Britain’s MPs decide later who will take over in one the hottest seats in UK politics – the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons.
Ten candidates are in the running to succeed Michael Martin, who became the first Speaker in 300 years to be forced from office when he stood down last month over the MPs’ expenses row. The bookies’ favourite is the former Labour Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. But she, like other candidates, has been linked with the scandal – a UK newspaper reported she claimed 13,000 euros worth of gardening expenses. Police say they will investigate some MPs and Lords from the Upper House after weeks of disclosures about the kinds of claims they were making on taxpayers’ money. Some are alleged to have claimed thousands for mortgages that were already paid off. The revelations have enraged a large number of Britons faced with increasing economic hardship, and that has pushed the Prime Minister’s approval rating through the floor.