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Will he stay or will he go?

Nick Robinson | 09:56 UK time, Monday, 18 May 2009

The Speaker's fate hangs in the balance this morning.

Senior figures in both the cabinet and the shadow cabinet now privately share the publicly stated view of the Liberal Democrats that "he has to go". Not only that they believe that, whether Michael Martin understands this or not, he will be gone soon.

Michael Martin

A minister close to Gordon Brown tells me that "There is inevitability to it all. Events have their own momentum" before stressing that he is not speaking for the prime minister who has moved from public support to the Speaker to neutrality (the line now is that this is a matter for the Commons and not the government).

If the Speaker is listening to these voices he will announce his resignation this afternoon. However, those close to him - like Jim Sheridan MP on this morning's Today programme - insist that his intention is to stay until the next election and reflect his anger that he's being treated "like a paedophile".

Sir John TrevorSo, how can he avoid being the first Speaker to be ousted since Sir John Trevor in 1695 who was removed for the "high crime and misdemeanour" of taking bribes?

He has to avoid the motion of no confidence in him being debated this week. Though there may well still be a majority of MPs prepared to back him - most Labour backbenchers plus, I'm told 15-20 Tories - the divisions such a debate would create would be fatal to his authority and the status of the Speaker.

So, the Speaker's Plan for Survival needs to include a plan, a timetable, an apology and, above all, time:

• a plan - to reform the expenses system
• a timetable - for his departure at the next election
• an apology - to those MPs he attacked last week and to the public as a whole
• time - to let the heat go out of calls for him to go

A plan does not exist according to MPs who advise him and the chairman of the independent enquiry into MPs expenses.

The timetable for his departure is too long for his critics.

An apology will come too late for most.

That leaves time.

Senior figures on the Labour and Tory benches are extremely reluctant to break parliamentary convention by criticising the Speaker openly. If they refuse to sign the motion of no confidence in him the government may argue that there is no justification for re-arranging parliamentary business to debate it before the Commons goes into recess this Thursday. Tempers may then cool.

That is the hope of the Speaker's allies.

The government whips are, I'm told, neutral on the issue.

So an awful lot hangs on who does what between now and the Speaker's statement this afternoon.

UPDATE, 10:55: "I'm a celebrity, get me into here" is Esther Rantzen's response to the MPs' expenses crisis. The veteran consumer champion and advocate of children's rights has just declared that she is ready to stand as an independent anti-sleaze candidate. A celebrity articulating the public's anger could be very potent indeed, as Martin Bell proved when he stood against Neil Hamilton.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Martin, is a terrible phoney, and the worst kind of Boundaby!

    Betty Boothroyd was the model, modern speaker, impartial and succinct.

    When she said Order that was it, not this ridculous Random o-o-o-order, sometimes stated when no-one is saying anything! It's right up thier with Brown mr-mr-mr-Speaker, on every single reply on PMQ's.

    Although he's a bit damaged from all the expenses stuff, I would like to see Ming the Merciful replace Martin of Toad Hall.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Being the kind of Labour appointee that he is, he'll cling on til the death.

    Anyway how is gordon supposed to avoid answering any questions at PMQs without him?

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    'Time to let the meat go out of calls for him to go''

    An interesting metaphor....

    Typo perhaps?

  • Comment number 6.

    Amazing really. They steal from us, lie to us, pass law after law that degrades us, yet there is nothing we can do to rid ourselves of them.

    I would like to see a new democracy, one in which the electorate vote online for issues of the day and for their own choice of MP. The existing party system is a joke. This labour government has less than 20% of electorate support now, meaning it has no legitimacy at all. Yet they are still there, passing laws on 'our' behalf. Away with them!

  • Comment number 7.

    There is such a lot of anger over the MPs expense debacle that, should the Speaker hang on until the next election, it is likely that Labour will become the third party.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Nick
    It seems to me that "parliamentary convention" is at the root cause of why this scandal was not fixed earlier. We are too bound up in the lace and the garters of an old pretend democracy. A modern democracy does not need black rod et al; it needs trust. We have no trust and it will not be coming back for generations. If the political classes want to salvage something then need to end the flimflam and frippery, they are supposed to be modern day men and women not fops, start behaving like servants of the people not their masters. Martin has to go because he has become the icon of parliamentary obstinacy, of all that is outdated and irrelevant in a modern day democracy. The mother of all parliaments now needs to beget a modern son or daughter , either by natural birth or a voting public induced caesarean

  • Comment number 9.

    Martin has shown signs of incompetence nearly from day 1. When MPs had to prompt him once, over a point of procedure, he ranted "don't tell me how to do my job!" Well they shouldn't have to! He has only lasted so long because of fear of collateral damage if he was removed. Claims of persecution, and of class prejudice against his detractors, are simply ad hominem insults: they fail to address the issues and should be ignored. Claims of scapegoating are also irrelevant as they invalidate criticism of any individual! Speaker Martin is not a scapegoat because removing him will just be the start.

  • Comment number 10.

    'This labour government has less than 20% of electorate support now, meaning it has no legitimacy at all. Yet they are still there, passing laws on 'our' behalf. Away with them!'

    I could not have said it better myself, I wish these comments had a recommend feature!

  • Comment number 11.

    The expenses reform plan will surely be the one that Gordon dictates; he has talked up such a thing vigorously enough. So the only substantive move to save Martin's bacon will have been made anonymously by the Prime Minister. Am I naive in finding this interesting?

  • Comment number 12.

    In the name of God.....Go

    And go now!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Speaker Martin cheques out.

  • Comment number 14.

    Fixed now, I see...

    Pity. ;-)

  • Comment number 15.

    Nick, why are the older discussions closed off? I would understand if you wanted to move the debate to newer topics but as there were no new topics that doesn't apply.

    Anyway, back on topic. I feel that the Speaker should do the honourable thing and resign. He has been weak on this issue (and others - he should never have let the police into the house without a warrant) and seems unable (or unwilling) to be impartial within debates.

    If Martin does hang on then he risks doing further damage the role of the speaker itself, and it will appear like he is willing to put himself above the house.

  • Comment number 16.

    This prevarification typifies the whole sorry state that the Commons has got itself into.The Speakers sole motive appears to be to stretch out his term,despite enormous pressure,to ensure the maximum take from the public purse. The complete inability to resolve this matter quickly is just one more example of ineptitude and self interest.Who can blame MP's for stealing from the public purse if they observe such behaviour at close hand from supposed senior parliamentarians?

  • Comment number 17.

    When will Mr Speaker come to the studios at 4 Millbank, I wonder?

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Speaker, your time (if it ever existed) has now passed. In the name of God, GO ....

  • Comment number 19.

    He clings on and clings on. If he had any sense of putting the country first he would go and go now - along with MPs found to have made serious errors of judgement when it comes to claiming expenses. For the life of me, I cannot see the problem with the current rules, which quite clearly state expenses must be... and I quote from the Green Book:-
    "Claims should be above reproach and must reflect actual usage of the resources being claimed."
    "Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties."
    "Members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else."
    "The requirement of ensuring value for money is central in claiming for accommodation, goods or services Members should avoid purchases which could be seen as extravagant or luxurious."
    "How comfortable do I feel with the knowledge that my claim will be available to the public under Freedom of Information?"
    In relation to the above, how the MPs exposed can say "I didn't break the rules" is beyond me. Do they really think the British public is entirely stupid? They treat us with contempt. Plus the Fees' Office must come in for criticism for allowing expenses claims which clearly break the above quotes from the Green Book.
    The Speaker is at the midst of this festering sore and part of the solution to the problem is to be rid of the Speaker and any MPs that are in significant breach of the Green Book principles.

  • Comment number 20.

    You mean another stitch up and cobbled together solution to the demise of our political system.

    You people in the Westminster bubble just don't get it.

    We now have;

    The biggest economic crisis in our history that leads to our children being robbed of their yet unearned income for years to come to pay for Brown's cockups

    The reputation for acting in the name of freedom shattered by an illegal war enacted on a Lie.

    The biggest Political crisis since the English civil war.

    All created in 12 years of ZaNuLabour. There is not one aspect of Britain's life that has not been damage by the criminals.

    This Parliament is a ROTTERN Parliament.

    It no longer has any moral mandate or authority to govern.

    This set of MP's need to go back to their constituencies and renew their mandate.

    The speaker and his placemen have to go.

    They can squirm as much as they like it is only making things worse and allowing people to see that they only care for the own positions not the damage they have done to this country.

    IN GODS NAME GO!!!!!!

    We need an immediate election to clear them out.

  • Comment number 21.

    "I would like to see a new democracy, one in which the electorate vote online for issues of the day and for their own choice of MP."

    If the public vote on every issue, what do you need MPs for?

  • Comment number 22.

    Martin seems a metaphor for Labour. Incompetence has always been just below the surface but is now laid bare for all to see. Add in a bit of sleeze, an unwillingness to face the truth and try to change and now clinging to power long after all are wishing him gone.

  • Comment number 23.

    How can this arrogant man claim that he being treated "like a pedophile". He's being treated exactly like any other so-called public servant who's been caught with his hands in the cookie jar. What, exactly, did he expect when all this became public?

    We can all see now why he spent so much tax payers money (seems to be a common theme with him and the MPs) attempting to keep MPs' expenses a state secret. The accusations that the attacks on him result from "elitism" make me laugh. Michael Martin is the one who thinks he's better than us, that the law doesn't apply to him or his cronies and that the public should just bend over and take it while MPs loot Britain like it was a banana republic.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regardless of whether Michael Martin played a major role in this grubby affair, I think he should go. A line needs to be drawn under the 'expenses' issue so that the UK can move forward.

    Quite why there's been all the furore is beyond me, besides, we knew that twenty odd Labour ministers resigned from their front bench posts only to be snapped-up by the corporates to successfully bid for government contracts.

    We already knew that a number of Conservative MPs treated their jobs as MPs as part-time, so part time in fact, that they were able to do several other jobs (Francis Maude was Chairman of a company specialising in sub-prime loans - it's now gone bust).

    There are unfortunately too many politicians with serious conflicts of interest - who do they actually represent? Hmmmmmmm, let me think.... THEMSELVES!

    The 'Mother of All Parliaments' is nothing but a giant focus group taking people from all walks of life and finding out what they want, not what the country wants.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    "That leaves time."

    That's a luxury parliament, and the Speaker, no longer have.

  • Comment number 27.

    Anger at being treated like a paedophile??? NOBODY has suggested he is a paedophile. A crook, or enabler of crooks, maybe and rightly so, but a paedophile? How utterly and completely ridiculous....

    ...Or is he displaying a guilty conscience or something? We need to know more about this.

    @number 6, electronic voting? are you insane, or just ignorant? Who would you trust to create that system? How could you every trust that a vote you cast would be counted? You would have ZERO proof that any vote cast is counted accurately or honestly or at all.

    We would lose ALL democratic accountability with electronic voting. AND The machines are just too easy to hack.

    @10 I agree. Actually only 22% of the entire country voted to put Tony Blair's labour party in No10 in 2005 and that was partly on the back of a promise to hold a referendum on the EU treaty and a promise not to increase income tax. Labour's support in the whole country is now down to about 10%. They have lied on the referendum and tax and they have cheated on their expenses and are STILL war criminals. And we STILL do not have a lawful mechanism for deselecting them or firing MP's.

    Cameron would win an even bigger landslide if he promised to create a mechanism whereby if a Government broke an election manifesto promise, (breach of contract) OR if 80% of the population demanded a new election, then there would be an election by default within one month.

  • Comment number 28.

    Can this man not take a hint ?? What would he be like as a guest at a party ?? He would still be regaling the dog and cat with stories hours after the hosts had gone to bed...

    Will he have to be dragged from the Chair kicking and screaming ?? The more people trying to hint he goes, the more he digs himself in - so this is not going to end well.

  • Comment number 29.

    According to convention he should never have been appointed in the first place. The speaker should have come from the ranks of either the Tories or the Libdems.

    I trust talk of him going isn't so much hogwash (pun intended).

  • Comment number 30.

    What you said on the today programme, I think, represents the most salient point here:

    Had the speaker not fought existing plans for expenses publication, none of this would have come to light.

    Could this not be where the anger is in part coming from?

    Equally, many hark back to the days of previous speakers with misty eyes but as people correctly point out, under previous speakers the expenses system was the same! (In fact it was less transparent).

    Whilst a successful politician must recognise the right time to make political capital of the issue, the current rash of faux posturing is absurd and unneeded with regards to expenses - the Lib Dems are falling in on the telegraphs bandwagon, which is to some extent fair enough, but infighting over little understood parliamentary practice in a public arena just makes everyone look bad.

    Unfortunately the real winners in all of this will likely be fringe parties such as UKIP, who currently have a former UKIP MEP in prison for fraud.

    Suddenly Irony seems less funny.

  • Comment number 31.

    His apparent reluctance or go or his determination to stay show his real interest is in saving his pride and the perks that go with being Speaker (expenses, residence, etc.) and that he does not have the interests of Parliament or the electorate as his prime concern. This alone means he must go. Somebody in his role should be primarily concerned by teh reputation of Parliament and serving the people.

    His own expenses have in the past raised concerns. His wife's taxi bills for shopping are astounding, etc. His blocking FOI requests relating to Parliament becuase he does not like FOI make him totally nsiuted to the role. that he cannot see this is disappointing. That his friends cannot point it out to him is sad. When openness and transparency are important requirements, he has always fought hard to prevent release of information, to maintain the "nod and wink". All credit to Clegg for speaking out. He [Clegg] is right in that there is far to much "nod and wink" and historic practic, etc. that goes on. It was always the case but is particularly so after the last week that a lot of information about what has been going on needs to be released and the Speaker has always made it clear he is strongly against this - thus, whilst he retains his role people will always assume there is more info/dirt he has blocked, perpetuating the mistrust.

  • Comment number 32.

    10 I wish these comments had a recommend feature! "

    Please no. It is a kind thought towards somebody, but let us not dumb down as HYS dumbed down

  • Comment number 33.

    Blair hung in there to get his ten years in despite the damage his continued tenure was doing and now we have something of the same to coin a phrase yet another dead man walking. In Blairs case the aims were pretty obvious as has been found true since he flew the coop. But... this speaker is hanging on against all popular opinion, for what? What's in it for him, apart from anger, ridicule and indeed suspicion? I suppose that in the current circumstances this could also apply to many more of these MPs who turn up at the House of ill repute.

  • Comment number 34.

    He's been treated like a paedophile????

    That is truly the most pathetic attempt to garner sympathy I've ever ever heard. The man is a disgrace to our democracy - not just for the expenses but to the Damian Green affair - he lacks judgement and as with many in this government has finally been found out.

    On the Esther Rantzen candidature - who will she be standing against? Or how about she stands in multiple seats and we can then lose a few unethical MPs and gain her? Please make is Jacqui Smith!!! I applaud her and look forward to seeing her win and win big!

  • Comment number 35.

    I think this sums it up pretty well.

    "Oliver Cromwell was a bloodthirsty tyrant, but he got it right in 1653.

    He told the discredited Rump Parliament: It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

    Ye are enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

    Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go! "

  • Comment number 36.

    Normally it is the electorate who lose confidence in their government. In this case we appear to have lost both confidence in the government and confidence in our MPs (and parliamentary system). Yet we are to accept the government soldier on until they (Labour) feel the time is right for a General Election. Most of us know government business is on the buffers. We and they know the games up, so if ever there was a need for a four year fixed term parliament this is it, or will the Queen do what is needed and tell him the clean up of the commons must start with a fresh election.

  • Comment number 37.

    @meltonmark

    Try lawful rebellion.

  • Comment number 38.

    First, there is reasonable suspicion that frauds have been committed. Therefore the police must be required to investigate, to prepare files for the prosecutors to decide upon. That is the role of the police. No meetings are required, they have had a complaint, they are to investigate, they are police officers, not the juries.

    Secondly, Speaker Martin has not served Parliament, and ultimately, the people of this country, well. Under his tenure, we have seen decisions handed off to inquiries, feedom of information stalled, confidential offices raided by the police, the politicisation of what we citizens believed was an impartial civil service, debate curtailed when deciding upon legislation that fundamentally curtailled the civil liberties of the people of this country.....

    So he must go. Of course, he will seek to remain, each month he stays will increase his pension, but, unfortunately, even the Queen would have difficulty sacking him. However,.... should he be charged with, for example, claiming expenses that were not entirely in keeping with the needs of his role as an MP, and subsequently found guilty and imprisioned for, I think it requires more that six months,...then we are in business.

    AA

  • Comment number 39.

    The wee lad from the slums of Glasgow has come to epitomise NuLabour.

    Totally disconnected from his roots and everyday folk, lording it over the very worst examples of public sector troughing, and now its public knowledge he lacks the courage to do the decent thing and go.

    The need of the country is obvious to everyone but a man desperate to cling on to the trappings of office.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lets all support Ms Rantzen and get behind a party of common sense, under one banner aimed at taking away sleaze and bringing in basic reform. It may last just the one parliament, but may serve as one of the best possible ways to reform our MPs system and bring things back into line. Oh and by the way Speaker Martin must go now!

  • Comment number 41.

    21. kidfortoday
    "I would like to see a new democracy, one in which the electorate vote online for issues of the day and for their own choice of MP."

    If the public vote on every issue, what do you need MPs for?


    mmmmmm I think youll find your point actually adds weight to the argument for televoting.




  • Comment number 42.

    I see little chance or hope of Michael Martin surviving the crisis. Not that I would condone his survival anyway.
    Parliament is slowly awakening to the fact that it is actully answerable to the people, not the other way around.
    The people are currently very angry, and need this crisis resolved now. Any parlimentary fudging of the expenses issues or delaying tactics will only further enrage an already angered nation.
    He should not be seen as being made the fall guy, simply the very first of the many others who undoubtedly will have to follow in his footsteps, as and when the inevitable prosecutions begin, as surely they must.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Nick,

    Please don't overdo it - you know how I worry. You are up to around two blogs a week, now. Leave the rushing to post before anyone else to the crowd, and put your feet up.

    See you in the pub.

  • Comment number 44.


    I would suggest Nick it's the future of the government which hangs in the balance not just the shame of the speaker. Getting rid of the commons speaker is a start - but only a start .

    My concern is that this will be all flammed up as a scalp and a smokescreen which will put an end to the squalid expenses fiddles scandal which of course it won't.

    The public doesn't care about his role as the commons ringmaster or the gatekeeper of the scandalous MPs' expenses but they do rightly see him as part of the problem.

    As I've argued here, at the end of the day isn't the only course of action left to dissolve parliament and call a snap general election to restore public faith in parliamentary democracy?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/queen-and-her-people-are-not-amused.html

  • Comment number 45.

    All this ridiculous to-ing and fro-ing about whether or not the speaker should resign is illustrative of the disasterous collapse in parliamentary standards in the past twelve years under newlabour.

    How anyone could now defend his position and claim any kind of credibility is beyond me.

    How a government with less than twenty percent approval rating can govern is beyond me.

    How a governemnt can remain in power whose own ministers have used the within the rues excuse over and over again for something they knew full well would be unpopular is beyond me.

    It is time for a government that has the confidence to do what is right and not what it deems is right for its party. It's time for a government that stops spending money like it was going out of fashion, stops tinkering with the education system and stops preaching about its eifience.

    It's time to dissolve parliament and call a election.

    This governemnt is now a dead man walking.

    And please, BBC, the next time one of the oh so clever newlabour goden couple Balls/Cooper appear on the radio or TV can you please not defer to their greater intelligence the whole time and ask them about their rejected double mortage expense claims?

    Anyone who tried to claim twice for expenses in the private sector would be disciplined not just have it rejected. This an outrageous affari.

    it is no wonder the Queen, no less, cannot fathom what on earth has been going on and is reported to be dismayed at it all; she is probably asking herself how she can ever mutter the words - my government - at the beginning of her address to parliament and manage to keep a straight face. It's no more a government than the local school debating society; it has no money, no power, no influence, no respect, no policy direction and its leader does not even have the legitimacy of having won an election.

    Dissolve parliament; it's for the best.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why do politicians have different expense rules to the public?

    For example, after two years of working at any place we can no longer claim hotel and travel expeses, whereas they can. We cannot rent a property for to stay in while working away and then have out family visit at the weekend, poloticans can.

    Should they not follow the HMRC rules that they create as we have to?

  • Comment number 47.

    One of the political boulders rocking, ready to roll, in the political landslide that will engulf Brown. It is all set and ready to move and however Brown moves he just becomes more entangled in it. He is damned if he does nothing, he is damned if he does. Why does he not move on instead of being steadily entombed in his failed ideas and policies.

    Speaker Martin is just seen as a defender of the indefensible and his path was set when he complained about something that should already be in the public domain being 'stolen' to enter the public domain. Is Speaker Martin yet another politican with no political sense, no connection with the electorate. The entire electorate to become floating voters seething in a moat.

    In view of the theft of data, alonside repeated losses of date - What chance the 'security' of ID card data one askes when the latest proposal is High Street shops handle it - Another well thought out idea. Just how secure is that as a concept. I mean to say, theft never happens on the High Street does it.

    MPs are quite happy to pry and spy and tax the public - including taxing those on low and the minimum wage, yet want another standard for themselves. Perhaps MPs should consider the penalties visited on people who mis-claim Tax Credits for far smaller sums.

    When is the Fees Office to be investigated for colluding with MPs in what appears to be the deliberate misinterpreting the Green Book Rules. When is sanction to be visited on individuals, and what is that sanction to be.

    Blackadder to Baldrick, How did you manage to pay 8,000 pounds for a turnip. Baldrick - It was hard work my lord, it was difficult, they only wanted 500 pounds but I persuaded them in the end, I couldnt find a turnip so I got a telly.

  • Comment number 48.

    Gorbals Mick epitomises all that is rank about Nu Labour. A man promoted far beyond his capabilities who is gorging himself on the trappings of his position.

    His supporters say that he is only human and that the crticism is hurting him. Well most decent human beings would probably respond to the criticism by acknowledging errors and putting them right be resigning with what diginity is left.

    Then again there is a small minority who will cling on to scrape every last vestige of privilege from the post - and hang the consequences!

    Which group will Martin fall into.

  • Comment number 49.

    I wonder if Mr Robinson would be so kind as to tell those of us outside the Westminster village what pension and other benefits Mr Speaker will receive:
    (a) if he resigns now 'voluntarily';
    (b) if he is dismissed on a vote of no confidence; and
    (c) if he hangs on until the next General Election.

  • Comment number 50.

    "Neverthless, what's been revealed so far looks unlilkely to force anyone from office" From your blog, Nick, of just 11 days ago.

    Did you really have no idea of what information was to come out? Or did you, like so many MPs, think it would just blow over and go away? Seems that many political 'experts' had as little idea of the mood of the country as their politician chums.

  • Comment number 51.

    There is light at the end of a dark political tunnel for us English.

    Calls for independent MP's are growing and also for genuine reform of the system itself, for example, a fully elected House of Lords.

    A clearout of current MP's is coming and not before time.

  • Comment number 52.

    Well Nick,

    it seems to be another case of same ol', same ol.
    We have another politician who has been overtaken by events, and is now demonstrably not fit for purpose, to use John Reid's (sorry, Dr John Reid's) words.
    Trying to bring Westminster, and its arcane practices, into the real world, where we all live, seems to be an tractable problem. The Speaker is an integral part of the expenses problem, and cannot be considered capable of resolving it to any reasonable minded person.
    However, like all other Labout politicians who have clung on to office for as long as possible, I am not optimistic that he will do the honourable thing any time soon.
    His situation is very similar to our beloved prime minister's, in that lovable old Gordie is also part of the problem, and cannot, in all honesty, be entrusted to resolve it. Whilst he is not directly responsible for the expenses mess, he has allowed it to escalate to this point, and is now unable to focus on resolving the problem related the economy and the global recession. I am amazed that we haven't been told about the global expenses problem that seems to have engulfed our brave parliamentarians.
    We, the publc, feel that the transgressors should pay with their jobs. Whilst we know that this would make governance almost inoperable, then we need a general election.

  • Comment number 53.

    As an earlier comment noted, what a difference between this spaeker and say Betty Boothroyd or for that matter George Thomas, both inpartial and on top of the job. It goes very ill with the public that the Speaker has appeared to be at the forefront of efforts to keep secrecy. He may be an honest man, but has no idea of PR which, unfortunately, has become an essential attribute of all those dealing with the media. He should do the honourable thing. I don't however subscribe to the view that MP's should force him out by a motion. This could set an unfortunate precedent if a future speaker was trying to protect minority parties from a governing party with an overlarge majority, for example.

    Incidentally, what has happened to the BBC's coverage of the latest Telegraph revelations? According to the papers, Balls and Cooper may have been flipping, and there are serious allegations about mortgage interest. The latter was covered, but seems to have disappeared. Surely, the BBC is not using Michael Martin as a smokescreen.

  • Comment number 54.

    URGENT: Check the Commons order paper. There is a "Ministerial Statements (if any)" listed for 2.30 BEFORE questions -This is most unusual. They are usually after questions -and are listed there as well. Dont miss the statement.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just a question for NICK ROBINSON - In all your time as a political journalist have you ever noticed such a wave of public criticism against our MPs?

  • Comment number 56.

    I'd be very surprised indeed if he went voluntarily.

    He'd lose about 100 grand of "winding up" allowances etc if he quit, whereas if he's ejected then he'll get to keep that money.

    Judging by his previous outlook on expenses (his own, and others') I don't see how he'd voluntarily part with 100grand in cash.

    The only way he'd go voluntarily would be if the commons agreed to make an exception/compensation to give him his 100grand that he wouldn't normally be entitled to if quitting, and I can see that as quite a likely outcome/scenario, whereby he gets paid the full winding-up allowance plus wages for the rest of this parliament even if he's no longer serving as speaker.

    So, I reckon there'll be a backroom deal, whereby he'll get to keep all the money just as-if he'd served the full parlialmentary term and then been kicked out, but officially he would have resigned rather then be sacked. (get to keep all the money but not have to do any work for it; maximising all aspects of all potential payouts under all scenarios; that'll definitely appeal to him)

  • Comment number 57.

    The Speaker is being made a scapegoat.
    HE IS THE ONE WHO INTRODUCED CHANGES TO THE EXPENSES LAST JULY, but Gordon Brown didn't turn up to vote. Jackie Smith voted against the changes, and most of the labour MPS didnt tutn up either. Appalling behaviour by MPs yet the Press have hardly reported this issue at all.

  • Comment number 58.

    Michael Martin does not deserve to remain in the Speaker's Chair. MPs who fail to eject him will have no excuse when they face the electorate in due course. However, Mr. Martin's immediate departure is a necessary but far from sufficient condition for Parliament's renewal.

    John Stonborough, Mr Martin's past media adviser, told a newspaper that Michael Martin had exploded with rage when challenged about his own claims for a second home and that Mr. Martin had stood in the way of a radical reform of the HoC expenses system.

    Indeed Stonborough went further. He made it clear, to a Sunday newspaper, that Mr. Martin had 'personally edited the ... Green Book on parliamentary allowances' in 2004 and had facilitated the continuation of the system the Telegraph has been reporting on in such lurid detail.

    Mr. Martin's abject failure to deal with the suppurating allowance system and his readiness to ally himself with what can only be described as a parliamentary mafia, which wanted nothing more than to keep the product of the allowance system away from voter's prying eyes, was compounded when he was less than forthright about his own part in the unprecedented police search of a parliamentary office.

    Mr. Martin told his fellow MPs that he had not been informed in advance that the police wanted to undertake a search of Parliament without a warrant. He allowed the impression to take hold that Jill Pay, the Serjeant at Arms, had failed to alert him to what was proposed. At least 3 officials, who were in a position to know what had happened, told the Sunday Times Mr. Martin had been given advanced notice of the proposed police search and the lack of a warrant.

    The fact that Mr. Martin's 'friends' and 'defenders' are now suggesting that those who want him out lack all integrity and courage, because they know he cannot reply publicly to them, demonstrates just how poisonous and detached from reality the closed and self-regarding parliamentary mafia that surrounds Mr. Martin has become.

    In truth Mr. Martin found a way to express his contempt for his critics - and in a very public way - when he used the power of the Chair, a power that allows no right of reply - to attack Kate Hoey and Norman Baker. They are both honourable Members of Parliament who have tried for years, without success, to get Mr. Martin to honour and to properly discharge the vital responsibilities of his office.

    Mr. Martin will only survive with the covert support of a discredited Prime Minister. Mr. Brown surely knows the right thing to do but it is far from clear that he has the capacity to do it. I pray, for the sake of our Parliamentary system, that good sense will prevail but I am fearful that it will not.

  • Comment number 59.

    @30 Davynine "Equally, many hark back to the days of previous speakers with misty eyes but as people correctly point out, under previous speakers the expenses system was the same! (In fact it was less transparent)."
    ---------------------------

    Actually the current expense system was drawn up in 2001 under Michael Martin's stewardship. As Martin Bell stated, Today's system is more corrupt than the system he came in to fight as an independent in 1997. Sleaze has got much worse under labour.

  • Comment number 60.

    It would be emblematic of the current total disenfranchisement of ordinary people from the way we are governed if Speaker Martin clung to his job for another year.

    One gets the sense that there is a bunch of political shysters in Westminster who are ducking, diving and conniving with each other to exploit every conceivable mechanism to hang on to everything they've got: their jobs, their perks, their status, their power over us.

    We're witnessing the disgraceful and undignified decline and destruction of a totally incompetent and immoral Government (remember that Speaker Martin is a placeman and was engineered into the role by the Labour Party, in similar fashion to Gordon Brown having engineered his way into Downing Street).

    If Speaker Martin is not ousted from the Chair one way or another in short order (I doubt if he has the decency or statemanship to resign), then this will be yet another nail in the coffins of both our political class and our democracy.

    Goodness knows what other countries are making of this self-inflicted mess, but I suspect the United Kingdom's standing in the world is diving like a chickenwire submarine right now. Sadly, so much of this economic and political bomb site is the direct result of dysfunctional Government policies and inaction over the past decade.

    The Labour Party will come to rue the day it ever allowed Gordon Brown to design its economic strategy and eventually seize power with neither a mandate from its own Party members, still less the British people. This Brownian culture of ignoring the wishes of others is reflected in Speaker Martin's resolve to hang in there. In the Labour Party, this is the way things are done, led by the illegitimate leader at the helm.

    Parliament should be dissolved and power returned to the people post haste.

  • Comment number 61.

    the UPDATE

    The extent of the damage done to politics is that somehow this has become an act for Esther Rantzen to get in on. First the alleged boost to fringe extremists now this. For pity's sake how much worse can it get?


  • Comment number 62.

    Michael Martin is an embarrassment and is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the House of Commons. He has fought tooth and nail to prevent details of MPs expenses being revealed, including spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers money in a fruitless attempt to prevent publication, by going to the High Court.
    We now see why. With the tens of thousands he has spent on first class travel for him AND his wife, the thousands on taxis for him and his wife, food etc he wanted to hide his own expenses.

    Now we read that he wants his son to "inherit" his seat at the next election. He obviously has lost touch with reality and needs to make way for someone who will really reform Parliament, not keep the cosy status quo.

    Go now before you do any more harm!

  • Comment number 63.

    30. At 11:08am on 18 May 2009, Dayvine wrote:
    "Unfortunately the real winners in all of this will likely be fringe parties such as UKIP, who currently have a former UKIP MEP in prison for fraud."

    Sadly this may be true but it is because the three main politcal parties have restricted debate on all kind of issues from immigration to the referendum on Europe. What do we expect? Of course UKIP will do well because they are one of the rare parties who are open to discussion. Of course the BNP will gain because people feel fed up with the system.

  • Comment number 64.

    While I am no fan of the Speaker of the House, I do feel that the MPs are deflecting their expenses born troubles onto him and are using him as a scapegoat. Will it be a case of "we got rid of the Speaker so the expenses debacle can now be called to a close"? I would rather see the MPs throw themselves on the mercy of voters through an election than to have one person singled out just so that everyone else can get off scot free. Call a General Election Now!

  • Comment number 65.

    "Taxi for Martin!".

    How much must he see himself humiliated before he decides it is time to go? Surely if he had any decency he would resign and go now.

    I fear the story in the Mail on Sunday of trying to set up the seat for his son may be at the heart of it all.

  • Comment number 66.

    No. 6:

    "I would like to see a new democracy, one in which the electorate vote online for issues of the day"

    On the great BBC programme Genius one of the inventions put forward was The Democrabus - all passengers vote on which direction they wish to go at every turning.

    I think this is one of the most insightful comments I have ever heard on the state of British democracy in the face of tabloid criticism.

    It certainly speaks to the mass hysteria stirred up by the press over issues most people don't have the mental capacity to understand, like Europe, what an MP actually does, how financial markets work etc...

  • Comment number 67.

    He has lost the last ounce of authority he had. What really annoys me, is the gap between this world and the real world. The system needs reform. It needs to accountable, transparent, it needs a new face. Just because its tradition the speaker isnt removed, does not mean he can not.

    p.s Here is a solution, pay mps twice as much, and scrap expenses. DONE. It is what happens in many other countries. Or why not have a 'halls of residence'. Make them have rooms, like at university. They need to be trusted.

  • Comment number 68.

    What time is the statement scheduled for or expected?

  • Comment number 69.

    "49. At 11:24am on 18 May 2009, EricJT wrote:
    I wonder if Mr Robinson would be so kind as to tell those of us outside the Westminster village what pension and other benefits Mr Speaker will receive:
    (a) if he resigns now 'voluntarily';
    (b) if he is dismissed on a vote of no confidence; and
    (c) if he hangs on until the next General Election."

    Do you write Parliamentary Questions for the Conservatives by any chance?

  • Comment number 70.

    Until last Monday I supported Mr Martin (I won't say "The Speaker", the position is above the personality), I defended him against claims that he was bias, he wasn't coherent (he does seem at times to be in the Pres. Bush camp of orators) or when people tried to deride his path in life, all of that is either petty party politics or irrelevant - BUT - last Monday, his behaviour in rounding on MPs expressing a valid, 'on-topic' opinion that he didn't like was a disgrace.

    He is part of the problem now, he has made himself part of the problem, like the problem he needs go - for the sake of parliament - not out of some party political or snobbish value, people have cited Betty Boothroyd and many in times past would have offered to eat their hats had someone suggested that a chorus girl could become a MP never mind Speaker, someone's path in life is not the issue.

    A Footnote: Many things got left unsaid, un-replied to, un-contested in the previous (First cheques, now jobs) blog due to the closing of that blog, I think I will probably speak for all when I say that it wasn't a good couple of days in the name of democracy for the BBC - either close a blog and remove the comments or allow comments to join the moderation process, even if moderation is delayed...

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick,

    A plan...:?

    The 2005 MPs have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. They have betrayed the people.

    What is needed is a new Parliament, MPs can put their case to the public and be returned with a mandate for reform.

    As for Mr Cameron, I am astounded that people think he has shown moral leadership. Like the others, he needs a new mandate from his constituents. He also needs to challenged on the "wholly and necessarily" question of the claim he refunded to the fees office. Ask him. I would bet you will get a "within the rules/system wrong" answer.

    The truth is, if it was wholly necessary for his duty as an MP, then there is no need to refund it. Refunding it suggests that it was not necessary in relation to his duty as an MP.

    Incidentally, his call for a reduced number of MPs carries with it no suggestion of a reduced budget/cost. I can see his reforms as being the same sized cake being shared by fewer MPs.

    His cry from the heart for rather less MPs comes at a time when current MPs say they work 80 hours a week!

    Presumably with less MPs and more consituents, they will have to work a little harder!!! No one has challenged him on this.

    Lets have an election and put their ideas for reform to the people.

  • Comment number 72.

    40

    "Lets all support Ms Rantzen and get behind a party of common sense"

    I watched Ms Rantzen on question time not more than 6 months ago defending Gordon Brown to the hilt.

    Not my idea of "common sense"

    What we need is for the set of MP's to go up in front of the boss (US) and be re-elected or rejected in a General Election.

    Then we can start to put this country back together again.

    We don't need the shambles of 650 MP's elected 650 different manifestos.

    This country is in dia straghts and our immediate future is very dangerous this is not the time for set of protest MP's.

  • Comment number 73.

    "37. At 11:13am on 18 May 2009, tomireland wrote:

    @meltonmark

    Try lawful rebellion."
    ============================

    Agreed. I have been looking into this for a couple of months now and although there is a lot to learn about the law and statute, and understanding the difference between legal and lawful and the idea of shedding the 'person' is a BIG decision, it is well worth looking into.

    If these charlatans and crooks and con-men in Parliament will not listen to their electors, if they stop acting as public servants and they debase and break their oath of office, WE are then left no alternative but to abdicate our person and it's duty to act under legal obligation, but instead for our flesh and blood man endowed with a soul, to enter lawful rebellion against the traitors and usurpers of the crown and to act entirely in accordance with natural and common law, as we reject Admiralty law as the law of the sea and of commerce. We declare that we, as the governed, withdraw our consent to their governance and therefore statutes and legal acts no longer carry the force of law over us. We stand as free men on the land, to act, trade, and behave lawfully in accordance with God's law and the common law derived there from.

    Anyone that wants to know more about LAWFUL rebellion should look it up on the internet. There are currently thousands of people now declaring lawful rebellion against the state. Emphasis on the LAWFUL and this is NOT a way of getting away with committing crimes. It is about taking ULTIMATE responsibility for your own actions and making life as difficult as possible for the state, but to do so WITHIN common law.

    Think of it as playing chess against the Government, but before the game starts, you are allowed to place all your pieces on the board in the positions that best suit your strategy to win, so as soon as the game begins, The Government is placed in checkmate.

  • Comment number 74.

    The Speaker is being made a scapegoat.

    Well not really.

    This whole pus & blood filled boil needs lancing, Martin is sitting at the white point top and centre, just where the hot needle needs to be inserted.

    Stand by for discharge and a whole lota screaming.

  • Comment number 75.

    How typical of the Nu Labour project and the state to which our democracy has sunk.

    A Speaker has to go, not because he is a biased, arrogant,class warrior of the worst type, ditto John Prescott,but becausE MPs need a scapegoat to assuage public disgust.

    Blair, him of the shredded expense forms, has led us to this pass, and now sits smugly coining in the dollars to amass a private fortune.

    Lets hope the British electorate uses the first opportunity to hand a lesson in the psuedo referendum in June. Otherwise a another year passes of corruption and spin by discredited public "servants"

  • Comment number 76.

    Statement will be made at 2.30. This is a ploy by the Speaker to make his statement to an almost empty house as most will expect it to be at 3.30 (Sky is saying 3.30).

    Usually statement are at 3.30 but they are listed on the order paper today both at 2.30 and 3.30.

  • Comment number 77.

    The speaker is dyed in the wool labour through and through and will not give up his perks voluntarily. As "the commons" are unlikely to oust him it seems the best we can hope is that he goes at the next general election along with all the other incompetants

  • Comment number 78.

    As and when Mr Speaker does go before his time, I would not grudge a word of congratulation for the Liberals on seizing the opportunity to drive this particular bandwagon. Whether they can make anything further of it is another question. I wonder how they are polling just now. The only way is (a long way) up.

  • Comment number 79.

    #72

    "This country is in dia straghts and our immediate future is very dangerous this is not the time for set of protest MP's."

    Couldn't agree more, well said.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick
    I see that you are claiming that the whips are neutral on the issue, Ian Dale is reporting on his blog:

    "There is a major Labour whipping operation going on as I write. Tommy McAvoy, the thuggish Deputy Chief Whip, has been sitting with an earpiece in his ear listening to the Today Programme and is now going round the Commons breakfast rooms telling every Labour MP he can find that the attacks on the Speaker are from southern, middle class English snobs on a Scottish working class Speaker. However, Labour MPs have just come back from their constituencies and may have a better idea of the public mood than Mr McAvoy. Few of them will be brave enough to tell him, though."

    You can't both be right, where do you get your information from??

  • Comment number 81.

    I nearly drove my car into a ditch this morning because I was shouting at the radio so much after Sheridan's rant. He also came out with the hilarious line that "How can the Speaker be expected to know what goes on in the Fees Office?" Because he's the senior official of the House and is responsible for the conduct of it's officials! Nobody gives a toss that Martin is from working class Glasgow stock. On 5 Live David Mellor highlighted George Thomas, who grew up with his siblings and widowed mother in a basement under a miner's house in South Wales in horrendous poverty but rose to become first an MP and then one of the most revered and respected Speakers since the war because he was a dignified and honourable man who fully understood and respected the office in which he served. Rather than look down on him for his roots, MP's on all sides judged him on his ability and respected him accordingly.

    In contrast Martin symbolises all the worst features of Glasgow Labour, tribal and venal. That is not meant as an attack on him because he is Scottish, but rather on Scottish Labour. The Scottish split of last weekend's ComRes poll was absolute dynamite as it had voting intention figures of SNP 30%, Conservative 26% and Labour on 19%! If repeated at the GE Labour would be down to just 10 Scottish seats! The clear indication is that the Scots have got fed up with Labour treating them as ballot fodder and will vote accordingly.

  • Comment number 82.

    69. At 11:50am on 18 May 2009, Dayvine wrote:
    "49. At 11:24am on 18 May 2009, EricJT wrote:
    I wonder if Mr Robinson would be so kind as to tell those of us outside the Westminster village what pension and other benefits Mr Speaker will receive:"

    There is no secret here. I read by the BBC that there is a 100k pension / handshake at stake. If this is the point referred to then it is an issue, but it is not necessarily Tory fodder to raise it.

  • Comment number 83.

    What does this government have to be accused of before Parliament gets the message and something is done about this scandal of corruption?

    I'm beginning to think that they would all have to be 'treated like paedophiles' before any action is ever taken.

  • Comment number 84.

    Whether he stays or goes is of little consequence in the overall scale of this issue. Everyone must be wary of the Speaker being used as a smokescreen or a sacrificial lamb to placate both those MP's who wish to see him go anyway and the public.

    I agree with #15 because there are still issues on which evolving positions are occurring.

    For example what I've heard little of is that the expenses of MP's are also ostensibly TAX FREE. Why is this?, Even those MP's who come forward to defend the other "honest and hard working MP's...." are basically getting a hand out in the form of not having to pay tax on the expenses they do claim.

    The whole lot are rotten, the usual test can be applied, if I or anyone else other than an MP were not to pay tax then WE would be under investigation.

    This is THE classic example of one rule for themselves and a different rule for the rest of us.

    So please Nick, go and ask what will be done in future about their tax status.

  • Comment number 85.

    It seems to have mostly escaped the notice of the English electorate, but the issue of MP's expenses has apparently not generated much excitement in either Scotland or Wales.

    Probably because those countries have their own Parliament/Assembly with different rules for accountability with respect to their representatives expenses.

    So, for the English, the issue should not be whether the current Speaker Martin is fit/not fit to continue with the job but why we English even have any Scottish or Welsh MP's at all at Westminster, when they have proper political representation, that is, a Parliament and an Assembly located in their own respective countries.

    Professional politicians at Westminster, particularly those from Scotland, Wales and NI, know that is the real question but for the present rely upon the apathy of the English people for the continuation of a very unsatisfactory and disadvantageous political system for us English people.

  • Comment number 86.

    Interesting .... on February 19, 2008, Speaker Martin gave tea to the Polish ambassador and claimed back £3.77 on expenses.

    There is no way this man will walk. He will have to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

  • Comment number 87.

    "59. At 11:35am on 18 May 2009, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    ...

    Actually the current expense system was drawn up in 2001 under Michael Martin's stewardship. As Martin Bell stated, Today's system is more corrupt than the system he came in to fight as an independent in 1997. Sleaze has got much worse under labour."

    I'm afraid you can not pin this pan parliamentary issue on Labour alone - I know of no Labour MPs with a Moat, though they are certainly as culpable in other respects.

    Actually Martin Bell said:

    "These expenses claims have eroded public trust in public life to a point where it stands lower than it did during the worst of the Tory scandals in the 1990s." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/08/mps-expenses-labour%29

    Your above statement is simply wrong.

  • Comment number 88.

    Whilst I agree with the majority of posters on this blog that Mr Martin should go I also agree with post #64. I don't think we should let MP's get away with trying to deflect opinion away from themselves and towards the speaker as the "bad guy"

    A large number of MP's have been involved in, at the very least, using the expenses system to their advantage and at worst fraud. Mr Martin certainly did his utmost to keep the status quo BUT SO DID THE REST OF THEM.

    Only a handfull of the 600 odd MP's have campaigned for a change to the expenses system, (ignoring the ones who say they want it now including GB and DC. Their piety politics doesn't deserve our acknowledgment)to make it more open.

    MP's are entitled to a vote of no confidence in the government but the only vote of confidence the electorate have in Parliament as a whole is an election. Stop taking us all for idiots - CALL ONE NOW!


  • Comment number 89.

    This is well worth read, says it all really
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4384015.ece

  • Comment number 90.

    The scapegoat point people are making is a fair one. Martin sits well in the role and was shaping up to it remarkably at the time of the Damian Green affair. But this only means members are represented by a significantly weak one of their number. On balance they cannot want him to stay. But what is the precedent? Short of a resignation this could be a painfully long goodbye.

  • Comment number 91.

    @38: "First, there is reasonable suspicion that frauds have been committed. Therefore the police must be required to investigate, to prepare files for the prosecutors to decide upon. That is the role of the police. No meetings are required, they have had a complaint, they are to investigate, they are police officers, not the juries."

    Indeed you are correct, people should write to the police in the form of a legal notice demanding that they take action against these MPs. Any police officer that refuses to investigate an official complaint shall be reported to their superiors.

    Failure to investigate serious crime is a serious breach of their oath, and is a serious neglect of their duty, equal in common law to fraud.

  • Comment number 92.

    The speaker may be wrong - but this is clearly MP's efforts at finding a scapegoat to feed the desire for blood from the public.

    I say - let them sack him - but don't let them think we're all going to 'forgive and forget' all their expenses claims and all go back to normal.

    The vote of no confidence simply shows how 'ALL MP's FROM ALL PARTIES' are quite happy to throw us one of their own in order to save their own scaly skins.

    The ONLY person I have heard who has any credibility is Vince Cable who said (paraphrasing) 'It is all of our faults, even those who did not claim excessively - we had the chance to reform and we didn't - we're all culpable'

    ....at last - some admission and remorse. Well if Vince wants to stand in my constituency then I am happy to vote for him.

    The others could take a lesson out of his book.

  • Comment number 93.

    As I understand it, Michael Martin has himself 'flipped' his constituency home to call it his secondary home, so that he can claim expenses on it. This is because he doesn't have to pay rent on his palatial apartments at Westminster, so he has gone claim hunting. With the result that he doesn't pay for either.

    How can he be seen as a suitable person to lead a reform of the system when he himself abuses the system in the same way that others have done? Especially as he insists that what he is doing is not an abuse - so by implication, there is no need for reform.

    In these circumstances, I find it hard to see how anybody can say he should stay on. Surely it's impossible for him to do the job when he is in a clear conflict of interest?

  • Comment number 94.

    To redress the balance and settle the Scottish working class argument a new Presiding Officer should be appointed to the Scottish Parliament. Maybe the Duke of Westminster or Boris Johnson?

  • Comment number 95.

    MPs should ignore convention and do what is right.There has been very little that has been right in Parliament for a very long time and now is the time to start.

    Michael Martin had many opportunites in the past to curb the excessive expense claims, including his own but he did everything in his power to prevent their publication. He also allowed an MP to be arrested within the House of Commons, something unheard of and his rudeness towards the MPs who questioned his handling of the expenses debacle was appalling.

    His judgment, his standards and his values do not rise to the level expected from the Speaker of the House of Commons and he needs to go.

  • Comment number 96.

    I am a Glaswegian from a working class background and was embarrassed to listen to the chip on the shoulder ramblings of Jim Sheridan in his hapless attempts to defend Speaker Martin.

    I can assure him that many working class Glaswegians are furious and mortified by the behaviour of MPs and are highly critical of Martin - not because of his working class background, but despite it. He has been a truly dreadful speaker though some might say transformational - taking us from Order! Order! to Ordure! Orudre!

    He should go now but won't, for two reasons. First he won't voluntarily forgo his 100k golden goodbye. Second, Labour Whips will prevent him from being voted out because he knows where too many bodies are buried.

    By the way, what has become of Harriet Harman's attachment to the court of public opinion? On the issue of MPs' expenses, she referred to matters being within the rules - not too difficult you might think when they are contained within miles of elastic. Maybe the court of public opinion applies only to Goodwin's pension and not to expenses?

  • Comment number 97.

    65. At 11:42am on 18 May 2009, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    I fear the story in the Mail on Sunday of trying to set up the seat for his son may be at the heart of it all.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Here is the link to the article that you referred to...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1183463/Pressure-mounts-Michael-Martin-Clegg-breaks-ranks-calls-go.html

  • Comment number 98.

    Remember remember..

    'Things can only get better'

    'Government of all the talents'

    When are we going to be called in to investigate? We could close it all off like a crime scene - just like the M6 after a bump.

    That might just give Queeny something to do for a while.

    Now there's an idea.

  • Comment number 99.

    How about a compromise? The Speaker announces that he will stay on until the next election and Gordon Brown goes to see the Queen this week about arranging for that to be next month. Best of all worlds.

  • Comment number 100.

    "80. At 12:12pm on 18 May 2009, skynine wrote:

    ...

    You can't both be right, where do you get your information from??"

    Given that Ian Dale has a declared interest in the Conservatives, I doubt he has Labour's best interests at heart.

    Which claim do you think is more damaging to Labour if it were true, his or Nick's? Who has the most to gain from a damaging claim, the Ian or Nick?

    It is far more likely that they will stay assiduously neutral, as will the Tories, and use the speaker to draw the poison from the wound, which the Media seem especially keen to do:

    As the Telegraph have a monopoly on the actual expenses data, it is hard for other papers to get in on the act.

    In comparison it is easy to write stories about the Speaker as nobody has a monopoly on comment, or access to him and other MPs. Because of this the story will take off.

 

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