At this stage of the morning, Downing Street is working feverishly to shore up Gordon Brown, and it does look as if they will succeed. Not least because, more than ever at the moment, James Purnell's leadership starting gun is looking like a real misfire. If the BBC rumours are to be believed, then Brown is going to let Darling stay as Chancellor, will keep Straw as Justice Secretary, and David Miliband as Foreign Secretary. They'll all go down together it seems!
But the reshuffle is still in the making. What isn't is the continued sickness of the House of Commons. Although it is becoming common to read of MPs standing down at the next election, one whose farewell statement is worth reading is Tory MP Paul Goodman. He has not been fingered as an expenses abuser. He has a safe Tory seat (Wycombe) and every prospect of government office should his party win the next election. So why stand down? He explains his reasons in forceful post on Conservative Home. Specifically, he says:
" For Parliamentary democracy to work, a robust executive – strong government - must be balanced by a healthy legislature – by a flourishing House of Commons. That the Commons has been sick for many years is incontestable. The tragedy of the expenses scandal is that the patient, in consequence, is likely to receive a bigger dose of the medicine that’s causing the illness – namely, professional politics."
Do read the whole thing - anyone interested in the health of parliament and the prospects for Commons reform will find his piece both depressing and eloquent.