The earlier thread on Derek Conway was very interesting. There was an almost universal wish to see our party take firm action against him. There was a yearning for the party to take decisive action against behaviour that would not be tolerated in any other walk of life.
Unfortunately the doves around the Tory leader have prevailed and the following statement was issued by CCHQ earlier this evening:
“Derek Conway has apologised fully on the floor of the House of Commons and the Whip has not been withdrawn. The appropriate punishment is being administered.”
CCHQ are identifying Labour MPs that have not had the whip withdrawn when they have been suspended by the House. That leaves us on the same level as Labour then. Great.
Ben Brogan, Political Editor of the Daily Mail, gets it right over at his blog:
"I defy anyone reading this report not to conclude that Mr Conway is guilty of behaviour that is incompatible with being an MP. MPs frequently complain when we report critically their habit of voting themselves pay rises and extra allowances. Yet here we have an example of MPs standing by when one of their number pulls a fast one on the taxpayer. I have reason to believe that the revelations about Mr Conway are about to get worse, which will then leave Mr Cameron facing some difficult choices."
The next time David Cameron rises at PMQs to attack sleaze within the Government Labour MPs will only have to shout ‘Derek Conway’ back at him to blunt his attack. Unlike Brown Mr Cameron did not dither. He needed just a few hours to decide what to do about Mr Conway. He was decisive but decisively wrong.
Related link: Alex Deane over at CentreRight also supports decisive action.
8am, 29 January: When Ben Brogan wrote: "I have reason to believe that the revelations about Mr Conway are about to get worse," we now know what he had in mind…
Today’s Mail suggests that Mr Conway may also have paid his older son from parliamentary allowances whilst he was at university.
Over at the Parliament pages we have published the full text of Mr Conway’s apology to the Commons.