All the functions and activities of the House of commons are presided over by Speaker.
The Speaker is elected by the Commons from their own number at the beginning of each new Parliament. The Speaker of the previous Parliament is usually re-elected unanimously, if he is still a member and willing to stand. Re-election by the House has not been opposed since 1835.
A speaker takes no active part in a parliamentary election campaign and stands as “the Speaker seeking re-election” since he belongs to no party. On some occasions the Speaker is returned to Parliament unopposed, but this is not always the case.
Channels of Communication
The Speaker is the channel of communication between the Commons and the Queen, and between the commons and the Lords.
The Speaker presides over the House
The Speaker presides over the House, with the exception of when it is in Committee. At the point when in the chair he keeps up request, and aides the House on all inquiries of privilege what's more practice. He is required to be fair-minded between political gatherings, and particularly to ensure the rights of minorities in the House and to ensure that they have their say.
Advice and rulings
The Speaker gives advice and rulings on procedure; sings warrants of committal for contempt, and reprimands members and strangers for misconduct and sings warrants for the issue of writs for by-election.
The Speaker has an official habitation. His compensation is charged on and payable out of the Consolidated Fund. This means that it is payable by permanent legislation, and does not come up for annual review and perhaps debate. On a dissolution of Parliament the Speaker retains office until a Speaker is chosen by the new Parliament. His compensation is charged on and Lord President of the Council. When he retires, it is customary to bestow on him a peerage and a statutory pension.
Power and Functions of Speaker
Ø The Speaker is the presiding office of the House of Commons. He, therefore, enjoys vast powers and performs important functions viz,
Ø The Speaker presides over the meeting of the House of Commons and as such it is his duty to maintain discipline in the House.
Ø Whenever a member raises a point of order, the speaker needs to give his decision. However, the rulings of the speaker are given according to precedent. Whenever a ruling is given by the Speaker, that is final and the same cannot be questioned by any members.
Ø He interprets and applies rules of the House. In this regard his decision is final and can be challenged only by tabling a motion.
Ø He puts motions and questions to the House and it is only by tabling a motion.
Ø He puts motions and questions to the House and it is he who announces the results of voting.
Ø He also sees that debates are conducted with decorum. He is empowered to check disorder, irrelevance and unparliamentarily language and behavior.
Ø Ordinary, the speaker does not vote. Even when he is called upon to give a casting vote in case of a tie, he does not act according to his personal opinion. The acts according to certain well establish principles. The Speaker always votes in the affirmative.
Ø If a tie comes on proposal to adjourn the debate, he always votes against it. However, the Speaker is rarely called upon to give his casting vote.
Comparison with American Speaker
The following points may be noted:
v The American Speaker does not enjoy the prestige and honor which A British Speaker has since he is a party man.
v The decision of the British Speaker is final But the decision of the American Speaker is not final. An appeal against his decision can be made to the House.
v The office of the British Speaker is not contested. The Speaker is re-relected. In American, the office of the Speaker is contested. Both the parties put up their candidate.
v The British Speaker does not take part in the debates within the House. The American Speaker takes part in the debates, casts his vote and exercise his casting vote not impartially but as dictated by the interest of his party.
v The American Speaker openly favors his party in the House of Representatives. The Speaker is an impartial person.
v The Speaker of the American House of Representatives is a party man. The British Speaker is a non-party man.
v The American Speaker does not have the power to decide as to whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not. The Parliament Act, of 1911 has given such a power to the British Speaker.
v The British Speaker possesses the full disciplinary authority over the members of the House. The American Speaker cannot expel a member who is rowdy and does not obey the chair.
v The British Speaker can recognize the member, i.e, he can asked anybody to speak. The American Speaker was deprived of this power in the 1910-11 rebel against him. Presently, this is the benefit of the House itself.