Will he stay or will he go?
The Speaker's fate hangs in the balance this morning.
Senior figures in both the cabinet and the shadow cabinet now privately share the publicly stated view of the Liberal Democrats that "he has to go". Not only that they believe that, whether Michael Martin understands this or not, he will be gone soon.
A minister close to Gordon Brown tells me that "There is inevitability to it all. Events have their own momentum" before stressing that he is not speaking for the prime minister who has moved from public support to the Speaker to neutrality (the line now is that this is a matter for the Commons and not the government).
If the Speaker is listening to these voices he will announce his resignation this afternoon. However, those close to him - like Jim Sheridan MP on this morning's Today programme - insist that his intention is to stay until the next election and reflect his anger that he's being treated "like a paedophile".
So, how can he avoid being the first Speaker to be ousted since Sir John Trevor in 1695 who was removed for the "high crime and misdemeanour" of taking bribes?
He has to avoid the motion of no confidence in him being debated this week. Though there may well still be a majority of MPs prepared to back him - most Labour backbenchers plus, I'm told 15-20 Tories - the divisions such a debate would create would be fatal to his authority and the status of the Speaker.
So, the Speaker's Plan for Survival needs to include a plan, a timetable, an apology and, above all, time:
• a plan - to reform the expenses system
• a timetable - for his departure at the next election
• an apology - to those MPs he attacked last week and to the public as a whole
• time - to let the heat go out of calls for him to go
A plan does not exist according to MPs who advise him and the chairman of the independent enquiry into MPs expenses.
The timetable for his departure is too long for his critics.
An apology will come too late for most.
That leaves time.
Senior figures on the Labour and Tory benches are extremely reluctant to break parliamentary convention by criticising the Speaker openly. If they refuse to sign the motion of no confidence in him the government may argue that there is no justification for re-arranging parliamentary business to debate it before the Commons goes into recess this Thursday. Tempers may then cool.
That is the hope of the Speaker's allies.
The government whips are, I'm told, neutral on the issue.
So an awful lot hangs on who does what between now and the Speaker's statement this afternoon.
UPDATE, 10:55: "I'm a celebrity, get me into here" is Esther Rantzen's response to the MPs' expenses crisis. The veteran consumer champion and advocate of children's rights has just declared that she is ready to stand as an independent anti-sleaze candidate. A celebrity articulating the public's anger could be very potent indeed, as Martin Bell proved when he stood against Neil Hamilton.