Mr Darling initially attempted to claim yesterday that the expense was justified as it was in relation to the taxation of his office costs. However, receipts submitted by the Chancellor to the parliamentary authorities clearly show the advice is for personal taxation.According to senior accountants, in itself this is a clear breach of the rules. What makes it worse is that Darling sought to mislead the public initially by suggesting his claims were related purely to his role as an MP and as Chancellor.
Surely there is only one course open to him now: he must resign. He's claimed public money for a private accountant, has lied to the public about it and as the man in charge of tax policy, has exposed himself to a serious conflict of interest. Each one of those reasons represents a strong enough reason for the man to be sacked. Taken together, not only should he be fired as Chancellor, but his future as an MP must also now be in serious doubt.
If useless Brown doesn't act on this, everyone will finally know precisely where they stand with Labour: they will stop at nothing to cling on to power. Not good enough, I'm afraid - and the Opposition parties must make damn sure that message is heard loud and clear by demanding a no confidence debate in the Chancellor and, by implication, the government.
This cannot go on.