Peter Hoskin

An historic clear-out?

An historic clear-out?
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I wrote yesterday that things may be about to get much worse for Brown on the publication of MPs' expense receipts.  To be fair, signs are that Parliament as a whole will take a kicking; although - by virtue of them having more MPs, and as they form the incumbent government - you still sense that Labour will feel the most pain.  Today's Mail has a neat sidebox outlining some of the main nasties that will crop up - helicopter rides and holiday homes - and the concern among some MPs that affairs will be revealed by hotel receipts.  A "senior" Lib Dem frontbencher, worried for his future, is even said to have asked Nick Clegg for assurances that no one would be sacked when the expenses are published.  Clegg refused to give those assurances.

The question now is how many MPs will lose their jobs over the whole mess.  The Mail story says that "dozens" may have to quit.  While, writing in today's Guardian, Jackie Ashley claims that "we could see a historic clear-out of the current Commons".  To my knowledge, the greatest mass resignation of recent times came on 17 December 1985, when 15 Ulster Unionist MPs quit in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement.  Will "Receiptgate" (as it will no doubt be called) top that?  Time to place your bets.