Michael Martin, the speaker of the House of Commons, was cheered by MPs when he took his position in parliament on Monday of this week. This follows allegations about Martin’s use of expenses, including claiming £17,166 last year towards the cost of his Glasgow constituency home, even though he no longer pays a mortgage on it.
Martin has also used the air miles he collected on official business to pay for flights for his family. His wife has claimed £4,280 to cover taxi trips to go shopping.
Gordon Brown, New Labour and other MPs have leapt to the speaker’s defence. Some claim he is being attacked because of his working class background.
But a man on £138,000 a year, who enters the House of Commons dressed in a black robe and accompanied by the “serjeant at arms” has moved far from this background.
This whole episode reveals the extent to which our elected representatives are claiming tens of thousands of pounds at our expense. And worst of all, most of it is not even against the rules.