UK Expenses Scandal Claims House Speaker

House of Commons speaker Michael Martin steps down
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2009 6:55 AM CDT
UK Expenses Scandal Claims House Speaker
Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin reads a statement to the House of Commons in London, Monday May 18, 2009   (AP Photo/PA)

The ongoing controversy surrounding British MPs' lavish expenses has claimed its biggest victim: the speaker of the House of Commons. Michael Martin, who presides over the country's main legislative body, will announce his resignation today after losing the support of party leaders, including Gordon Brown—not for cheating on his expenses, but for fighting the release of the expense records that revealed MPs charging taxpayers for everything from bogus mortgages to pornography, reports the Guardian.

A former sheet-metal worker from Scotland, Martin has been widely seen as an obstacle to parliamentary reform. A committee he chairs fought freedom of information campaigners for months to prevent the publication of the expense records, and when the Telegraph finally printed them he called in the police. "He had to go for the sake of parliament," said one reformist MP.
(More Michael Martin stories.)

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