James is correct: that was a shambolic performance from the Speaker, hiding behind the skirt of parliamentary procedure to deny a debate that any parliamentarian in possession of even an average supply of common sense should have appreciated was in parliament's best interests at a time of supreme public concern and, of course, scorn. So it was, therefore, no surprise that Michael Martin should fumble the moment.
Fairness demands that one acknowledge that the poor man looked shattered. Actually, it was worse than that: he appeared a bewildered pensioner, utterly confused and someone who seemed to have been deserted by his faculties. If he - and his position - wasn't lost already, it surely must be now.
As Mr Eugenides says "He would be entirely too small a man for a job of such gravity and importance, even in the breeziest of times." Even his remaining supporters must realise that now and even if they think it unfair that the Speaker should be parliament's scapegoat surely they must appreciate that the public has decided it wants a head and, this being so, they need to be given a head. And soon .