So then, what sort of Speaker do we want?

Update. It’s now clear Michael Martin will resign his seat.
So Mick quits, in a statement of thundering anti-climax, in less than 100 words before a full House, proving his inadequacy to destruction for the second time in 24 hours. He even left up in the air if he was resigning his Glasgow seat. In the meantime, the arrangements for cleaning -out the stables begin without the slightest idea of what “breaking the rules” means in terms of natural justice, the rules being so vague. Appropriate though that on the Tory side Douglas Hogg, he of the moat cleaning claim, won’t stand again ( althiough he mightn’t have anyway) but I’m glad that Michael Gove one of the best and brightest, has squeaked through. Shahid Malik, cast as the ideal Labourite moderniser is only the first of Labour to crash. There’ll be concerns that Brown and Cameron will bid up the stakes to see who can pose as the better Cromwell. If they’ aren’t very careful, backbenchers may end up even more as cogs of central party machines, which is not what is supposed to happen. Many are furious that Mick mucked up so badly the Speaker’s role as champion ( but not slavish follower) of the backbenches, by opposing FoI for the Commons to the last ditch. The problem is: how can an MP assert his/her independence? The newly introduced secret ballot for electing Michael Martin’s successor should provide an acid test. So then, what sort of new Speaker do we want? MPs are worryingly confused about this. Some talk of “the most powerful Speaker ever” to lead “reform.” Others want a ceremonial figure who has nothing to do with administration. “The embodiment of Parliament to the People and the voice of the people to Parliament” sounds terrific but what does it mean? Mick’s problem was that he fell between the two stools. An interim Speaker up to the election looks like a kite that won’t fly. For those interested, I’ll make my own candidate list later. BTW, there’s no connection whatever between electoral reform and the present crisis. The record of expenses sinning shows the same would have happened under a Conservative government.

  • Greenflag

    BW ,

    ‘The record of expenses sinning shows the same would have happened under a Conservative government. ‘

    Indeed t’would . But the punters would have had a lot more how shall I put it – revelations of the sexual peccadillo kind . You just can’t beat the Conservatives for that kind of thing . Neither dog in the street or sheep in the field nor habited nun is safe when the Blue Boys ride into town šŸ˜‰ From Profumo to Parkinson to Clark to the Major & Currie family values show the Tories are always great value for romping and rodgering their way every which way when in power . Even under Maggie the boys just could’nt control their ‘libidos’.

    In comparison the Blair years have been a model of rectitude and not erectitude and both Blair and the dour oul Scot Gordy cannot be accused of shaming their country or their families.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Do El Gordo and PoshBoyDC not take any responsibility for the scandalous way that many of their closest aides and appointees have behaved?

    As for Michael Gove the fraud office and the inland revenue should be crawling all over him – he should have to answer for himself in a court of law.

    PBDC has shown bugger all leadership on this one – he is simply dodging the issue and leaving it up to the constituencies which are probably stuffed full of the MPs pals.

    As Gregory Campbell remarked on the radio – loads of people thought I should have taken more taxpayers money – the same shocking attitide may well be prevalent in Mickey’s constituency – so hopefully this is an obvious case of where an anti-corruption campaigner can ensure he will lose his seat.

  • DC

    The only way Brown can overtake Cameron is by standing down and bringing the whole charade down with him particularly as Brown’s expenses are fairly clean.

    The ideal strategy would be a quick brown step-down but in the interim Brown deals with expenses and blows up the credibility of the others by pulling the rug from under David Cameron. And between now and September a new leadership election can take place, perhaps over the lazy summer as proof of a new renewed Labour. Call election first week in October.

    With Brown gone and a Labour deselection process, Labour can claim that the speck is removed whereas the moat is still in Cameron’s eye. Millionaire man claiming to the hilt his second-home mortgage allowance.

    Alan Johnson runs on a reformed anti-sleaze Labour, Labour lose next election anyway, Miliband to pick up leadership at the next one.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    quite right – and not just tactically from the Labour viewpoint but this mess SHOULD be a resigning issue for both leaders.

    and there is a real opportunity for a new anti-corruption party to stand against high profile Tories and Labour figures.

    Regarding the speaker – this issue simply shows he has no real power anyway and is a procedural chairman sorrounded by outdated protocol – if people dont like him – even though they are more guilty than he is – political expediency will out.

  • Rory Carr

    The ideal candidate for speaker would have been Gwynneth Dunwoody. Unfortunately Gwynneth has passed on to the Big House in the Sky. Not that being alive and feisty did her much good last time.
    Fellow Big House in the Sky resident, Mo Mowlam was all set to propose her and had a Tory seconder ( whose name, I am sorry to say, momentarily escapes me) when all of a sudden she was obliged to shame-facedly confess to her seconder that she had been whipped to drop her proposal in favour of New Labour’s favourite son, Michael Martin.

    Anyone who has ever witnessed Dunwoody in action in parliamentary committees will know that not alone was she nobody’s fool nor was she anybody’s patsy. Indominantly independent of mind she clearly did not suit the fat controllers of the Blair/Brown machine but had she somehow been elected and survived there is nothing to say that even she could or would have made a better fist of all this mess than Speaker Martin.

    Whatever of Martin’s shortcomings his forced resignation is nothing less than a momentary scapegoating sacrifice to make it appear as though the political class is “doing something”.

    Speaker Martin may be condemned for his own sins but it is more than unfair that he is now to be blamed for the sins of those who contrived his downfall.

  • blinding

    How about Lady Sylvia Hermon.

    She does not like to be pushed around and seems to have an independant voice.

  • AJJM

    “As for Michael Gove the fraud office and the inland revenue should be crawling all over him – he should have to answer for himself in a court of law.”

    That is utter bollocks. He genuinely moved house. At far cry from the triple-flipping double-income Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper.

    Maybe you didn’t mention them because they aren’t Tories?

  • AJJM

    I think Frank Field should be speaker. Definitely not partisan – he puts principle above the party line. He advocates necessary Parliamentary reforms such as strengthening the role of backbenchers and less power for the Executive.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Maybe you didnā€™t mention them because they arenā€™t Tories?

    Eh no. He is referred to in this thread – and… “He apologised “unreservedly” for claiming for luxury items of furniture, and reiterated his denial that he had “flipped” the property designated as his second home to maximise his expenses.”

    Not the type of chappie who the Tories sholud be supporting. He also has a very unpleasant personality and ideology but we can damn him for that.

  • redhugh78

    who cares?

  • The Raven

    Blinding…..interesting…very, very interesting….

  • Reader

    Sammy: (quoting) and reiterated his denial that he had ā€œflippedā€ the property designated as his second home to maximise his expenses.
    Note: “reiterated” – not “retracted”

  • AJJM

    “Not the type of chappie who the Tories sholud be supporting. He also has a very unpleasant personality and ideology but we can damn him for that.”

    Definitely. The Tories shouldn’t be supporting people who sell a house and buy a new one. Damn them and their house moving. How dare they.

    I don’t know him personally, so obviously can’t judge that side of him aswell as you can. I assume you have at least met him once? Or are you just making judgements because you don’t like that he is a *whisper*Tory*whisper*?

    I also can assume you don’t like his education policy. It’s certainly disgusting that he actually wants to empower parents, so they can decide on their child’s future. That should be a deicison for the government. Give a parent say over their child’s education? Pah. Comrade Catriona certainly wouldn’t approve.

  • blinding

    The Raven said

    “Blindingā€¦..interestingā€¦very, very interestingā€¦.”

    If Lady Harmon were interested then she should at least go forward as a candidate.

    I don’t know if it would be considered that she had enough parliamentry experience but maybe that might not be the advantage that it once was.

  • dewi

    Frank Field for me.

  • Big Maggie


    I second that motion. It’s extraordinary that Frank is 66, three years older than Gorbals. Mick looks ten years older than Frank.

    This is what happens when a man dines once too often at the Ivy and has a predilection for deep-fried Mars bars.


    It was interesting to hear what George Foulkes, the former Scottish Labour MP and now Lord, said today. He stated that many within the House Of Commons wouldn’t accept Michael Martin because he was Catholic & working class. The old sectarian and snobbish element were reduced to their core prejudices right from the start. Even though Mr Martin didn’t come across well and certainly had his faults he was scapegoated to cover the corrupt greedy bastards who sit on the benches all around him. He was a very easy convenient target. George Orwell certainly got it right. Even though Animal Farm was about Russia it could equally be applied to Westminster AND Stormont. ALL MEN ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. Bring back the guillotine!

  • Big Maggie


    “He stated that many within the House Of Commons wouldnā€™t accept Michael Martin because he was Catholic & working class.”

    I was once Catholic and working class. I don’t accept Gorbals Mick because he’s a self-serving and arrogant shit. Let’s hope his passing makes way for someone with a bit more integrity.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ann Widdecombe for speaker, a no-nonsense woman of integrity, afraid of no-one.

    Frank Field should not be speaker for the simple reason that David Cameron should show true statesmanship and make it plain that there would be a place for him in his cabinet if the Tories win the next election, ditto for Vincent Cable.

    If Cameron really wanted to make a new start this would be a no-brainer and would be hugely popular.

  • Dave

    There definately needs to be reform of the parlimentary system as the British seem to have a latent republican streak that we haven’t seen too much of before but that is now emergent. It’s too early to tell how all of this will play out, and it’s not wise to muddy the waters with the election of a new speaker. Elect a speaker (David Davis or Ann Widdecombe would be my choice) and then set up a broad-based committee (with a strong input from the public) to look at parlimentary reform.

  • fin

    I’m disturbed to find myself in agreement with Harry and Dave.
    Since this whole rubbish began I thought Anne Widdecombe would be a good person for the job, her presenting of a series of TV documentaries on religion last year really impressed me.

    As someone pointed out on ‘Have I got news for you’ you’d think a requirement of been Speaker would be to have a speaking voice, Michael Martins accent made my skin crawl.

    Anne Widdecombe should keep everyone in NI happy, she’s a Catholic but very Protestant looking

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    this is an interesting anthropological observation – are you suggesting that on average the Prod female is uglier than her Papish counterpart?

  • Mike


    The thought of Lady Hermon becoming Speaker occurred to me, too. She’s a respected parliamentarian, it seems, and presumably has quite a few friends/allies on the Labour benches.

    Meanwhile it would be handy for the Conservatives and UUP, since come the next election her “party” label would be the non-partisan “Speaker seeking re-election”.

    Of course it would mean the UUP “losing” their only seat, but might be a solution to the condundrum the Conservatives and Unionists project now faces.

    Of course, the House has other priorities I’m sure!

  • AJJM

    Anne Widdecombe would be a great speaker. I just doubt her credentials as a reformer – what we currently need.

  • blinding

    It would be unfortunate that if being from NI ruled out Lady Hermon.

    Surely any MP that takes their seat should have an equal right to be put forward for speaker if they can garner the support.

    It would be a sad day for Unionists if being from NI ruled her out.