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Gordon Brown Backs Fiddling The Taxpayer

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Brown backs speaker in expenses row

16 minutes ago

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has offered his support for beleaguered Commons Speaker Michael Martin.

He said the Glasgow North East MP "has been a very, very good Speaker".

And Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said there had been "something of a witch-hunt" against Mr Martin, who takes the chair in the Commons on Monday afternoon after a torrid weekend of newspaper headlines.

Critics have urged the Speaker to hand over control of a review of MPs' allowances after fresh questions arose over those claimed by him and his wife, Mary.

The disclosure that his office deceived the public over Mrs Martin's taxpayer-funded taxi journeys caused his spokesman, Mike Granatt, to resign for "ethical reasons" at the weekend.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is being urged to investigate the revelation that Mrs Martin had not been accompanied on the trips by a Commons official, as journalists had been told.

There was also concern over Mr Martin's use of the second home allowance after it emerged that he has no mortgage on a property for which he has claimed more than £75,000 to maintain.

He is already under fire for using air miles earned on official business to pay for flights by family members.

On a visit in south London, Mr Brown told reporters: "This is a matter for the House of Commons. Michael Martin has been a very, very good Speaker."

Mr Clegg insisted he would not give a "running commentary" on Mr Martin's position, and said the Speaker would have to "answer" the allegations. But he told a press conference in Westminster it appeared there had been "something of a witch-hunt", and added the episode also highlighted the need for an "utter overhaul" of the Parliamentary expenses system.

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  • 293 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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