Ed Miliband faces a big decision tonight, does he use PMQs tomorrow to call for Maria Miller’s resignation. So far, he has limited himself to saying that Cameron has questions to answer about how this whole business has been handled. But if Miliband went for it at PMQs, it would keep this story going for yet another day. It would also fit Miliband’s argument that Cameron is a Prime Minister who ‘stands up for the wrong people’.
Set against this, though, is the question of whether it is in the interests of any party to get into a row over expenses. Tory MPs are quick to point out that five Labour MPs—and no Tories or Lib Dems—have been found guilty of expenses fraud by a court and sent to prison. Also if Miliband goes on Miller, he will justify a re-litigating of the pre-2010 expenses claims of his own front bench. (It should be noted that in 2009, the Telegraph hailed Miliband for having some of the lowest and cleanest expenses of any MP).
The third way for Miliband on this is to use PMQs to call for reform of the system, to set himself up as the leader prepared to sort this system out. Meanwhile, Number 10 has to work out if they think Miliband will call for Miller to be sacked. If he does, is Cameron prepared to stand at the despatch box and defend her repeatedly or does he want this sorted before 12pm tomorrow?
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.