It was reported by the BBC today that Derek Conway has apologised "without qualification" after he was ordered to return £3,757 of taxpayers' money paid to his elder son Henry. Isn't that nice?
The only thing is, even after paying this back, he still has moral debt to settle with taxpayers.
Further, the very fact he is still scuttling up and down the corridors of the Commons is a sad indictment. These repayments, and his apology, have made it explicitly clear that he is in the wrong. That he has, in effect, defrauded taxpayers of their money and betrayed the trust placed in him.
The honourable, nay the only correct, course of action is to resign. It would have been to resign as soon as he was found out, but it is DEFINITELY to resign now.
Crucially, like the naughty child at the back of the class who will not stop throwing paper aeroplanes, he has ruined it for everyone. He has tarnished all innocent elected officials with his greedy and deeply egregious behaviour. He should stand down immediately and allow the people of Old Bexley and Sidcup to elect someone they can be proud of.
He did give a moving apology:
"Will you accept that I repeat without qualification the apology I've already given you in writing and say that I accept without any reservation the committee's conclusion that I breached a rule of the House," he said.
Um, no. The only thing that would be acceptable is if you pay back all the money you owe and leave, Derek.