Brown's proposals to replace the £23,083 second homes allowance with a fixed daily attendance allowance has many merits. First we must remember it isn't a daily attendance allowance, but a nightly accommodation allowance. Their daily attendance allowance is what their fixed salary is for. And to avoid the Brussels scandal of MEPs turning up for five minutes on a Thursday morning to sign for their daily allowance before going home for the weekend, I suggest MPs' allowances be based on a presumption of having spent the previous night away from home; i.e. those signing on Monday morning would be paid for Sunday night and so on.
I also suggest £140 a night would be a fair allowance. The House sat for 165 days in the 2007/2008 session; an MP attending each day would draw £23,100, identical to the current second homes allowance. £140 buys you a room in a central London Travel Lodge at short notice, an evening meal, breakfast and a cab fare.
Any more than £140 a night and we're into sleaze territory again. And any abuse by MPs of a professional signing-in process, such as signing in for each-other, must surely lead to requiring them to use fingerprint scanners or other such technology, or clock cards or some such.
They have one last chance to prove they can regulate themselves to our satisfaction. Let's hope they take it.