Good for candidates


This is a very good time to be a parliamentary candidate – for any party. The point is that as a candidate, you are untainted by expenses fraud and false claims. There is a good chance that your sitting MP is so tainted, in that all were part of, and connived in, a fundamentally corrupt system. It was designed to make the salaries of MPs seem modest and reasonable by hiding a huge part of them under the cloak of tax-free expenses.

Now it is payback time, and every MP with dubious claims out there is at the mercy of opponents using the local press to attack their expenses record. More than the usual number will elect not to re-stand, walking off with their gold-plated pension pots. This means that many candidates will not face incumbents, but faces as fresh as their own. Of the MPs who do try for re-election, many will not succeed, fatally tainted by what has been revealed.

The new House will be known as the "Parliament of Fresh Faces," in that record numbers will be new to Westminster. In many ways this clearing out will serve the nation well, taking with it the accumulated debris of cosy carve-ups that entrenched power and privilege in the hands of the long-serving. Fresh faces mean a fresh look, and a chance for some of the root-and-branch reforms needed to get Britain out of the hole in which the present crowd have dumped it.