James Forsyth

The punishment momentum builds

The punishment momentum builds
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Up until now, there’s been safety in numbers for those MPs caught up in this scandal. If, for example, the revelations about Alistair Darling had come out on their own, I suspect, they would have placed his career in jeopardy.

But now, what Fraser calls, ‘the punishment momentum’ is building; two thirds of the Conservative Home panel think that Mackay should cease to be an MP. This momentum is being driven by the extent of public outrage, Cameron and Brown’s duel over who can appear tougher and the continuing severity of the revelations. The next MP who is busted in a significant breach of the rules is going to be in huge trouble.

I suspect that David Cameron would like nothing more than a Tory grandee to refuse to comply with Cameron’s demand that they pay back the disputed expenses claims. That would allow Cameron to decisively expel them from the party, tapping into the public’s rage. But Michael Ancaram’s comments suggest that if Cameron does this he could find himself under some not so friendly fire.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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