There is a further complication. Until last night, Curry was the chairman of the parliamentary standards and privileges committee, the authority that decides how errant MPs will be punished. The committee was rightly criticised for its very lax disciplining of Jacqui Smith and Tony McNulty. Curry’s appointment as chairman four months and subsequent fall from grace augments the sense that the clean-up operation is a joke and that this parliament is resolute in resisting reform. Brown’s decision not to address expenses in the Queen’s Speech could not be more ill-judged.