Martin Bright

A Reckoning I Didn’t Reckon On

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Kitty Ussher's article in today's Evening Standard made me think again about the consequences of the MPs' expenses scandal. Kitty will be leaving us at the next election because she wants to put her family first (a reworking of the old "more time with my family" formula). Her question is a fair one: "Am I alone in wanting to see my young family in that crucial gap between school ending and lights out?"

It is right that she resigned as a minister, but I do wonder about the scale of this shock to parliament. The combination of almost certain electoral oblivion and expenses revelations means that we will lose two generations of parliamentary talent on the Labour side.

On the Conservative side there will also be some serious losses, of whom Paul Goodman is the most obvious example. Goodman has been a tireless campaigner against the Islamist extreme right and will be sorely missed. He is resigning not because he was shamed into it, but because he has simply had enough. Harry's Place has his resignation letter. David Cameron should be begging him to reconsider.

It will take at least a parliament for our political class to recover from this.