I stopped trying to persuade the people of Newtown to 'Vote for Change' at 3.30 this afternoon, in order to listen to the Speaker of the House of Commons make his Statement. I anticipated an historic event. However the Statement itself informed us of nothing much at all. Mr Martin is sorry for the part he has played in destroying the authority of our Parliament (I'm told that the Australians are laughing at us for goodness sake) and that he intends to hold a meeting to discuss the problem. Big deal. But then it became more interesting. For the first time in my life I listened to MPs (of all sides) treat Mr Speaker with open contempt. It almost turned to farce when he clearly did not know the proper procedure when asked questions about whether there would be a debate on Douglas Carswell's motion. Even I would have anticipated this question. I'd say things are looking bleak for Speaker Martin.
Its reasonable that you would suppose that the opinion of a Parliamentary candidate from Montgomeryshire on this issue would be of little consequence. Friends, you would be mistaken. My opinion carries an (admittedly tenuous) historical relevance. Let me inform you of the circumstances surrounding the events of 1695. Sir John Trefor was elected Mr Speaker in 1685. He was a native of Denbighshire (next door to Montgomeryshire in those days) who had been educated at Ruthin school. Sir John lost the Speakership on the accession of James 111 in 1687. In 1690 he returned as Speaker, but in 1695 he was turfed out after being found guilty of taking a bribe. The real reason was that he had lost the confidence of the House.
Now Mr Vaughan Roderick of the BBC, a man of encyclopedic knowledge of Wales, informs me that much of his difficulty arose from his enmity of the Herbert family, one of whom serves as the Earl of Powis, stationed at Powis Castle, just four miles down the road from Cil Farm. George Herbert, the last Earl and his wife Katie were very good friends of Mrs D's late parents. Vaughan also informs me that the Marquess of Montgomery suffered much at John Trefor's hands. I would not be surprised if the campaign to remove the Speaker in 1995 was orchestrated by a group of disaffected citizens from my part of Montgomeryshire.
So Mr Michael Martin better take note of the opinions expressed on this blog. Its worth adding that Sir John Trefor was severely cross-eyed. So much so that MPs of the day became very confused about who had 'caught the Speaker's eye'. I'm not sure whether this is at all relevant but I have read in comments on Iain Dale's blog that the current Mr Speaker can sometimes be seriously one-eyed. All in all, Mr Speaker had best remember that the British constitution is based on precedent.