Last Tuesday, I felt a bit exposed and vulnerable with the heads of just three MPs above the parapet on the 'No confidence’ in the Speaker motion. Now it has more than a dozen signatures plus the verbal support of Nick Clegg. Presumably LibDems will now to flock to sign.
Tomorrow’s statement by Michael Martin is likely to be an announcement that he will resign at the end of the parliament. That will not be enough. The work to rebuild confidence in parliament must start immediately. Many of us want a New Speaker to be elected by the present parliamentarians who know the candidates well. The new Parliament is likely to have many new members who will not know their Richard Shepherd from their Gordon Prentice.
Gordon had a fascinating letter from the biographer of previous Speaker Selwyn Lloyd. The writer thanked Gordon for his ‘lucid advocacy’ of the case for an early election and said that Selwyn Lloyd timed his resignation so that an informed parliament could elect his successor.
If I get a chance, I hope to suggest to the Speaker that if he is determined to hang on until the General Election, parliament should elect its Speaker-in-waiting to chair the Commons’ Commission. The present Speaker could continue his ceremonial duties while the Speaker-in-waiting could get stuck into reforming the Commons. It’s just a thought. This would be contrary to past precedent. Great. There are many other hoary old traditions that need to be dumped with the failed concept of the Commons as a ‘Gentleman’s Club.’
It’s always possible the Speaker might announce his speedy resignation. That’s not likely. If he did he could leave with the sound of plaudits in his ears for his service. All other possibilities are ugly.
It’s never nice showing the red card to the referee.
Pauls in a twist
On the Welsh opt-put from the Politics Show the BBC Wales announcer who is going places thanked me. I had just done my repeated mantra that ‘Paul Murphy and Kevin Brennan are innocent, OK?’
She said ‘Thanks for coming on the show Mr Paul Murphy.’ I think the two Irish names are the reason the perpetual confusion.
We are doomed to suffer it for life.