There has been ample speculation in the last few months about some Labour MPs being put on "suicide watch" over the slow brewing expenses scandals. Now, with the news that Telegraph has the unredacted receipts in its possession, could we about to see the hellish domino effect of MPs not only resigning offices but having to resign seats as local backlash in the run-up to the Euro and Local elections gathers pace?
Honourable resignations have of course become a thing of the past during the past twelve years. In fact they've been replaced with either "lets draw a line under this" or a resignation with a comeback a year later. However, now we have a story that has the potential to create far greater backlash from the mass of the public who vote, but largely don't bother with politics at any other time.
The information in the Telegraph's possession is dynamite for local free newspapers, and I think we can expect in the coming weeks these sheets to drop on people's doors with banner headlines about how people's local MPs have been, shall we say, taking the piss in a way slightly more dodgy than asking for a blank taxi receipt and writing it out for a few extra quid.
If, as speculation has suggested we also have a few extra-marital affairs crop up we could see a number of by-elections across the country as MPs are forced to step down as their constituents go postal at them in the letters page of the local and national press. The question seems to me to be how many will there be?
What's more, if there are many, how many by-elections would it take to make a General Election inevitable? If the Telegraph does as most seem to expect, and drip this information out over the next four weeks, is it likely that we could have so many MPs "in the shit" that it becomes untenable for Brown not to call a General Election in the Autumn?
True, the Telegraph may have started with the very top and juiciest of dodgy claims in relation to the Cabinet. However, whilst the lower echelons people may not be as important nationally, if their claims are more outlandish and the reaction in their constituency goes badly then the nightmare scenario of mass by-elections becomes more likely?
At the same time though, you have to ask yourself who would actually profit from this electorally? Thus far we have only seen the Labour Cabinet receipts reported. If the Tory receipts are equally as damning, and some Lib Dems are thrown into the mix as well, who exactly would the electorate choose?
We've seen before how a scandal for a constituency MP can result in defeat to an independent. If all the three main parties in Parliament are pulled into this scandal nationally, and it then filters down locally, could we see a constituency ballots taking the "Plague On All Your Houses" approach and return more independent MPs running on transparency tickets?
These are strange and indeed interesting times for Parliament and UK politics methinks.