Conservative Diary

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David Cameron must not cede any moral authority to Gordon Brown over the expenses issue

David Cameron apologises Peter Hoskin blogged at Coffee House a short while ago that it looks like Gordon Brown is trying to overtake David Cameron in the race to go "further, faster, harder" on dealing with the expenses issue.

MPs on all sides have been pledging to repay money wrongly claimed, but we have now seen one Labour minister forced to resign and the whip suspended from two Labour MPs (albeit all pending investigations) with promises of deselections on the Labour side in this morning's Guardian.

On the Conservative side, meanwhile, we have only seen Andrew Mackay's resignation as an unpaid adviser to David Cameron.

It could be viewed as invidious to get into a bidding war as to which party leader can outdo the other in terms of punishing wrongdoers. However, David Cameron has led the way on this issue - as demonstrated by Tuesday's press conference and Friday's statesmanlike broadcast to the nation - and he must not cede any moral authority to Gordon Brown over all of this.

In our survey on Thursday afternoon, 65% of Tory members said that repaying money would be "not nearly enough" for Tory MPs found to have made unjustifiable claims.

Meanwhile, Tim wrote earlier in the week that "if no MPs resign or are fired over all of this the public will not believe that anything has really changed." 

I agree with that analysis, and I hope that David Cameron and those around him recognise this as well.

Jonathan Isaby

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