Let me start by saying that I bear no ill-will to Britain’s new Conservative – Liberal coalition. Indeed I hope it works because the country is in a dire financial mess and the Labour Party is currently struggling to function as an opposition let alone as an alternative government.
However I find rather curious the case of the Treasury Chief Secretary, David Laws, who resigned this weekend after it was revealed by the Daily Telegraph that he paid his partner some 40,000 pounds for the use of a room in which to stay out of his MPs expenses.
As he was now in change of making cuts to government spending and expenses it was clear that his remaining in office was simply untenable. On Saturday he stated: "I do not see how I can carry out my crucial work on the Budget and spending review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations."
First he broke the rules with regard to claiming expenses for renting from a partner or close family member. He paid rent for the room from 2004 to 2009 but it was in 2006 that rules governing MPs were introduced prohibiting this action. He says he did so because he did not wish to admit he was in a Gay relationship. Fair enough but as he is one of the wealthiest MPs in the House of Commons why did he claim at all? If he hadn’t nobody would have been any the wiser.
Secondly he maintained that he was single but straight when that simply was not the case. This I find very puzzling as he is a Liberal MP – and if any party embraces Gays it is the Liberals.
You knew Brian Laws was in deep trouble when they wheeled out Lord Paddy Pants-down to defend him. It was the equivalent of asking Princess Pushy of Kent to speak up for Fergie.
Do I feel sorry for David Laws?
As a human being yes, 100 per cent, there but for the grace of God...
As a politician not one iota. This is a rich man who tried to hide his sexuality from all at the public’s expense. He says he didn’t benefit financially – but his partner certainly did. At best he shows a serious lack of judgement.
My real cause of concern surrounds the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper did a valuable service to democracy when a year ago it revealed the expense claims of MPs resulting in some sackings, decisions not to stand at the last election and in some cases prosecutions. Hence the affairs of David Laws must have been known then. So why has the Daily Torygraph chosen now to out David Laws? Are there those on the right at the newspaper who wish the Conservative Liberal coalition ill?