. So, Nick Clegg has bitten the bullet and called for the Speaker to go and those MP's under investigation to be deselected by their local parties. Firstly, Clegg deserves credit for this remark;
"I do not think that the Speaker should be made a scapegoat for the failings of individual MP's".
However, my point about this issue has been and remains simply this; there are more important things that Clegg should have called for first or announced as David Cameron did earlier in the week. He should have insisted that all Liberal Democrat MP's expenses will be published online, as Cameron did, this is an essential part of a transparent system and actually is good political sense in the current climate in any case. He should have announced in a similar vein to Cameron exactly what it would and would not be permissible for Liberal Democrat MP's to claim for in the future and what would not be permissible to claim for; with a violation resulting in the loss of the Liberal Democrat whip.
All of these things clearly should have been done before the Speaker even became an issue worthy of comment. I do not agree that this has somehow flat-footed David Cameron who at least has had the sense to address issues like this first and foremost and has subsequently no doubt gained greater standing with the general public. On the substantive point I have no problem with the Speaker being deposed; I just see it as a secondary issue compared to the ones mentioned above and indeed the wider reform that is needed. If Clegg had actually shown some leadership in the last week and made progress on the above issues which are more important than the fate of the Speaker then there would be no problem with now turning his attention to that issue.
Clegg also called for 'MP's under investigation' to be deselected;
"They should be sacked by their constituencies and they should have by-elections".
The good news is it seems that Clegg won't be calling for a general election over this issue which, similarly to Bernard Salmon, I don't think should occur. The less good news is that Clegg is being far too vague and popularist; all MP's are 'under investigation for expenses' as the Daily Telegraph continues to make painfully clear. So, should Chris Huhne's local party deselect him over his Hob-Nob buying habits? I think not and don't think Clegg thinks so either; there has to be a question of degree and proportion here and that is largely absent in trailblazing calls for MP's 'under investigation' to be sacked.