“When Selwyn Lloyd was elected Speaker of the House in 1971, his connections with the Conservative party had to be severed, his business interests terminated and, so long as the House was sitting, he was to be largely restricted to the Palace of Westminster. The Speaker must maintain a position of inviolable impartiality. He must also learn to walk delicately all the time to ward off pandemonium, protect the rights of minorities, know when to call for an apology or let things slide and be thoroughly acquainted with the issues of the House every day that it sits. It is an exacting job where balances must always be struck, and in Mr. Speaker, Sir, Selwyn Lloyd gives a fascinating first-hand account of what it is like to perform it. He describes the scope of his responsibilities and the way he carried them out. There were moments when he had to decide in an instant whether to enforce order or to turn a deaf ear, for instance when Bernadette Devlin interrupted Reginald Maudling and subsequently assaulted him physically. It is easy to criticize the Speaker for lack of discipline when violence occurs, yet when the House is in a tense and emotional mood it is frequently the Speaker’s invoking of his ‘selective deafness’ that allows him to steer the members into quieter waters.
Hardback 1st edition