The shame of Speaker Martin
Whatever the Prime Minister, Home Secretary of Home Office ministers may be saying, it is inconceivable that anti-terror police would have arrested a member of the Shadow Cabinet without the fore-knowledge of Ministers of the Crown. If they did, they have presumed an authority over Parliament, and rolled back the constitutional clock to the era of Cromwell.
Has Speaker Martin ever sanctioned the searching of the offices of members of Sinn Féin?
God forbid. That would be discriminatory and a set-back for the Northern Ireland peace process.
Has Speaker Martin ever sanctioned the searching of the offices of any Muslim MP?
God forbid. That would be discriminatory (or ‘racist’) and a set-back for community relations.
But Damian Green is neither Irish nor Muslim. And neither is he gay or disabled. He is an able-bodied, male, white, heterosexual Conservative. And they are fair game.
By colluding with this authoritarian, repressive government, Speaker Martin is complicit in the abuse of anti-terror legislation. He has thereby forfeited his right to hold the office of First Commoner in the Land. Doubts have been expressed about his political partiality in the past, and the news that he authorised a police raid on a member of HM Loyal Opposition is further evidence that he is incapable of being non-partisan and of defending the liberties and privileges of members of the House of Commons.
To hold Her Majesty’s Government to account is the very raison d’être of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. It is the role of the Speaker to not only facilitate this, but to defend it against external interference and presumed authority.
When King Charles I entered the House in order to search for and arrest five members for high treason, he was met by Speaker Lenthall. The Speaker did not grant the King permission to search the office of the five or betray them to the the investigating authority. When asked where these members were, Speaker Lenthall replied: "May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here."
Speaker Martin’s eyes are misted and his tongue is forked. And he certainly does not serve the interests of the House.
If he will not resign, there must be a confidence motion. Members on all sides ought to be very afraid of a man who presumes the authority to sanction arbitrary searches of private parliamentary facilities without their knowledge, and without regard for secret, sensitive, private and confidential papers which may routinely be found there.
It is time for Speaker Martin to go.