On Monday, Harriett Harman was caught out in an attempt to call a meeting between the Government and the Speaker. The Speaker's statement this afternoon over the Green arrest was central to the agenda, and attached to the invitation was the Government four point "line to take" as distributed at the Lobby briefing. Inexplicably (if it was to be a logistics meeting) the Cabinet Office and Home Secretary - the two departments responsible for Green's arrest - were to be present along with the Chief Whip.
The BBC poured scorn last night on the Governments excuse (offered after the leaking of the email) that the meeting was about logistics and timing. No reasonable person, let alone politician, would accept that ridiculous assertion in the face of the facts.
Nobody - politicians, press, or people - believes that the meeting was non-partisan, and by allowing it to happen - and sparing Government blushes once more - speaker Martin gave the clearest possible signal to Parliamentarians and to the country that he either doesn't understand, or does not respect, the burden of independence which he took on when he was symbolically dragged, by Members from all sides, to his chair.
The Speaker enjoys the trust and unqualified support of all Members (which is why he is never opposed at a constituency election). In return he rises above party politics and evolves from MP to protector of our democracy. No more, no less, no qualifications, no cover-up, no party line, no opinion, no excuses, no agenda except that the House should always be free and able to hold the Government to account - before, during, and after the rubber stamping of legislation by the Labour majority. This much is not opinion - to be read in the context of the facts and innuendo of the Green case as it unfolds - it is fact, it IS our constitution. If Green had been selling secrets Iceland, it would still be fact. The speaker is Parliament and Parliament is independent of Government.
Speaker Martin may yet be able to justify his conduct last week - but he will never be able to assuage the insult he gave to our Democracy by allowing yesterdays meeting. Today, we celebrate the supremacy of Parliament when the doors are slammed shut in the face of the Queen and her Government. Speaker Martin has already shown us on which side of those doors his heart lies.