The Mail on Sunday today quotes Michael Howard promising to axe one in five MPs and ministers, and one in three of "the army of spin doctors" recruited by Labour. Getting rid of the MPs, he says, would save £25 million a year, taking into account expenses and overheads.
Without actually admitting it, Howard is nevertheless acknowledging that which we all know, that MPs by and large are a waste of time and space – nothing more than "glorified social workers" as Tony Banks recently described them. With so much legislation being passed by Brussels, going nowhere near parliament, it is hard to disagree.
However, if Howard really wants to save some money, why does he not abolish the MEPs rather than the MPs? That alone could save of better than £80 million and if he goes the whole hog and gets us out of the EU altogether, we gain over £9 billion in saved contributions plus anything up to £20 billion a year in regulatory costs.
For that price, I would even be happy to keep the number of MPs as it was – although losing a few from over-represented Scotland would be no bad thing.