The end of the beginning… the beginning of the end?
The Speaker has gone.. Long live The Speaker. Michael Martin stepped down before the Cleggian ‘Death by a thousand cuts’ in a selfless act of self immolation to unite Parliament. With his departure the MPs are now speculating on who will be the next Speaker and will drag the new Speaker to the Chair on or shortly after 22 June. Finkelstein, however, wants to ban MPs from betting on this.
History was made yesterday – but will Parliament take the opportunity to change, to reform? Michael Brown MP writes: “Future A-level history students will be answering questions not only about the Long Parliament and the Rump Parliament, but also about the “Moat” Parliament (otherwise perhaps known as the “Manure” Parliament) presided over by Speaker Martin – the first Speaker to be forcibly removed from office in 300 years.”
Andrew Grice, also of The Independent suggests that the Westminister Gentleman’s Club is dead and the power of the men in tights is coming to ane end.
The Leaders of all the principal parties will now move to discipline members who have broken the rules. Is this the return of the Star Chamber? Not literally, of course – but the Conservative ‘Scrutiny’ committee and Brown’s.. ‘whatever it gets to be called Tribunal’ will, surely, have to pass judgment on those who have erred? One small difficulty that Brown faces, of course, is that his own Chief Whip has a bit of a problem with food expense claims running at £21 a day for some years (£18,000 in total) according to some reports. the Whip’s Office is, of course, responsible for internal discipline. Will we see the departure of leading ministers? Hoon and Blears, for example? The Justice Minister who resigned last week may well be among those put to the Sword.
The Speaker has gone and will be replaced. This is only the end of the beginning. What follows now – and quickly – may shape our democracy perhaps more even than the now largely irrelevant Magna Carta.
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