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Last Updated: Tuesday May 19 2009 13:49 GMT

House of Commons Speaker resigns

Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin

The Speaker of the House of Commons has quit after being criticised for the way he's handled the MPs' expenses scandal.

Michael Martin said he'd leave on 21 June after a group of MPs said they didn't have any confidence in his ability to do his job anymore.

As the voice of the House of Commons, lots of politicians think Mr Martin should have done more to show people MPs were sorry about the expenses row.

It's the first time in 300 years that a Speaker has been forced out of office.

In a brief statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Martin said: "I have always felt the House is at its best when the House is united.

"In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of Speaker on Sunday June 21."

As well as being in charge of debates in the House of Commons, the Speaker is responsible for running Parliament.

That includes running the Fees Office, which looks after MP expenses.


MPs get paid for doing their job, but also get extra cash for things they need to be able to do it properly.

The expenses row kicked off when a newspaper revealed details of some of the things MPs have been claiming money for, including dog food, nappies, cleaning swimming pools and posh TVs.

Lots of people say MPs shouldn't have been paid for some of the things they claimed for and as a result, some politicians have been suspended, while others have said sorry and paid the money back.