The LDV 2×2 Daily View (18/05/09)

At no cost to the taxpayer, Lib Dem Voice brings you this morning’s picks from the news and blogs (still dominated by the revelations about MPs’ expenses):

2 Big Stories

Commons Speaker battles to keep job

Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, will today make a desperate appeal to stay in his job, as MPs plot to make him the most prominent casualty of the Westminster expenses furore.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, broke with convention yesterday in calling for Mr Martin to resign. David Cameron, Tory leader, refused to say how he would vote in a confidence motion to be tabled against the Speaker.

Gordon Brown declined to give a personal endorsement of Mr Martin last night, leaving the holder of Westminster’s most respected post scrabbling to avoid being the first Speaker forcibly ejected from the chair in more than 300 years.

Mr Martin was attacked yesterday by Mr Clegg for being a “dogged defender of the way things are”, who tried to prevent the exposure of the Westminster allowances system in the press and was holding back reform.

Faced with a no confidence vote, the abrasive Glaswegian will today make a personal statement in the Commons insisting that he is the best person to stitch together a cross-party deal to reform the expenses system.

From the Telegraph:
MPs’ expenses: Officials colluded over mortgage claims

Parliamentary authorities, overseen by Michael Martin, the Speaker, gave secret permission for some MPs to over-claim for thousands of pounds in home loan interest in deals that led to the systematic abuse of the taxpayer-funded expenses system.

Ben Chapman, a Labour MP, admitted last night that he was allowed to continue claiming for interest payments on his entire mortgage after repaying £295,000 of the loan in 2002.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Two more perspectives on the causes of MPs’ large expense claims:

Jonathan Calder suggests: The scandal over MPs’ expenses is part of the fall out from the credit crunch because said crunch has laid bare society’s inequalities.

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats on that turning point in a young person’s, but rarely an MP’s life: Jo Swinson in travel expenses hike shock: Jo Swinson’s travel expenses shot up a year after she was elected – because her Young Person’s Railcard expired.

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