This is important because Douglas is the MP who started the campaign to get rid of the previous Speaker Michael Martin and his opinion counts for quite a lot on this subject in my view.
Firstly, his own expense claims have been very modest. Secondly, he campaigned for Freedom of Information law years before it became fashionable. Together that gives him the moral authority to force transparency on an unwilling tribe in SW1.Better than anyone else I’ve met in four years in the Commons, Richard understands that sovereignty of Parliament is shorthand for sovereignty of the people.Too many in Westminster see the Speaker’s contest through the prism of self-interest. They seem to want to elect a shop steward for politicians, rather than a Speaker able to restore public faith in the political process.Richard grasps that change must also mean making those we elect effective at holding government to account. Parliament needs back its purpose. He’s ideas on how it is to be done.Speaker Shepherd would be no apologist for indolent politicians blinded by a sense of entitlement – but he would make them answer properly to you.
I have to say that when I saw Mr Shepherd on the Newsnight hustings he did not impress me but perhaps that was not the best medium for him. I have to say that I am fearful from the latest reports that Margaret Beckett will be elected and I am not sure she is the right person for the job at all having been so closely associated with the incumbent Labour government.
We shall see later today of course.