With Nick Clegg and my local MP Danny Alexander joining in the chorus of calls for Speaker Michael Martin to quit, his days must be numbered.
So who should take over when he either quits or is forced out? One possibility would obviously be one of the current Deputy Speakers - Sir Alan Haselhurst, Sylvia Heal or Sir Michael Lord. Unfortunately, Sir Alan is one of those who have been named by the Daily Telegraph as being involved in the expenses scandal. Sir Michael, meanwhile, is 70. Although I don't think he's yet announced his retirement, the chances are that he'll be standing down at the next election.
That leaves just Sylvia Heal as the only Deputy Speaker who might realistically be in a position to take over. However, it's questionable to what extent just appointing one of the deputies would represent the sort of change that Parliament needs if it's to regain public confidence.
Another more telling reason why Sylvia Heal might not get it is that she would then be the third Speaker in a row to come from the Labour benches and I'm not sure that would be a great idea. Unfortunately, that is an argument that can be made against other possible candidates for the Speakership, such as Frank Field or Kate Hoey, both of whom would have the reforming credentials needed to take over as Speaker at this point.
If a non-Labour Speaker is to be appointed, some people in the past have suggested that Ming Campbell might be an appropriate choice. However, his involvement in the expenses row and the fact that he is a former party leader I think count against him. I would suggest the only likely Lib Dem candidate would be Sir Alan Beith - a man who is well respected throughout the House of Commons.
I have to say that I struggled to think of a Tory MP of sufficient seniority who hasn't been implicated in the expenses scandal, but then a name suddenly came to me: Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Again, he is well thought of throughout the House and would, I am sure, do the job very well. He has also indicated that he is standing for re-election next time.
But all this assumes that the House of Commons does what is necessary and removes Speaker Michael Martin as soon as possible. Any statement from the Speaker that he intends to stay in the job until the next election will be unacceptable. He must go now.
Recommended Lib Dem blogs and websites
- Andrew Reeves
- Caron's Musings
- Charlotte Gore
- Cicero's Songs
- Cllr Debra Storr
- Councillor Alex Graham
- David Boyle
- Duncan Borrowman
- Fraser MacPherson
- Freedom Central
- Himmelgarten Cafe
- Jock Coats
- John Hemming MP
- Lib Dem Blogs Aggregated
- Lib Dem Voice
- Liberal Burblings
- Liberal Bureaucracy
- Liberal England
- Love and Liberty
- Lynne Featherstone MP
- Mark Reckons
- Millennium Elephant
- Norfolk Blogger
- Peter Black AM
- Quaequam Blog!
- Sara Bedford
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Social Liberal Forum
- Stephen Glenn
- Steve Webb MP
- The People's Republic of Mortimer
- UK Liberal Democrats
Other good political sites
Miscellaneous non-political sites
- Calm down, dears
- Good stuff from Shirley Williams
- Praise where it's due
- Tell Michael Martin his time's up
- Who should be the next Speaker?
- A snap poll now is not the answer
- Speaker Michael Martin is doomed
- Morley's 'defence' doesn't stand up
- Even Betty Boothroyd slams Speaker
- Churchill, Europe and the idiots of UKIP
- Great bit of ad placing
- And the nominations for Worst Speaker Of All Time ...
- Yet another Gnat manifesto pledge bites the dust
- Gnat MSP's anti-gay bigotry
- Keeping expenses row in proportion
- Mixed feelings abut Nick's conversations
- Do Lib Dems lack ambition?
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