Richard Shepherd was one of two old warhorses of the Toryism that opposed first Thatcher and then Maastricht to vote against the Government last night. The other was Sir Peter Tapsell, first elected with Thatcher. Yes, in 1959. Keynesian, pro-Commonwealth, anti-neoconservative and, while wrong (though for good reasons) on this, generally as splendid as is Shepherd in his unyielding constitutionalism and civil libertarianism.
Shepherd made the very important point that if there were fewer MPs, then an even higher proportion of them would be Ministers, thus increasing yet further the power of the Executive over the Legislature. But why are there so many Ministers, anyway? What do they do? And what on earth is the point of PPSes? Apart, of course, from controlling people who should be properly functioning parliamentarians. Looks like I've answered my own question there.