The speaker of Britain's lower house said on Tuesday he would step down after lawmakers from all the main parties demanded he resign over an expenses scandal that has tarnished the reputation of parliament.
Michael Martin, 63, became the most senior figure to step down after parliamentarians' expense claims for everything from manure to porn films triggered outrage across recession-hit Britain and opposition calls for an early general election.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said an early election would not solve the expenses scandal and called for independent oversight of lawmakers' pay and expenses in a major break with parliament's centuries-old tradition of self-regulation.
The government and opposition parties agreed to curb the worst abuses of the system, saying there would be no more claims for furniture and appliances, home improvements and gardening.
"Westminster (parliament) cannot operate like some gentlemen's club where the members make up the rules and operate them among themselves," Brown told a news conference.
He insisted the expenses scandal was not diverting him from tackling Britain's worst recession since World War Two.
"The economic work and all the other work of the government goes forward. We're absolutely determined to move this country quickly out of recession," he said.
Martin, a former metalworker, faced intense pressure to resign from lawmakers who saw him as an obstacle to reform.
In extraordinary scenes on Monday, members of parliament (MPs) called for him to go and he faced a no-confidence motion signed by 23 MPs from all major parties.
"In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of speaker on Sunday, June 21," Martin said in a short statement to a packed parliament.
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