James Forsyth James Forsyth

Dragging the Speaker from the chair

Today will be a day of parliamentary drama. A Speaker hasn’t been removed from the chair for more than 300 years so no one knows precisely how the effort to oust Michael Martin is going to proceed.

We can expect Martin’s statement to both contain a timetable for reform and to announce that he will stand down at the election. But after this weekend’s events and the revelations about the Fees Office this is probably no longer enough. Then we come to the question of whether or not Douglas Carswell’s motion of no confidence in the Speaker is allowed to be tabled. Carswell has done an impressive job in recruiting a string of high-profile cross-party supporters for his bill.

I suspect that Martin’s own conduct today will be crucial to the question of whether he can survive until the next election. He will need to show the House that he understands why so many MPs think he failed and that he is capable of rising above his own resentments. His ticking off of Kate Hoey last week left a very bad taste in the mouth. If he can’t, then a way to force him out will be found.  

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