Sir Alan makes his bid to be Commons Speaker

SAFFRON Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst is today bidding to become the next Speaker of the House of Commons. The 71-year-old is one of 10 candidates eager to take up the role, which was officially vacated by Michael Martin on Sunday. Mr Martin quit the post

SAFFRON Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst is today bidding to become the next Speaker of the House of Commons.

The 71-year-old is one of 10 candidates eager to take up the role, which was officially vacated by Michael Martin on Sunday.

Mr Martin quit the post after taking the brunt of the blame for the MPs expenses scandal.

Sir Alan has himself been embroiled in the controversy after being singled out by The Daily Telegraph for claiming almost �12,000 of gardening expenses over four years. He has since paid the money back.


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Earlier today he made his case to take up the role of Speaker, and he highlighted a need for reform on the system of claiming expenses.

He said: "We are all ashamed, I think, of what has gone on. We lulled into it by a series of Governments that have said 'we can't touch salaries, therefore it is much more discreet to allow expenses to increase'.

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"That was an unsustainable bubble in the end and it has certainly burst upon our faces.

"I believe that which has to be tackled can be tackled. My own input will be to say that we have to have a better balance between the actual salaries on which we are taxed on and the expenses we are given.

"I offer experience to the House. We are in for a period of change and I welcome that, but I do think in those circumstances that an experienced hand on the tiller will be beneficial to this Parliament and the next."

MPs will vote in the person they want by a secret ballot today with ex-Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett currently the favourite to land the role.

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