Fraser Nelson

These delayed resignations make the case for an early election

These delayed resignations make the case for an early election
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After Patricia Hewitt, Beverley Hughes and David Chaytor we are now up to 16 undead MPs: ones who have decided to stand down at the next election, but hang on a year until they can get their payoff - which is up to £120,000 depending on age and length of service.  Go now, and they get nothing.

Some of the excuses are just pathetic. If the job is such a toll on family life and health, etc, why not stand down now? Who else gives a year's notice? You can bet their constituents will be getting a less-than-stellar service ("What you going to do? Sack me?"). As anyone who has worked out a notice period can attest, their hearts will not be in the job.  

But their fingers may very well be in the till: once you've stood down, what's to stop you gorging on the as-yet-unreformed expenses system? I would not be surprised if the number of voodoo MPs doubles in the next few weeks. So, we have a desperate government which already has less popular support than any in postwar history. And now the majority of MPs will go at the next election. The case for an autumn election grows stronger with each resignation.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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