Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

Europe

Speaker apologises for expenses row amid no-confidence calls

©

Latest update : 2009-05-18

Britain's House of Commons speaker, Michael Martin (pictured), says he is "profoundly sorry" for the expenses scandal that has plagued parliament, but refused to discuss a no-confidence motion proposed by 15 lawmakers.

AFP - House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin said Monday he was "profoundly sorry" for the expenses scandal wracking Britain's parliament, but rebuffed debate on a rare motion of no-confidence in him.
   
Amid widespread public anger Martin, who could become the first holder of the prestigious post ousted in 300 years, called for a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and all party leaders within 48 hours on the crisis.
   
But in testy exchanges, he repeatedly refused to discuss what he would do about a proposed no-confidence motion, signed by 15 lawmakers after more than a week of embarrassing revelations about MPs' expenses claims.
   
"We must all accept blame and, to the extent that I have contributed to the situation, I am profoundly sorry," he said in statement to the lower house of parliament.
   
Details of MPs' expense claims, ranging from swimming pool and tennis court repairs to installing a chandelier and cleaning a moat, have emerged in leaked documents by the Daily Telegraph newspaper over the last 11 days.
   
Martin has been criticised for stifling reform of the expenses system in the past -- and on Monday a series of MPs pressed him on a no-confidence motion which they said they will formally present on Tuesday.
   
But the speaker said he could not discuss it for procedural reasons -- triggering opposition Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, who proposed the motion, to voice frustration.
   
"When will members (of parliament) be allowed to choose a new speaker with the moral authority to clean up Westminster and the legitimacy to lift this House out of the mire?" Carswell asked.
   
On Sunday the leader of the second opposition Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, became the first major party leader to call for the speaker to go, although neither Brown nor Conservative leader David Cameron have done so.
   
Cameron on Monday used the crisis to renew his call for an immediate election -- polls suggest he is likely to win ballots which Brown must call by next June at the latest.
   
"I think there is now only one way of sorting out the mess and that is for parliament to be dissolved and for there to be an immediate general election," Cameron said.
   
The no-confidence motion was signed by lawmakers from Brown's Labour party, as well as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
   
"More names are expected to declare, as MPs return from listening to their angry constituents over the weekend," said Carswell.
   
Martin was a long-time Labour member, but renounced his political loyalties according to tradition when he took office as speaker in 2000.
   
Elected by lawmakers and unchallenged in parliamentary polls, the speaker chairs the proceedings of the house and traditionally stays in the job until he retires. The last time a post-holder was ousted was more than 300 years ago.
   
In 1695, Sir John Trevor was forced to quit as speaker after MPs found him guilty of bribery for accepting money to push through a piece of legislation.
   
Business minister Peter Mandelson declined to speculate on Martin's future.
   
"Whatever your views about the speaker, the fact is that this is a system of paying MPs, of remunerating MPs, which has got to change," he told Sky News television.

Date created : 2009-05-18

Comments

COMMENT(S)