Peter Hoskin

Martin’s resignation: a necessary first step

Martin's resignation: a necessary first step
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So that disgraceful statement didn't change anything after all: Michael Martin is set to resign.  Or, rather, he's been pushed.  If this was entirely his decision, then I think he'd probably have mentioned it before the House yesterday.  Either way, he's going now - and few tears will be shed around Westminster or around the country as a whole.  The healing process, as they say, can now begin in earnest.

But will it?  I imagine we'll see a fevered round of Speaker Spin first.  If Downing Street inflicted the final, fatal, knife wound on Martin - as is quite likely - then you can expect subtle noises about how the Government are doing "everything it takes" to clean up the system.  But, in the public mind, those who spoke out about this inept Speaker - Douglas Carswell, Kate Hoey, Sir Patrick McCormack, Nick Clegg, Norman Baker and the rest - will get the credit for actually taking a stand in the first place.  And I suspect David Cameron will now regret that his name isn't on that list.   

Mark this: there will also be some moves to make Martin the scapegoat for the entire mess.  That should be resisted.  Sure, his removal is a good start to cleaning things up, but it's nothing more than a start.  There are still plenty of bad apples in the orchard of Parliament, and they need dealing with swiftly and unequivocally.  Yes, that requires changes to the rules, but it also means contrition on the part of out parliamentarians, as well as entire culture shift.  Hopefully, now, this Parliamentary democracy will get a Speaker who can help bring that about; a Speaker it deserves.

P.S. Who should the new Speaker be?  Remember to vote in our poll.

P.P.S. Paul Waugh breaks more details: apparently, Martin will quite "well before" the summer recess.