Compromised MPs spring to defence of discredited Speaker Michael Martin
As Parliamentarians grow increasingly vocal in demanding that the discredited Speaker of the House, Michael Martin, steps down from his post, it’s interesting to see which MPs are now stepping forward to defend him.
The BBC quotes “Sir” Stuart Bell – who it describes as an ally of Mr. Martin – as insisting that the majority of MPs still wanted to the Speaker to remain in his post. Stephen Pound MP, meanwhile, has said that he supports Michael Martin and dismisses calls for what he describes as a “blood sacrifice”.
Both these MPs have a track record in attempting to block public scrutiny of how taxpayers’ money is being spent. Both were among the 98 who, in May 2007, attempted to pass a law exempting themselves from scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act.
More recently, Stuart Bell MP proposed that the processing of MPs expenses should be outsourced to a private company, apparently in the belief that this would place the claims beyond the reach of Freedom of Information requests.
Stuart Bell is Labour MP for Middlesbrough, and currently enjoys a thumping majority of 12,567 votes. It will be interesting to see how well that holds up at the next election.
Stephen Pound is Labour MP for Ealing North, and is in a somewhat more precarious position, with a majority of 7,059. Given Labour’s current electoral woes, this would already have put him in some jeopardy ahead of next year’s vote – it’s difficult to see how his track record on expenses will do him any additional favours when the time comes.