Saturday, May 29, 2010

David Laws Quits

About an hour ago I tweeted that David Laws was resigning. In a couple of minutes the news channels will confirm the news via a statement from the Treasury. Terribly sad on several grounds and a bitter blow to the new coalition government.

More later...

80 comments:

S.B.S said...

Best he goes.

Simon Gardner said...

Inevitable. Twas better it be done quickly.

David said...

If I lived with my partner and didn't declare to the authorities that we were living together she would be hauled up in front of a court for claiming public funds under false pretenses.
I really don't see the difference here, and using the excuse of I want to keep my life private would cut no ice.

Anoneumouse said...

Well, they do say that, those that live by the sword.

Ben said...

His skills can be replaced. There is no substitute, though, for integrity in government.

Will he also be resigning as an MP, to save the constituency the process of recall?

Kalvis Jansons said...

In the short term, I think he has done the right thing.

However, I am sure we will see David Laws back in some form in not too long.

Derek Wall said...

my thoughts http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2010/05/david-laws-resigns.html

Tom said...

David, the difference is that you are heterosexual, and you haven't been indoctrinated by fuckwits to believe that your lifestyle is unacceptable.

M said...

He did the right and honourable thing. The electorate does not want another expenses scandal like it experienced under Labour and would not forgive the new government if it was seen to be soft on the issue and it would have been a running sore if he had remained in office. By contrast the speedy way in which this has been dealt with will be applauded by the electorate and it will become yesterdays news very quickly with no lasting damage to the new government.

There is an enormous amount of goodwill towards the new government amongst the electorate and if the new government can continue to keep it clean and stay in power for at least 6 months without collapsing, the Tories will be in a very strong position to win an outright majority at any general election that might follow e.g. a collapse of the coalition.

kev said...

@ David

That is such a poor argument. People keep citing it like lemmings on various forums, but it just doesn't make any sense.

If you don't declare your partner the DSS, you gain financially.

Laws did not gain financially from this arrangement. If he'd come out the closet, he could have claimed for a joint mortgage.

jilly_uk said...

Yvette cooper and Ed Balls did worse, they should resign too.

Andrew Davies said...

It is indeed very sad he goes - he was doing a great job. But this just looked all wrong even if it wasn't, and his authority was shot through. The Telegraph has done none of us any favours with this one, though, I fear. Danny Alexander will be a good replacement but not in the same league as Laws.

John said...

How is this 'terribly sad'? He did wrong, he got caught, he loses his job. That's how it should be. Except he should have been sacked.

norman said...

Hope this will not be the end of David Laws. He is a talented person who will I am sure come back in some capacity at a later date.

John said...

You've called this one badly from the off Iain and no amound of 'if only you knew what I know@ teases can disguise that.

Carl Harris said...

Personally I find it really Sad, he seems like a decent bloke, he could have taken the tax payer for lots more money.

It is sad that someone is forced to go to such lengths to hide their private life. Why do you still have to do so in public life.

I think we have lost a very good minister, very sad news.

Why does common sense never prevail? Why is it always the first reaction is to bay for blood?

Everyone rushes to Sarah Ferguson's defence, who committed an act of borderline criminality, but hang out this poor man to dry.

Laura said...

Sad, sad news.

Laws comes across as incredibly able and I was glad to have him in the Cabinet.

If he'd been honest about his relationship, he'd have been able to claim more money. This isn't a financial issue.

But is it really an issue about honesty, either? How sad that Laws, who seems to have lied for understandable reasons, without financial gain, should be forced into resigning, when there are still MPs in Parliament who have lied purely to line their own pockets (Balls and Cooper's mortgage fiasco springs to mind).

I'd rather hoped the coalition would stand by Laws. MPs have done worse things for worse reasons and survived with their careers intact.

Today is a sad day for the country. Laws was shaping up to be incredibly competent.

anne riddle said...

So sad, but how good to see an honourable man resigning. I wish him all the best and hope in time he will be able to use his financial talent to assist the co-alition govt.

Cogito Dexter said...

Absolute travesty.

Thanks a f***ing bunch, Daily Telegraph - you've just robbed us of one of the most critically important and committed ministers this government needed. The country will suffer as a result.

Well, I certainly will never EVER buy the Telegraph again: no homophobia in the story? My eye.

http://cogitodexter.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/unspoken-homophobia-underlies-the-telegraphs-laws-story/

eddie said...

He said "I can't escape the conclusion that what I did was somehow wrong."

How mealy mouthed is that?

Old Holborn said...

Looks like the MI5 standard check on whether the new minister could be or is being blackmailed came back positive then

Oh, and he's a thief.

Good riddance. More please. Don't stop until they are gone.

Nigel said...

This is sad, but, given the very mixed public response, probably inevitable. Better now than in a weeks' time.
Hope to see him back as soon as possible.

It's not as though the front bench is overflowing with talent.

John said...

'Terribly sad', 'decent man'??? What hypocritical rot. He's no better than any of the others who got caught.

A Suburban Voter said...

People who have tried to destabilise the coalition by doing this to David Laws & by extension, to David Cameron, would be remembered by the electorate at the next election. That's all.

Nigel said...

Also, he comes out of this rather better than the Telegraph.

Liz said...

Well the mob have a head on a stick and the Telegraph have stuck it to David Cameron. Who needs rationality or compassion - while we can all revel in sanctimony. The simple fact that Laws could have claimed far far more taxpayers money with impunity is happily passing the lynch mob by... he broke the rules because he was scared to reveal he's gay.

I'm truly of the opinion that this country gets what it deserves.

FX Man said...

So much quicker, better and more honourable than all those New Labour resignations and non-resignations.

Mr Dale, your sympathetic commentary on BBC News 24 does you great credit.

Jimmy said...

Only a fortnight in and the first sleaze resignation. Even by tory standards that's fast. At this rate they'll be all gone before the clocks go back.

Is this some sort of record?

JAY said...

Unfortunately, once the press got hold of this story, Laws' resignation was inevitable.

He has clearly put the government and the country before himself and behaved honourably and with dignity.

I wish him well for the future.

Sean said...

2 words missing from our everyday language, "duty" and "forgivness"

all we are doing here is excluding capable and talanted from doing their duty because we under no circumstances can forgive, even when it comes to love not money.

Arth said...

David Laws is a good man and it's a sad day for the country at so many levels.

I am a loyal Telegraph reader, but I am disappointed with them today. I cannot help thinking that this has something to do with their CGT campaign. I hope for their sake that they have not put their little campaign ahead of the national interest.

Gerry57 said...

It's a shame because he seemed determined to make the required cuts to save the economy.
It's no wonder he didnt want to face Alistair Campbell on QT.

golden_balls said...

It was silly to even suggest he could stay not after the crap the Tories gave Labour.

But for tonight at least i say DC has done the right thing.

I wonder if the further rumours which surround this case is the main reason he's resigned. Hope its not but i await the sunday papers with interest.

Bill Quango MP said...

A decent man for resigning.

Amazing that it is somehow necessary to say that but after the Labour years where no one would resign for anything, not even selling titles for party profit, enrichment at the taxpayers expense or mass murder it seems appropriate to at least point his honour out.

Autonomous Mind said...

Covering up his sexuality - which is no one's business but his own - is absolutely fine. Using public funds to do it is an abuse. It's not how I want my tax pounds spent.

Say No To 55 said...

Buried deep in the Telegraph article was the information that:

"Mr Laws’s claims for a series of other expenses are also now expected to come under scrutiny. Between 2004 and 2008, he submitted regular claims, in rounded figures, for service and maintenance, repairs, utilities and other items.

He typically claimed between £50 and £150 a month for utilities and £100 to £200 for maintenance. Receipts were not provided to back up the claims.

However, in April 2008, the rules were changed and MPs had to provide receipts for any claims above £25. Mr Laws’s expense claims dropped sharply. For example, he claimed only £37 a month for utilities."

This seems like pretty compelling evidence to me that he habitually made false claims - it's called false accounting, and if you dishonestly obtain a fiver and are caught doing so you will find yourself in court.

Anoneumouse said...

Will we now see a coalition change of climate or will it just be an Eastleigh breeze

HampsteadOwl said...

A few months after Blair took power in 1997 we had the Bernie Ecclestone affair - a far more murky abuse of power than anything Laws has committed. No one resigned. No one even said sorry. Instead Blair simply smarmed his way out of it in a television interview and everyone was still so besotted with the oleaginous git that he got away with it.

The refusal to hold yourself to account or even to apologise - let alone carry the can - set a pattern for the next 13 years.

Now just a few weeks into the coalition government we have this and Laws has done the honourable thing. Sad though it is for him and those who care for him personally, it's a small step towards restoring integrity into British public life. And for that we should be uplifted.




Reading Laws' resignation statement you can see very clearly that he has done the honourable thing. How often was it possible to say that during the 13 years of Blair and Brown?

For Laws, and those who care for him personally, it is sad.

Bloomingpouf said...

Tis Sad - and the saddest thing is those Pundits - Bloggers and generally self opinionated types - who thinks that in 2010 Homophobia is a thing of the past in UK Plc!

If it wasn't an issue there would be far more openly GAY MPs - and the one's who are in the closet wouldn't be in Narnia!

The Law says it's illegal and even mentions hate crime - but you try getting cases dealt with when your the victim and The Authorities won't listen!

I'm the same age as Mr laws - I came out 25 years ago, and have dealt with Homophobia head on ever since. Some posters go on about the DWP - the organisation that back in 1999 immediately adopted "Judgments -- Fitzpatrick (A. P.) v. Sterling Housing Association Ltd." http://tinyurl.com/34x2sl6" and assumed that all Gay men living in a house with another gay man were co-habiting!

The DWP outed more GAY men incorrectly because they were a Lodger of another Pouf.... but then again that little nugget just gets missed in the rush!

I sympathise very deeply with Mr Laws - not because he has done wrong, but tried to do right by others. Some of the folks who are so critical should try his shoes on for size - and see what it's like being a 40 something Pouf in UK 2010! It is no Picnic - there is no somewhere over the rainbow - and it sure aint Kansas with Toto at your ankles - and Damage all to often caused due to the Bigotry that hides behind supposed free speech and the rights of The Media!

It also has to be remembered that not just ONE Person has been outed here!

Bermondsey Mum said...

What ? Let's see, a proportion of £40,000 claimed over 3 years, not during this Parliament and that is why he was forced to resign ? This is an old story which the Telegraph revived in order to out him. And now we can look forward sanctimonious claptrap like many of the comments posted already about 'integrity' etc. No-one seems to be making the point about the press' integrity in all of this and the right of any individual to a private life! Is it any wonder that so few people of his cabibre enter politics?

Forlornehope said...

Your sympathy for David Laws does you credit but it was inevitable that he should resign. His resignation statement was a refreshing example of an honest and straightforward statement from a politician.

Halloway said...

I just saw your oleaginous performance on BBC24. Your comment regarding Laws's claim was just plain wrong. It is SINCE 2006 that he claimed around £40000 for renting a room at his partner's property. Think about it (if you can): 4 years = 48 months @ around £900 per month. 48 x 900 = 43200.

Funny how a Liberal MP shows up Conservative corruption.

peter said...

pathetic public holier than thou rage conned by the daily telegraph.what good does all this do us..we should be supporting the govrerment in iour financial crisis not gloating over a marginal point of no significance.what did he gain except his privacy..nothing ! IMO the DAILY TELEGRAPH is not a patriotric newspaper championing our cause for our country but is a self opinionated parading do gooder selling newspapers not always in the real true public interest for its short term fame and interest.Ok so you win we lose Again.!!

Lauchlan McLean said...

A Saintly Blogger appears on BBC News, amongst his comments is " Who ever seeks to be a MP needs his head examined" Does this mean that the SB has changed his ambitions to stay at BITE BACK putting Norfolk North, Bracknell , behind him. (On a personel note your new haircut suits you well however selection committee may prefer persons using Grecion 2000

Newmania said...

Bloody shame, it really is .We so desperately need men and women with his talent.

I fear that in today`s media environment instead of Churchill we would have got some craven invertebrate whose only qualification was that he had kept his nose clean

Anna said...

So far as I can see, although he may technically have contravened the rules, David Laws claimed less than he could have if he'd declared himself to be in a partnership. I reserve my ire for the witch-hunting media that whinges on about the iniquity of having to declare sexual orientation on official forms but has no respect for the privacy of a fundamentally decent man. A sad loss.

Lauchlan McLean said...

Iain on current situation. Expenses misjudgement... Probably wrong... Sexual judgement...Ambivalant

Osama the Nazarene said...

Agreed but life must go on! We have an enormous defecit brought about by the previous liebor government maxing out the country's credit card.

Refurbished schools, hospitals etc. all on the never never and GPs who took the old governement for a ride.

Gavin Gamble said...

Tragic about David Laws, though he was one of the most genuine, honest and hard working members of the new Co-Go. Regardless of his expenses saga, i have to wish him the best.

cyberboris said...

http://cyberboris.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/laws-goes-but-why-did-telegraph-do-it/

The thing I cannot understand is why did the Telegraph decide to release this information now?

The work David Laws is so crucial, he is so indispensable, how could the Telegraph, who apparently have been in possession of the facts for a long time, decide to release these facts, just when he had become a star because of his performance in the House of Commons?

Something is very very fishy.....

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

"first sleaze resignation"

When was the 'first sleaze resignation' from the NuLab front bench? Have we had it yet?

R Mutt said...

I'm not really convinced by the closet excuse. The whole problem with the expenses system was that the expenses were secret. It's all very well for Iain Dale to talk about the terrible trauma of coming out to your parents, but neither his parents nor the public knew what was in the expense claims. He could have just not claimed the expenses and no-one would have been the wiser (until the leak). Apparently he retired from the City aged 28 a millionaire, plus he had his MPs salary: he's not struggling for cash.

Bermondsey mum said...

'Halloway' Have you read the Telegraph article ? The claims are not ongoing - they ended in August 2009. So what was the real motive behind their revival of an old story, for claims which have not taken place during this Parliament ? I wonder.

HampsteadOwl said...

More reasons to be happy.

The noxious "Guido" is £500 worse off as a result of Laws resigning.

tapestry said...

You can't keep a great man down. He'll be back.

David Lindsay said...

The revered City comes to the reviled Westminster.

Bringing its standards and expectations with it.

DeeDee99 said...

This is a great shame for the Coalition Government and the country. Laws had made a great start as Chief Sec to the Treasury and would have done the job which the country desperately needs.

There are plenty in the Shadow Cabinet and on the Labour backbenches who committed far worse transgressions of the expenses system than Laws.

Any other Ministers with expense-skeletons in their closets would do well to get them rectified asap.

angry and despondent said...

I won't be sure of the rights and wrongs of this episode until the results of the investgation by the Standards Commissioner is published. David Laws has done the honourable thing and resigned as I believe those ultimate hypocrites in the Labour Party would have made a meal out of the situation if he had carried on a the Treasury. The BBC has already had some Labour M.P. (not known to me) bemoaning the situation. Rentagob Labour M.P. Stephen Pound currently giving the benefit of his wisdom on the beeb!

Although the Daily Telegraph did a public service with their original publication of the expenses scandal story, they do seem to be flogging the scandal to death. It seems they have had this story for quite a long time so you have to be suspicious as to why they chose now to publish. Labour spivs (Campbell, McBride, Draper, etc) are past masters at planting scandalous stories Tory M.P.s in the press. Are they now turning their attention to the LibDems now they share power?

What I find REALLY annoying about the Telegraph is that it is owned by the Barclay brothers, a couple notorious about the protection of their own privacy. Perhaps some enterprising investigative journalist should look into the lives and business dealings of this reclusive duo? Said journalist would have to brave Robert Maxwell like legal threats, though.

Jess The Dog said...

I'm sorry to hear that David Laws has stood down. He was guilty of breaching the rules but deserved better under the circumstances.

However, his conscience is clear, he has restored his reputation through this honourable action and I think he's done the country a service. The bar is now set very high...no longer will those in public life be able to cling on, claiming technicalities, and the default position will be resignation in future. An enormous change from Labour days.

I wish Laws well, and I suspect he will be back within 12 months.

norman said...

@Jimmy. What a pathetic person! Laws did not linger around like Mandy when he falsified the data in his mortgage application, Laws did not commit criminal offence like Mandy did and people of this country will appreciate his integrity as PM Cameron said, and unlike Mandy and the lying Campbell they loathe, they will respect him. As for you, you need some medication and wet cloth!

Paddy said...

I'm so bored of the Telegraph and expenses stories. Can they stop now please?

I guess it was inevitable that Laws had to resign once this came out, yet the fact that he could have quite legitimately paid twice the amount to a private landlord (or have claimed it in mortgage relief if he and his partner had been open) suggests that the rules are wrong. And as others have said: the Balls/Cooper arrangement is much more dubious morally.

I know that is no defence etc etc but I do wish people would stop seeing every politician as money-grabbing rip-off merchants. The country and the Government lost a good man today.

David said...

Sorry, but the claim that he didn't gain a pecunary advantage is just wrong.
Do you seriously think he got no advantage out of claiming £900 a month?

I do ctually care when the people elected to serve us are caught by the same rules that they expect the rest of the population to live by. I'd get the sack from my job if I was caught lying on expense claims, and would not expect any sympathy.

If Mr Laws is half as smart as his supporters seem to think, he'll put his hands up instead of some half baked nonsense about him feeling "I cannot now escape the conclusion that what I have done was in some way wrong"

Craig Ranapia said...

. And as others have said: the Balls/Cooper arrangement is much more dubious morally.

@Paddy: I totally agree, but as I've said elsewhere if Cameron and Clegg are serious about restoring public trust in Westminster then they've got to set the bar higher than Brown and Blair, especially when it's politically inconvenient.

STFC Executive said...

Dale - you have shown appalling judgement on this one. His sexuality had nothing to do with it - it's 2010 not 1910. He fiddled his expenses and should never hold public office again.

Jimmy said...

"I'm so bored of the Telegraph and expenses stories. Can they stop now please?"

Were they supposed to stop when Lightweight got in?

STFC Executive said...

Yeovil MPs website 4/2/10

David Laws, MP for Yeovil Constituency, has today become the first MP to publish all of his expense claims up to 31st December 2009, on the day that Parliament publishes expense data for all MPs – but Parliament has only today published figures up to 30th June 2009. David’s figures show that he continues to claim way below the limits for his personal expenses, including renting a flat in Westminster when Parliament is sitting.

Lady Finchley said...

He did the honourable thing and resigned - he will be a loss to the coalition. However, he screwed up and he needn't have - he is a millionaire for feck's sake. It all comes back to bite you in the ass in the end so it is a cautionary tale. It's a sad case of wasted talent.

David Lindsay said...

Welcome back to the Major Government. Right-wing MPs as a de facto separate party, by far the bitterest and most vociferous section of the Opposition. And now, newspapers dismissing Cabinet Ministers at will.

trevorsden said...

Its a blow to the LD end of the coalition Is it a blow to the orange book? A blow to a possible future merger?

But it does not change the economic outlook.

Kev is right though, Laws actions did not cost the taxpayer money. others are still in parliament whose actions did - ie the Balls'.

Going soon is probably best in the long term.

Liz is right too, people 'revelling in sanctimony'.
Pretty soon no one will be a politician. Who will protect us from the trade unions then?

4 labour MPs are in court one or two others are lucky not to be there with them. But speaking as someone who ne er liked the telegraph revelations we should note that in other respects a sense of proportion has gone out of the window. a broken system encouraged a lot of this.

Mark said...

I'm very late to this story - so apologies if I've missed the mark, but...

As much as I think losing David is a real blow to the government, the current climate (as it should be) is for our representatives to be whiter than white.

David was claiming expenses for the flat he shared with his partner and, regardless of his desire to keep personal circumstances private, the rules state what he did was a misuse of public funds.

Rightly or wrongly, he willingly chose to violate those rules. It didn't mean he had to quit, but it does mean his credibility would have been seriously weakened had a remained.

On a personal note - when I moved in with my current partner and started to pay the rent, that had to come out of my salary. I couldn't envisage having that as an expenses claim.

Terry said...

So. Turned over to BBC News at 2320 to see the papers reviewed by I Dale and what do I get? Some bloke reading the news. No Dale then or later. Where were you?
To the matter in hand. To me people's sexuality is their own business. Can they do the job? Are they decent human beings? Those are things that really matter. David Laws has been outed - as a thief. He stole allegedly £40,000 of taxpayers money. Whether it is repaid or not he should be put in front of a court of law because the offence occurs in stealing the money in the first place.
We have only seen 3 Labour MPs put before the courts so far and they are trying - unsuccessfully I hope - to claim parliamentary immunity.
ALL MPs who have stolen money from the taxpayer - Cameron and Clegg included not to mention Brown who had nearly £12,000 - should be put before the courts. They are thieves pure and simple and unfit to hold public office.
Kick the whole lot out - now.

Bill Quango MP said...

When was the 'first sleaze resignation' from the NuLab front bench? Have we had it yet?

Lets see.. First was "moment of madness" .Ron Davies
Then Mr Mandelson following the disclosure that he accepted a £373,000 home loan from the then Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson, who also had to go.
As did Mike O'Brien + Keith Vaz.
Then Stephen Byers + Estelle Morris over..can't remember what, incompetence I think.

It might make a good post Iain. The Labour cabinets of TB. How many survived with reputations intact. I doubt its over 20%.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blair_ministry

Ultramarine said...

This is last years news, so why did the Telegraph take so long to report it. Some other MPs did far worse things in the expenses scandal and were never brought to book for them.

Iain Dale said...

Terry, for some reason (Eurovision related I think!) they brought the paper review forward by 10 mins

Paul Canning said...

I applaud your attempts to explain Laws' predicament and particularly your openness in relating this to your own experience.

I think that in order to change the way-things-are for all LGBT people we need change everywhere and I also applaud what you've achieved in your own party.

But one thing rankles about closeted, powerful people like David Laws.

In order for them to 'arrive' in today's world of (almost) acceptance somebody had to sacrifice before them. Somebody had to accept police truncheons, to accept the sack, to accept public ridicule. We didn't get here by accident.

It would be nice for the Laws', Duncan's, Hughes' and - yes - Dale's to at least occasionally recognise that sacrifice that others made for their freedom.

We didn't get here by accident.

Merseymike said...

I have no time for Laws' politics, but on a human level, I sympathise with his situation. Its really sad that he felt the need to hide. I really hope he will be able to enjoy his relationship more and perhaps make it official sometime soon.

The thing is that I'm sure it wouldn't have affected his political career

John said...

@Mark

"On a personal note - when I moved in with my current partner and started to pay the rent, that had to come out of my salary. I couldn't envisage having that as an expenses claim."

You would if you had to work in two places 200 miles apart.

Unsworth said...

@ Bill Quango MP

Thanks. I had, mercifully, managed to obliterate most of those from memory - with the exception of the lovely Estelle.

However I also feel that the circumstance and manner of resignations is germane, as is what happens afterwards. For example, how many of these people maanage (or choose) to make a 'return' - and what that says about them and/or the goverment of the day.

I feel that we have now lost a real talent in government. True his behaviour was/is inexcusable, but we desperately need people with genuine talents and ability. I do not think Laws is irreplaceable, nobody is really, but his going makes things generally more difficult for the Government and, hence, for us all.

Perhaps Laws, too, may make a comeback. And perhaps the outcome of his self-referring to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards may be the means.


But, Profumo?

Jim said...

As a previous comment mentioned, surely the fact that Laws could have been blackmailed over his sexuality is the far greater issue.
If he was subject to a Security Clearance check then he must have, at the very least, concealed information, or worse, lied.
For that alone, he should have resigned. And claiming a "technicality" wouldn't work for me in a court of law so not only was he right to resign, he should be charged with fraud, just as any one else would have been.

Mark said...

@John

Actually, the expectation is that my partner moves with me.

Instead I have a 120 mile round-trip commute five days a week.

I don't get expenses for that either as where I live is deemed to be my choice.