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VOICE OF THE SUNDAY Mirror: Speaker flies in the face of sleaze rules.

THE 500-year-old position of Speaker of the House of Commons is pivotal to our democratic system.

Down the centuries, it has been filled by men - and one woman - of integrity and honour.

Few would say that of Michael Martin, the present Speaker. His shabby action, which is exposed by the Sunday Mirror today, brings shame to his office.

He is the man entrusted with enforcing the rules on MPs' expenses, a crucial job following the discovery that former Tory Derek Conway paid his sons taxpayers' money for work they apparently did not do.

Now Mr Martin himself is caught out going against the advice given by the House of Commons Members Estimate Committee, which oversees MPs' expenses. And, incredibly, he chairs that body.

Mr Martin used Air Miles accrued flying Business Class at taxpayers' expense to provide free air tickets for seven members of his family, instead of using them to offset the cost of his own fares.

As the man who has the role of overseeing the policing of MPs' expenses, Mr Martin should be whiter than white.

Ministers are forbidden from using Air Miles collected through work trips for personal use. And so should the Speaker of the House be.

Mr Martin should consider whether he is fit to hold this ancient post at a time when public opinion of MPs is at an all-time low.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2008
Words:228
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