Rhondda MP may be indicating that he sees mo future role for him in any future Labour government , by touting for himself as the next Commons Speaker.
He told House magazine when John Bercow stands down, his successor must focus on “tending to the wounds” caused by Brexit rows and harassment scandals.
Meanwhile, two female MPs have called for the next Speaker to be a woman.
There has been speculation Mr Bercow will announce his retirement this summer although he has not spoken about his plans publicly, always insisting he would tell MPs first.
When he was first elected in 2009, Mr Bercow said he intended to serve no more than nine years. He was re-elected unopposed again in 2015 and 2017.
In recent months, he has become a pivotal but controversial figure in Brexit debates in the Commons, angering and delighting MPs in equal measure by his interpretation of parliamentary conventions.
Referring to the controversy surrounding the Speaker’s impartiality, Mr Bryant said he thought MPs had
“all been a bit bloodied and bruised of late, and the next Speaker has got to be somebody who is going to tend to those wounds a bit more”.
“So, the first thing for me is I will do everything in my power not to belittle or diminish or lecture MPs from the chair, but, insofar as it is possible, to respect every single person.”
The MP for Rhondda said his first memory of an MP being publicly criticised was by Speaker Michael Martin, who quit in 2009 after a no confidence motion was tabled against him and he was succeeded by Mr Bercow.
Mr Bryant said a woman MP was given a “dressing down” by Mr Martin soon after he was elected in 2001, for reading out a question instead of having memorised it.
“I wanted the ground to swallow me up, because I thought ‘God, I wouldn’t want to be that poor MP’,” he said.
“The things you might say to another person, at a dinner party or in the bar or in casual conversation in the team room, when they’re said from the chair to an MP, it’s just devastating.
It’s like the headteacher telling you off in front of the whole class and it’s broadcast to the nation and your family is sitting there as well.Mr Bryant, an ordained priest, said that part of his work to “refresh” the culture in the Commons would be to hold an event on Twelfth Night, a Shakespearean comedy in which masters become servants for the night in January.
He said: “In the UK, it’s always been the twelfth night when everything is turned upside down.
“I’d like to have some kind of event for the staff who run the building on the 6th January, with MPs serving.”
Of course he may be looking at a Plaid surge and the fact that the party holds the equivalent Assembly seat under Leanne Wood.
He does have a comfortable majority
But so did Leighton Andrews in the Assembly seat and Mr Bryant could look at Scotland where although Labour had recovered some ground in the 2017 election just two years previously, they saw constituencies where they previously weighed their votes and some MPs thought they had a Job for life ousted.
If the current speaker decides to contest a general election, he/she does not stand under a party label, but is entitled to describe himself/herself on the ballot as “The Speaker seeking re-election”, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act. In the past, the Speaker could sometimes be returned unopposed; this has not happened in the last few decades, but they have sometimes faced opposition only from fringe candidates.
When Speaker Edward FitzRoy, previously a Conservative MP, was opposed by a Labour Party candidate at the 1935 general election, there was strong disapproval from other parties and a sub-committee of the Cabinet considered whether a special constituency should be created for the speaker to remove the obligation to take part in electoral contests. The sub-committee came to the conclusion that parliamentary opinion would not favour this suggestion; however, in December 1938, with a general election expected within a year or so, a motion from the Prime Minister was put down to nominate a Select Committee to examine the suggestion. The committee, chaired by former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, reported in April 1939 that no change should be made; it found that preventing opposition to a sitting speaker would be “a serious infringement of democratic principles” and that “to alter the status of the Speaker so that he ceased to be returned to the House of Commons by the same electoral methods as other members or as a representative of a Parliamentary constituency would be equally repugnant to the custom and tradition of the House”. With the outbreak of the Second World War, no general election was held until 1945.
More generally, the convention that major parties do not stand against the speaker is not as firmly established as is sometimes suggested. Generally, former Labour speakers have faced only fringe candidates, but former Conservative speakers have faced major party candidates. The Labour and Liberal parties stood against Selwyn Lloyd in both elections in 1974, and Labour and the SDP stood against Bernard Weatherill in 1987. Speakers who represented Scottish or Welsh constituencies have also faced nationalist opponents: Plaid Cymru stood against George Thomas in 1979, and the Scottish National Party stood against Michael Martin in 2001 and 2005. At the 2010 general election, Speaker John Bercow faced ten opponents, including Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP, who obtained 17.4% of the vote, and John Stevens, from the Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy party, who obtained 21.4%. Bercow won with 47% of the vote.
Of course the prospect of Labour losing the Parliamentary seat , at the next General Election looks remote, but Mr Bryant as speaker would probably be impregnable.
He may also be considering , that the speakers roll would allow him more time to spend in London where he could indulge in a sideline as aproperty developer it emerges he made £649,500 in gross profit selling two London flats the taxpayer helped pay the mortgage interest on.
I don’t really rate his chances, but who knows?