The Speaker’s unspeakable incompetence
Words like ‘honour’ and ‘truth’ are alien to him; the virtue of integrity escapes him; and the concepts of responsibility and accountability elude him. Speaker Martin is the most duplicitous, partisan, self-serving and incompetent person ever to hold this great Office of State.
His speech was but a litany of woefully inadequate excuses. Consider:
I was not told that the police did not have a warrant.
Since he was forewarned, the day before, of an imminent search of a Member’s private parliamentary office, it was his job, if he were unaware of the law, to acquaint himself promptly and adequately with the law. Parliament has no shortage of clerks and lawyers to advise him.
The police did not tell the Serjeant that there was a right to object.
And neither did Mr Speaker inform her that there was. Ignorance of the Serjeant-at-Arms’ rights and responsibilities in this matter should have been scrutinised by Speaker Martin the moment she first informed him. Unless, of course, he failed himself to realise what was unfolding.
I regret that a consent form was then signed by the Serjeant without alerting the Clerk.
Given that the Serjeant-at-Arms had already told the Speaker that an arrest was likely, the Speaker could have told the Serjeant-at-Arms to consult the Clerk of the House, or done so himself. All three of them should have consulted immediately on the matter. Unless, of course, the Speaker was unaware of the significance of what was unfolding.
I never personally authorised the search of the office.
By not objecting, by not informing the Serjeant-at-Arms that she had the right to object, the Speaker was complicit in granting consent.
In future a warrant will always be required for a search and my personal approval will be required. A new protocol will be released formalising this.
Ah, new protocol, New Labour. That’s all well and good, then. In future, Mr Speaker will not be so incompetent. But there is no excusing his present incompetence.
I am establishing a committee of seven senior MPs to investigate this matter and there will be a debate in the Commons next Monday.
Just as he did with the expenses furore. And no doubt they shall be Members of his choosing.
It is time for Speaker Martin to retire from his chair. If he shall not retire, he must be sacked. If he shall not be sacked, then Opposition MPs must drag him from his chair. It is not possible for Parliament to function properly while the Speaker is incompetent, partisan and does not command the confidence of the whole House.