On Thursday, the immigration minister was informed that his cleaner was an undocumented immigrant.
By yesterday afternoon he had resigned. Downing Street and the press like swift resignations. Thus far, the incident has been treated either as an ironic, it-could-have-come-from-The-Thick-Of-It joke or as a commendable example of Samurai-like honour.
Neither response is useful. In fact, Mark Harper's departure sets a dangerous precedent which ushers in a poisonous and authoritarian political climate.
Admittedly, it can be tempting to laugh. Harper's resignation is a meat-and-potatoes example of political hypocrisy, especially given his plans to force landlords, driving licence authorities, banks and GPs to turn into de-facto immigration officers.
But the predominant narrative has been the more sombre one. Most political commentators and fellow MPs have adopted a grave expression and spoken of an honourable man brought low by human error.
Even his Labour shadow, David Hanson, had kindRead More »from The immigraton minister’s resignation puts us in dangerous moral territory