Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is this the Speakers Carter Ruck bill?

The other week it transpired, through the pages of Private Eye, that the Speaker of the House, MIchael Martin, was using the media lawyers, Peter Cater Ruck to represent him. The obvious question that was raised at the time, was who's paying for it. Blair Gibb from the Taxpayers Alliance even submitted an FoI to find out the result of which should be coming back some time around now.

Meanwhile, the ever locked-jaw pitbull, Norman Baker MP has been asking questions of the House of Commons Commission, which the Speaker Chairs and where, if the taxpayer was paying his Carter Ruck bill would be. According to the Commission, it has paid £2,820 to Carter Ruck since 2003, but no details were given about exactly when or what the bill was for.

Could all be perfectly innocent and nothing to with the Speaker. Although it's interesting that when Baker asked "how much was spent on legal (a) advice and (b) actions on behalf of (i) the Commission as a whole and (ii) individual members of the Commission in each year since 1997", he was told that it was impossible to "disaggregate legal costs specifically for the Commission or individual members of it."

Awfully convenient huh? But then I'm the first to admit I'm a cynic. Incidentally, if you're wondering what the figures are, they have, since 2003 spent £1,252,368 on legal costs. Half a million or so of which was to cover all the legal cost incurred due to Portcullis House claims.

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