BRITAIN’S political leaders can look forward to a minimum of rest and recuperation as the holiday season descends on Westminster. The turmoil in the Labour Party over anti-semitism will not conveniently disappear during August, and the Conservative Party will continue to tear itself apart, while Brexit will remain the obdurate elephant in the room.

Outsiders wonder why this anti-semitism dispute in Labour cannot be easily resolved. But there is no sign of that happening with many Labour MPs deeply upset by leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude to the problem. There could even be calls for his replacement. Two MPs face disciplinary action – possibly suspension from the party – over this issue. Dame Margaret Hodge orally attacked Corbyn to his face and Ian Austin has described Labour as a “sewer” so long as the row continues. Both these MPs lost relatives in the Holocaust.

Meanwhile Tory malcontents over Brexit continue to make Theresa May’s already difficult position even worse, while Boris Johnson, the ex-Foreign Secretary, is already showing signs of becoming a serious threat on the back-benches. At the same time Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, appears to be planning a new party, although he denies this. Well, he would, wouldn’t he? That would cause yet more ructions in the Lib Dems, leaving him little time for building sandcastles. What a happy band of campers they all are.

A MAJOR crackdown on bullies – and worse – who frighten, threaten physical and sexual violence, and generally intimidate candidates at elections as well as their campaigners and supporters, is to be introduced by the Government. And not before time.

There is now plain evidence that people who fought the last general election had to tolerate outrageous threats during the campaign. This disgraceful behaviour even continues against sitting MPs, mostly female ones – and is getting worse. Much of this vicious conduct comes from sadistic trolls on social media. And not only does it put the frighteners on citizens who want to serve the public, but it also understandably discourages many people from doing so.

It is far worse than the corruption of the rotten boroughs in centuries gone by, or the barefaced bribery as described by Charles Dickens in the notorious Eatanswill election in his novel, The Pickwick Papers.

One sanction proposed is that those guilty of this offence would themselves be barred from holding public office. And when the legislation comes before Parliament, presumably in the autumn, I hope it will contain much more severe punishments than that. The country must not be besmirched by this kind of cruelty.

JUST another £170m of public money down the drain. Who cares? Well thousands, if not millions, of taxpayers do care as the Government fork out their money to end the shambles of the British probation service. It is bad enough when MPs squander taxpayers’ money with their ludicrous expenses, but it is that much worse when the Government is guilty of the same extravagance.