MPs have been fervently praying Sir Christopher Kelly's expenses review will finally put the scandal to bed. As the last few days have shown, this one is going to run all the way to polling day.
It turns out it's the new expenses watchdog which has the power to "edit" Sir Christopher's reforms. "The prime minister is never powerless, in any sense," Gordon Brown's spokesman insisted yesterday in response to the suggestion this meant he couldn't do anything about the recommendations. Assembled journalists were rather amused, but the neurosis underlying the remark was rather telling.
Throughout the expenses scandal Downing Street has been afflicted by a knee-jerk impulse to get involved. Brown's initial proposals for reform were warmly rebuffed by MPs; now, in the run-up to Sir Christopher's root-and-branch recommendations, the government has waded in with its usual blustering confidence.
On Sunday Harriet Harman pressured Kelly to water down his leaked proposal to banRead More »from Expenses scandal’s enduring potential