For a few days at least, it was local government’s favourite joke.
It goes like this.
First of all, some mention of a recent interaction with recently-departed local government minister Simon Clarke and then the punchline that it must have been the raising of this controversial topic that prompted his resignation.
Cue polite chuckles all round.
And then all the fun was ruined by the tabloid revelations that Mr Clarke had not been so incensed by local government lobbying lines that he quit within days.
Rather, he had followed in the clichéd footsteps of so many ministers before him and, prompted by long, lonely spells away from home, had strayed from his young family.
So Mr Clarke can no longer rely on speculation that his resignation was prompted by a principled objection to the future boundaries of Bolsover when it’s now patently clear it was just down to him getting his leg over.
Viewed through this lens, Mr Clarke’s recent plea in a Commons debate on coronavirus that ‘human beings in a free society must have a right to some social contact’ appears rather grubby.