Monday, 7 March 2016

Sir John Trevor ( 1637 -20/5/1717 ) - One of the last speakers of the House of Commons to be expelled.

On 7th March 1695, Sir John Trevor ( from the Brynkinalt estate near Chirk in Denbighshire, North Wales) was  the last speaker of the House of Commons to be expelled, for taking a bribe of 1000 guineas, . ( £1.6 million in 2009.) before Michael Martin in 2009
He remained the only speaker to be forced out of office until Michael Martin resigned in 2009.
A Welshman ,his occupation was as a judge. He first acquired a seat at Castle Rising, which he bought for £60 , his  involvement there was short lived  and there is no evidence that he ever visited the Borough. He was a Tory, known as the Cavalier politician, anti-catholic and  known for giving strong support to the Monarchy and quickly climbed the political ladder, described as ' a bold and dexterous man ' ( who knew the  most effective ways of recommending himself to every government.)  He finally represented his own region, where he was born, Denbighshire in 1681.
It is interesting to note that Sir Trevor was severely cross eyed, which often caused confusion as to which MP had "Caught the Speakers eye" and led to many speaking out of turn.
He was dismissed as speaker in 1695 after being found guilty ' high crime and misdimeanour.'
Sir Trevor's implication in charges of corruption may have bought his career in the Commons to an abrupt end,  but it did not prevent his survival in public  office.  He retained the mastership of the rolls with its salary of £4,000  p.a until his death. In June 1702 he was appointed a Privy Councillor and from 1703 was restored to the Welsh  Offices. When he died he remained a man of considerable wealth, he is reported  to have left a fortune of £60,000.
And centuries may have passed but many people believe that  the UK Government is still to a large extent run by a few big entities, an old boys network serving themelves , laws and  regulations still being created and administered by those who have been paid or lobbied the best. Not exactly a strong model for creating a more harmonious  society. 7 years on from the expenses scandal  politics still seems to be tainted still perceived to be riddled with corruption. Greedy MPs are about to get another bumper pay rise of almost a grand this year. In line with a 1.3% increase from next April - just nine months after receiving a backdated bonus of £74,000, up from £67,060.  The House of Commons  still considered  to be a rich man's play and pastime.
The next time your local MP lectures to you about prudent financial responsibility, try not to choke on your supermarket brand cornflakes.
A moral ditch still in desperate need of reform, only a radical initiative I believe will convince us that Westminster has really changed.