Labour MP Trevor Mallard is better known for arguing with Parliament's Speaker than refereeing but he will soon get his chance to sit in the debating chamber's main chair himself as Assistant Speaker.

It is understood Labour has nominated the man often labelled the party's bovver boy for the Assistant Speaker slot traditionally reserved for an Opposition MP, and National has agreed to it.

Mr Mallard would not confirm it last night, saying it was a matter for the Leader of the House to announce.

It is a classic case of poacher turned gamekeeper. Mr Mallard once described Speaker David Carter as "a Mafia don running his National Party protection racket" - a tweet that prompted a privileges committee review of the use of Twitter in the House.


He has been kicked out of Parliament on numerous occasions, including twice in May alone for interjections about former minister Judith Collins' links to Oravida and National's donations from Donghua Liu.

Mr Mallard's predecessor was Ross Robertson, who retired at the election. Mr Robertson's catchphrase was "courtesy is contagious" - a motto Mr Mallard is unlikely to pick up. Being Assistant Speaker will cramp Mr Mallard's contributions in Parliament, but he has served as Labour's shadow Leader of the House and is one of the Labour MPs best versed on its rules.

Mr Mallard put his name forward to be Speaker by way of protest against National's choice of Mr Carter and declared it was one of his ambitions to hold the job. The Speaker roles will be formally decided when Parliament returns next week. Prime Minister John Key has already announced the Government expects to keep Mr Carter on as Speaker and will nominate Chester Borrows as deputy.