You - no sniggering at the back. We're talking about an honourable member's member today so straight faces and no nonsense, please.

It's a serious issue so do settle down and strap in. No, I said IN.

As cannot have escaped you, the Tories are mired in yet another scandal. And, as with so much present British politics, the scandal is grubby and small and ridiculous.

William Wragg, the MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, and chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, has been caught in what is being very kindly dubbed a "honeytrap" situation.

"Honeytrap" implies some level of effort and sophistication, and an offer that was simply too good to refuse. In reality, Mr Wragg fell for a type of con known as "spear-phishing" - when one is targeted online in a fraud that aims to extort information.

The 36-year-old was contacted on the dating app Grindr by someone claiming to know him and was asked to provide a compromising picture. Astonishingly, he obliged, sending images on via WhatsApp.

When the honeytrap turned into a threat to release the photos, Mr Wragg handed over colleagues' phone numbers. I saw these colleagues described as "fellow grandees", which implies Mr Wragg is a Tory grandee. A grandee? He's been in parliament since 2015. Like I say, so much of present British politics is small and ridiculous. Of course, he's served under five prime ministers in that time but it's hardly a badge of honour.


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Those colleagues - fellow MPs, a political journalist and Westminster staffers - were then similarly approached and, would you Adam and Eve it, others sent on their own nuddy pics.

Dismayed the tabloids have missed the opportunity to call it "Wraggle rocked". Anyway, as far as sex scandals go it's not exactly a Keeler-Profumo-Ivanov triangle, is it? A "honeytrap" brings to mind at least a little glamour - not a dick pic on a dating app.

It is mere weeks since I wrote about being described on the radio as a sex cave correspondent following the fall out from Creative Scotland accidentally funding a porn film.

Continuing the theme, last week I was in the bizarre position of discussing the relative aesthetic merits of male genitalia live on the radio with Ruth Davidson, or Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links as she is to her friends.

Ms Davidson, while admitting she is not the target audience for such material, asked me whether I thought there was a gendered element to this scandal. Would a female MP have fallen for this?

Women are not so prone to sending pics of their nuddy bits to strangers. We are conditioned to have a higher sense of risk around such behaviour, certainly we are far more shamed for any sort of sexual impropriety. Or any sense of sexual fulfilment at all.

But is there a woman in parliament who would send naked photos to a complete stranger? Highly doubtful.

There is, though, a question of shame there that makes this a particularly human scandal and makes me feel - albeit grudgingly - a deal of pity for William Wragg.

One government minister I spoke to about the incident had no truck with the situation at all. "What's the scandal here? Politician has penis? So what?"

Incidentally, another politician said to me, wistfully, "I'd love to be embroiled in a sex scandal" so I'm keeping an eye on them.

While the minister's take is a gross over-simplification, there are two layers to it.

Downing Street is supporting Mr Wragg for one reason and one reason only: Rishi Sunak cannot afford another by-election. It would make the 24th of this parliament, assuming there aren't others in the meantime.

It's getting to the point we'll hardly need a general election because we'll have done the thing one seat at a time and, actually, none of us should really be minded to give an early opportunity for Reform UK to test the waters with its pro-cannibalism candidates.

Should Mr Wragg have the whip removed? For undermining parliamentary standards, for breaching his colleagues' security, for acting like a complete and utter idiot - absolutely yes.

For the naked pictures? No.

If it was the days of the Profumo scandal then an apology would have been offered and a sword fallen upon. Another fashion of current political discourse is avoidance of contrition. Instead, we have semi (stop it) sorries or total avoidance of responsibility.

What stands out (stop it) here is Wragg's genuine remorse. "I’ve hurt people by being weak," he told the Times. "I was scared. I’m mortified. I’m so sorry that my weakness has caused other people hurt."

His issue is that the remorse is less for the security breach and more for the humiliation of being hamstrung by his desires.

If you are of the mind that a naked photograph of yourself might be career-ending or humiliating then the only way to proceed is to not share naked photographs with anyone.

My afore-quoted minister is partially correct - there should be an element of "so what?" to the naked photo part of this. In my role as a court reporter I often speak to victims of romance frauds who suffer in silence for a long time before coming forward because they feel shame and humiliation that their very natural desires and needs - for love, for attention, for sex - have been exploited and manipulated.

Had we a more open and tolerant - dare I say it understanding - view of these things, Wragg would not have been open to being blackmailed. He would have done a stupid thing in believing in a fake dating account, but he might not have leaked sensitive data to try to cover up for himself.

Excuse the brief pivot, but there is, of course, another element to this, which is the ongoing issue of government by WhatsApp and what to do about it.

Use of the messaging platform keeps cropping up in connection with the undermining of democratic conventions.

What this all comes down to, ultimately, is competence. Wragg is not some elder statesman grappling with modern technology. He is in the Millennial age bracket that grew up with technology and shouldn't be bested by very, very simple fraudulent attacks.

Truly it is rock bottom when your MP is prioritising penis over party.