The (inter)net is tightening round their crimes and necks.
Westminster an organised criminal conspiracy, sack the spivs who let them get away with it - and put thieving MP's on trial
Defensive: Harriet Harman tried to justify the expenses claims by saying they were 'within the rules'
Ever since Parliament first met beside the Thames more than 700 years ago it has been inspired by one very powerful and wonderful idea: disinterested public service.
This meant that people would seek to become MPs or government ministers not out of self-interest and personal greed, but because they wanted to serve the nation. The key reward was never financial. Rather, it was measured in terms of honour.
This admirable motive drove all the greatest parliamentarians in our history: Oliver Cromwell, William Pitt the Elder, Gladstone and Winston Churchill. These men were respected for their self-sacrifice and exceptionally high standards of ethics.
This noble idea, which has driven our public life for so many centuries and, in many ways, has held Britain together as a country, died yesterday. Nobody can say any longer that our politicians are motivated by honesty, duty or patriotism. Almost to a man and woman they have been exposed as cheats and crooks whose primary motivation is lining their own pockets rather than serving Britain.
As a result, Parliament itself no longer looks like our greatest national institution. Instead, it has been exposed as an organised criminal conspiracy whose primary purpose is to defraud the taxpayer and serve the vested interest of a venal political class.
This corruption does not just involve a few bad apples, as Parliament's defenders so often like to assert. The shocking truth is that, with a handful of gleaming exceptions, almost all ministers and MPs are caught up in it including the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Home Secretary and the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Gone are those values of decency and integrity, to be replaced by a squalid system of institutionalised corruption and private self-enrichment. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a national disaster of the first order. Nor does this moral and financial corruption merely infect the Government. Voting out Gordon Brown's stinking New Labour administration would not make the faintest difference.
The stench of greed, cheating and dishonesty spreads into the opposition parties. David Cameron said yesterday that all MPs would have to explain to voters why they have claimed what they have. Any Conservative found to have breached the rules, he claimed, risked being 'dispatched in very short order'. But significantly, neither Mr Cameron nor a single member of his front bench had a word of criticism for any of the Labour ministers caught up in scandal yesterday. The truth is that the Tories are shaking with fear over possible further revelations that they have been stealing taxpayers' money with the same free abandon.
Some might call this mutual omerta honour among thieves. In fact, it is something far worse - a cross-party conspiracy to defraud at the heart of our public life. Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat have conspired together to feather their nests and steal money from the public. This means that the fundamental division in British politics is now no longer between Tory and Labour. Instead, it is between a greedy, venal and corrupt political class - and the great mass of ordinary, decent people. MPs and ministers have known about this rotten state of affairs for years, which is why they fought to the bitter end to keep their expenses claims secret.
But after yesterday's jaw-dropping revelations, everybody knows that a number of very senior politicians have been engaged in what most right-thinking people would see as criminal activity.
The Leader of the House, Harriet Harman, argued that all her colleagues' deceitful and very often poorly-documented expenses claims were 'within the rules'. She could not be more wrong.
When the Additional Costs Allowance, which is at the heart of much of this scandal, was introduced in 1971 it was intended to meet the costs incurred by MPs whose constituencies were outside London and who needed to stay in the capital to attend Parliament. It was never intended to finance the development of a property portfolio.
That is why the Commons rules don't allow the use of public money for house improvements, only repairs. Yet there are hundreds of examples of such rule-breaking. They all taint the whole concept of parliamentary democracy.
This brings us to the disgraceful role played by the man in charge of dealing with MPs' expenses. Instead of acting as a rigorous guardian of taxpayers' interests, is Andrew Walker, the director general of resources, to blame?
It was his office which cheerfully waved through the Home Secretary's expenses claim for her husband to watch pornographic films. Not that the MPs, beneficiaries of such largesse, would object.
And the systemic corruption doesn't end here. Walker is ultimately accountable to the Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, and therefore is open to the charge that he could wave through any questionable claims because he feels that is what Martin, reflecting the will of the Commons, wants.
Forced out: A whispering campaign led to the loss of commissioner for standards Elizabeth Filkin
How things have changed since ten years ago, when there was an official at Westminster who genuinely set about rooting out corruption. Her name was Elizabeth Filkin, the parliamentary commissioner for standards. However, she fell foul of MPs when she rigorously set about investigating alleged corruption. She was utterly fearless in her examination of cases involving Labour Cabinet ministers such as John Reid, the late Mo Mowlam and Peter Mandelson. But her honourable approach appalled the Commons establishment.
She was personally threatened and soon became the victim of an ugly smear campaign, with disgusting and false rumours spread about her personal life. In due course, with the backing of Speaker Martin and all the main political parties, she was effectively sacked.
Her replacement, John Lyon, is an abject figure - as can be seen from the fact that he embarked only with the utmost reluctance on an investigation into the abuse of public money by Jacqui Smith.
Had Mrs Filkin remained in post, the Commons would not be in the shameful position it is today. It is time that Speaker Martin stood up and apologised to her on behalf of all MPs.
Politicians are now held in public contempt, and rightly so because so many of them have been exposed as liars and thieves. Trust in British democracy stands at its lowest point since the First Reform Act of 1832. Even so, I would argue that it is still possible to clean up British public life. But this means embarking on wholesale reform.
First, MPs and ministers who have exploited the public trust must pay back all the money they have received through bogus expenses. For example, Hazel Blears and Geoff Hoon's property portfolios have been amassed partly at taxpayers' expense and therefore they should pay back all the profits to the Treasury to help pay off the mountainous national debt.
Second, MPs should no longer be exempt from the usual criminal penalties which apply to cheats in other sections of society. We should be ready to prosecute those who have made fraudulent statements to maximise their benefits.
Also, changes of key personnel are vital. Speaker Martin has long been at the apex of the Commons culture of corruption. No House of Commons reform carries an ounce of credibility while he remains in his post. The same applies to the wretched Andrew Walker.
It also goes without saying that we need a new set of rules, diligently and honestly enforced. Finally, those MPs and ministers who have abused the great trust placed in them by the British public must not be allowed to remain in the Commons a moment longer than necessary. Those who have stolen from the taxpayer must be forced to step down. This means a series of summer by-elections which, it is fervently to be hoped, will usher in a new breed of politician: men and women who are honest, decent, principled and public-spirited and capable of restoring the oncesplendid reputation of the British Parliament.