Michael Martin, the House of Commons Speaker, faced a fresh storm
over his expenses last night after it emerged that he used air miles
earned on official business to fly relatives from Glasgow to London
over new year.
His adult children Mary Ann and Paul, with their
families, saved around £360 a head by using the perks accrued when Mr
Martin was travelling for work. The trip fell in a period when Martin's
use of taxpayers' money was already under attack, amid reports that his
wife had clocked up a bill of £4,000 taking taxis to do the shopping
for official functions.
A spokesman for the Speaker told the Press Association that his son had
paid £309 and his daughter £230.50 towards the total flight costs.
However, the return flights for seven family members were worth an
Ministers are banned from using air
miles accrued on official trips, and are expected to put them towards
reducing the cost of future ministerial travel or donate them to
The revelations in today's Sunday Mirror will cast fresh
doubt on whether Martin is the right person to chair the current
parliamentary inquiry into MPs' expenses, which was set up to restore
public confidence following the row over MP Derek Conway hiring his son
Henry as a researcher.
Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP who
has pushed for reform of Westminster perks, said: 'This will further
damage public confidence in the system of parliamentary expenses. A
benefit which is accrued because of spending by the taxpayer should be
returned to the taxpayer.'
The Martins' use of air travel has already come under scrutiny, after
freedom of information requests revealed that Mrs Martin had spent
£24,000 of taxpayers' money flying between London and Glasgow, where
the family is based.
This is nothing less than organised crime.
Why is Michael Martin not under arrest and police investigation under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.