Monday, May 18, 2009

Speaker apologises - then nosedives

Michael Martin has apologised for his role in reducing the reputation of the House of Commons.

Er, that's it.

He's setting up a meeting. All very bureaucratic. That's just what will calm the public: Meetings and talk from him of "substantive motions".

And several MPs expressed their unhappiness with him.

One shaft of light: The Early Day motion declaring no confidence in Michael Martin obviously does nothing procedurally - it is so much confetti. A substantive motion is needed, as Martin said. It seems that the government will not let in such a motion. But under close questioning from Susan Kramer it was apparent that an Opposition Day could be used for such a motion to be debated and voted on.

Bring it on! Martin needed to stand up and say something radical like: "No more allowances and MPs expenses will be paid to MPs until there is a new system - and the new system should only give MPs expenses for receipted travel. From the start of the next parliament Second homes will be funded directly by the government with the government owning them."

That's the sort of radical statement he needed to make but instead we got bureaucratic waffle, a refusal to even take responsibility for setting a debate on him (he should have asked the government beforehand to set one up).

Martin should certainly not be made a scapegoat. All MPs are responsible in some way for this mess. But until he goes there can be no proper reform and certainly no start to rebuilding public confidence in the Commons.

No comments:

Post a Comment