Page last updated at 20:29 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 21:29 UK

Martin confirms resignation as MP

Michael Martin, Commons Speaker
Mr Martin's statement to MPs lasted little more than a minute

Michael Martin has "categorically" declared he will give up his seat as an MP on the same day he resigns as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mr Martin became the first Commons Speaker to be effectively forced out of office for 300 years after criticism of his handling of MPs' expenses.

Allies had suggested he could stay in the Commons until the next election.

But his spokeswoman confirmed he will quit his seat as well as the Speakership on 21 June.

The announcement paves the way for a by-election in Mr Martin's Glasgow North East constituency.

'Such kindness'

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Mr Martin announced the date he would step down as Speaker.

Mr Martin's spokeswoman said: "On the same day he will apply for the Chiltern Hundreds, which means that his seat will be vacated.

"At an appropriate time, the Speaker will take the opportunity to thank the people of Glasgow (North East) who have shown him such kindness since he became their Member of Parliament."

Earlier, Labour peer Lord Foulkes, one of Mr Martin's closest friends, had said he was one of several people urging Mr Martin to remain in parliament as an independent MP until the next general election.

"My understanding is that the Speaker himself has not made an announcement about his intentions in relation to the parliamentary seat," Lord Foulkes had said.

"I am one of a number of people urging him to stay on until the general election and represent the people of Glasgow North East in the excellent way he has done for the last 30 years."

Mr Martin's election agent and constituency Labour party chairman Gerry Leonard had also suggested that Mr Martin needed to have "further talks" about whether to quit the Commons.

Meanwhile, a 78-year-old ex-Member of the Scottish Parliament said he was prepared to stand as an anti-sleaze candidate in the forthcoming by-election.

John Swinburne, who served for four years at Holyrood as a member of the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party, told STV he would be happy to stand for Jury Team, a coalition of independents.



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