Two more MP’s from the main parties have announced that they will not be seeking re-election. Julie Kirkbride MP, wife of Andrew Mackay (who made his decision to stand down a few days ago) and Margaret Moran, Labour MP for Luton South announced their decisions to stand down at the next election within minutes of each other.
Margaret Moran was one of the first MP’s exposed by the Telegraph and was facing an anti sleaze challenge from Esther Rantzen had she remained a candidate. In her statement she said that ‘it is very important that I make it absolutely clear that I have done nothing wrong or dishonest in relation to my claim for expenses and have at all times acted on advice from the House of Commons Fees Office in relation to my family home in Southampton.’ And in fairness to her the fees office has confirmed that the advice it gave ‘at the time was wrong.’
While the defence of Margaret Moran as well as most MP’s caught up in the expenses scandal is that they weren’t breaking any rules (which is probably true), they were certainly abusing the rules for personal benefit and once the detailed information was made public, the ‘expenses being justified’ defence was simply not one that was going to be accepted by the voters or in the media. The pressure being exerted on MP’s seen to be fiddling the system whether from their voters, the media and their Party leaders is immense and it seems highly likely that there will be many more MP’s leaving before the next election.