Monday, 18 May 2009

Speaker Martin under pressure today.

Another week, another round of expenses allegations in the Telegraph and more and more pressure on Michael Martin to give up his post as Speaker.

Two things are happening today in the Commons. First, a motion from the Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, calling on Mr Martin to resign immediately and for a new Speaker to be elected is being supported by more than half a dozen MPs.

Such a move is unprecedented in modern times, no Speaker has been removed since 1690 and before that they were usually told their time was up by having their head cut off.

Nick Clegg has joined the calls for Mr Martin to go , controversial that a party leader should join the fray, and indicative of where the Lib Dems are. Conservative outrider David Davies and Labour greybeard Charles Clarke (never a supporter of Martin's) have also added to the clamour for Martin to go. Whether the motion is accepted, debated or even voted on is a matter for the Speaker himself.

Mr Martin has his own plans, starting with a statement to the House on his own future which we expect will pre-announce, Tony Blair style, his departure at the next General Election. He wants to stay on to reform the rotten expenses system that he is being blamed for presiding over.

It's true that Mr Martin was a roadblock to transparency, he fought tooth and nail against the Freedom of Information campaign on expenses, but his Committee did propose radical reforms of expenses last year that were thrown out on a free vote.

He might also apologise for his outburst at Kate Hoey MP and Norman Baker MP last week when he attacked these independent minded MPs for questioning his handling of the leak that led to the scandal in the first place. Will that be enough to quell discontent. I doubt it but the Labour benches are in no mood to sacrifice Mr Martin for the sins of the whole House.

No comments:

Post a Comment