I came in for a bit of flack on Sunday for not laying in to Tony McNulty with all gun blazing. I well remembered the howls from Labour and LibDem supporters when Caroline Spelman first encountered her problems. I took the same stance then, again receiving a lot of criticism for doing so. But I have no regrets.
There is a key difference between the Spelman and McNulty cases. Spelman voluntarily submitted herself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, but McNulty has not.
I think Tony McNulty's biggest problem is that although he may be within the letter of the law, he has admitted he used the "second home" predominantly as an office. That's not what it is there for.
Whatever the outcome of this, one things has become crystal clear. The second home allowance in its current form is dead. Whatever new rules come into being should be ready for implementaton in May 2010. New MPs need to know the situation before the election.
To all those non Conservatives who took such great delight in Caroline Spelman's troubles, are you going to show the same degree of delight in McNulty's troubles? No, thought not. Hypocrites.