Peter Hoskin

The protective cloak

The protective cloak
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After the events of the weekend, all eyes will be on Michael Martin.  Will he buckle under the media's relentless pressure?  Or will he dig in his heels, and continue to stress the legality of his actions?  The way things have gone so far, I'd put money on the latter scenario.

The most worrying feature of this episode is the protective cloak that MPs have drawn around the Speaker.  Most criticism has been dismissed as snobbery, even though the left-wing papers have also taken Martin to task.  And – as Nick Robinson put it on this morning's Today programme – numerous MPs blindly regard the allegations as “nonsense”. 

Tim Hames gets it spot-on in today's Times:

"The real scandal is that the House elevated a man who was manifestly unfit for the role and seven years later it will not press him into overdue retirement."

After Conway, the political class quickly moved to repair its battered reputation.  Now, all that good work could be undone just as swiftly.