Speaker’s statement to Commons – as it happened – Times Online

Mr Martin’s main defender appears to be Kevin Barron, Labour, Rother Valley, who says that it was not the Speaker who filled in all the dodgy expense claims of the past few years – and he is just being made into a scapegoat.

I’m not sure Kevin Barron understands what is going on – or if he does he either has no political common sense whatsoever, or is standing by his principles much like the band on the Titanic.

Indeed, Mr Barron, it is certainly the case that Mr Martin didn’t fill in all the dodgy expense claims, but it is fairly safe to assume he was responsible for his own.

And the issue here isn’t about him taking responsibility for other people’s expense claims – don’t worry, we your constituents are still waiting to find out what happened in 2002 to cause your second home claim to rise by almost a third and remain right at the upper limit for claims. Perhaps you would be so kind as to let us know – or are we going to have to wait for The Telegraph to get round to the minor backbenchers?

The issue is that Mr Martin has spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers money trying to block MPs expenses from the Freedom of Information Act – even when all the legal advice was that he hadn’t got a chance – and has generally hampered the efforts of the public to find out about the system, or of parliament to reform it. And that isn’t to mention the accusations of bias or criticism of his handling of the Damien Green affair.

In a way I admire Kevin Barron for speaking in support of someone who I assume is a friend when the mood is very much against it – but I wonder about the political wisdom of speaking out in the defence of an individual who has so clearly failed in his duties in the view of both his peers and the electorate.

Speaker’s statement to Commons – as it happened – Times Online

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