Julie Kirkbride quit, at least in part, over her child minding arrangements. She wanted her brother to be a child minder rather than a stranger. Who wouldn’t? It didn’t cost the taxpayer a penny, and yet she’s been made out to look as if she has fleeced the taxpayer. No woman with small children in their right mind will look at a political career if things carry on like this.
Hes unlikely to be the last along these lines. Is there a whiff in the air of the Witches of Salem? If the expenses rules for MPs were almost undefined, the rules for getting rid of them are non-existent.. Its bad enough for the parties to hold their separate star chambers; they have a vested interest in the bullet. Wheres the natural justice in that? Now Nick Clegg has this daft idea for Standards Commissioner Chris Kelly – he who is charged with coming up with a definitive new expenses regime – to rule on individual cases and then submit the guilty to recall by 5 % of the voters in the constituency, automatically triggering an immediate by-election. Kelly would surely be loathe to act in a semi-judicial capacity. And 5% recall would make MPs vulnerable to attack by a small group of Trots, fascists or monster raving looneys. Leave recall to the Californian dreamer and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I suspect itll take just one MP under pressure to fail to fall on his/her sword and bring a human rights case or go for judicial review. That could bring the whole tacky process to a grinding halt, before the Kelly report.. Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph is remorseless.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London