David Laws Does the Decent Thing 21

I am genuinely very sorry for David Laws, but he has done the decent thing and avoided a horrible protracted media exposure. He plainly broke the rules on not paying rent to a partner, and trying to hide behind quibbles on what constitutes a partner would not have helped.

Laws has now shown that he has a great deal more commonsense than many of the commenters on my earlier post and pretty well all other Lib Dem bloggers.


Indeed the knee jerk tribalism of Lib Dem blogs this morning was pretty disgusting.

This resignation sends out a good signal that any doubt on personal probity will not be tolerated. The parliamentary investigation into Laws’ claims will go ahead. I can think of no reason why there should now be any further public interest in press intrusion into his private life.

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21 thoughts on “David Laws Does the Decent Thing

  • kathz

    I hope there will now be some proper definition of what constitutes a partnership – it seems to me a more tricky area than it does to you, but my views were formed by thinking about women living in poverty and claiming benefits, rather than by the lives of cabinet ministers. I hope you’re right that the press will now leave David Laws alone – from observation, I’m not convinced they will, unless they find a new target.

    In case you think this is tribalism, I’m not a Liberal Democrat nor a supporter of the coalition, though I’m pleased about some moves in a more libertarian direction. I particularly dislike the Orange Book so am not instinctively on David Laws’ side. I do, however, think human relationships are complex and would like a move towards more tolerance and understanding of a range of relationships.

  • doug scorgie

    Craig and Kathz, both of you seem blind to the fact that David Laws has commited a crime; he has defrauded me, you and all taxpayers of at least £40,000. Any sympathy for his personal problems should be left to a judge

    when Mr Laws’ defence team put forward mitigating circumstances. Hypocracy abounds on this site. One of my neighbours has been arrested and charged with fraud for claiming benefits that she is not entitled to: she made a false representation and failed to disclose information contrary to the Fraud Act 2006. (Just like Mr Laws). I feel sorry for her and her family, who do not have two pennies to rub together, but she broke the law and got caught. Mr Laws has broken the law and all I hear is support for this ‘poor millionaire’ who is one of the ‘pillars of society.’ He has of course done the ‘decent thing’ and resigned. He has only resigned because he got caught! Now; because of his position in this class ridden country and with friends in high places, he will escape prosecution. My neighbour, who will no doubt be found guilty of fraud, is a decent person who, under the stress of trying to make finacial ends meet, will be punished by a justice system that allows rich and connected elites to get away scott free.

  • rafi


  • kingfelix

    “he has done the decent thing”

    You aren’t usually such an apologist.

    He is only now ‘doing the decent thing’ because he previously ripped off the expenses system.

    Why can’t MPs understand that it is not a question of ‘well, it was a good deal, the market rate, etc’

    If you fork over 40000 to a landlord and never see another penny of it, fine. If you’re going out grocery shopping with them, etc, and deriving further material benefit from that money, you’re ripping off the system.

    It’s so simple you’d think an MP would be able to understand it. You’d also hope, ‘man of principle’ Craig Murray would be above trotting out a cliche like ‘did the decent thing’. You constantly moan about cronyism in Uzbekistan, but you’re no better when it’s people you have links to who are up to no good.

  • kingfelix

    “In case you think this is tribalism,”

    No, it’s more that you like sucking off the knob of anybody important. I get it.

  • kingfelix

    “This resignation sends out a good signal”

    Spoken like a true politician. Another minister caught with their hand in the till is good news for Britain in Murrayland.

    Don’t be such a tool, Craig.

  • Craig


    no, I think he had to go because he definitely broke the rules. But in fact his expenses claims were among the lowest and if he had followed the rules and rented his own flat (as he eventually did) it would actually cost the taxpayer more.

    So he was wrong and he was right to resign. But was it a big scam designed to make as much money as possible, like Jacqui Smith? No.


  • brian

    kathz, did you think Clinton had a good argument when he said he ‘did not have sexual relations with that woman’?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry craig on this one your wrong.

    he got caught and tried to show some dignity by resigning….sorry where is the filth when you need them.

    here we go one rule for the rich one for the poor…

    If his defence is that he was protecting himslef from the homophobes in ths country then Im truly saddened…

  • kathz

    David Laws didn’t deny having sexual relations – I just think there’s a difference between a sexual relationship and a partnership. And, as I’ve said already, I’m more sympathetic for benefits claimants in new relationships who don’t think they are “living as husband and wife” (which is the test phrase). As I don’t know the precise details of David Laws’ relationship, I don’t know whether it was a partnership – but I do think that a partnership implies more than occasional sex, or even a friendship with occasional sex. Do all the people attacking David Laws feel that all their sexual relationships constitute partnerships? And are they so clear about where the dividing line falls?

    Try thinking about the question in another context. The poet W.H. Auden was the husband of Erika Mann. He was in a partnership with Chester Kallman (which he regarded as marriage). He had sexual relationships with other people, including friends and rent-boys, some of whom stayed with him on occasions. That’s a range of relationships but I would argue that only one was a partnership in any reasonable sense. That’s not cailling or hair-splitting – I just think a partnership is something more than a sexual relationship. Perhaps that’s just sentimentality and, in the view of most commenters here, there’s no real difference between a life shared with someone else and an occasional shag (and I don’t see why anyone should expect a single human being to be celibate).

    Incidentally the sum of £40,000 is a red herring – for some of the period in question, MPs were allowed to rent from family members. Recently MPs were given an official definition of “partnership” which plainly doesn’t include all sexual relationships.

    I probably have more sympathy for benefits claimants who are spied on and pursued.

  • brian

    Kathz – if you think living with someone for 10 years whilst having a sexual relationship does not make the people partners then I’m afraid if you told me the sky was blue I’d have to check for myself.

  • craig


    I don’t think the demial it was a partnership is even a tiny bit convincing. He gave him money to buy a bigger house, lived with him and had a sexual relationship over many years.

  • BarryR38

    Law is a crook, plain and simple, and should be tried as any other fraudster would be.

    And as for his pathetic sexuality excuse …LOL

  • Iain Orr

    The lack of human sympathy with Laws in many of these posts is distressing. However, many would say: “Well, how much sympathy did self-righteous bloggers show to Baroness Scotland? Isn ‘t it just schadenfreude when enemies stumble; but making generous allowances for your friends. (Kipling has several good poems on this theme.) No new politics, just old tribalism (NNPJOT).

    In fact, the cases and the principles are different. I’m ready to set that out when I have more time .. and when a few obscurities regarding both Scotland and Laws have been clarified. Meanwhile, the different ways Cameron and Clegg responded showed sensible politics, decency and judgement. Cameron was right to be generous; Clegg was right to say there was an issue concerning expenses. Contrast the blinkers that obscured Opik’s and Parris’s wider moral vision.

    Craig called it well right at the start. My own first instinct was to let Laws off with a yellow card. Far better (changing sport) that Laws walked.

  • John S

    “Did the decent thing”? We can add that to “personal tragedy” and “witchhunt”.

    I’m sick of listening to and reading these attempts at a whitewash. By his own admission, he claimed £40,000 for rent to his partner because he wanted to keep an element of his life private. How exactly did he decide that this was an acceptable thing to do? As if the overwhelming majority of the public could care less about his sexuality. The fact that his expenses were among the lowest is a complete irrelevance – its what he did, not what he didn’t do where the problem lies.

    As per usual, when it comes to those in public life, he feigns contrition…once he’s been caught. The man should be feeling Inspector Knacker’s hand on his shoulder.

    Truly grim.

  • Anonymous

    What utter nonsense I’m reading on this blog! Perfectly intelligent people are making excuses for criminal behaviour based on sympathy for a man who wants to be treated differently from the rest of us; supposedly because he’s gay and wanted to keep it secret. (Surely, as a senior government minister; a man open to blackmail and a security risk). And then some of you think that being educated in private schools and Cambridge University then becoming a millionaire qualifies him to be regarded as a pillar of society born to lead our country. No wonder the class system in this country survives when it is supported by naive and blinkered proles. The man is a thief in my view and should be prosecuted with the same vigour that welfare cheats are. What I find concerning about todays world is that well educated, intelligent people seem to rely on their gut-instinct and the disgracefully biased media to do their thinking for them. Putting effort into forming opinions, based on researching the claims that others make,seems to be out of fashion these days.

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    I applaud Craig’s ‘remorse’ at the loss of Laws – that shows a man of substance – not just riding on the ‘politically correct’ band wagon of ‘expenses’ and yes my ears hear the words, ‘that daft loony conspiracy theorist Mark Golding’ – time will tell – putting your trust in Cameron invokes ‘deja vu’ – remember how we trusted that nice family man Blair? –

    he went on to murder over 300,000 Iraqi children on a lie!

  • Duncan McFarlane

    If he wanted to keep this private there was an easy way to do it – not claim £40,000 of public money for the man he was (or – according to him – wasn’t) in a relationship with.

  • Redders


    The issue here is not David Laws having deprived the state of £40K, nor his sexuality; I believe the issue is the way the Freedom of Information Act is being used, for more, have a look at my blog http://hotscot.wordpress.com/

    Old news of course, the disgusting activities of the Israelis is now dominating but the issue of the FIA needs to be addressed.

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