The Noble Lord Snape, former railwayman and MP, has rushed to the defence of speaker Michael Martin, calling the inquiry into his wife’s £4,000 taxi bill a “load of fuss and nonsense about nothing”.
He states his position clearly in an interview with the BBC, which you can see here. He says at 1.10 in the piece:
“Is the Speaker’s wife supposed to queue up for the number 12 bus outside when she does her shopping?”
Yes, Lord Snape, she is, or if she wants to get a taxi she can pay for it herself out of the £138,724 her husband earns a year.
This rebuke of the buses and public transport is interesting, and somewhat surprising, because Lord Snape likes to remind everyone about his background in the public transport sector. In the Register of Lord’s Interests, Lord Snape declares a role as a non-parliamentary consultant to First Group plc (bus and train operators in the UK and USA) and in Hansard he has spoken of his pride in “working for the National Express Group—indeed, I was chairman of its major bus operator for some years”.
In the same debate, Lord Snape went on to argue that more people should ride the bus, saying that more should be done to “tempt motorists out of their cars”.
So apparently Lord Snape wants you and me to take the bus, but not the Speaker’s wife. The buses he takes pride in clearly can’t be good enough for the Speaker’s wife.
You should tell Lord Snape that, firstly, £4,000 is a lot of money; it’s a pension for some elderly folk trying to get by. You should tell Lord Snape that Mrs Martin should get on the bus, like the rest of us. You can drop him an email expressing just how important this investigation is. Email [email protected] and let him know what you think.