As surveying the carnage that used to be Gordon Brown's cabinet, we learned today that Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton, has announced that he is not standing at the next General Election. We also learned today that Paul Goodman, MP for Wycombe and a Shadow Minister is standing down as well. As far as I know the departure of these two men from the House of Commons has nothing to do with Telegraph exposures. They are just two very good politicians, one Labour and one Conservative who have had enough. They're going off to do something else. This should be of concern to all of us.
Most of us accept that there are people serving as Members of Parliament who should not be doing so. I daresay that some of these individuals will wriggle under the radar which has caught out others. It also seems to me that some are being vilified for supposed 'improper conduct' that does not justify being shown the door. None of us can comment on individual situations because we do not know the detail. We depend on the integrity of the scrutiny arrangements being carried out by the political parties. But there are many very good MPs, who have been committed to public service. These people will inevitably be asking themselves whether being an MP is now a job which brings them sufficient personal satisfaction. When I was ringing potential voters in Montgomeryshire yesterday, encouraging them to trek down to the polling booth, I spoke to some who think that no MPs are good people. They were wrong. There are good people, and two of them decided that they've had enough today.