41 thoughts on “Speaker Michael Martin faces a revolt on MPs’ expenses”

  1. And here is the Speaker’s apology on Youtube, in which he says Parliament has let down the nation.

    ps. excellent poem from Dungeekin.

  2. Yes, sometimes one has to feel very sorry for people way out of their depth. That’s not condoning – just being compassionate.

    As for where next: Boris is in Korea and Cameron must know that the Recess is looming.

    Give it some space for the real wider economic mess to unravel and then let a team take over that has a chance of fixing without being saddled with all the blame.

  3. The Speaker was obviously upset, because close examination shows his hands shaking. Awful for him, because no Speaker has had to withdraw for 300 years, but it probably would be for the best.

  4. http://getweb.info/college/?p=4619?eeb540f0

    Nick Clegg said yesterday, that on a personal level, Michael Martin is courteous and charming. However, Mr. Clegg believes that professionally, Mr. Martin is a totally unsuitable Speaker and the link above shows why. He is not being made a scapegoat, it would just be better for him to go, if the faith of the public is to be restored in politicians, and he is not the only one.

  5. I do like Mr Speaker but he clearly is not enjoying presiding over “the Best Show in Town” as Bernard Weatherill described action in the Chamber.

    Frank Field would be absolutely fantastic if he could rise to the challenge!

  6. I do not agree. Resignation of Speaker Michael Martin, is nothing more than a suitable diversion for this rotten Government’s wrong doing.

    The PM has lost the confidence of the people. What is required, is the Dissolution of Parliament. Gordon Brown must ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament and call an election. Let the People decide.

  7. A month ago, Mr Speaker used his own money to try to apply for a gagging order on MPs expenses fiddling from the High Court and failed.

    Why did he use his own money to pay for this desperate attempt? Did he really use his own money or was it a collection from fiddling MPs?

    Why has Mr Speaker been easy with the fiddling MPs? Is he trying to sweeten them to hang on his job which he was elected by the MPs to do since year 2000?

    Mr Speaker has fiddled his expenses himself. He and other cheating MPs must be jailed.

    This is the Tories’ chance to do Britain a service ( Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun 18.5.09 ) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/columnists/kavanagh/article2434196.ece

  8. I think that as most people I meet are on the fiddle, I work in public health I don’t feel too outraged by a few piggies in the Government


    The first Speaker was appointed in 1377 by Prince John of Gaunt. His name was Sir Thomas Hungerford and he was a mere royal puppet. The despised Poll Tax was introduced while he was Speaker and the Peasants’ Revolt resulted in 1381.

    During the Wars of the Roses, 1453-1487, five Speakers were beheaded, murdered, or killed in battle. The tradition of MPs dragging the Speaker to the Chair is supposed to have dated from this time.

    The job of Speaker was a dicey one during the reign of Henry VIII. He beheaded three of them, notably Sir Thomas More on 5th July, 1535. Other Speakers beheaded in Henry’s reign were Sir Richard Empson and Edmond Dudley. The perception was still that the Speaker should be “the King’s man”.

    It was not until the troubled reign of Charles I that this perception changed. Pressured by an emboldened Parliament, Charles I entered the House on January 4, 1642, to arrest five men for high treason. The king addressed the Speaker, William Lenthall, who until then had been regarded as amenable and timid, demanding to know where the men were. To his amazement, the previously mouselike Lenthall replied thus:

    “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here”.

    The humiliated King quit the House, with the ascendancy of Parliament confirmed by his departure. Oliver Cromwell dissolved Parliament 11 years later.

    After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the role of Speaker changed once more. He was now seen as a politicial appointee to whichever party was in power.

    Not until the nineteenth century did the concept of impartiality, so important to the role of the modern Speaker,become accepted.

    It is almost unprecedented for a Speaker to be removed from office, and the only Speaker to have been so treated was Sir John Trevor in 1695, for accepting a bribe. For this crime, the House expelled him.

  10. Those “few piggies in the Government” represent an approximate total sum of £490m claimed in expenses, across 646 MPs, since 2001.

  11. Right now even the Queen is very unhappy about the MPs’ expenses scandal. Usually queens are happy people.

  12. As all hell breaks loose over here, the Mayor is charging round Seoul, discussing climate change and hobnobbing with Bill Clinton. I bet they have some interesting chats.

  13. I’m sure the Queen is desperately unhappy at the way our Parliamentary system is eroding before our eyes.

  14. As he’s going, let’s have another poem in honour of the (ex)Speaker…

    Ordure, Ordure

    There goes Mick Martin, back o’er the border,
    No longer will he say “Order, Order”,
    Expenses for the rich, all claiming for more,
    And letting the Plod break down Damian’s door,
    A failure as Speaker, and now it’s his time,
    All confidence lost due to all of his crimes.
    His partisan ways a disgrace to the Chamber,
    He gave Opposition MPs the cold shoulder,
    Though yesterday he tried to plead to the masses,
    He’d always just tried to make war between classes
    Though MPs all cheer as his time approaches,
    They should know it won’t save the other cockroaches.
    The Speaker refused to turn his course,
    He waffled on while faith was lost,
    So though his passing is no great shakes,
    Knowing he’s next the Prime Minister quakes.

    (With apologies to W H Auden)

  15. ‘ 18 COPS AT FRED RAID ‘

    An attack on the home of Fred Goodwin was probed by 18 cops. They piled in after the ex RBS boss had one of his windows smashed and his Merc damaged in Edinburgh.

    The 65 hour police operation with officers, detectives, forensics and dog handlers failed to find a culprit. ( The Sun 19.5.09 )

    Britian’s bobbies are taking home £52,000 a YEAR overtime pay on top of their salary as they always have to stay behind filling 30 different forms due to red tape under Labour’s rules and, in most cases while working with CPOs, they have to call, and wait, for reinforcement from the real police officers as COPs have no real power to do anything. That’s how overtime occurs.

    This clearly shows we need more real police on streets and not Labour’s plastic Police Community Officers ( PCOs ) who don’t have power to arrest anybody. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2434325.ece

    This country is a joke right now and needs a complete overhaul. We need a new government.

  16. Hi Karin! When Martin left, it was like a Mafia funeral. Great beefy Labour guys, kissing his ring, and silently offering “respect”. I bet Nick Clegg gets a dead fish in the post.

  17. I know! And John (Two Jags) Prescott, telling the press to f…. off, just like Sonny Corleone! I was waiting for him to smash their cameras.

  18. Oh well….

    It’s a “Goodbye” from Speaker Martin and a big “Helloooooo…..” Lord Gorbals. Just think, he’ll get a whole new set of bright coloured robes. It’s nice to see someone rewarded for failure. Reminds me of “Fred the Shred”.

    Nick Clegg and dead fish? Waste of a good fish!

  19. I don’t possess a duckpond and a moat would sometimes be a brilliant addition but I’m at a loss to know why a mere mention of those items is worthy of revolutionary cries of ‘Heads off’. Yes, claiming for putting in features that did not previously exist is unacceptable but (being devil’s advocate and knowing nothing) if it is the kind of duck island that sits on top of a septic system and so both saves tax and the environment? I’m not saying that is the particular case as I reiterate I don’t know – but trial by media is getting to be a pain.

    As for the moat: when I need thinking space I often wish for one. That’s not the issue. If the owner of the moat always did the job themselves and happened to be made an MP, then it should be verifiable and claimable because no-one should be debarred from parliament on grounds of income. Too much or too little, it matters not provided it is justifiable. Double taxation is just wrong.

  20. Gill, surely expenses are meant to relate to the job done by the MP, so by any stretch of the imagination, moats, duck ponds and gardening costs of all types just don’t qualify? I actually think it was unfair that Gordon Brown was slated because he charged cleaning costs. He has a hugely stressful job, and it is penny pinching to complain if he charges for cleaning.

    Nobody even minds if MPs get certain perks, if they do a good job, but paying for items totally unrelated to the job of MP cannot be within the spirit of the rules, and deep down, these people must know that, even if the Fees Office did OK it.

    Aren’t MPs supposed to be servants of the public, and to be so careless with public money reveals how very little some of them care for the public.

  21. I can’t feel sorry for Mr Martin. After nine years in the chair he still has not mastered the House’s procedures and has to refer to the Law Clerks all the time. Only last month he flew off to Dubai at our expense, for a first-hand study of an open democracy at work. He has been, as they say, part of the problem, not part of the solution. He could at least have made an effort.

    It’s interesting how MPs have set up four troughs, one blue, one red, a green one for Sinn Fein and one just for Lord Rennard. The Tory blue trough contains moats, chandeliers, floating duck islands (I thought all ducks could float?) domestic staff and tennis courts. The Labour red trough contains plasma tellies, barbecue sets, KitKats, bathplugs and mucky films. People never reveal their class origins more than when they are drunk or thieving.

  22. Tiresias, who would you like to see replace Michael Martin as Speaker? Frank Field would be good – independent minded. I would also support Sir George Young, and if she wanted to stand, Ann widdecombe would be excellent.

    Read this in today’s Standard. “..one Government whip laid bare the bitter “class war” battle ahead over selecting the next Speaker. “The Tories have tried to stuff us by taking down one of ours” he said. “So we are going to stuff them by voting for someone they hate”. (today’s Standard).


    Hasn’t what has happened so far been bad enough? Do we need MPs to demonstrate this childish and vindictive attitude, proving conclusively once again how very selfish they are, and how uncaring of the needs of the public?

  23. Duckponds and such. I really don’t care overly much – although duckponds seem to be pushing it. If being an MP requires people to take genuinely extra expense, then there should be a case. For some, not being around to push the lawnmower or clean the windows might be the limit but if you happen to live/be born somewhere where you have a different-looking set of problems, why punish? It’s a principle. If you have to leave you lawnmower to be an MP, you should be able to claim. If you genuinely did your moat-maintenance yourself, fair enough – claim. The principle that you should not be out of pocket for doing public service is not predicated on an income nor on a hereditary bank account. That is not the same as saying you should be able to enhance your income.

  24. Tiresias, I think I will be joining you. Many of the other candidates have problems over their expenses, and I do believe that the next Speaker should be absolutely squeaky clean in that area.

    John Bercow, a heavily tipped Tory candidate, “flipped” his second home and claimed the maximum possible expenses for it. Sir George young has claimed the maximum possible amount of expenses on his second home for the ast two years – not a crime actually, and nothing as serious as flipping. However, he is a traditionalist, not really a reformer.

    Sir Alan Beith, the first MP formally to put his name forward, claimed £117,000 in second home allowances, while his wife claimed £60,000 for the same address.Their claims have always been hefty.


    Frank Field has emerged unscathed from the expenses row. He is his own man and someone I have always admired.

  25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5368010/MPs-expenses-David-Cameron-slaps-down-wacky–Nadine-Dorries.html

    The expenses scandal has shown David Cameron at his most assertive. When MP Nadine Dorries histrionically described the atmosphere at Westminster as “completely unbearable” and went on to claim that some MPs feared a suicide might be in the offing, Mr. Cameron cracked down hard.

    He said that MPs should be more concerned about the general public. “Frankly MPs ought to be concerned about what their constituents think and ought to be worrying about the people who put us where we are ” he told the BBC tartly.

    One member of Tory high commmand described Miss Dorries as “completely wacky”.

    Only one day previously, Mr. Cameron had forced Sir Antony Steen to apologise after Sir Antony claimed that he was the victim of “jealousy” among his constituents because of his large house. On “Question Time” last night, William Hague’s droll expression when discussing Sir Antony’s remarks said it all. “He was overwrought, after a stressful day” said Mr. Hague tactfully.

  26. “Other contenders for Speaker, sir Menzies Campbell and Sir Alan Haselhurst, have already been hit by the expenses revelations. Sir Menzies agreed to repay £1,490 in interior designer’s fees on his Dolphin Square flat, while Sir Alan claimed nearly £12,000 for gardening bills at his Essex farmhouse.” today’s Standard.

    Frank Field is one of the 200 lowest claiming MPs.

  27. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1186975/Browns-candidate-Speaker-Right-wing-turncoat-hated-Tory-MPs.html

    Why do Labour have to be so spiteful and petty? The Times last week and the Mail on Sunday today reported that Labour intend to try to foist a Speaker on the House that David Cameron dislikes, just to get back at the Tories for the loss of Michael Martin. (John Bercow, whose own expenses came under censure).

    Michael Martin was not a suitable candidate for Speaker, and it is not the fault of the Tories he has gone. His own woeful performance and exorbitant spending caused his demise, but Labour have to blame Cameron instead of the man himself.

    “If Bercow becomes Speaker, he could make like very difficult for Cameron – they are chalk and cheese” said one Labour MP with glee.” (Mail on Sunday).

    Once again, the Labour Party are not seeking the best Speaker to serve the needs of the country and to propagate reform. They are pettily and irresponsibly playing politics to get up Cameron’s nose. Mr. Brown, the public are already absolutely furious over the expenses row and the lack of responsibiity and dedication demonstrated by many MPs. Don’t you ever learn?

  28. http://dizzythinks.net/

    The blogspot Dizzy Thinks describes the differing attitudes to what Nadine Dorries has been writing on her blog.

    “Yesterday I posted about Nadine Dorries MP’s blog being taken down after intervention by lawyers acting on behalf of the Telegraph and the Barclay brother. I would say that yesterday there was a mixed reaction. The reaction appears to fall into four categories.

    Those that don’t care because they think she deserved it
    Those who think what she said was fair comment whether they agreed with her or not and so think it’s a bit off.
    Those who disagree with everything Nadine says vehemently thinking she is batshit crazy but defend her right to be so.
    And finally those that have seen similar things happen to their own blogs but so viscerally despise Nadine and the right wing blogs reporting it that its easier to question whether any of it is even true through obsessively sad twittering – something that will continue whatever is said.”

    I think I would opt for number 3.

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