Peter Hain's problem today is much the same as it was during the deputy leadership contest. Few people in the Labour Party really like him. This has become all to apparent in the last few days as several Labour MPs have called for him to go. On Friday it was Peter Kilfoyle, yesterday it was John Spellar. Today it is Ian Gibson.
I understand Newsnight may be laying into him tonight and have been canvassing Labour bloggers to appear. Alex Hilton of Labour Home has declined to appear, despite calling on Labour Home for him to do the decent thing. At times like these, politicians in trouble need all the friends they can get. Even loyalist MPs are saying unhelpful things. My flabber was well and truly ghasted last night when I heard Emily Thornberry on the Westminster Hour having a bit of a go. She's normally so far up the leadership's posterior there is little wriggle room left.
Additionally, Tom Bower's book makes clear that Gordon Brown has always disliked Hain because of his naked attempts to appeal to the left, pretending that he's still a socialist really.
The news today that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is instigating a full investigation is, well, hardly news, but there will be a real expectation that Hain will have important questions to answer. If he is found guilty and suspended from the House for a period, that really will be it. I'm not 100% sure of the order of procedure here but I think he could only be saved from this by the Standards & Privileges Committee. There is a Labour majority on it, and they have saved careers before (eg John Reid's), but I can't think on this they would go against the advice of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. Graphic Hattip to Lakelander