Despite almost universal calls for Michael J. ‘Gorbals Mick’ Martin to step down as Speaker of the House a rigorous historical review finds that he was not the worst Speaker in the history of the House. Nor will Martin be the first sitting Speaker to be deposed if it comes to that.
Walter of Shropshire released a bear into the House
Theodore Nugent’s voluminous work, ‘The History of Parliament’ recounts that in the 13th century during the rule of Edward I (the Hammer of the Scots) a Speaker of the House by the name of Walter of Shropshire was impeached and nearly lynched by his peers. During the course of a debate concerning the role of Romanie Gypsies and their sport of bear-baiting, Walter released a seven foot high Russian brown bear in the Chamber of the House. The bear was eventually wrestled to the floor by the members of the Cross Party Committee on Papal Indulgences but not before the Tory Member of Bolsover was savagely mauled and had part of his head bitten off.
In Victorian times, the Whig Speaker Sir Cecil Cuthbert-Cuthbertson famously refused to allow any Tories to ask questions or make speeches. For the entire year-long Parliamentary session when a Tory stood up in the House Cuthbert-Cuthbertson would likewise stand up, look directly at the Tory, break wind and sit down again. Cuthbert-Cuthbertson was finally impeached when it was discovered he was importing barrels of Korean kimchee and charging it to his Parliamentary expenses.
After he was drummed out of Parliament Cuthbert-Cuthbertson became one of the most popular Fellows of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge where he regularly conducted discussions about Moral Positivism in Politics. He remained famous for his kimchee dinners after which he would often attempt to break his record for a single continuous wind-break. Extremely popular with the student body, Cuthbert-Cuthbertson earned the nickname ‘Brown Trousers Cecil’ and is largely believed to be one of the inspirations of the modern day Liberal Democrat Party.
Former Speaker of the House, Betty Boothroyd commented, ‘If Selwyn Lloyd was alive today he’d be turning in his grave’.
Theodore Nugent was not available for comment.
You couldn’t make it up.