Speaker loses the trust of the nation

SPEAKER Michael Martin finds himself in the squirmiest of all seats today over the bizarre, blundering and bewildering police incursion at the House of Commons.

A loss of confidence in

Speaker Michael Martin

SPEAKER Michael Martin finds himself in the squirmiest of all seats today over the bizarre, blundering and bewildering police incursion at the House of Commons.

Forget that the Metropolitan Police finds itself in yet more unwanted controversy.


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Forget, for now, accusations of any political overtone to the police actions - those will be investigated later.

Forget any allegations of party-political skulduggery, that is the normal rough and tumble of Parliamentary life.

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Concentrate, wholly for now, on the role of The Speaker, who told MP's yesterday that regrets detectives were allowed to plunder an MP's office in the most sacred of all democratic institutions … without a warrant.

Yet he admits he knew about the raid in advance - let's repeat it in plain English - a police swoop on the home of this country's democracy, protected for centuries from the unwarranted glaze of any citizen, never mind the police.

That says it all - the man at the top knew.

In a matter of such a critical nature, he allowed the issue to be dealt with by a subordinate, the inexperienced Serjeant at Arms, Jill Pay.

So the man at the top, the man with a role of such importance, didn't lead - and police were allowed to march in, their plastic evidence bags at the ready.

It's handy, now, to have Jill Pay as Serjeant at Blame, but the buck stops at the top.

Speaker Martin is now appointing seven senior MPs to look into the whole sorry affair but two points are clear.

One is that Speaker Martin shouldn't be involved, in any way, in appointing the team of MP investigators. He should remove himself from that task immediately to remove any talk of cronyism.

The second is that whatever the outcome of whatever inquiry, Mr Martin should consider his position.

When he should have led - when he should have thrown the cops out of the Commons with a flea in their inefficient ears, he let the country down.

And that is unforgivable.

THANK heavens sense has prevailed at Suffolk Coastal and permission is set to be granted for Caffè Nero to operate in Hamilton Road in Felixstowe.

A café like this in the middle of the busiest road in the town can only be good news for its neighbours - if shoppers have somewhere to rest their feet during a trip to the town they are more likely to stay longer and spend more in the other shops.

At the current time of recession, any business that wants to open in the town centre should be welcomed - and Caffè Nero should be a long-term asset for the town.

What a pity this welcome outbreak of sanity at the council came too late for Puccinos who wanted a similar coffee shop in the street a couple of years ago!

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