Clegg calls for Speaker Michael Martin to quit

Lib Dem leader has become the first party leader publicly to call on House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin to quit. The BBC has the story:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has called on Commons Speaker Michael Martin to stand down, saying he has become an obstacle to much-needed reform of Parliament. Mr Clegg said the speaker should do the “decent thing” and step aside, saying he was not the “right man” for the job. He criticised the speaker for “dragging his feet” over the issue of MPs’ expenses, causing such public anger. …

By becoming the most senior politician – and first party leader – to call for the speaker’s resignation, Mr Clegg will dramatically increase the momentum behind moves to unseat him. Mr Clegg told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that he was not seeking the speaker’s resignation “lightly or with any relish” but that it was clear that it was a necessary step to rebuilding confidence in Parliament.

“I don’t think he is the right man for the job of leading a renewal of Westminster,” he said. The speaker was a “dogged defender of the status quo”, Mr Clegg added, when what Parliament now needed was a radical reformer. Mr Clegg was particularly critical of the speaker’s handling of the expenses crisis, saying he had stood in the way of greater “transparency and accountability” in the allowances system.

You can watch an excerpt of Nick’s interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr HERE.

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10 Comments

  • Quite right too. The really worrying thing about this is the question of how on earth we got a system in which someone like Michael Martin could be made speaker. British politics is really rotten to the core.

  • Mark Littlewood 17th May '09 - 11:03am

    Bold, brave – and excellent – move by Nick. Liberal Vision – http://www.liberal-vision.org – has been urging this strategy for the last few days.

    Yes, there are risks, but we’re way beyond playing it safe as a strategy in the present climate, surely.

    Puts the Tories in a tough position too which is a major fringe benefit.

  • Pippa in London 17th May '09 - 12:44pm

    Well done, Nick. This has to be done before Douglas Carswell’s motion of no confidence is heard. There is no chance of a sensible system of remunerating MPs being put in place with Martin at the helm. He has to go and he has to go now.

  • Mark Littlewood 17th May '09 - 12:52pm

    I wait with baited breathe to see what what the Tories do.

    On SKY news earlier, Adam Boulton was chairing a six-person panel. Right at the end, he asked for a show of hands from those who thought the Speaker should go.

    All three “indpendent” panelists and Vince Cable raised their arms. While Stephen Pound and the Tory MP kept their hands down and looked rather sheepish.

  • This excellent move by Nick has given us door-step activists a massive opportunity. As can be guessed and as I am sure is the case with a lot of LibDems across the country, we’ve been having more and more angry people saying ‘you say you’re the party of change but you’re all playing the same system really aren’t you, with expenses etc’. Thanks to Nick, we can reply not just with the usual textbook replies, but we can actually say..
    “Hey, while Gordon, Dave and institution MPs were out saying we can’t criticize the Speaker because of tradition, our guy was breaking with tradition, leading the calls for political reform by calling the Speaker to step down as he is a dogged supporter of the status-quo. We are the party of political reform”.
    Well happy about this moves, and the ‘political risks’ are irrelevant due to the current climate! GO NICK!

  • Martin Kinsella 17th May '09 - 3:55pm

    Thought he was great on Andrew Marr today. A real tour de force.

    Well done Nick.

  • Nick is absolutely right, and quite courageous. Michael Martin is incompetent and partial, and has done great damage to the office of Speaker. Taboos exist to be broken. Good work, Mr Clegg.

    Let’s not rush into “reform” of Parliament, but think things through. Notice how the right is calling for measures that would weaken Parliament (such as reducing the number of MPs). This is precisely the outcome that the elites behind the “Torygraph” and “Screws” want, of course. Parliament must be stronger, not weaker.

    Something that the Federal Executive must not even think of doing is sacking Lord Rennard. Firstly, Lord Rennard is simply the best campaigner this party, indeed this country, has ever had. Our electoral achievements would not have been possible without him. Secondly, a replacement would lack the authority to enforce the targeting strategy. For the enemies of this party (and their puppet-masters) Lord Rennard’s head is the ultimate prize.

    BTW, don’t believe a word uttered by the slippery showman, Pound. He tells people exactly what he thinks they want to hear. He’s on everyone’s side at once. If you want the guy’s attention, all you have to do is produce a camera – up pops the trademark smirk.

  • What’s needed is a true, passionate and committed reformer to lead the house of commons back to public esteem.

    That man is not Michael Martin.

    It doesn’t take a genius to work that out but it took a Liberal Democrat leader to point it out.

    What a craven bunch most of our MPs are for not taking this plonker on.

  • Sesenco:
    “Something that the Federal Executive must not even think of doing is sacking Lord Rennard.”

    Surely the proper course has to be for the Federal Executive to determine the truth of the matter and act accordingly.

    Surely you are not suggesting that Rennard should keep his job if it turns out that he has lied in order to claim tens of thousands of pounds of public money?

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