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Allanalbowsmit on May 12th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
Wasn't the MPs Expenses debacle originally discovered with the Speaker having taken more cash than he should have?

He should've gone then, but I think it was Labour v Conservative over the matter, with Labour defending him, so there was no real action.

He's felt the sharp tongue of the Press already over the matter, so I can understand his irritation at the stories that are flurrying about as we speak. But the Speaker should not be chastising MPs for anything else other than physically speaking out of turn.
Cesycesy on May 12th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yes. Surely part of the job of the Speaker is to chair the debate, and actually taking part in it compromises that? Regardless of what he said or which side he's on, to be a proper Speaker doesn't he need to keep out of the argument, so he can actually be neutral and have something to stand on when he needs to stop people speaking out of turn?
Mat Bowlesmatgb on May 12th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Sort of. Traditionally, the role of the Speaker is to defend the interests of the house and its members first, then chair the debates second.

It's a holdout to the days when Kings used to try and storm the chamber to arrest MPs and similar. That he failed to stop the pointless arrest of a Tory does sortof destroy that argument dead, and of course the role needs complete reform, but theoretically he's doing his job.

Makes a change.
Cesycesy on May 12th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, interesting. I never knew that. So even more reason why he should have resigned over the Damian Green affair, but it means he was partially justified in this case. Does "defending the interests of the house and its members" include when they've done something a) illegal or b) immoral?
Mat Bowlesmatgb on May 12th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
They are Honourable Members, they would never do either of such things.

But if they've done something illegal, he needs to see proper warrants and ensure it's all done above board, but 'immoral' is hard to quantify. Most of the MPs reported have been abusing the system legally.

Worth noting not all of those reported are abusing it (Bradshaw being notable, his 'crime' is to be in a civil partnership with a man not married to a wife), and many, if not most, MPs haven't been doing so (bloke for Luton North (Labour) commutes in from Luton and occasionally stays in a cheap hotel if he works late, no Lib Dem outer London MP claims for a 2nd home, etc).

But yeah, Speaker is there to defend the House—all goes back to the Civil War and the Five Members (when Black Rod comes to summon them for the Queen's Speech and they slam the door in his face? That's why).
Logan: election rosetteloganberrybunny on May 12th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, he should, though according to the Daily Mail (I know, I know) an unofficial process may already be underway. Martin shouldn't have got the job in the first place, and has not exactly covered himself with glory. He tried to block release of these expenses details for years, claimed large amounts himself for taxis and carpets (mentioned lower down the Mail article) and was - to use an appropriate phrase - out of order in the way he behaved yesterday. On top of all that, he's not seen as politically impartial. He's so far behind his predecessor (Betty Boothroyd) in general esteem that it's almost laughable.
ijournalerijournaler on May 12th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
In a situation where a lot of people are behaving badly kicking out the Speaker seems more of a gesture than a proper solution.

What we have is a "conundrum" (so described by constitutional expert Lord Norton)in so far as parliament ultimately authorises all public spending - including MPs' salaries - so they are bound to vote for their own salaries and allowances.( See BBC article on this).

If a more honourable attitude prevailed this would work well. Unfortunately greed has triumphed - it's like telling a guest to help themselves or make themselves at home and finding they've emptied the biscuit tin, the fridge and the bathroom linen cupboard!
Perfidious Albionmatttt on May 12th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
One might speculate that he reacted like this because he's on the fiddle too....

And I hate that this has practically become a party-political issue now.
Rogue Soloroguesolo on May 13th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
Gorbals Mick has his snout in the trough so deep that he can't see out of his piggy little eyes.

He, like the rest of the greedy incumbents at Westminster want nothing better than retaining the Status Quo of parliamentary expenses.

The long running investigative journalism by Heather Brooke into MPs expenses via FOI requests and old-fashioned legwork was made all the more difficult by the Speaker. Michael Martin has sanctioned the spend of vast amounts of public money appealing to the High Court to prevent the release into the public domain of all MP's expenses relating to second homes.

Gorbals Mick has been consistently taking the piss with regard to parliamentary expenses. In December 2007, The Times discovered that the public purse had paid for over £4000 in taxi fares for his wife to go shopping.

Resign? That's the very least that I'd expect.