Michael Martin dead: Former House of Commons Speaker dies, aged 72

Lord Martin, formerly a Labour MP, passed away after a short illness, his family said

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Sunday 29 April 2018 15:23
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Michael Martin served as House of Commons Speaker between 2000 and 2009
Michael Martin served as House of Commons Speaker between 2000 and 2009

Former House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin has died at the age of 72.

The former Labour MP, who more recently sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, passed away on Sunday morning following a short illness, his family said.

Martin served as the Commons Speaker from 2000 until 2009, before being ousted by MPs over his handling of the expenses scandal.

He was MP for Glasgow Springburn from 1979 to 2005.

Martin's son, Paul, said: "He passed away early this morning after a period of short illness."

"He passed away peacefully with his family.

"We would be grateful for our privacy to be respected at this difficult time."

Martin became the first Speaker to be forced to resign in 300 years after MPs passed a vote of no confidence in him in 2009. He had attempted to have the publication of MPs' expenses blocked, and was criticised for his handling of the scandal once it broke.

He was succeeded by the current Speaker, John Bercow, and was appointed to the House of Lords, becoming Lord Martin of Springburn.

Mr Bercow paid tribute to his predecessor, saying: "I'm very sorry to hear this news.

"Michael was a decent, public-spirited man who had a real care and concern for Members, their staff and the staff of the House.

"He was a good campaigner and both passionate about and proud of his roots. He also had a great sense of humour.

He sadded: "On a personal level, he was always very kind to me - I still remember the lovely letter of congratulations he sent to me after my election as Speaker.

"My deepest sympathies go out to Mary, his children and grandchildren."

Former prime minister Gordon Brown said Martin would be "sorely missed".

He said: "I knew him as a successful young trade union organiser, a dedicated member of Parliament, a conscientious Speaker of the House of Commons and latterly as a member of the House of Lords and no matter the position he occupied, he never forgot the debt he owed to his upbringing and the people he had been elected to serve."

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