Sorry, I couldn’t resist making the title a play on the popular Clash song. Whose head is on the chopping block today though? Not Gordon Brown for once, unless you are Polly Toynbee. No, it’s “Gorbals Mick”, otherwise known as Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons.
In amongst the MPs expenses scandal the Speaker has had something of a torrid week. As the chair of the House of Commons and the House of Commons Commission, he has received criticism for the initial decision not to publish full details of expenses, and then the growing public discontent as the Telegraph dripped out embarrassing stories about MPs of all parties.
Personally, I think it’s time for the current Speaker to go. I say this not because of the expenses scandal, destructive though that is to the faith people have in our political system, but because he just doesn’t seem to control the Commons. Every time his authority has been challenged he has either dressed down MPs in an uncustomary and authoritarian manner, or he has given a bumbling response. He certainly doesn’t inspire me with any confidence as a firm but flexible chair who can carefully oversee the myriad of debating topics in the Commons.