Taking Stock – David Davis everywhere and er … nowhere.

Public accounts chairman David Davis was everywhere recently to complain about the ‘farce’ of Scotsman Michael Martin’s election as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Westminster insiders are convinced this media blitz is part of his attempt to become next leader of the Tory party but one.

Meanwhile his predecessor, veteran former Labour Treasury minister Robert Sheldon, was having a more torrid time.

The current chairman of the House of Commons sleaze busting Standard and Privileges Committee was himself wrapped for failing to declare his financial interest in a textile firm in the North West every time he intervened in a debate on manufacturing industry.

Davis was in bullish mood as he called for major reforms to parliamentary procedure.

One Tory MP said: ‘This is part of David’s long-range bid to be Tory leader. He’s been told he’s too grey and boring and he’s trying to brighten up his image.’

A supporter of current incumbent William Hague, snapped back: ‘Well it’s a very long-range bid, if you ask me.’

Sheldon, who also chairs the House Of Commons Public Account Commission, which employs the National Audit Office, was cleared by his own committee of seven out of eight counts of misbehaviour, but found guilty of failing to make clear his interests in textile firms, properly registered in the annual Register of Members Interests, every time he spoke on related subjects.

The committee said it was a very marginal decision and is to review the procedures for MPs to declaring such interest in wider debates.

Sheldon said he wasn’t embarrassed and had no intention of standing down, though that did not stop the Tory MP who made the complaint, Ian Bruce, from calling for him to resign.

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