Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report


Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr M J Batchelor

I was disturbed at allegations (widely reported, covered in the broadsheets) that hoards of New Labour MPs made a pile, each, in betting on Mr — becoming the Speaker.

You needn't have much imagination to assess the dynamics of this—you bet on your Party's guy getting the job and then you persuade like-minded friends to vote for him—and then, bet on him. A vicious, sleazy cycle.

William Hill will I'm sure be able to give you at least the broad aggregate of cash placed by MPs on the successful candidate—and perhaps even a list of the individual names and how much each betted.

I wouldn't be surprised too, if the opportunistic unprincipled and naturally sleazy middle of the House— ie the Lib Dems—may have been heavily involved as betters.

The entire matter has universally important constitutional concerns, which I hope you will also cover in your investigation.

5 November 2000

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Prepared 14 December 2000