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Last chance

Nick Robinson | 16:45 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The home secretary is the most high-profile victim so far of the scandal over MPs' expenses.

She has, I'm told, decided to stand down from the cabinet because that's the "right thing for her family" who had been at the "forefront of the row" about the claim she made for the cost of watching an adult movie at her constituency home.

The pressure was felt not just by her husband - who had to admit that he'd watched it and submitted the claim - but by their school age children and her mum and dad.

Jacqui Smith

Her allies say that she met the prime minister during the Easter recess to tell him that she would like to stand down in the next reshuffle. They're making it very clear that she remains committed to his leadership of the Labour Party and to fighting her marginal seat at the next election.

One told me that though the home secretary still deeply regretted her mistake, she felt "vindicated" in her overall approach to her expense claims in the light of what has since emerged in the Telegraph's drip-drip torture of the Westminster classes. She may, I was told, have claimed for "a kitchen sink" but, unlike many of her colleagues, she didn't "claim for the whole kitchen".

The prime minister now has a home secretary on the way out, a chancellor who's badly damaged, a communities secretary whose behaviour he described as "totally unacceptable" and a transport secretary who's had to repay some of his expenses claims.

With potentially painful election results this Friday and Sunday the cabinet reshuffle now looks set for Monday.

It is Gordon Brown's last chance to prove to his party that he has a plan to get them out of the hole they're now in.

Update 1806: Surely it's no coincidence that a series of high-profile MPs are letting it be known that they're leaving the government or leaving parliament? It must - some mutter in Westminster - be a conspiracy, and that is what some close to the prime minister fear.

After all, why else would so many risk distracting and embarrassing their party on the eve of the last big electoral test before the general election?

The truth is probably simpler, but no less worrying for Gordon Brown.

The signs are that the decisions of ministers to stand down and of MPs to retire are a reflection of a widespread despair felt in Labour's ranks at the personal vilification that individuals have suffered and at the political defeat that they increasingly anticipate.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    There is no chance of getting out of this hole. None at all. Lets draw a line in the sand after this disasterous period and get on with building a new Government. Look forward not back. Switch the lights off on the way out Gordon please.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Nick
    What about this...
    Nationalist bid to force election ...
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8079604.stm
    Surely this is it for GB - reshuffle or not...

  • Comment number 3.

    It seems the beeb, or at least Mr Robinson, is missing out on a few other resignations (Watson and Hughes). Even the biased reporting ordered by Brown and Campbell should leave some leaway to report actual numbers of the government exodus.

    the Watson case is interesting. He had lawyers on his smeargate involvement denial. It looks like his case is not so black and white in his favour as he previously claimed. That also show in poor light McDonnell's decision to relent on smeargate, despite Ball's email infatuation with McBride.

  • Comment number 4.

    Jaqui Smith feels vindicated?

    My god, she has no shame at all.

    Its the 2 widescreen TV's that really stick in my throat. A kitchen sink is at least a (relatively) essential item for living. How the hell can she claim that TV's are for her to do her job?

    That coupled with the fact that they are in use in her first home, regardless of her indignant posturing at how much time she spends living rent free at her sister's house.

    Expenses are intended to cover the extra costs you have to pay to do your job. I highly doubt that if she was not an MP, the entire family would be leaving rent free in her sister's flat.

    Feel some shame woman, then you might get back a tiny scrap of respect.

  • Comment number 5.

    The offense is minor the prevailing attitude was major. Governments, worldwide, betrayed citizens. This is all a relfection of the disconnect between the government and the people. Governments, siding with bankers and investors, took the public for a ride and while enriching themselves cost many their future retirement and ability to help their children. In different times, this was the stuff of revolution but now everyone just tucks their tails as if they deserve the treatment that they have been subjected too by the ruling classes. A new bunch, also financed by the rich, will take their place and nothing but the rethortic will change. Welcome to the global ecomony and the expectation that government is as likely to do you harm as good.

  • Comment number 6.

    Gordon's plan to get out of his hole will be the same as the last plan.

    Keep on digging.

    It's like that episode of 'Blackadder' where a weary Cap'n Blackadder asks General Melchett what the big tactic will be in the next 'Big Push'.

    'We'll soften Jerry up with a barrage and then have wave after wave of men narch across no man's land'

    'Where they'll be mown down by machine guns. But we've tried that the last twenty times...' protests Blackadder.

    'Exactly,' Melchett declares with evident pride in his own brilliance, 'which is why they won't be expecting it!!!'

    So here's what Brown will do. He'll shuffle the deckchairs about, declare he's 'doing the right thing', 'making the tough choices' and 'getting on with the job' for 'hardworking families' and then continue to borrow 200bn quid a year and print an additional 100bn just to make the massive public sector payroll.

    Nice one Melchitt.

  • Comment number 7.

    Labour MP's could get themselves out of a hole by voting with the nationalists for a dissolution of parliament.

    Heroes they would be and near guaranteed to retain their seats at the general election we so badly need.

    Go on Do it!

  • Comment number 8.

    rats, ship, sinking............, they are almost falling over themselves to leave, who would want to be in cabinet now?? who is left with either integrity, credibility or public trust?

    GB, if you have any of the above left, for the sake of the country, call an election now

    Nick, do i dectect a slight change in your attitude/approach??

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    We'll all miss you Waqui.

    Don't forget to close the door.

  • Comment number 11.

    Ship
    Rats
    Sinking
    on a
    Like

    Clue: a well knonw phrase or saying.

  • Comment number 12.

    @5 Charles is that you?

    Long time no hear.

  • Comment number 13.

    Come on Nick - they are all going - after the Euro elections next week we want the whole lot to go, hopefully to be replaced with honest, hard working people who will do things the right way, not the easy way.

    Crash Gordon has to go in any case because he did not fulfil his promise about the referendum - so much for his moral Presbyterian values!!!

    Hopefully you will go too, because you are not an impartial observer/journalist, you are as partial as TASS !!

  • Comment number 14.

    My heart bleeds for the poor little dear - not. She's a pathetic little bully - she can dish it out, but can't take it.
    Let's hope the rest of the whining NuLabour Sisterhood show some solidarity and go with her.
    She must be brain-dead to think she can stand for re-election without this coming back to bite her. The tabloids should be able to find some legal way to pay a couple of porn movie stars to stand against her, just for a laugh.
    GB is fast running out of options. Maybe he should just sack the entire cabinet and do all the jobs himself?

  • Comment number 15.

    Poor Jacqui leaves before concluding her work: installing a viewscreen in everyone's home so you can be watched by the state.

    She was a far greater threat to our freedoms than any jihadist.

  • Comment number 16.

    She had to go..

    The concept of karma (along with reincarnation, samsara, and moksha) may originate in the shramana tradition of which Buddhism and Jainism are continuations.

    Throughout this process, some traditions (i.e., the Vedanta), believe that God plays some kind of role, for example, as the dispenser of the fruits of karma or as exercising the option to change one's karma in rare instances. In general, followers of Buddhism and many Hindus consider the natural laws of causation sufficient to explain the effects of karma. Another view holds that a Sadguru, acting on God's behalf, can mitigate or work out some of the karma of the disciple. However, according to Jainism, neither the God nor the Guru have any role in a person's Karma. A person himself is the sole doer and enjoyer of his karmas and their fruits.

    .. The universe can be a cruel beach

  • Comment number 17.

    Crikey it's going to be a bit of a squash for Ms Smith, Hubby and the kids when they all move into hers Sisters spare room eh? She won't need her second home now.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Ah, yes, she's concerned about the pressure on her school-age children.

    Would those be the same children one of whom she and her husband tried to blame for the taxpayer-funded gay porn?

  • Comment number 20.

    Why dont we just ask Mandy to extend the scrappage scheme to include defunkt prime ministers? Two grand off a Ford Fiesta will probably be Gordon's most positive contribution to the British economy. Oh hold on a mo.....aren't Fiestas made in Spain? Forget what i just suggested. He will have made NO contribution to the British economy by the time he departs.

  • Comment number 21.

    Nick,

    His only 'plan' is to try to get the most out of the shrinking time that he has left - which is pretty much what all these MPs are up to.

    His plan will be to try to manipulate some sort of legacy so that he can claim on his CV and whilst on the lecture tours that he personally cleaned up the British Parliament, or that he was the man who rescued the UK (if not the global) economy.

    Watch out for him doing a Blair-type global 'lap of honour' to self-publicise and in order to try to line up a nice little earner for himself once he no longer is prime minister and, perhaps, not even still a MP.

    My guess is that if things keep going 'belly up' at the rate they are going currently, he'll cut his losses about his own plans and call an election in the Autumn. Let's face it, at some point, 'hanging in there' will become more damaging for him personally than 'cutting loose'. And that is what will decide when the people of the country get their General Election - how much face he can keep in terms of having a productive post-premiership.

    Presumably, he will still be an MP (and, in fact very probably still prime minister) come the next election, so he'll get a golden handshake, just like the others, if he goes then. At the rate the brown stuff is hitting the many and assorted fans, is he really going to stand for re-election? Or will it be the time for constituency thank-you's and good-bye's?

  • Comment number 22.

    Gordon Brown, what a man! Having never had to face an election as leader of his party, he's presided of the biggest economic collapse in 80 years, polls show he's lost the support of the electorate, he's having to ditch half of his party's candidates and half of his cabinet due to the expenses scandal, and yet he has the cheek to say that even if he loses the support of his party he will not consider standing down.

  • Comment number 23.

    As I've said on my blog (at http://cogitodexter.wordpress.com ) no matter who ends up occupying the Grand Offices of State, the Labour Party has clearly lost the plot - and if reports are correct - they're in a state of near panic.

    I doubt they'll vote themselves out of office - there's all those lovely final-salary pensions to think about after all - and unless some back benchers see sense and vote with the opposition on the General Election motion, we're going to have a year of rudderless idea-less deckchair rearranging on the sinking Titanic. Even if Gordon is ousted - possibly due to someone Machiavellian in the background - it'd just be a third leader and PM in one Parliament. Hardly a ringing self-endorsement!

    The Labour Party has imploded. It doesn't deserve to run the country.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick.
    Lets be honest here for IF Gordon Brown had ANY CLUE WHATSOEVER to avoid the mess both the Country, and HIS Government are now in, then it is logical too believe that he would have put HIS PLANS into action by now.

    For in truth, the Prime Minister doe's not any Clue on Earth about what to do next other than the obvious which is to call an immediate General Election before ALL the Rats in the Government Ship have finally jumped over-board into the Thames pulling the rest of whats left of both "NEW" Labour, and ALL the other dis-honourable Members of the House of Commons with them.

    To say that Brown and Co: should go and go now is really an understatement that will only get louder with every passing Day from now right up until we do have a General Election, for things can only get worse up until then.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ref post #11
    Here's another one.

    Government
    This
    Election
    Finished
    Is
    Soon
    Possible
    As
    As

    Rearrange to state the bleeding obvious

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm so glad New Labour did what they said and abolished all the sleaze in government but not half as glad as I am that Mr Grumpy abolished Tory boom and bust.

  • Comment number 27.

    this really is such a shambles,how have we got to this position? how is it a man ,who is unelected is able to be pm?,I doubt whether labour will ever win power again, brown is a disaster,he has to go quick before anymore damage is done.

  • Comment number 28.

    With all these M.P.s' Resigning, when are they going to start advertising these Job vacancies in Job Centre Plus???

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi Nick, are you still there? Did you notice the other resignations behind Smith's? I don't think the licence payer should have to wait that long for breaking news, we are talking about hours not minutes here. Less bland hedged analysis, just keep up with the political news please mr editor.

  • Comment number 30.

    The Chancellor likely to be on his way out
    The home secretary to resign her post

    Two of the three main offices of state effectively leaderless. Who the hell is running the country! Call an election now!!!

    I've never really taken too much notice of posters claiming bias at the BBC until now. Coming home from work listening to Radio 5, their roving reporter in Redditch claimed that the voters there were giving M/s Smith the benefit of the doubt. Her evidence, an interview with just one acknowledged lifelong labour voter. Last week, the voters in Bromsgrove were calling for the head of Julie Kirkbride, their evidence, an interview with a former member of the Respect party. A little more balance in your reporting please.

  • Comment number 31.

    Now we will see on Wednesday if Cameron and Clegg will put their money where their mouths are and support the Plaid Cymru / SNP motion to dissolve Parliament.

    If they do, it's game on.

    If they don't, they will be seen as hollow vessels.

    We live in interesting times.

    By the way, how many Ministers is it today that have resigned, I've lost count? Is it 4?

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Nick,

    Home Sec really is the last bed in the ward, isn't it?

    You make the point that she felt vindicated because her crimes (and they may well turn out to be) were not as bad as some other MPs.

    With this crew, it is more attrition than contribution.

    See you in the vestry.

  • Comment number 33.

    Classic New Labour - over-promoted under-skilled pc appointment for one of the toughest posts in cabinet.

  • Comment number 34.

    I hear that the rescue of LDV has fallen though. Does anyone know what has happened to the £5m loan that we made to the company to tide it over?

    Will Lord Mandelson ask his Russian mate (you know, the one with the yacht.) for it back do you think?

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't think there's much more to say, is there?

    The government is paralysed and disintegrating before our eyes - even before the results of the forthcoming local and European elections.

    How much longer can this go on before a General Election?

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    #7

    Turkeys don't vote for Xmas and on present form it is unlikley many of the current labour members will be returning if an election is fought in the immediate future whether they force it or not. The mob is baying and mobs are rarely rational.

    If there is a prospect of a motion of no confidence or dissolution motion forcing the government out then be sure there will be an unseemly scuffle between Cameron and Clegg to jump on the bandwagon first to lay claim to delivery of the coup de grace.

    It may well be possible that next week after the drubbing Labour is going to get on Thursday that the time may be right to try it but Cameron is unlikely to let the Nats get the credit for administering the coup de grace. Expect much washing of hair during the vote on this motion. At present it seems perfectly sound strategy to let Labour implode further this only benefits the Tories.

    Of course if it worked it would mean we can forget any decent reform of parliament since with a landslide majority Camerons focus will be elsewhere. The mob, bloodlust sated could be safely relied upon to have forgotten all about it before the next election and we carry on as before with some miniscule reforms to the expenses book but nothing to resolve the root cause.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am very happy she is to go to me she was THE most dangours woman to this countrys freedom she seemed to be hellbent on eroding every freedom we had be that photo's of police, id cards 42 day detention closed trials etc could not be happier.

  • Comment number 39.

    The saying is that Turkeys don't vote for Christmas - perhaps, this time they might do just that.
    If 50+ Labour MPs are already going - why would they want to wait 12 months for their 'resettlement' package.
    A quick no- confidence vote and they'd be on their way to that final bonus package worth £100K.
    They know, 'reform' means - no so good in future.........

  • Comment number 40.

    I ask myself why won't Gordon Brown call a General Election, for could it be that he is suffering from Senile Dementia, and has forgotten what a General Election is needed for??

  • Comment number 41.

    Smith: absolutley 3rd no 4 th rate MP made good - err not good in fact positively bad. I laughed at the earleir comment that she dishes it out and cant take it - how sneary and high handed Smiths been pronouncing on public affairs she has no clue about - quite obviously others pulling her strings all along. Overpromoted coz shes a woman. Jeez I know more erudite females who work in pubs, launderettes and coffee bars. Political carrerist, party lapdog, small minded. Does she still not get it? It is not the cost of her sink as opposed to the kitchen. It is that it was possible, not overseen properly and the lack of integrity displayed by them.
    You have to say however that the end of the last tory gov was nowhere near as dreadful as Browns lot. No wonder Blair stood in his way for as long as possible. It was for our own good.

  • Comment number 42.

    Let us hope Ms. Smith is going because she realised how unpopular ID cards are.

  • Comment number 43.

    Our hapless and beleaguered Prime Minister claims that the British public want him to continue with his noble efforts to retrieve this country from its current dire straits.

    Perhaps he should listen to what his countryman Robert Burns once wrote:

    O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as others see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    And foolish notion.

  • Comment number 44.

    Good grief, this is a slow and painful process.

    First they fillibustered on the publication of the expenses information in the most blatant and disingenuous way, then they hid behind "I didn't break the rules, guv". Now they're slowly being winkled out out of their cushy jobs, but with the longest period of notice in history ("I've admitted wrongdoing and I'm finally being forced to go, but I'm sitting tight as an MP, so you're going to have to pay me until the next election and give me a big, fat severance payment and pension, unless Gordon allows me to bolt for the safety of the Lords").

    Honourable Members they are not. What galls me is that they are doing all this with OUR money and Prudence is running about like a headless chicken, "getting on with the job".

    Some job, some chicken.

  • Comment number 45.

    They are hoping that there will be some sort of amnesty agreed so they dont have to pay back all the money they have fraudulently taken.

    Ms Smith living in her sisters broom cupboard being the most bizarre arrangement of them all as she should as Home Secretary have been in a grace and favour ,secure Government building,or do these people only want US to believe terrorism is a threat.

    Perhaps like benefit or insurance claimants a lie detector test should be used on all future claims,i am sure it would result in a massive reduction in tax payer costs.

  • Comment number 46.

    #4 greatHayemaker

    Jaqui Smith feels vindicated?

    My god, she has no shame at all.

    "Its the 2 widescreen TV's that really stick in my throat".

    ==========

    You shouldn't be surprised.

    With two TVs they can both watch what ever they want whenever they want.

    Only diffrence now, Mr Smith has to buy his own videos.

  • Comment number 47.

    Another of Blair's sychophants bites the dust, Brown is really going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find someone to take part in his reshuffle that hasn't already been tainted with the stealing of taxpayers' money. How many more will follow her down the road to nowhere. She has the gall to state she wants to remain as an MP, so I hope the poor voters in her constituency who can't stretch to a second home show her the way to the dole office when the time comes. Brown must be on some powerful medication if he thinks he can survive as prime minister for much longer. I see prince Charles has been roped in to attend the D day parade, sadly he cannot refuse to attend , but the slight to the Queen will not go away and Brown must explain why such a grave error of protocol was made, did he think she might detract from his presence in Sarcozy and Obama's shadows ?

  • Comment number 48.

    Brown simply does not care about whats best for the UK or it's people.
    If he did he would accept that it's time for change.

    His arrogane is beyond belief, even for hardline Labour supporters.

    What they must realise is that Brown & his cronies have and are damaging the Labour party more than any previous Labour leadership in the history of the party.

    While Cameron pushes out his dodgy MP's Brown simply does nothing, they can't even manage to organise an invitation for our head of state to visit the 65th rememberance of D-Day.

    Instead, Brown intending to go himself as our head of state..................I don't think so.
    He's obviously worried about Sarkosy & Obama taking centre stage without him.

    Brown is a very very sad man.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Jacqui Smith - self-absorbed, self-rationalising, post-rationalising.

    Gordon Brown aka Baldrick - the man with a plan.

    Brown has gone from semi-detached from reality to completely detached. I have done this,I am doing that,I will do the next thing. Meanwhile back on planet Earth - - .

    Its fascinating but not in a good or healthy way. I have gone from feeling angry and frustrated when watching him to feeling guilty and bit shamefaced for failing to avert my gaze from a disturbed and disturbing figure.

  • Comment number 51.

    · 35. CA55ANDRA wrote:

    How much longer can this go on before a General Election?

    Answer: for as long as he, the PM, wishes this to continue under current legislation.
    Can you honestly see the Great British public taking to the streets to protest?
    I doubt it very much because we are too busy writing to blogs like this.

    Poor old GB, he stabbed so many people in the back & Blair held out for so long before he got to the top spot, only to find that it was more than he bargained for.
    Brown is a very good example of why we desperately need electoral reform.
    As for Smith, was she ever up to the job?

  • Comment number 52.

    Nick wrote:

    "She may, I was told, have claimed for "a kitchen sink" but, unlike many of her colleagues, she didn't "claim for the whole kitchen"."

    For what she claimed for the kitchen sink, many could have bought a 'whole kitchen".

  • Comment number 53.

    Again Nick, what a load of tosh.

    I know you're reporting the fact that Jacqui Smith has resigned but that is where the truth ends and fiction begins.

    If Jacqui Smith cites pressure as the reason for going, why has it taken so long?

    You know that we know that you know she is going because it is always better to go before you are pushed.

    GB wanted to sack JS just like he wanted to sack AD and a whole load of others in his cabinet who are a complete laughing stock; however this would have made the country laugh even more.

    The expenses scandal, and the same is true for Cameron, is an excellent opportunity to get rid of those in the party who you don't want either because they have become an embarrassment or they are ineffective.

    Jacqui Smith has gone for both of these reasons.

    With 50 Labour MPs ready to stand down at the next GE (and a fair handful of Tories too), a predicted Labour disaster at the polls in both the Council Elections and European Elections, no new legislation to debate or introduce (there have been so many u-turns), a scratching the bottom of the barrel for replacement cabinet ministers, and cabinet ministers who still have expenses questions to answer, the question you should be asking Nick, and I know it will get you into trouble is.....

    .....Prime Minister, will you give the people what they want, an immediate GE?

    Whether the victors are New Labour or Conservatives, at least there will be a cleansing of MPs by the constituents.

    Well done Plaid Cymru for tabling a motion for an immediate GE next week.


  • Comment number 54.

    47 kaybraes

    Mr Brown is certainly going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. The position has been something of a poisoned chalice under labour. Not one of the incumbents has made a decent fist of the job and they have all ended up in the political wilderness.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    she and all her likes should have thought about their loved ones and families BEFORE doing this , what about all the families who have been torn apart seen their net worth fall through the floor based on what Parliament the elected representatives have done to the country, whilst I wish no one no ill, they perhaps out to think of others before they start going on about them and theirs

  • Comment number 57.

    It must be time for a general election surely. It will be interesting to see if the proposed motion gets anywhere. It would be good to have a good clear out of all MPs and use the power of the internet, Twitter, Facebook etc. to really engage the public in politics properly and ensure we don't vote in another crowd of no-hopers.

  • Comment number 58.

    I suppose if you are seeking relection the best thing to do is to put as much distantce between you and Gordon Brown. You hardly want to be a member of his cabinet when he calls a general election (that won`t help your campaign one little bit) and if you are seeking re- election you would at least like to leave with some dignity. Brown`s reshuffled cabinet is going to be full of a load of toadies anyway and I am suprised people like Jack Straw are still hanging in there. Brown has too much on his plate to sort out before he calls a general election. His judgement on virtually everything he touches is already very suspect and the stress of another year as PM, with a disfunctional cabinet, will defintely push him over the top. He is just not up to the job and it is time the elders of the party had a quiet word with him and advised him to go with some of his reputation still in tact.If he stays, NuLabour will be in melt down after a General Election with the distinct possiblity that the Liberals will be the oppposition in a Conservative led government. Brown will go down in history as the worst PM of modern times. The Labour party will never forgive him for that and he will be hated as much by Labour die hards as Mrs Thatcher still is today which has a certian touch of irony about it..

  • Comment number 59.

    Smith has been a dead woman walking for some time.

    The rest of the governments are also virtual zombies.

    Only delusional Brown in his bunker believes that he has a political future.

    I wonder, can MPs put the Priory on expenses?

  • Comment number 60.

    To paraphrase the late Heath Ledger (as The Joker): "Does he look like a man with a plan?"

  • Comment number 61.

    Nice one Jackie. A family that watches television together stays together!

  • Comment number 62.

    Dropping like flies...

    And I'm not talking about Mr Smith's taste in home movies.

  • Comment number 63.

    "The signs are that the decisions of ministers to stand down and of MPs to retire are a reflection of a widespread despair felt in Labour's ranks at the personal vilification that individuals have suffered and at the political defeat that they increasingly anticipate".

    ==========

    Just before the end of WW2 when they knew the game was up, several Germans saw South America as the next best place to live.

    I am not suggesting for one moment that New Labour ministers are anywhere on a level with the Third Reich.

    However when there is a smell of fear amidst the ranks, the rats start jumping ship.

    There is a sense of panic now as the end game comes ever closer.

    In WW1, they would have been shot to stop the panic; these days you just need to say that you want to spend time with your family.

    Since my last posting, four more Labour MPs have been expelled (Morley, Gibson, Chaytor and one other whose name escapes me).

    Time for an update Nick; I can barely keep up.

  • Comment number 64.

    What a shame about the alternative.

    Will we be overlooking matters such as membership of the Bullingdon Club by Msrs Cameron and Osborne, the matter of the Shadow Chancellor's relationship with a dominatrix (whose allegations I find disturbing), the bizarre oceanic tryst between George Osborne and Oleg Deripaska, Osborne's subsequent evasive responses... ...I could produce such an extensive list of reasons for not trusting the Conservatives, a list as long as the one for the other two main parties.

    In spite of these things, and whomsoever wins the next general election, the media will doubtless persist in the charade of extending to them a 'honeymoon period', during which time their earlier transgressions will be overlooked, and they will be able to misbehave almost without question.

    Whom to trust? The journalists who so frequently misreport our politicians (as once happened on the Today Programme, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer was so badly mistreated by Humphrys and you too Nick, followed by a most grudging apology and attempt to shift blame), or the politicians themselves?

    In 1997 the Tories warned the press that they were 'drinking in the last chance saloon', and in true Grubb Street form there they have remained ever since, having 'jusht one lasht dwinkie'. Come to that, so have the politicians.

    It occurs to me that Natalie Rowe could very easily instil some discipline into both professions, and I say this as an ex soldier who finds them equally distasteful.

  • Comment number 65.

    So Ian Gibson has been told by Labour that he cannot stnad as a Labour canididate at the next election. All too easy of a target for the Star Chamber. What about some of the Ministers ie Hazel Blears? They appear to have been given immunity by Gordon Brown. Trouble with Dr Gibson was that all too often he spoke his mind. Gordon is making too many enemies now for his own good and I sincerely hope that for the well being of UK PLC, Labour rebels like Dr Gibson now band together and give Brown a good spanking - forcing him from the office of PM. When discipling people you must be even handed and fair. Gibson was led like a lamb to the slaughter whilst a lot of others within NuLabour have been allowed to get away with their misdameners. All because Brown did not have the moral fibre to sort them out.

  • Comment number 66.

    I must admit that I am disappointed by many of our MPs. Jacqui Smith sums them up. Greedy, not a lot of talent, lacking judgement.


    I think I may stand as an independent at the general election; it only costs £500 and I have 10 people who will second me.

    So what do I know about politics? Like the current cabinet not a lot.

    But I have worked for a living - real work. I can spell and I am at least numerate.

    And I won't need a second home - I can take the 45 minutes train ride to my mother's ex-council house in Kent.

    Another plus point is that I am honest - ask any of my friends - that must be a real plus today.

    And I don't have any friends in high places or the unions.

    So that's it. All the qualifications I need - I think!!!

    Westminster here I come.

  • Comment number 67.

    This situation cannot go on much longer.

    People want blood on the carpet, and the more it is held back, the worse it will eventually be.

    If GB thinks he just needs to hang on until the summer recess he is mistaken, things will just get worse.

    He needs to be advised to sack his errant cabinet ministers and backbenchers immediately and call an election. Have some stature man!

    The general public will be effervescent if they are ignored any longer, he is courting civil unrest.

    He is quite maddeningly oblivious to reality.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dear Nick (Et all),

    Do not forget, she may have left office but she will still collect her MP pay (And benefits) untl the next General Election (Next month???). She will also keep her pension. (All paid out of OUR taxes remember1)

    Not a bad job being totally incompetent is it?

    Xxxx

  • Comment number 69.

    Oh dear I hit the moderators button, no doubt on the 'sexist' element. It was not her gender that most appalled me her being put into high office just her apparant lack of brain power and endless use of 'politicalesse' language every time she opened her mouth. 3 rd rate. Like so many of this lot; men and women. Hoon, Hewitt, McNutty.
    Blair was right to keep Brown in the Treasury where he at least knew something (after now clearly getting a lift off from K Clarks chancellorship) and would do least harm.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'd like to act as the lone voice. The election will take place next year. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will lead Labour to another victory because of the his ability to sterr this country through the ressession. Cameron, will by then be fighting a rebellion in the Tory ranks over Europe and his inability to show he has any ideas on the economy. His adherance to his Shaddow Chancellor, Gideon Osborne, who dithers around trying to sound authoritative, but failing will step down and the Tories will swallow hard and do what they should have done last time and allow Kenneth Clark to emerge as their new leader. He of course will say, "Thanks, but not now" 'Course he may jazz it up a bit.

    Suddenly, Gordon will be hailed the hero. Then we will be able to sleep at night at last.

    Has Susan and Yellow seen Co-ops UK website yet?

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick
    How many 'last chances' does the PM get?
    Could I put to you a possible scenario? A motion of 'No Confidence', 'To dissolve parliament' or whatever. A lot of (retiring) labour MPs will be looking at dissolution and getting all the money accruing to their status as 'retiring' MPs, or sitting it out through a possible three line whipped bill that takes away those 'rights'? Bet for certain money now, or a bit more in 9-10-11-12 months? Even a turkey with a forthcoming Christmas can work that one out.

  • Comment number 72.

    #53

    "Well done Plaid Cymru for tabling a motion for an immediate GE next week."

    But will the turkeys vote for Christmas, all the time Labour has a majority Labour is safely in office - even if they are not in power...

  • Comment number 73.

    Give someone enough rope and he'll hang himself

    . Prov. If you give someone that you suspect of bad behavior the freedom to behave badly, eventually he or she will be caught and punished. Jill: I think Matilda's been stealing things out of my desk. Should I tell the boss? Jane: No; give her enough rope and she'll hang herself. One of these days she'll steal something important, the boss will find out for himself, and he'll fire her.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    The big problem as I see it to changing government staff, or parties in an election, is that the opposition position is further away from what should be done than the present government.

    Labour followed the Tory policies when elected, and now the present revulsion with greed needs to be compensated for by a shift to the left, but can David Cameron be trusted to move his Tory party to the left of Labour?

    There is a split between voters personal ethics and those they apparently expect of parliamentarians. How can personal greed be acceptable and public employee greed not - is this just green eyed envy! Or will we see bankers and footballers next in the firing line!

  • Comment number 76.

    oh dear i just ripped off the tax man and i feel very sorry about it, do you think a simple smarmy sorry will cover the problem ?.
    i think not the tax man would have me in court before i could finish saying sorry so why are these mp's getting away with it they have been outed wasting public money on themselves but nothing is being done in reality. a full investigation should be launched and any wrong doing prosecuted.
    a person is elected as an mp to represent their constituancy and benefit their communities but this recent batch of mp's are more interested in lining their own pockets at every ones expence.
    will an election solve this problem i think not a change in the house is required and more draconian measures required where rule breakers know they will be punished then terminated.
    local council members etc should be checked at the same time to insure those elected are there for the right reasons, pay and expenses overhauled and reviewed.

  • Comment number 77.

    Have any of you tried to Google these keywords?

    Speech by Chris Davies critical of Den Dover

    Here (at ITV) you can see and hear Chris Davies MEP, last year, attacking Den Dover MEP, about his expenses claims. Chris described the man as a crook who should be in prison. Fat chance that this will happen? Apparently Chris was "sent to Limoge", what we call sent to Coventry. Crooked MPs and MEPs, falsifying their expenses claims, should be facing the same justice that we the public face - only without any excuses.

  • Comment number 78.

    Like a scene from Shaun of the Dead, the cabinet are all dead men (and the odd woman) walking.
    Reshuffling the cabinet, supposedly to breath new life into the government, is an almost impossible task when the only cards in your deck are Jokers.

    Labour is only fit for the knackers yard and no I dont mean Ed Balls back garden.
    The Labour rose is no longer fragrant, all that is left is the stench of manure, the same stuff they have been shovelling down the throat of the electorate for the last decade.
    Fortunately we have all lost our appetite.

  • Comment number 79.

    69 baqeballer

    Yes, whatever happened to McNulty. He's obviously been kept in a dark room away from the media. Probably being fattened up before being thrown to the wolves.

    And whatever happened to my old foe, Mr Grandantidote. Perhaps he is becoming a chameleon and changing his colours from red to blue, or at least purple. Big Dave will be please to welcome him to the ranks.

  • Comment number 80.

    OH GORDY WHAT WILL YOU DO?

    Mr Brown presides over a decaying decadent dour semi dictatorship that's
    in it's final days of DECIMATION.

    A government that is SPEWING poisonous DEBRIS all over a CRIPPLED DEVALUED POLITICAL SYSTEM.

    GO TO THE COUNTRY GORDY BEFORE WE COME TO WESTMINSTER TO EVICT YOU FROM
    THE BIG BROTHER HOUSE YOU ARE SO SO PROUD OF!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Wasnt there a song in the 70s or 80s that prophetically summed up the times that we are now living in ..?
    Oh yeah . I remember that chorus .

    Gordon is a Morrrron . Gordon is a Morrrrron .

    I guess thats how history will remember him.
    A sad unfortunate fool, too proud and self absorbed to do what we all know is best, to step down.

  • Comment number 82.

    IS JACQUI BOOT GORDY'S APOCALYPSE??

  • Comment number 83.

    #70
    I thought you were supposed to be getting on with running the country Gordon

  • Comment number 84.

    With the latest step downs the wind has been taken out of Brown's sails and he cannot claim next week to be steering a new course for The Government because he is being proactive. In all of this he has been nothing short of reactive and in a very slow way at that!

  • Comment number 85.

    POST 64

    BE FAR MORE WORRIED ABOUT MANDY'S CONTACT WITH OLEG!!

  • Comment number 86.

    Nick,

    You say this is "Gordon Brown's last chance to prove to his party that he has a plan" - does he have a plan ? Do you have any inkling as to what it is?

    I saw the Labour Party party political broadcast with Eddie Izzard tonight on TV - it was all about David Cameron! It was all negative comments about him, and nothing positive to say at all about themselves. No hint of an idea here , let alone a plan. They are utterly finished.......

  • Comment number 87.

    My thoughts are with the inmates of UK jails.

    They must be feeling "I'm not all that bad after all - compared with a significant minority of the Government now in charge - Its just that I got caught and the police acted.

    #70 wasowenright
    "Brown will lead Labour to victory"
    We all have nightmares occasionly.

  • Comment number 88.

    not a reshuffle but a general election. so come on PRIME MINISTER let the people speak

  • Comment number 89.

    it's all unravelling, isn't it? - not much doubt about that now - the New Labour era is collapsing in a muddle and a puddle - can't help thinking back to that bright Mayday morning back in 97 - I remember it well, so so well - Tony with his crisp white shirt, collar open, sleeves rolled up - boyish, grinning, full of energy and fizzing with ideas for making our country a better place - bounding into number 10 like a puppy dog, propelled to power with the best wishes of just about everybody - I remember it as if it were yesterday - Portillo in Enfield, countless others of his ilk getting ousted from the safest of safe seats all over the nation - an end (finally!) to 18 years of Clown misrule, the only rule I'd ever really known - quite simply the Greatest Night of my Life - but it's all over now and the clowns are coming back, aren't they - and nothing much has changed, has it? - things have "got a little bit better" but I don't remember that as the slogan, I remember something rather loftier - not the end of the world I know (far from it) but, still, it's affecting me - it's like the better part of us, the optimistic, sunny side up part, the clear thinking progressive part if you will, has died - feel sad and (even though I'm barely out of short trousers) I feel old

  • Comment number 90.

    Jacqui has announced that she is stepping down as home secretary.
    Please note that her CV will be available from her constituency surgery should anyone want to employ her after the next election.
    With her strong desire to continue in public service she would make an outstanding Nurse, Police Woman or even Teacher.
    I am sure that any of these professions would welcome her into their fold with open arms.

    May I wish her all the best for the future.


  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    The cynic in me is this is an attempt to take the heat out of public anger with regard to Offensive abusive MPs expences I don't want to hang anyone before the police and HMRC have a chance to investigate ( when will they start investigating) But it has to be said none of it reads well for any Party.

    It is not lost on me that GB went silent for about a week and then is allowed a lengthy party political broadcast on the Andrew Marr Show. Shame he didn't have a more rounded chat with Mr Paxman.

    While our unelected leader went silent Phone in shows talk shows discussion shows were having a feast MP bashing.

    I notice this week it is not dominating the news outlets as much as last week - Plane crashes and Talent show contestants health is of course in the public interest and i have no problem with that, But I'm sure there was other news last week i just don't remember it.

    The Cynic in me believes Gordon Browns (wait and see) plan is that the public anger peaks at the election this Thursday and who ever loses out the most has lost and then at the weekend we have a significant Cabinet reshuffle and he hopes that dominates the news outlets and they can get back to normal. the cynic in me has seen through it and i hope many others do too

    What should happen to get their attention is more people than normal vote in a euro / county election, and they all don't vote for the big three parties.

    They would show him how important a reshuffle where overpaid under performing ministers collect their inflated pensions is

    I think that would get the message across that Flipping is tax evasion Phantom mortgages is fraud and claiming for charity donations is the worst insult possible to our servicemen alive or dead.

    Once they understand that we can then focus on why there is such a gap before the new speaker is elected and why that isn't a free public vote.

    A free public vote would mean MPs would have to listen to the majority of the voters.

    That would stop the Brownites blocking Frank Field

    There might be more public (than MP) support for Anne widdecombe and perhaps Douglas Carswell

    I don't know but it would be open and honest and transparent

    Then we can talk about why it is acceptable to resign or be sacked from a ministers (shadow or otherwise) portfolio and not face their local electorate till the next general election.

    Then we can ask why Ministers get so much Taxpayers cash in Parachute payments, and at the same time ask how much a serviceman is given after 23 years dodging real muck and bullets.

    Then we look into why inept public servants are elevated to the Lords with (Or given a government gifted job) a pension the general public can only dream about
    I for one am beginning to understand how Fred the Shred kept his obscene pension, but as I say i dont want to hang anyone untill the police and HMRC start and completed there investigations. When did Gorden Brown say that was starting?

  • Comment number 93.

    It is wrong to suggest that Labour will be decimated at the next election.

    To decimate would mean that we get rid of (execute actually - I don't wish this)one tenth of their MP's. Surely we can can do better than that

  • Comment number 94.

    70. At 7:33pm on 02 Jun 2009, wasowenright wrote:
    I'd like to act as the lone voice. The election will take place next year. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will lead Labour to another victory because of the his ability to sterr this country through the ressession. Cameron, will by then be fighting a rebellion in the Tory ranks over Europe and his inability to show he has any ideas on the economy. His adherance to his Shaddow Chancellor, Gideon Osborne, who dithers around trying to sound authoritative, but failing will step down and the Tories will swallow hard and do what they should have done last time and allow Kenneth Clark to emerge as their new leader. He of course will say, "Thanks, but not now" 'Course he may jazz it up a bit.

    Suddenly, Gordon will be hailed the hero. Then we will be able to sleep at night at last.

    Has Susan and Yellow seen Co-ops UK website yet?

    ===

    Yup, I think you are the lone voice with that one. One to preserve for posterity I think.

    I have seen the Co-op website thanks, and I am aware of credit unions. I though though that you were going to put forward a cohesive argument in favour of co-operative ventures. You know, something like the anarcho-syndicalist version of a BP, Vodaphone or HSBC.

    If it is that good a business model, that benefits everyone, why isn't every company doing it?

  • Comment number 95.

    In reply to comments made @ #81

    re a certain song about Gordon being something other than a Mormon...

    Careful, not only are you running close to the moderation wind on that one but if you care to look up the meaning of the songs lyrics you will find that Gordon was actually the person who got the action (girl) whilst the name caller was the 'looser'...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Fellows

    Back to Ms Smith...
    Well I for one won't be sorry to see Jackie Smith go, hopefully it might also allow her replacement scrap that daft ID card scheme, the DNA data-base that stores innocent peoples records and - due to the woeful inability to keep HMG data secure - the national Children's database too.

  • Comment number 96.

    July 2nd 2009 - The begining of the end of the worst government Ive ever known.

    Tell your children & your children's children, Nu Labour was all a horrible mistake, an expensive, uncontrolled experiment with socialism went dreadfully wrong and must never be repeated.

  • Comment number 97.

    89 sagamix

    You sound a little depressed. It seems that you have at last given up hope for your beloved New Labour.

    I have some sympathy (Not too much!). I remember the feeling in 97 when the realisation struck that the Tories were a busted flush. Not because they had made a mess of the economy, rather they had been hit by a sleazy element within the ranks. I still can't stand Neil Hamilton.

    Some of the Tories may still be sleazy, but at least they have within their number, politicians that know one end of a balance sheet form another and will give us our referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

  • Comment number 98.

    All of this is providing a marvellous distraction from what should be the big story, the criticism of the financial regulatory system put in place by Brown. It seems that the only reason behind it was that the Treasury wallahs had a real chip on their shoulder about the Bank of England. You really couldn't make it up.

    Meanwhile back in the bunker, I wonder what job Yvette is going to get now that her hubbie looks like getting the big one. When I look at the Balls, Ruth Kelly, James Purnell and the Millibands I can't help thinking that they are probably still fighting some of the factional battles that they did when they were members of the Oxford University Labour Club.

  • Comment number 99.

    She's robbed us of our liberties so it's no surprise she's been robbing from the petty cash either. Good riddance. You can keep the cash but can we have our liberties back please?

  • Comment number 100.

    #96

    "July 2nd 2009 - The begining of the end of the worst government Ive ever known."

    Wish I was still 16!...

 

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