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This is a massive moment in David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative Party

Chandaliers. Moats. Swimming pools. Housekeepers' cottages.

What were our MPs thinking of?

As feared, today is the worst day yet for the Conservative Party as the expenses saga gathers pace. Most voters understandably don't distinguish between a 'Top Tory', a Conservative frontbencher and a shadow cabinet member.  The Tory expenses stories may be smaller ticket items than the home 'flipping' by Labour Cabinet members but like Mr Jacqui Smith's porn movies and bath plug they produce a more visceral reaction.

Even before the last two days of Tory expense stories the Conservatives had fallen by 4% in one opinion poll.  The party risks dropping below 40% again and disloyal remarks by Lord Tebbit aren't going to help.

CAMERON-DAVID-RED-TIE David Cameron has a very difficult task.  He's reportedly cleared his diary this morning (should have done so before now) and is surrounded by advisers and, significantly, lawyers.  The public needs to see someone/ some people pay for this milking of the system but it's difficult to single any individual out.  There is no clear line between right and wrong here - only a messy gradation of greediness within rules set by MPs to suit themselves.  He should demand a combination of repayments, public apologies and some MPs should be asked to quit at the next election.

The public will be on David Cameron's side if he takes tough action.  ConservativeHome certainly will back him very strongly.  This is a massive moment in his leadership of the Conservative Party.

Tim Montgomerie


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