6.45pm: The Guardian is reporting that The Speaker has now called off the mole hunt. Mr Bercow issued this strong and very welcome statement:
"I have never been asked to approve the continuation of any such investigation, which was started before I became Speaker, and am deeply disturbed to discover that more resources may have been devoted to it. I do not believe that one moment of public time or one penny of public money should be wasted on such a cause. A witch-hunt of this kind is wrong in principle and offers the impression that MPs, not taxpayers, are the victims in this expenses affair, a view that is manifestly mistaken. I will now take every measure within my powers to bring any remaining inquiries here to an end as soon as humanly possible."
John Bercow has continued the search for the mole who leaked details of MPs' expenses to The Telegraph.
The search had been initiated by his predecessor as Speaker, Michael Martin, and without knowing the true cost today's Sunday Telegraph notes that the standard price of the intelligence service being used by the Commons is £5,000 per day.
The newspaper notes how David Cameron concluded that the information leaked to the Telegraph was “without question a positive development for the country”.
The Tory leader was right. Why, then, is this expensive search for the whistleblower continuing?
We already knew that the Commons staff who oversaw the discredited expenses system have been rewarded with an above inflation salary hike. This is another sign that the Commons authorities and Mr Speaker, in particular, do not 'get it'.