Yesterday I wrote
David Cameron should remove the party Whip from the 3 worst offenders (according defined criteria, including failure to recognize their waywardness), forgive the rest (after appropriate admissions and apologies) and move on. That would set a clear precedent for the Prime Minister to follow.
Further, it would also show David Cameron to be able to make decisive and bold moves for the sake of the country, even if it means losing some friends on the way. With unprecedented cuts to be required in public expenditure when he enters office, this would increase his stature for much bigger battles ahead.
Today, David Cameron has made the decisive and bold move, in a way that improves upon my suggestion of yesterday, first in John Redwood’s blog, then enlarged upon on this blog. Iain Dale has a fulsome account of the speech here. What was missing from by post was that MPs should pay back expenses they claimed immorally (but not outside the rules). Also Cameron is more benevolent (he will only sack those who do not conform, not sack 3 as a warning to others). In addition Cameron lays down that principles are more important than rules, with a filtering of expenses before they are submitted. In all 3 areas Cameron has improved on my suggestions.
The result is that the general principles will become more important than the individual rules. This is manic beancounting at its best!
Furthermore, the way is clear to move on forward onto the wider issues, building on the experience to move forward. To quote David Cameron
” But when it comes down to it I think all of us want the same thing – we want to be proud of our Parliament and the people in it. We’ve got big, big problems in this country. We need big change.
If we win the next election, we’ll be asking the whole country to come together to show social responsibility, personal responsibility and thrift. So the least we can do is to ask Parliament to live by those values as well.”