Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Order, order

Uproar spread through the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon after the speaker, Michael Martin, prevented David Cameron asking Tony Blair who he wanted as his successor.

Mr Martin has been ridiculed in the press a number of times since taking the speaker's job in 2000. What was particularly strange today is that Cameron has asked the same question at PMQs previously without censure. Indeed, he went on to rephrase his question and Mr Martin said he would allow it. On the face of it he seems to be nothing more than at worst confused and at best inconsistent.

Before today, Cameron's most recent question on the topic was worded thus: "Do you back the chancellor as your successor, yes or no? I mean, I do; do you?" Martin failed to step in when this was asked, so why today? Tories will claim the speaker, elected as a Labour MP, is partisan. Some Labour MPs may be wondering whether he is simply past it.

The Conservatives have asked for urgent clarification on the matter.

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