A Very Frugal Speaker?

Air Miles Mick, your very own Gorbals Sorner, is in the ordure again with the resignation of his Press Spokesman. It seems that Mike Grannat was effectively hung out to dry by unnamed officials who knew that something which he had asserted to a journalist about the Speaker was untrue but failed to correct it.

It goes like this. The Speaker’s wife went shopping and claimed more than £4000 in expenses (taxis and so forth) as a result. Someone led Mr. Grannatt to believe that Mrs. Martin had been accompanied on these trips by a House of Commons administrative official and he duly told a journalist this ostensibly in defence of The Speaker and his wife.

This was not true as in fact the “official” was Mrs Martin’s cleaner, Gloria Hawkes, a family friend who went with Mrs. Martin. And far from being shopping for formal occasions, as we had quite clearly been led to believe, it was actually shopping for much more informal gatherings.

It seems that an official or officials knew full well that this was untrue but took no steps whatsoever to correct it or to alert Mr. Grannatt that it was untrue. The latter says that “this arose through no fault of Mr. Speaker.”

That is as maybe. But it raises the question of who it was who first told Mr. Grannatt this information and whether that person knew at the time that it was untrue. And who gave that person the information? Who were these people?

On the face of it someone employed by the Commons has either deliberately purveyed an untruth or has wittingly allowed an untruth to remain uncorrected. Mr. Grannatt has honourably decided to resign. Why should it be any different for the official or officials who dropped him in it?

And finally, what did Gorbals Mick know and when did he know it?

The Mail on Sunday has the lowdown.