I feel a profound sense of both anger and sadness having listened to the Speaker's statement. Sadness that he refused to address any of the Points of Order and anger that he made no mention of hos own plans. All he did was announce a plan to call a meeting of party leaders. It's window dressing. He showed no sign that he recognises the parlous state of his own standing in the House of Commons. He said he would not allow a debate on the motion put down by Douglas Carswell and fourteen other MPs and it had to be a substantive motion. David Davis asked how a backbencher could put down a substantive motion. The Speaker had to take advice from the clerks who told the Speaker to say that it was a matter for the government, not the chair. David David had asked to see the Speaker today to ask advice on this matter privately. The Speaker refused to see him.
Susan Kramer asked if the government might provide an opposition day debate. The Speaker said this was not a matter for him.
But the most wounding intervention of all came from a very unexpected source. Sir Patrick Cormack, a great defender of the rights of Parliament, asked him to reflect on his position and urged him to understand that in terms of crisis, our Parliamentary status is similar to that of the country in the Norway debate in 1940. For those whose historical knowledge is not quite as good as Sir Patrick's, the Chamerlain government won a vote of confidence, but Chamberlain still resigned. It was the debate in which Leo Amery shouted: "In the name of God, go!"
The Speaker displayed his won inability to do his job today. His lack of command of parliamentary procedure was self evident. Surely no one, not even the most tribal of Labour MPs, could deny that Mr Speaker signed his own political death warrant today.
Make no mistake, this motion will be debated one way or another. Parliament has got to reassert its own sovereign rights. The government must provide time for it to be debated, preferably for a full day.
Adam Boulton described this afternoon as a low point in the history of our Parliamentary democracy. If anything that is an understatement. The people of this country just won't stand for what has happened today, and I wouldn't be surprised to see marches on Parliament soon if we are not careful.
UPDATE: The line from one or two Labour MPs is that Michael Martin is a "scapegoat". Unbelievable.