It is expected that Mr. Michael Martin will be making a speech announcing his plans to step down as Speaker of the Commons. It is not expected that he will announce this step as “immediate”, but we will have to wait and see. He has been blamed for the furore over the MPs expenses, but, he is, in a way, the scapegoat. All the MPs need to take responsibility for their own actions and I had sincerely hoped we had gone past the days of blaming everyone else for our own failures. However, as Mr. Martin’s position puts him in charge of the Fees Office, I can see that he does deserve some of the blame. We have, as yet, to hear any defence come from the Fees Office itself.
Mr. Martin really has no option but to step down. The MPs have attacked him verbally and publicly. Even if there is no motion of “no-confidence”, their very actions indicate that they have no-confidence in him. It would take someone with an extremely high opinion of himself and an extremely thick skin to come through the complaints without being touched. Mr. Martin has neither.
The Speaker’s resignation is only the first step in the reform system. I would hope that MPs will not see that it is the solution to their problems. They will need someone with integrity to take over and help with the expenses reform. At the moment, is anyone qualified?