Sunday, 17 May 2009

Should the Speaker Step Aside?

Speaker Martin - has been a controversial figure since day one. After the retirement of Betty Boothroyd in 2000, most Conservatives thought the recent alternation between speakers from the two main political parties should continue. However the Labour majority made sure that Michael Martin would hold down the role. It has been suggested from some quarters that Martin hasn't been as impartial as he should be, regularly showing this just as much against Labour Backbenchers trying to criticise the Government as against opposition MP's.

Leaving the whole Damian Green affair aside for the moment (where the speaker had a large part to play in allowing the police to search through the Commons offices of the MP - where there was confidential constituency casework), this weeks debacle where the speaker resembled more of a shop steward than the speaker for the house, has lead to serious calls he should resign. In responding to a question put by Labour backbencher Kate Hoey when she said the inquiry into who leaked the expenses documents to the Daily telegraph was an awful waste of money - he had this to say:

"I listen to you often, when I turn on my television at midnight, and I hear your public utterances and your pearls of wisdom on Sky News. It's easy to talk then. Some of us in this House have other responsibilities."

A shocking outburst - and one that may be the final nail in his coffin. Tomorrow Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, will put down a motion of no confidence in the speaker and he says he has growing support for this. In another twist to the story Nick Clegg has come out and stated that the speaker should resign as his position is untenable. In becoming the most senior politician and first part leader to criticise the speaker this will undoubtedly increase the momentum in moves to unseat him.

As much as I think the speaker should go - I suspect the speaker will survive the motion of no confidence - but he will not stand again after the general election.

Speaker Martin

No comments: