Steve Richards in the Independent counsels well against a blood lust in the Commons. He was writing before the news broke that the Speaker is announcing at 2.30 pm thats hes bowing to the overwhelming pressure to quit. The speculation is that hell link his departure to an emergency expenses system to be discussed among party leaders later in the day. If Gordon Brown hadnt botched his ghastly grinning YouTube initiative, the Speaker would probably have survived. Remorse and some rollback at his treatment have started already. Austen Mitchell on BBC News insists:Its not the Speakers fault” and asks: “if the Speakers head rolls how many others among not so bad cases will follow? Against that is the clean out the stables school of Polly Toynbee, whos set off a Roman candle of reform, PR for both Houses, a written constitution, the lot. Oh and what about citizens juries to sort out the allowances scale? It was all seen before in the 17th century. Bring back the Levellers!. Back at ground level, the big danger now is that attempts to create a stampede for a general election will doom any hopes that reform will get the careful, non-partisan consideration it needs.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London