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Some worry that parliamentary scandals will push talented people away from politics. But might the opposite be true?

By Richard Reeves   July 2009

If the 2005-10 parliament is consigned to ignominy in the history books, will the next be better? Whatever the final result of the next election, the Commons is set for a big clearout. Some MPs have resigned over expenses. But a big swing to the Tories could see as many as half the current crop of 646 replaced—the biggest turnover in modern history. A great deal rides on the quality of those newcomers.

Complaints about the health of parliament are, of course, nothing new. “It has been a permanent condition of its history,” wrote Andrew Marr in Ruling Britannia, to…

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