Is the Speaker Now Vulnerable?

Andrew Rawnsley on Politics Home reports that the view of Westminster insiders suggests Hazel Blears and Barbara Follett face the most serious questioning for their expenses follies. Can't believe Margaret Moran is not on that list, but that may be because she is simply not important enough. In fact, though, the man towards whom attention is now focusing after a frankly disastrous performance in the Commons today is the ever inarticulate Speaker, Michael Martin. He gave a firm slap down to Labour's Kate Hoey for daring to suggest that calling the police in to deal with the leak of members' expenses might be, erm, a waste of time and money?

Hoey was right, and Martin, once you understood his garbled but undeniably angry response, couldn't have given a clearer indication that he is unsuited to holding the job of umpire of the Commons. His judgement is flawed, he himself is well up on the expenses gravy train, and there is no chance that he is going to be able to lead the Commons towards necessary - and public pacifying - reforms. The Telegraph's Iain Martin reports that one Tory MP is now casting around for signatures to a motion to depose the Speaker. Incidentally, it is worth remembering that traditionally, the Speaker faces election in his constituency unopposed.


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