PM expresses support for Mr Speaker as MPs speak out

May 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment


A Tory MP has confirmed he is to table the first motion of no confidence in a Speaker of the House of Commons in more than 300 years.

Douglas Carswell told The Guardian that a Labour and a Lib Dem MP have expressed an interest in putting their names to his Early Day Motion, which he expects to table “before the end of next week.”

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, has defended one of his MPs who was personally attacked by the Speaker in the House yesterday, a highly unusual event in itself.

Speaker Martin called Norman Baker “another individual member keen to say to the press whatever the press wants to hear.”

He also attacked Labour MP Kate Hoey, who later told reporters she wished Betty Bothroyd was still in the Chair.

Mr Clegg said Mr Baker is a consistent advocate of “transparency in Westminster” and said Mr Martin had “misjudged it spectacularly.”

There has been no attempt to publicly remove a Speaker in living memory.

Today the Prime Minister’s spokesman said:

“The Speaker is appointed by the Commons, not the government.

“The Prime Minister obviously supports the will of the Commons, therefore he supports the person who has been elected as Speaker of the Commons.

“The Prime Minister has said before, and he stands by that, that he thinks the Speaker is doing a good job.”

Mr Baker said Mr Martin’s behaviour was disgraceful.

“The Speaker should be leading us out of this mess. Instead he made it plain he wants to defend vested interests,” he said.

“He is Chair of the Commons Commission, the obstacle to progress which conspired to try and force a bill through to exempt MPs altogether from freedom of information.”

In an article for The Daily Telegraph, which has published stories on MPs’ expenses for the past five days, Ms Hoey described the Speaker’s behaviour as “a hectoring response reminiscent of the manager who, out of loyalty to his team, indignantly attacks a referee’s decision.”

She wrote: “For the Speaker to believe that the damage done to Parliament is due to abuses being revealed, rather than due the abuses having been perpetrated in the first place, shows a lack of respect for the electorate.

“To close ranks and then use the forces of law and order to obscure the abuses makes people even angrier.

“They expect integrity and honesty from their Members of Parliament, and even more from the Speaker. He should examine his conscience.”


Entry filed under: Commons, History. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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