Conservative Diary

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The Speaker denies the Commons an opportunity to debate his future and promises another meeting

The Speaker's statement offers little new - after an apology to the nation he suggested talks within 48 hours with the party leaders to discuss faster action on reforms of expenses and allowances.  Another meeting!  Wow.

Relying on advice from a Commons clerk Michael Martin then goes on to deny debate of Douglas Carswell MP's motion of no confidence.  He says it cannot be debated because it is only an Early Day Motion.  Questioned by David Davis MP as to how the motion could be discussed he said that it was a matter for the Government.

Very few MPs spoke in favour of Mr Martin.

In a further sign of the Commons' irrelevance as a debating chamber, Michael Martin interrupted Mark Field MP when he tried to raise individual examples of MP misbehaviour.  The Speaker refused him further permission to speak.

Tim Montgomerie

Picture 62 4pm: Speaking to BBC News 24 immediately after the Speaker's statement Douglas Carswell MP said that Mr Martin had "flunked" his opportunity.  Mr Carswell called on more people to sign his motion and for the Government to allow the issue of the Speaker's future to be discussed.  Parliament took a step backwards today he said and without a debate on the Speaker it will stay "broken".

Picture 65 4.30pm: On BBC News Richard Bacon - a signatory of Douglas Carswell's motion - says that we need a new Speaker so that Parliament has a new voice that is above party politics and that can explain reform and the way forward to the country (if necessary appearing on TV).

4.30pm: On Sky News the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts - long a critic of Michael Martin - said Michael Martin simply wasn't up to the job.  He's simply "low grade".

4.55pm: Iain Dale calls for Cameron to withdraw his support from the Speaker. James Forsyth urges the Tory leader to give time for the Commons to debate Douglas Carswell's motion. The one danger with James's tactic is that it may make it an Opposition V Labour vote (but Labour should fear being on the side of Michael Martin).


Tim Montgomerie


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