The word on the street is that the good burghers of Winchester are rebelling and far from feeling sorry for their Member of Parliament, they want rid of him. This is leading to calls from some quarters for him to resign his seat and cause a by-election. The phone lines are said to be red hot in Cowley Street. Lord Rennard will be desperately trying to ensure that Oaten does not such thing but will be making contingency plans just in case. I hope Francis Maude is doing just the same. I'd say it's 50-50 as to whether he will actually pull the plug on his political career. If the gossip on PoliticalBetting.com is true and the "act so vile that the News of the World can't print it" is as gross as we are being led to believe then maybe he will be left with little alternative. The jokes are already in circulation and won't be repeated here, but Mark Oaten would need the courage of an Ox to show his face in the House of Commons at the moment. My personal view is that I hope he doesn't resign and rides out the storm. No doubt I'll be accused of having dubious morals myself for having some sympathy with him, but so be it. He's done wrong. He's been hypocritical. He's deceived his wife and his constituents. And probably much more besides. But an unholy witchhunt seems to be emerging. And remember the last man to fall victim of a political witchhunt? His name was David Kelly, and we all know what happened to him. Mark Oaten is a fallible human being. Let him have the time to recover his dignity, if not his political career.
UPDATE: 7.12pm Oaten's local paper is, according to ITN, calling on him to resign his seat. And he's been called to a meeting of his local party. Hat-tip to Andrea on PoliticalBetting.com