Speculation is growing at Westminster that Commons Speaker Michael Martin will soon announce his resignation from the Speakers Chair and the Commons, forcing a by-election in his Glasgow North East seat. It would be a contest that the SNP would be determined to win.
Attention will therefore start to focus on who should replace him. Contrary to some suggestions there is no convention in place that means that the Speaker’s post should alternate between the two main parties. Former Lib Dem leader Sir “Ming” Campbell is undoubtedly a contender but he will face a challenge from one or more of the existing Deputy Speakers, Sir Alan Haselhurst, Sylvia Heal and Sir Michael Lord. Other names in the frame include John Bercow and Sir George Young.
Personally I would like to see Sir Alan Haselhurst take the job. He has long experience in the Chair as Deputy Speaker and has proven to be firm and impartial in his dealings, unlike the current incumbent. He would also add some gravitas to the post which has also often been lacking recently. I would not be averse to “Ming” Campbell either, for the same reasons but the post must not go to another Labour stooge.
It is ironic for me that two of the very best Speakers in my lifetime have been George Thomas and Betty Boothroyd, both Labour. If only we could find someone of their calibre again.
There is a new ICM poll reported today for tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph:
Conservative 40% (down 4%)
Labour 28% (down 4%)
Lib Dem 22% (up 6%)
This is quite a change for all parties from the last Guardian ICM poll. We will need to see if the Lib Dem jump of 6% is reflected in other polls or whether this is an ICM peculiarity. ICM usually rate the Lib Dems slightly better than other pollsters.
UPDATE: Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report has an analysis of this poll which could go some way to explaining the rather large movements in the parties’ ratings.
My earlier postings of famous quotations that seem relevant today has prompted several people to send me further examples. I will therefore now post new quotes from time to time. Today’s is from Winston Churchill:
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the Gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Do keep them coming!