It was hard not to feel a touch sorry for Jacqui Smith on Question Time last night as she saw her safety-net of a potential seat in the House of Lords flash before her eyes. She couldn't afford to put a single word out of place as David Dimbleby pursued the inexorable logic.
"Do you think MPs disgraced by the expenses scandal should be rewarded with a seat in the House of Lords?"
"No, I don't."
"Do you think you have been disgraced by the expenses scandal?"
"Yes, I think to some extent I have been."
"So you think you shouldn't be rewarded with a seat in the House of Lords?"
"David, this isn't about individuals..."
Yes, I think we can safely assume that in six months' time, having been sent packing by the voters of Redditch, Baroness Smith will be reminding us - "well, I did only say 'to an extent'".