For the first time in more than 300 years a speaker of the British parliament has been publicly forced out of office.
Michael Martin says he will resign next month after a wave of criticism over the way he’s handled a crisis over MPs expenses.
He told parliament: “Since I came to this House 30 years ago I have always felt that the House is at its best when it is united. In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of speaker on Sunday 21st of June.
“This will allow the House to proceed to elect a new speaker on Monday 22nd of June. That is all I have to say on this matter.”
MPs have come under attack for claiming public money for everything from light-bulbs to tennis court repairs. Many have promised to pay money back while several others have lost their posts.
Martin is the most senior figure to step down over the scandal, which politicians agree has damaged the reputation of parliament.
He is also resigning as an MP, sparking a byelection in his constituency in Scotland.