Tory MP David Wilshire has been paying £105,000 expenses to run a company he owns. He has referred himself to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner before Guido could. In due course the Committee on Standards and Privileges will let him off with a slap on the wrist and he will not be the first six-figure expense trougher to be let off. The Wintertons and Jacqui Smith got the naughty step treatment from the Committtee of fellow MPs and paid not a penny back. Crime without punishment seems to be the operating principle, probably because MPs are thinking “there but for the grace of God go I”.
There is a Latin legal maxim: “nemo debet esse iudex in propria causa”, meaning no one should be judge in his own cause. The idea that MPs can be trusted to follow “fundamental principles of propriety” and self regulate according to the Green Book is laughable and it is now seen by the public as laughable. This has to change. The forthcoming Kelly Report to the Committee on Standards in Public Life needs to resolve this with tough transparency measures.