Being a Parliamentary candidate changes the way I look at issues. Sometimes I ask myself what attitude I would take if I were an MP. More angles have to be considered before settling on a conclusion. For instance - what would I do if given a free vote on a motion of no confidence in the Speaker. This week, just such a motion may be put before MPs. Douglas Carswell's motion reads;
"That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker, and calls on him to step down; notes that Mr Speaker has failed to provide leadership in matters relating to hon. members expenses; believes that a new Speaker urgently needs to be elected by secret ballot, free from manipulation by party whips, under Standing Order No 1B; and believes that a new Speaker should proceed to reform the House in such a way as to make it an effective legislature once more"
It wouldn't be an easy decision to take. On one hand, I have never been enthusiastic about the current Speaker, but I'm such a traditionalist that I do not like the idea of breaking the convention about criticising Mr Speaker. Certainly, I'd want to feel not inspired by partisanship. In the end, I believe my deep concern about the desperate need for a fundamental change in the way the House operates would guide me to back the Carswell motion. If it is put (which is another issue), I sense that it will seriously weaken the authority of Mr Speaker, even if the motion is defeated.
But I do not think removing Mr Speaker will mollify the public's anger about the way the allowances regime has been handled. It would take much, much, more than that. I believe that the British public will continue to look upon this Parliament as a flawed Parliament until there's a General Election. The people must have their say. Two weeks ago, I was beginning to believe that maybe the General Election was going to be delayed until May 2010. Now, I cannot believe that this Parliament can last beyond the autumn.