David Laws Must Resign 81


I am among those who has been very impressed by David Laws’ performance in his brief ministerial career. And I have read carefully the Lib Dems blogs – which seem universally to be defending him, like this.

http://markreckons.blogspot.com/2010/05/david-laws-should-not-resign.html

http://www.libdemvoice.org/david-laws-issues-statement-on-his-expenses-and-sexuality-19728.html

The difficulty is that the Commons rules stated quite unequivocally that an MP could not claim to rent a room in a home owned by their partner. In 2006 a specific amendment was made to make that crystal clear. Laws does not deny he broke the rules, and is paying the money back.

The point made by Lib Dems throughout the blogosphere is that, if Laws and his partner had owned the homes jointly, he could have claimed the mortgage payments. That is of course true. But Laws did not do that, and the rules are explicit that the alternative of paying rent to your partner is not allowed.

Laws’ explanation for his behaviour is that he did not wish to come out as gay. That is his right. Had he therefore not made any second home expenses claims, he would have forfeited £40,000 and deserved great sympathy for the sacrifice made to his domestic privacy. Nobody would have launched an investigation into why the very wealthy David Laws did not make a second home claim.

To “protect your privacy” by making taxpayer funded rent payments to your partner against the rules, was always going to be counter-productive. It also involved what I presume (and I do not know) is a further little lie to the Commons that he was renting a bedroom in his partner’s house, when it is surely more likely that they share one.

It is, to say the least, extremely unfortunate that this revelation about David Laws should come out at this moment – and the Telegraph’s timing opens a whole raft of other questions. And what Laws has done is less bad, for example, than Michael Gove’s second home flipping. But there is no point to the Liberal Democrats if we do not aspire to higher standards than Labour and the Conservatives, and it is deeply disappointing to see the LibDem blogs’ tribal rally around Laws.

Laws has just announced a public sector pay freeze. He is the man who would have to announce cuts next year that will inflict very real pain upon public sector workers, benefit recipients and public service users. Having a millionaire to do that is already difficult. Having a millionaire, who broke the rules on expenses claims and trousered £40,000 he had to pay back, to do that is simply untenable.

Laws should do the decent thing now.


81 thoughts on “David Laws Must Resign

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  • Anonymous

    ‘As I have said before: there are none so blind as those that refuse to see.’

    Doug Scorgie

    You should go and seek help before the tories privatise the NHS.

    Eye treatment will work out very expensive when they do.

  • john henry

    Law’s has got to go. Taking and using public money to conceal his sexuality from a man in his position as Chief Tory Axeman in the Treasury is totally unacceptable. Who the hell does he think he is? He should do the decent thing and resign. How can he be trusted? He can’t!

    Let this whole affair be a good lesson to those Lib Dems who have aligned themselves with the Tories in their grab for power. NEVER TRUST A TORY as it appears that Laws and the Lib Dems have upset the Tories by insisting that Captial Gains Tax rises to the level of income taax. The Tory’s were never going to accept that and the Telegraph by exposing Laws “litle lie” have shown to what lengths the Tory Party will go to defend the interests of those who stand to lose a lot from this policy. Laws is the “sacrificial lamb” on the Tory high alter of filthy lucre.

    Laws has to go I’m afraid and this should be a signal now to the Lib Dems to quickly dump the Tories as a coalition partner before it’s too late. Don’t go blindly on believing in Clegg/Cameron’s “New Politics” garbage. New Politics, New Rubbish I’m afraid.

    Ditch the Tories NOW and save your party from annihilation and destruction at the hands of the Tories.

    Lib Con = Con Dem!

    Never trust the Tories!!

  • Redders

    Good grief, I can’t get past Brian and Tom’s hairsplitting without slitting my wrists.

    This is an intelligent, well educated, extremely wealthy man who didn’t need to raid the public purse to hide his sexuality. He knew what he was doing, taking the piss would be too moderate an expression, and his ethics must now be questioned; not his sexuality, his proximity to his lover when they were sleeping or his fear of coming out (using that particular excuse is simply diving for cover under labours PC security blanket) but what else will he get up to with public money to feather his own nest. The man has to either resign or be sacked, sadly he wont be the last as I suspect the Telegraph are simply keeping their powder dry and picking off individuals they deem a candidate for sacking this month. This raises the question of disclosure, the Telegraph has the right to apply for information now but surely it doesn’t have the right to simply use it for its own benefit. Isn’t it about time, in the age of the Internet, that information received is made publicly available in its entirety.

    Sorry if this has been addressed in earlier posts, like I said I was beginning to lose the will to live.

  • Anonymous

    ‘As I have said before: there are none so blind as those that refuse to see.’

    Doug Scorgie

    “You should go and seek help before the tories privatise the NHS.

    Eye treatment will work out very expensive when they do.”

    Posted by: at May 29, 2010 5:08 PM

    The thread of this discussion is about David Laws MP. It is supposed to be an itelligent dialogue about serious political and legal issues. Anonymous skitty remarks like that above show intelectual retardation and cowardice.

  • Redders

    Oh no!

    I made the mistake of reading John Henry’s post.

    “NEVER TRUST A TORY”

    So, a labour government embarks on an illegal war and de regulates the banks despite the clear evidence from the 1930’s that regulation was necessary to control these parasites and you make that statement. for the sake of brevity I have not gone into all the other blunders these incompetents have made but I can’t conceive of a more incompetent, corrupt, stupid and self seeking organisation in the country with the possible exception of the BNP.

  • kathz

    I’m not keen on David Laws’ economic policies but I think his point that it wasn’t a partnership may be valid. I don’t think the laws say – and they shouldn’t – that MPs should never have sex with a landlord or landlady. I’ve never felt that benefit claimants should be deprived of benefits for starting a sexual relationship – having sex with someone isn’t the same as being in a partnership. I’m prepared to extend that point to a government minister with whom I disagree.

  • ingo

    Why do we expect that Lib dems should act differently to any other party when it comes to self serving and/or mepotistic tendencies to defraud the taxpayer. After all they are merely a cross section of the whole of society with good and bad included.

    As long as there will be regulations made for our so called representatives expenses, these will be broken and undermined by loopholes. The more complicated they are, the more words are bent and tested against histories other learned fatalities.

    The disturbing noises about electoral reform, with many Tory reactionaries opposed to any referendum, it all looks like a constant battle of policies, instant positioning, rather than a coalition.

    Mr. Laws should find himself reprimanded, demoted even, why should such ignorance of facts go unpunished.

    Moreover, this explains his advertisement/desperation for a spin doctor on a hefty salary, it can now be understood, seen under a different light. He can square that 50K+ expense with the taxpayer, but we have to face cuts in services and pay for their selfserving follies.

  • Anonymous

    “Nick Clegg was meant to have carried out an audit of his MPs in the last parliament. These things should have been out in the open,”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10190326.stm

    “The minister said he extended the mortgage on his Somerset property to help Mr Lundie purchase the new property.”

  • Tony Bear

    GUIDO POSTED THIS:

    “UPDATE : Punters have raised the probability of Laws being the first Cabinet member to resign from 6% to 15% this morning. Guido thinks he will probably survive because he is too important to the coalition…

    UPDATE : The probability of Laws exiting the cabinet has been rising steadily all morning, punters are now giving him a 30% chance of going. Declaration of interest ?” Guido just put £500 on him surviving.”

    Laws has just resigned.

    Guido loses again….

  • Anonymous

    ‘Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander will take over the post, Downing Street has announced.’

    Secretary of State for Scotland, Danny Alexander, who just days before his appointment was campaigning for that same post to be abolished.

  • john henry

    All I shall say about Redders ridulous response to my post is that I have got nothing to do with the Labour Party and do not wish to defend them in any way.Let them do that. I thought this site was about David Laws’ “little lie” exposed by The Telegraph and his position (untenable) as Tory Axe Man at The Treasury. However he has resiged admitting that he was at fault and has been replaced by another Con Dem Stooge.

    Cheerio Laws. You came and went. Now you’ve got time to spend your millions that many people that you would have condemned to misery and the dole have not got. What a silly little man with a double first at Cambridge. Obviiosly a double last in decency and common sense.

    When will the Lib Dems learn? Still going to be doing the Tories Dirty Work. I’m looking forward to next round of Telegraph revelations on a stupid Lib Dem MP.

    Get out now is my advice!!

  • St Bruno

    Let’s face it, quite simply, Mr Law has lost the trust and his integrity to continue as a member of the ruling elite of the LibDem Coalition government. He should do the right thing and resign from the Cabinet.

    All the tardy arguments of the right and wrongs of the Parliamentary Rules are just so much wriggling nonsense and smoke screens to justify his skeletons in the cupboard.

    The very thought that the security services didn’t know of his preferences does not wash, unless, that is if all public servant are now trusted with ‘state secrets’ without firstly being vetted. I don’t think so.

    I agree with Craig: he should do the decent thing.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    David Laws:

    Voted strongly against introducing ID cards.

    Voted strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.

    Voted moderately against allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.

    Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools.

    Voted very strongly against a stricter asylum system.

    Voted strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.

    Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees.

    Voted for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.

    Voted moderately for a wholly elected House of Lords.

    Voted strongly for equal gay rights.

    Voted very strongly against the Iraq war.

    Voted very strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war.

    Voted strongly for the hunting ban.

    Voted moderately for laws to stop climate change.

    Voted moderately against introducing a smoking ban.

    Voted very strongly against replacing Trident.

    Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.

    Voted moderately for more EU integration.

    eh – in Conservative right wing circles

    he had to go!

    David Cameron:

    Voted strongly for laws to stop climate change.

    Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.

    Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.

    Voted moderately against more EU integration.

    Voted moderately for greater autonomy for schools.

    Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees.

    Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.

    Voted strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war.

    Voted moderately against allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.

    Voted moderately for equal gay rights.

    Voted very strongly against the hunting ban.

    Voted strongly against introducing ID cards.

    Voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.

    Voted moderately for a wholly elected House of Lords.

    Voted strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.

    Voted strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.

    Voted a mixture of for and against a stricter asylum system.

    Voted moderately against introducing a smoking ban.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    You are all fools – Cameron – the bloody war monger – MI5 agent – and Friends of Israel stooge has paid back a few dimes!

    Laws was going to pay back £40,000 – the rules were ill defined – four have already be indicted – Laws had not!

    What do you want folks – a house full of children killers that even a UN enclave could not protect!

    Who’s next then Nick Clegg? or Vince?

    Wake up friends – this is a ‘clean-up act’ on behalf of the elite!

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    William Hague mute on ‘Freedom Flotilla’ despite letters and emails from concerned activists campaigning for the safety of passengers on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

    Israel has tasked its Navy with intercepting the relief convoy of nine ships which is set to break the Tel Aviv-imposed siege of the Gaza Strip.

    A number of Israeli warships were deployed on Saturday to confront the Freedom Flotilla, which is to depart from the Cypriot coast for the impoverished coastal sliver, The Hindu reported.

    Tel Aviv has imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on Gaza since mid-June 2007, when the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas gained control of the territory. The restrictions have deprived the enclave’s nearly 1.5-million people of food, fuel, and other necessities.

    Israel has threatened to either jail or deport activists and politicians onboard the ships, should they reach the strip.

  • Cosmetic Brain Surgery

    Laws is gone. What a pity the Torygraph doesn’t do the honourable thing and **** off themselves.

  • [email protected]

    Storm meet teacup. David Laws – £40K. The banking sector – untold billions. Please, focus on the real criminals.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    I don’t understand how, if Laws hadn’t claimed any money for housing expenses whatsoever, anyone would know about his sexuality.

    Are you saying that him claiming money that he wouldn’t be allowed to claim if they were romantically involved was a double bluff? (ie. Of course they aren’t together, he’s claiming expenses?)

  • Danny

    Opinion seems to divide on whether you follow the spirit or letter of the law. The spirit of the law is that expenses payments for the house you are living in are perfectly fine, even when sharing that with a spouse or family. The letter of the law is that you cannot make payments to a relative. Obviously these two potentially contradict. There is a formal right way and formal wrong way of going about it, and Laws went the wrong way. Possibly he might scrape through on a technicality on it not being the wrong way, which just goes to demonstrate the foollishness of the whole situation.

    Bringing social security payments into this is a total red herring. Social security specifically prevents people claiming money if they live with someone else who could afford to pay for them. MPs expense, if anything, do the reverse. You are eligble for more for for your officially recognised spouse.

    So do you believe the letter of the law must be obeyed, or do you believe in fair treatment and justice?

  • Hengist

    ODE TO A LAND BEREFT OF LAWS

    Of Laws what is writ?

    The hubris of a banker

    preaching public thrift?

    What of the watchman

    o’er the nation’s treasure

    who took from the hoard

    to steal private pleasure?

    Fools may proclaim

    a Kingdom ingrate

    to waste the wits

    of this Man of State.

    Yet far better gone is he

    who took his duties light

    to fritter our wealth

    on another sodomite.

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