And so it has come to pass. Today's Evening Standard reveals that Kensington & Chelsea MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind has claimed £2,500 for flights between London and Edinburgh (where he has a home) in the last twelve months. That's at least 25 flights or one every fortnight - for an MP with a London constituency! Sir Malcolm's defence will no doubt be that he has done nothing wrong and he has obeyed the rules at all times, and the tragedy is, that according to the letter of the rules, he would be right.
If this isn't the starkest indication yet that the rules stink, I just don't know what is. By that logic, Sir Eldon Griffiths, who became known as the Member for Orange County Central, could have claimed for his regular flights to his home in California.
The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life has now brought forward his enquiry into MPs' expenses and it will now report before the election, thus neatly scuppering Gordon Brown's delaying tactics.
If I were David Cameron I would pre-empt this report and announce a new system which all Tory MPs would have to adhere to pending the conclusions of the Standards Committee. And if he can agree with Nick Clegg, so much the better.
I have absolutely no doubt that some MPs reading this, both Tory and Labour, will think it is disgraceful that I am highlighting this. Well I have a message for them. Feel free to go and defend this on the nation's airwaves. Because I can't, and I won't.
UPDATE Wed 10am: Sir Malcolm Rifkind has left a comment, which I reproduce here...
Iain Dale is a splendid blogger. On this occasion he ius confused and has got his facts wrong
1. I do not make 25 trips from London to my home in Scotland. My wife and I live in London while Parliament is sitting. We only go to our home in Scotland when Parliament is in recess. This is about 5 or 6 times a year.
2. I do not receive a penny (nor should I) of public funds on either my home in London or my home in Scotland.
3. I am reimbursed for my travel expenses. This is a taxable benefit on which I pay full tax to the Inland Revenue
Comment is free but facts are sacred
Malcolm Rifkind MP
I should just point out that I calculated the 25 flights on the basis of an Easyjet flight at £100 each. Admittedly that may have been on the low side.