Suffolk MPs remain worried about Speaker

SUFFOLK MPs today stopped short of calling for the resignation of the House of Commons speaker following a row over a search warrant.

SUFFOLK MPs today stopped short of calling for the resignation of the House of Commons speaker following a row over a search warrant.

It has been revealed that police raided the parliamentary office of senior Tory MP Damian Green following his arrest over Home Office leaks, without having the permission of the Commons speaker, Michael Martin.

Mr Martin faced criticism and a call to quit after he expressed “regret” that the search had been authorised by the Serjeant at Arms without his express permission.

He added that a warrant and the express permission of the Speaker would be required for any future searches, and promised to appoint a committee of seven experienced MPs to look into the seizure of Mr Green's papers, computer and mobile phone following his arrest.

Today MPs, including former Housing Minister Margaret Beckett, were notable in stopping short of giving the Speaker their full blessing.

Tim Yeo, MP for Suffolk South, said: “It is clear he failed to ask even the most basic questions when this search was being made. It is not just about defending the House of Commons, it is the public's privileges that are threatened. When a member of the public contacts their MP for help they expect that is a privileged relationship like one you have with a doctor.

Most Read

“My guess is he will retire at the end of this Parliament. I do not think the upheaval of trying to force someone out at this stage is helpful but I do think he failed in his duties.”

Chris Mole, Ipswich MP, said: “I'm very concerned that the authorities have not checked the arrangement the police needed to make before coming into a parliament office however I do not think the whole business of the House procedures should be allowed to obscure the seriousness of the investigation.

“I think it was right for the Speaker to put that information before the House but I'm not surprised that people may want responsibility to be taken for what has occurred.

“I want to wait until the committee established on Monday has taken its evidence. There will be senior MPs taking a view on what has occurred and I would want to wait to see what the outcome is there.”

What do you think of this situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.