COMMENT:

Simon Bridges is hopelessly exposed.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has let him down badly, and for that matter let himself down as well.

Calling the inquiry into the expenses leaks was the right thing to do. His explanation for calling the inquiry was the right thing to say: "It is vital we have faith in the system" and leaks like that bring the neutrality of the process into question.

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Which I guess is Mallard's rational for calling it quits. As he says, the leaker is within National, or odds on it is. Therefore it's, to a degree, beyond his jurisdiction now.

That, although technically correct, or if not technically correct at least partially correct, is also conveniently cute. And leaves me with the sense he's playing less Speaker and more Labour Party MP.

But it doesn't solve Bridges' problem - and Bridges' problem is it looks like he's got trouble in the ranks. And until we find out who it is, it's open to speculation, and rumour, and innuendo.

It's open to happening again, it's open to endless discussion over the fact that Bridges is not universally supported, and there is at least one person prepared to deliberately undermine the leadership, and with it the party.

This for a bloke polling at 10 per cent, a nationwide tour behind him and seemingly very little traction as a result, is a nightmare.

He can be as concerned as he wants about the fragility of the person concerned, but it still doesn't solve his problem.

Presumably the police aren't any help given they're citing privacy. And despite the fact they run their own programme, what is it they're going to do? I would have thought nothing, given the event itself is not criminal, or if it is criminally very minor.

So it would seem the ball is in Bridges' court.

Does he launch his own forensic investigation knowing the truth is out there and can be obtained, given it's been obtained by others?

And with it a two-fold issue.

One the fact he's been, and presumably is still open, to being undermined.

And two, the reality that mental health somehow trumps sackable actions, and with it all the implications of how that particular card can now be played in the future given the precedent he's allowed to be set.

For a bloke who insisted on getting to the bottom of this, and was certain it wasn't one of his own, he sits here this morning vulnerable, looking indecisive, wrong, embarrassed, and isolated.

If this ultimately is the beginning of a programme of undermining him that leads one day to a premature axing, he will have no one to blame but himself.