Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Speaker To Resign This Afternoon

So there I was, enjoying a tour of UKIP's very busy campaign headquarters, when I looked up at the TV screen to see Sky News announcing that Michael Martin is to resign the Speakership this afternoon.

I imagine Gordon Brown had wielded the knife and told him his position was untenable and that if he didn't go the government would give time to a no confidence debate. But that's pure guesswork. No doubt the truth will out over the coming hours.

It is not yet clear what his timetable for departure is. I detect that the House is in no mood for him to hang around until the Summer recess or even until the election. If he tries to, there will be uproar this afternoon. It will take a little while for an election to be held to elect his successor and I imagine everyone will be happy for him to chair proceedings until then.

The news broke on Scottish Television at 10.32am, although the Evening Standard's Paul Waugh is laying claim to have broken it two minutes before them.

I almost hesitate to remind you of my words last Friday, which got such ridicule from many of the commenters...
By the end of this month, Michael Martin will no longer be Speaker. Indeed, I'd almost be willing to bet that he will have stepped down by the end of next week.
I must admit I am not the best soothsayer in the world, but at least I got this one right!

UPDATE: The BBC are reporting that Michael Martin won't be going "immediately". Hmmm.


Teri said...

Well it's a start.

I just hope there is no golden handshake involved.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope he resingns with immediate effect, and hands over to Sir Alan Haselhurst, who strides the Commons stage like a colossus.

I actually feel a bit sorry for Gorbals Mick, he looked so out of his depth yesterday.

Siberian Tory said...

The BBC are speculating he may stand down at some point in the future before the next election AFTER a raft of reforms have been completed.

If this is the case it's a clever tactic by Brown to take the pressure off for an early election.

Speculation at the moment though.

Demetrius said...

If this one is down to the bloggers then there really has been a revolution of sorts. Move the Government and Parliament from London, and pay for it by scrapping the Olympics.

londonmuslim said...

replace him with Konnie Haq. At least that way she wears a wig which looks like a Hijab and keep her clothes on

Anonymous said...

Brown wouldnt have the balls to get rid of him, i suspect he felt betrayed by Brown and his scottish pals and decided to go, question is how poisonous will the speech be?

Will he go quietly, I am thinking not.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought.

Could the new Speaker (whoever he or she is) bring each cheating member (from whatever party) to the bar of the house to apologise for milking their expenses?

Now that would be a start.

I could live with Haselhurst, Field, Davis or Evennet as speaker.

Mrs Crewe said...

I don't feel a bit sorry for him or any of them they milked the system for all it was worth and knew that what they were doing was wrong. AND even before the expenses revelations he had been an appalling Speaker who played party politics with abandon and brought the role of Speaker into disrepute

UB41 said...

Teri, I'm assuming it would be more of a platinum man hug than just a golden handshake.

If he hasn't negotiated some bespoke settlement, then fair play to the chap.

Anonymous said...

As the Speaker is elected unopposed in his constituency, does this now mean a parliamentary by-election?

This could well be a re-run of Glasgow East, losing that seat after losing London precipitated Brown's near removal last summer.

It could well be Martin's revenge to see Brown fall this autumn.

Nick said...

He was in a bit of a state in the clip I saw on TV. Still, serves him right for being such a self-important idiot. I feel there should be extreme scrutiny of any payoff/pension arrangements.

orientalsage said...

Does that mean he'll retire with a peerage? How on earth could that be seen as anything other than a 'reward for failure'. How could this government's reward-for-failure rhetoric (eg Sir Fred) look remotely credible in such circumstances?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It always seems to be the case that those who are about to fall are the last to know it.

Michael Martin's performance in the Commons yesterday was woefully inadequate and even his supporters must have known that the game was up.

Anyway, get we get someone for the vacant position who can actually read aloud or speak without notes? Someone literate and articulate? Someone who does not want to milk the system? Someone who treats his staff like human beings? Someone who is not a hate-filled socialist who spends his life in a rage?

Boo said...

My guess is that they will vote for a sucessor after the recess and he will step down then

Twig said...

It's the right thing to do.
He was out of his depth and appointed for party political reasons only.

Can we now have a proper Sergeant at Arms again, to stop any more abuse by the Home Office Police.

Michaela said...

Joey Jones just mentioned the Blog and your speaker poll !

Bardirect said...

Suspect he'll offer to go at the election.

Hope not.

If he does go now lets watch out for the Huhne's and other low majority MP' s scrabble for a chance to get in next time as "Speaker seeking re-election."

BrianSJ said...

sunonmars is probably right, and the announcement by STV adds weight to theories that this has been worked through by the Heart of Darkness (Stuart Dickson) - the Glasgow Labour Party. The offer won't be generous (to us).
It is of course consistently inconsistent with Brown saying it was a matter for the House rather than the Government.

golden_balls said...

Sir Alan Haselhurst won't be given the job permantly he's been found out like other mps with expenses.

I also hope Gorbals leaves quickly if only for his own peace of mind.

I do feel the house of commons has used speaker martin as a scapegoat and whatever ian and other tories like to spin the attacks have been both personal and class based.

Watching the grotesque quentin letts on sky news parading his snobbery when speaking of martin was shameful.

So after eleven days of media reporting where mps have been found to be dishonest in claiming expenses. The media has a scalp !
Is it an mp thats been caught fiddling his mortgage or claiming for moats cleaners housemaids! No its the speaker of the house of commons.

lavrentiy beria said...

A shabby end to the shabby career of a shabby man.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I wonder if something big is about to go down.

Martin resigning "in near future", Brown before the NEC today, They are very unhappy and have to wonder if they are telling him to call the election or they will sack him.

Brown's presser at 5.30, may be an election called, I can but wonder, surprise us all.

Anonymous said...

Checking back on past Speakers, I see that the splendid Bernard Weatherill is credited with:

"A good speech will not be remembered; a bad one will never be forgotten — or forgiven."

Anonymous said...

Martin was opposed in the last GE by the SNP, whose constitution obliges them to fight every seat in Scotland.


Simon The Bluesman said...

Well it's start. Let us now hope that this will kick start fundamental reform within The House of Commons. I am in favour of calling a General Election now because the people can voice their opinions via the ballot box. All those MPs who have abused the "system" and whose morals are currently held in judgment will have to face their constituents and accept the consequences. Did anyone see Esther on Newsnight last night? If not I recommend that you do so.


Stepney said...

Hell hath no fury like a troughing, shop steward jock whose hands have been prised from the cookie jar by an inconsequential and incompetent son of the manse.

Expect revelations a-plenty. Book deal within 24 hours. One rich ex-speaker - serialisation in the Mail by next March.


Anonymous said...

as i thought Adam Boulton, said "he understands that Brown did not give him his marching orders". The plot thickens.

Anonymous said...

I've just received an email alert from FT.com. It reads, with unconscious wit:

Martin to resign as UK Common Speaker

Flemingcrag said...

There should be no euphoria over the resignation of Michael Martin, he was a rotten apple but, there were plenty more in the barrel of Westminster. The clean-up can now start in earnest before the new Speaker is elected.

The Expense Inquiry Teams set up by David Cameron and now Gordon Brown must get on and dispense swift justice to those who have sinned beyond the pale. As in a court of law where "ignorance of the law" is not a permissable defence so should it be with the pathetic excuse of "it was within the rules".

Those found wanting in morality and honesty should have the Party whip withdrawn followed by an automatic de-selection as a future Party candidate. For others who have transgressed but not to a degree for expulsion from the Party they should be referred to their local constituency party to be put through a rigorous re-selection examination.

Anonymous said...

Okay so he is to resign but who will be picking up the bill for all the fried mars bars he ate ?

talwin said...

And, if he goes, just wait for the class-warrior nutters to cry, yet again, 'It's just because he was a sheet metal worker'.

I read that he became apprentice in 1960 and, later, for donkeys' years, he was a union official (not sure if he carried on sheet metal working).

Whatever the case, he's been in parliament for 30 years, so the cliches about horny-handed, labouring type don't really apply.

Sheesh, I used to be a boy scout but remoteness to that time of my life doesn't mean I still wear shorts and sing Ging-Gang-Gooly.

JuliaM said...

Give it up, golden_balls. When you find yourself twisting in the wind, attempting to defend the indefensible due merely to party loyalty, it's time to take a good, hard look in the mirror...

"Did anyone see Esther on Newsnight last night?"

Yes. I'd vote Moster Raving Looney Party or even, god forbid, Labour before I'd vote for that mad old interfering harriden...

Alex said...

If he kicks up a fuss they could appointed hime to a very minor government post paying £5,000 a year.

That would stop him drawing his £70k pension.

Dungeekin said...

'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 WH Auden)

Major Plonquer said...

Following the example of Gorbals Mick, I too have decided to RESIGN as an MP.

Read my statement here:

Mirtha Tidville said...

Must say I`m delighted to be shot of this biased,overpromoted , party apparatchik. He was never up to the job of being speaker and thats why he finds himself, ignominiously, forced out.

His background has nothing to do with it. 2 of his predecessors George Thomas and Betty Boothroyd came up the same hard way but were national treasures and would never have tolerated what was has been allowed for these past 9 years.

He was thus part of the problem and could never be part of the solution. Funnily enough Michael Crick on Newsnight yesterday was suggesting a real maverick as a successor and mentioned John Bercow, Red Vince and my personal favourite Frank Field..

Lets hope we can start to rebuild anew very soon.

Iain please can you do some more soothsaying and tell us when you think that other tosser Broon will go......please please

Chris Paul said...

When will he actually go?

Catosays said...

Certainly don't want Haselhurst. He carries too much of Gorbal's baggage with him.

A completely new face and someone who will command respect of all parties.

Major Plonquer said...

PLEASE. Someone said that Sir Alan Haselhurst would become Speaker. No!

How can you have a Speaker whose name is an anagram of 'Arsenal Hurls A Shit". Thats even worse than Gorbals Mich (anagram 'A Grim Black')

Unsworth said...

Well if he does resign this afternoon he's obviously moved pretty smartly to secure his severance deal. Peerage, no loss of monies, no doubt some other bonuses to keep him (and her!) in the style to which they have become accustomed and no doubt something for the boy, too.

Still, we shall see, eh? However, his loss to Parliament is perhaps a tactical loss to the Conservatives - despite/because of his open prejudice.

Now, what happens about his seat? Is the son also to rise?

As to Haselhurst being a 'colossus', it'll make a change from Martin being a colostomy. I'm not so sure about Haselhurst. He appears competent and imposing. But is he any good with an axe?

David said...

What if we got a Speaker that required Gordon Brown to answer a question? That would be a truly radical departure.

Fausty said...

I'd be surprised if he didn't try to hang on until the GE. If he decides to go soon, then I assume Brown collared him. Brown put himself in an impossible situation (once again) by telling the public that Speaker Martin's resignation was a matter for the House and not for the government.

The clerks put the matter squarely in Brown's camp. If Martin doesn't go immediately, then Gorgon will be forced to permit debate on the substantive motion tabled by Carswell. But Martin's immediate departure will trigger a by-election in his constituency.

If Martin feels that Brown betrayed him, as Peter Oborne suggests, then Martin might relish triggering that election.

My MP will support a substantive motion. They well an truly holed themselves. Power-hungry, greedy Twats.

Major Plonquer said...

Terrific. Now we can have Frank iField for Speaker. He hasn't done much since his 1960s hit I Remember You. But he is a much better yodeller than Gorbals Mick.

Steve W said...

Goldenballs, all that class warfare stuff is nonsense.

The man is incompetent, biased and chippy. Yet all his faults were for years excused by Labour on the grounds that he was working class.

It was Labour who associated his thick-headedness with his working class origins, not the Tories.

As has been said umpteen times, no-one would ever have dreamt of patronising George Thomas or Betty Boothroyd and they were every bit as working class as Michael Martin.

Speakers Thomas and Boothroyd were excellent examples of people who saw their working class origins as no barrier to high office and no excuse not to educate themselves.

Speaker Martin was the perfect example of someone who thought that his working class origins alone merited high office and excused any incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Sky News : Douglas Hogg not standing at next election.

Let's hope he's just the first to stand down....

Alexander said...

Widdecombe for Speaker!

She won't stand any nonsense from anyone.

TrueBlueBlood said...


Douglas Hogg not standing in next election.


Now is your time

Anonymous said...

Douglas Hogg Resigning at election, Cameron clearing the decks, good decision.

londonmuslim said...

I'm running a Konnie Haq for speaker poll.


golden_balls said...


So you would rather have the speaker of the house of commons resign than the actual mps that have been shown to be dishonest with expenses ? I don't understand the logic behind that.

If gorbals does read this blog *highly unlikely* i urge you to do a warts and all book on the current crisis. I look forward to the many false words now being uttered by conservatives and labour alike who are sad thats its turned out like this. utter garbage !

Anonymous said...

Dennis Skinner for Speaker - he has personal integrity, knows procedures inside out, quick witted and would annoy the Tories and Lib Dems intensely - is anyone else better qualified?

Lee said...

Douglas Hogg has just announced that he is standing down at the next election. And so it begins. With the NEC meeting at the moment who next? Nick Brown? Ed Balls? It is all about scape goats now, those that have had there time, who have interests in other areas to take one for the team as such to show us the people who "dont understand" (Margeret Beckett QT) that MP's are humble and are willing to fall on their swords. However the rest of them, Hoon, Darling, Brown et al will quietly carry on.

I hope there is not a round of applause this afternoon, then again.....

Mirtha Tidville said...

Totally agree with JuliaM`s views about Esther Rancid .......

wolvreen said...

Not only does it look like the corrupt speaker *IS* being made a scapegoat, but even his role of overseeing the expenses will be a scapegoat.
The new speaker will not have this role to taint him; another job and pay rise for some other leecher no doubt.
In the near future we will have the sight of the lardy gentleman Lord Martin being chauffeured to the TV studios to say, 'Well the speakers responsibility was tainted with the expenses role, it wasnt my fault Gov'.

Gareth said...

golden_balls said: "So you would rather have the speaker of the house of commons resign than the actual mps that have been shown to be dishonest with expenses ? I don't understand the logic behind that."

I'd be surprised if anyone sees it as an either or situation.

Martin has been a shockingly partisan, incompetent and troughing Squeaker.

Quite a few MPs have been shockingly partisan, incompetent and troughing Members.

Martin and many others have been unwilling or unable to put Parliament before Party and probity before profit.

Those that have not been fingered by the Telegraph ought to be asked why they have done so little to reform things before now. Each one individually has a great deal of authority to raise serious matters. The culture of fire fighting one crisis after another and frequently picking the path of least resistance has replaced real leadership, self-reliance, innovation and a healthy understanding of the role of Parliament. Too many of them wait for ideas to trickle down from the top and dare not speak independently for fear of petty party reprisals.

JuliaM said...


So you would rather have the speaker of the house of commons resign than the actual mps that have been shown to be dishonest with expenses ? I don't understand the logic behind that."

Well, there's a surprise..

I viewe it as a start. I'd like to see the MPs go as well. And if they don't, they can face the ballot box, can't they?

golden_balls said...

If Hogg as well others resign at the next election then i think thats a better situation. interesting that he chose today to announce this.

Anonymous said...

Can I be smug (please) and say I predicted as much yesterday.

Ali said...

Michael Martin - Strange Fruit indeed. I hope you are all feeling the morning after shame of the lynch mob you are.

David said...

My guess is that Brown will announce an election at 5.30 news conference today. He is really getting to the point he has no choice.

Anonymous said...

Was this all part of The Plan Iain?

Oliver Drew said...

The Speaker resigning - although I'll believe it when I here it! - is a fair start.

Douglas Hogg (or "Moat Man") standing down at the next election is a good start too.

So, when are we going to hear from Alastair Darling, Geoff Hoon, Hazel Blears, Michael Gove et al who should all be resigning or at least announcing they will not stand at the next election?

Mum said...

Try this

Madam Guillotine said...

Ali said...
"... I hope you are all feeling the morning after shame of the lynch mob you are."

Where's my knitting?

AndrewJK said...

Martin should have stood down at the next general election and to have given the task of electing a new speaker to the new MPs.

All that will happen now is most Labour MPs, knowing they're in for a hiding at the next general election, will vote for one of their own to become speaker. They'll make use of their commons majority while it lasts dont worry about that.

Stephen Gash said...

Some of his constituents and supporters are whining 'scapegoat'. Jill Pay springs to mind.