UK speaker to quit

May 19, 2009 12:00 am

, LONDON, May 19 – The speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, under fire after a scandal about lawmakers’ expense claims, is to announce his resignation later on Tuesday, according to media reports.

Michael Martin will make an announcement on his future at 2:30pm (1330 GMT) when business in the House of Commons starts for the day, the BBC, Scottish Television and The Sun newspaper reported.

Martin would be the first speaker to be ousted since 1695. He is facing intense criticism over accusations he has failed to lead reforms into the system that governs MPs’ expenses.

Details of members of parliament’s expense claims — ranging from swimming pool and tennis court repairs to installing a chandelier and cleaning a moat — have leaked out in the Daily Telegraph newspaper over the last 11 days.

A total of 23 MPs from all the main political parties had signed a vote of no confidence in Martin.

And commentators said Martin was doomed following a nervous, bad-tempered session in the lower house Commons on Monday when he made a statement on the row and then faced repeated calls from lawmakers to quit.

"Michael Martin is finished as Speaker of the Commons," Peter Riddell wrote in The Times.

"It is now a question of when, not whether… his departure is widely seen as a necessary step, though only a symbolic one towards halting the slide in Parliament’s reputation and a shift away from self-regulation."


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