One of the only positives to come out of the whole expenses scandal is the exposure that nobody (both in and out of Westminster) has faith left in the speaker of the House of Commons. Douglas Carswell MP has made the bold and brave first-step of calling for a motion of confidence in the Speaker – this should pick up speed next week when the headlines lose focus on the greed of individual MPs.
The speaker has to go if we are to help save any dying shreds of accountability or democracy within British politics. He has a track record of bias, dishonesty and incompetence. The current problems within our parliament cannot be solved if the figurehead, and coordinator are at their root.
Iain Dale conducted a poll on his blog with some conclusive results. 95% of those polled thought Martin should ‘step down now’, whilst only 1% thought he was doing an ‘excellent’ job. Those are the types of figures which should prompt swift and decisive actions within a democracy, but this may not happen under our current system.
The Speaker will have to leave eventually, and the appointment of his successor will have to play a central role in cleaning up Westminster. The next speaker will almost certainly be an older stalwart of Parliament who can control and command the respect of all. Amongst the names being thrown into the ring, Frank Field, Ming Campbell and Dennis Skinner seem to be frontrunners. Personally I feel an ex-party leader would not be suitable for the job, having already carved a strong personality within the media and public perception. Whoever is chosen, the next Speaker will need to wipe the slate clean and promote a new age of transparency within politics beyond expenses. They will need to be careful, Michael Martin has tarnished the role heavily, their first slip-up, bias or dishonesty will be pounced upon and not forgotten easily.