Speaker, a term applied to the presiding officer of each house of the parliament of Great Britain, of the house of representatives of the United States congress, and generally of the lower houses of the state legislatures. The house of commons elects its own speaker, who must be approved by the crown, and who can only speak or vote in committee, except in the case of an equality of votes, when he gives the casting vote. He holds office until the dissolution of the parliament. The office existed as early as the reign of Henry III., when Peter de Montford communicated the answer of parliament to Pope Alexander IV., but the name was not used till the reign of Edward III. The speaker of the house of lords is the lord chancellor for the time being, appointed by the crown. The house of representatives of the United States elects its own speaker at the first session of each congress, who holds office until the meeting of the next congress; and in the state legislatures an analogous practice prevails.