These steps are for you as an MP, rather than your staff, although your staff can help with steps 1 and 2.
The first substantive speech that you make after being elected is known as your maiden speech. You must not make a maiden speech until you’ve taken the oath or affirmed—if you do, you will lose your seat.
- Decide when you want to make your maiden speech. At the start of a Parliament, the debate on the Queen’s Speech, which normally last six days, provides the first chance. After that, opportunities depend on the business of the House. The future business section of the Order Paper will tell you which debates are coming up.
- Write to or email the Speaker’s Office in advance to let the Speaker know that you want to speak in a particular debate and that it will be your maiden speech. In view of the number of new MPs at the start of Parliament, there’s no guarantee you’ll get called to speak on a particular day. If you contact the Speaker’s Office, they can tell you the likelihood you’ll be called.
- Some conventions apply to maiden speeches. They should: relate in some way to the subject of the debate; be brief (about 5 minutes); be uncontroversial (not politically contentious or critical); contain remarks about your constituency; contain a tribute to your predecessor, regardless of political party. If you would like assistance in writing your maiden speech, you can contact the House of Commons Library. They can provide the speeches of predecessors in your constituency and any other information you might need, including statistics, details of boundary changes and previous MPs.
- On the day, arrive for the start of the debate and wait for the Speaker to call you. MPs giving maiden speeches may be heard early in the debate. When the Speaker calls you, stand in your place and make your speech. Other MPs may not intervene on a maiden speech. Once you've spoken, you should remain for at least the next two speeches and return for the final speeches from the Opposition and the minister.
- If you want to order a presentation copy of your speech, you should contact Hansard.