyle became the first Labour MP for Chorley in eighteen years after defeating Conservative MP Den Dover. Prior to entering Parliament, Lindsay was a member of Chorley Borough Council; being elected in 1980 at the age of 22, Lindsay was the youngest councillor ever to serve in Chorley and one of the youngest nationwide. Lindsay also held the post of Deputy Leader from 1994 to 1997 and finished his time on the council as Mayor from 1997 to 1998.
He was elected as Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons on 8th June 2010. Prior to becoming the first ever elected Chairman of Ways and Means Lindsay Hoyle was a vocal back bencher; he maintains a keen interest in British manufacturing, defence policy, procurement policy, North West regional development and British Overseas Territories.
As Chairman of Ways and Means, he is the senior Deputy to the Speaker of the House of Commons. He is ultimately responsible for overseeing the Budget and any other Committee of the whole House. He serves on the House of Commons Finance and Services Committee and was appointed as a Member of her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in March 2013.
Hoyle has been praised for his performances during Budget debates – most notably when he admonished Ed Balls for waving around a copy of the Evening Standard at the start of George Osborne’s 2013 address. “I’ve never wanted to be in that position where you have to throw somebody out of the House. I like to think that we can always see a way through and make sure we keep good order at the same time,” he says. “We’ve seen many speakers and many deputy speakers come and go. Each one has a different style. Hopefully, my style is appreciated.”
He has also had his fair share of clashes, including a memorable back and forth with former SNP leader Alex Salmond during a Brexit debate at the start of 2017. Hoyle had cut off SNP MP Joanna Cherry after agreeing with her party’s whips that they would get one more speaker in the debate with a two-minute slot. An almighty row ensued. “In fairness to myself and Alex, we sorted it out there and then and had a chat the next day about these things. It was a misunderstanding,” he explains.
Hoyle’s time in the Chair has overlapped with John Bercow’s tenure as Speaker. They both entered the House in 1997 and served on the Trade and Industry committee together. How would he describe their relationship? “I always think I have a good relationship with everybody in the House, including Mr Speaker. He’s my boss!” Hoyle booms.
“Like everything, it’s about styles, isn’t it? We have different styles. In the end, he’s the Speaker. We are part of the Speaker’s team and we’ve got to get on with doing our jobs and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Hoyle, who is keen not to criticise any individuals, says everybody who works in the House must be treated correctly and have access to the support they need. He would like to see an expansion of the in-house wellbeing services to ensure that MPs’ constituency staff are included.
“Who worries about them? I worry about them. If I take my own office, you don’t know who’s going to come in that door at nine o’clock in the morning and how many different people you’re going to see and the different conversations. I worry about what kind of effect that has on MPs’ staff as well. That’s why I really do believe that we need to expand the wellbeing service to make sure we’re doing outreach as well,” he says.
Hoyle was in the Chair when the March 2017 Westminster bridge attacks took place. He put the Commons on lockdown as information about what was going on outside dripped through. His wife was heading to Westminster at the time. An hour or two passed before he was notified that she was safe. Though he is stoical about the impact the experience had on him personally, he recognises that those who witnessed the tragic events are still dealing with the consequences. “That’s what I want to make sure that we’re good at, making sure that we have long-term support not just when there is a problem and an issue. That’s why we could do so much more on the wellbeing service within this House,” he argues.
Hoyle, who chairs a consultative panel on parliamentary security, is cognisant of the threats faced by MPs today. He encouraged colleagues to take taxis home from parliament when the Brexit debate heated up around March and April. “Threats, intimidation, bullying, all that is having a real effect, and it’s having a real effect on MPs here. The nastiness that’s come in, the numbers are beyond all belief,” he says.
He would like for Parliament Square to become partially pedestrianised to give greater protection for MPs and the public around the estate, and for activists to be given an allocated space for protests. “If you come out of those front gates, it should be closed beyond the Lords right through to the junction. I think that would make a safer environment. There are not many people who would have vehicles coming past parliament so close,” he argues. “The fact is, we’re quite vulnerable out there. Westminster bridge, if nothing else, we’ve got to learn from that. And London Bridge. In fact, Nice… New York… you can go around the world, people are using vehicles.”
Speaker of House of Common
Dame Eleanor Laing fired the starting gun on the race to succeed Speaker Bercow in an interview with The House magazine back in February. Since then, Labour’s Chris Bryant, Tory veteran Sir Edward Leigh and SNP MP Pete Wishart have all announced their candidacy. Harriet Harman and Rosie Winterton are also expected to stand.
In the early stages of the contest, focus has been on plans for repair works to Parliament. Hoyle wants to see “all options on the table”. He believes a decant would see MPs out of the building for around 15-20 years, rather than the expected eight years that has currently been outlined. “That’s why I think you’ve got to have a proper building that you can move into in the meantime,” he argues.
“Part of that could be that we go back and look at Horse Guards Parade and possibly put a building up. That could be a temporary home while this is being done. But it would save money and it would save a lot of time. It’s not that I’m in favour of it, but I think that everybody should have all the options to look at.”
I already know the answer to my last question before I ask it, but I give it a good college try. The race to succeed John Bercow, who was supposed to have gone by now, has kicked into gear, I tell Hoyle. You’re a popular MP, well-established as deputy, and have an affinity with the backbenches. Surely, I conclude, you’re going to have a crack at the Speakership?
“When I watch athletics and you watch the race, they all get down to set off, you have a starting gun and you always get false starts. I think there’s been a few false starts so far,” Hoyle says, laughing.
“There is no vacancy. Of course, when the Speaker decides to go, he will go and if there is a race set up, yes, I may well enter that race. But I’ll certainly wait for the starting gun first.”
Labour’s Sir Lindsay Hoyle was dramatically installed as the new Commons Speaker on Tuesday 4 November 2019 after fending off a challenge from Chris Bryant during hours of behind-the-scenes wrangling. The firm favourite finally emerged victorious in the fourth gruelling round of voting by MPs, after five other candidates fell by the wayside in the contest to replace John Bercow.
Sir Lindsay, who has been Deputy Speaker for the past nine years, secured the promotion after receiving backing from 325 MPs to Mr Bryant’s 213. In keeping with tradition, he was dragged to the chair – a vestige of the days when it was a highly dangerous position and incumbents lost their lives to wrathful monarchs.
Sir Lindsay promised to restore the ‘tarnished’ reputation of Parliament – and also paid an emotional tribute to his daughter Natalie, who died tragically aged just 28 two years ago. ‘I wish you had been here,’ he said. ‘She was everything to all of us.’
The new Speaker said: ‘I hope this House will be once a great respected House, not just in here but across the world.’
He added: ‘It’s the envy, and we’ve got to make sure that tarnish is polished away, that the respect and tolerance that we expect from everyone who works in here will be shown and we’ll keep that in order.’
Lindsay Hoyle Quick Facts
- Lindsay Hoyle was re-elected MP for Chorley on May 7th 2015 with 23322 votes, taking 45.1% of the vote.
- Lindsay was elected Member of Parliament for Chorley in 1997 – the first Labour MP to represent Chorley for 18 years.
- Before entering Parliament Lindsay served on Chorley Borough Council, being the youngest ever councillor to serve in Chorley when elected in 1980 at the age of 22.
- During his time on Chorley Borough Council Lindsay acted as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee and initiated plans for the redevelopment of the Royal Ordnance site now better known as Buckshaw Village.
- Lindsay also held the post of Deputy Leader from 1994 to 1997 and was Mayor of Chorley from 1997 to 1998.
- He comes from a political family – his father, Doug Hoyle, was MP for Warrington and now sits in the House of Lords.
- He was elected as Speaker of House of Common on Monday 4 November 2019
Outside of politics Lindsay likes to relax at home by reading, watching sport and in particular watching rugby league. As former Chairman of Chorley Rugby League Club the game remains his personal favourite. When not occupied by rugby the pets and garden take up the majority of his free time.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been married twice and had two daughters. He married his first wife, Lynda Anne Fowler, in 1974. They later divorced and Mr Hoyle went on to marry Catherine Swindley in 1993. They celebrated their silver wedding anniversary last year.
Catherine Hoyle is employed as his part-time constituency secretary. One of his daughters, Natalie Lewis-Hoyle, tragically took her own life at the age of 28. Her mother, Miriam Lewis, said Natalie had been in a “toxic” and “troubled” relationship before her death in 2017.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle Biography and Profile (Lindsay Hoyle)