Labour MPs Defend Martin Peerage 'Slur'

Sixteen Labour MPs have called on the Lords Appointment Commission to retract "disgraceful and spiteful" comments made regarding the proposed elevation of former Commons Speaker Michael Martin to the Upper Chamber.

The parliamentarians criticised Lord Jay's panel, who pointed out that nominees should "enhance rather than diminish" the House of Lords.

Mr Martin stepped down from the speaker's chair last month, a move prompted by the ongoing rumblings over MPs' expenses.

The MP will also resign from his Glasgow constituency. It is traditional for speakers to receive a life peerage on retirement.

A barony - granted by the Queen - entitles the new holder to sit in the House of Lords.

Labour backbenchers have been angered by comments made in the Guardian newspaper, by chair of the appointments panel, which scrutinizes the suitability of new lords.

MPs loyal to Mr Martin are said to be "dismayed" at the statement, describing it as a "disgraceful and spiteful slur".

They added that Mr Martin had "served this House so well as an elected member with great integrity, charm and good temper".

Downing Street has insisted any communication between the appointments body and itself is always kept private.

However, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said the decision to grant Mr Martin an honour was based on a recommendation from the House of Commons in an uncontested motion.

Several other peers have criticised the decision to honour Mr Martin.

Former Chancellor Lord Lawson told The Times a peerage for Mr Martin was a "mistake and unfortunate", while Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott said: "Michael Martin should not be handed a P45 in an ermine envelope."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 May 2015
Teen Critical Following Stabbing In Kent
A teenager is in a critical but stable condition in hospital following a stabbing incident in Ramsgate, Kent, over the weekend. Police said the victim, aged 17, was hurt in Central Road at around 4.25pm on Saturday, during what was described as a "disturbance". He was taken to a hospital in London.
21 August 2013
Lifeguards Swim Nine People To Safety From Gully
Nine people, including six children, have been rescued by lifeguards after being trapped in a gully on a Cornish beach. The RNLI said that lifeguards had to swim each of the nine people to safety as the gully was too dangerous to use a lifeboat or paddleboards.
16 December 2010
Snow To Disrupt The Weekend
Met office forecasters are warning of the potential for heavy snow across parts of the UK this weekend. Snow is forecast to spread from the west across Wales, and south west England overnight into Saturday morning, before pushing east across other parts of England through the day.
05 October 2009
Stamps Celebrate Top 10 Britons
A new set of postage stamps, Eminent Britons, issued this week, are to spotlight some of the UK's most eminent citizens. The set contains ten 1st class stamps, all featuring historic figures from the realms of science, art, literature, politics and sport. The new issue of postage stramps is also spanning more than three centuries.
05 December 2007
Robbie Williams Apologises To Ex-Manager For Lyrics
Robbie Williams has apologised to his former Take That manager Nigel Martin Smith and agreed to pay undisclosed damages after one of his songs alleged that Martin Smith had stolen money from the band.