Ivan Goncharov

What makes MPs special

On Monday, the House of Commons passed, by one vote, a motion to allow MPs to be suspended from parliament (a ‘risk-based exclusion’) if arrested for sexual or violent crime. The government had preferred that the trigger should be charge, not arrest, but there were enough Tory rebels, including Theresa May, for the lower threshold to be chosen. Jess Phillips, supporting the change, asked rhetorically, and contemptuously: ‘Why do we think we’re so special in here?’ There is, in fact, an answer to her question, and it has nothing to do with any unmerited self-esteem which MPs may feel. King Charles I entered the Commons in person on 4 January