Commons Speaker Michael Martin in the House of Commons in 2009Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Martin was forced out as Commons Speaker in May 2009, in the wake of the expenses scandal

MPs have paid tribute to former Commons Speaker Lord Martin, describing him as “a testament to social mobility”.

Members hailed his “journey from poverty to the Speaker’s chair” and praised the “kindness and support” he had shown to members.

The former Labour MP died on Sunday, aged 72, after a short illness.

As Michael Martin, he was Speaker – a non-political role that involves chairing Commons debates – from 2000 to 2009.

In a Commons debate, his successor in the Speaker’s chair, John Bercow, said the former sheet metal worker “never forgot where he came from”, and had been a “keen and highly accomplished” bagpipe player.

Mr Bercow referenced the expenses scandal that led to Lord Martin being forced out by a no-confidence vote, adding: “Today, however, we remember Michael as our colleague, and to many, a friend”, describing him as “a decent, hard-working unpretentious person”.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said he had been “dedicated to the people of Glasgow”, while her Labour shadow, Valerie Vaz, said he had ensured people from a working class background “didn’t feel out of place in Parliament”.

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said his party would remember Lord Martin “fondly”.

And Conservative MP Nadine Dorries said: “As somebody from a working class background myself, when I got here he was kindness and support itself.

“I will never forget receiving a letter at home during my first summer recess in 2005, and shocked to open it and discover it was from the Speaker.

“It was a letter of praise and encouragement, and informing me that when I came back in September, I may feel daunted again but not to be.

“He was a testament to social mobility. He was a testament to how somebody could come from his background and arrive in this place.”

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