Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Standards & Privileges Committee: J'Accuse

When something is leaked it's usually a good idea to seek to understand the leaker's motivation. So when we heard that the David Laws report was being leaked left right and centre, I immediately thought: "Who's done that and why?" It seems clear to me that a member of the Standards & Privileges Committee is most likely to be the guilty party, and they did it to cause maximum damage to David Laws. Why? Because they want to prevent him being brought back into government. So, who was it? These are the members of the Standards & Privileges Committee...

Rt hon Kevin Barron MP (Chair) Labour
Sir Paul Beresford MP Conservative
Tom Blenkinsop MP Labour
Annette Brooke MP Liberal Democrat
Rt hon Tom Clarke MP Labour
Mr Geoffrey Cox MP Conservative
Matthew Hancock MP Conservative
Mr Oliver Heald MP Conservative
Heather Wheeler MP Conservative
Dr Alan Whitehead MP Labour

This is not the first time members of this committee have behaved in a disgraceful way, and I have no doubt it won't be the last. But what does it say about a committee which is supposed to oversee standards in Parliament, that certain members of it can't resist leaking and giving out privileged information? If they are the people who uphold the rules of the House of Commons but can't obey the rules themselves, what faith can we have in them?

From the reporting, it is also clear that the leaker only leaked the most damaging passages to David Laws. So I suggest we all wait for the final report tomorrow before we rush to judgement.


Anonymous said...

I assumed it was leaked and exaggerated by one of his friends so that when the actual verdict comes, it won't seem so bad and he'll be asked back into the government after all.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those very rare occasions I agree with Iain.

FTD said...

So let me get this straight.

You who have made a career out of gossip and rumour criticise this leak.

You smear the whole committee on a hunch ("It seems clear to me that member of Standards & Privileges Committee is most likely to be the guilty party" is not evidence is it?)

And you conclude by saying we shouldn't rush to judgement on Laws after a post where you have rushed to judgement on the Committee.

You are beyond parody.

Iain Dale said...

Yeah, and you're a prick.

Steve said...

He broke several rules and defrauded us out of a large sum of money. A 'regular' person, say a benefit cheat (who would probably be in quite several financial straits) would be in a lot more trouble.

Quite how you still defend this man is beyond words. And you wonder why there is a 'disconnect'?

Unknown said...

Now that the Report is out, it is clear that media coverage over the weekend was very favourable to Mr Laws, failing to report the most significant fact that he now joins Derek Conway, George Galloway and Michael Trend as one of only a handful of MPs to be suspended from the House in living memory.

Given that media coverage may well not have been based on a leak, and if it was it seems at least as likely that Laws himself was the source, I wonder if you might like to withdraw this allegation.

Anonymous said...

I am neither "gay" nor a LibDem, but I object to the persecution of David Laws for seeking to keep his private life private. As far as I can see he not only made no profit out of it ("Steve" seems to ignore the facts as badly as Harry Cole) but would have been better off financing the purchase of the London home wholly out of his own resources/mortgage and allowing his partner to live there rent-free: how many MPs are asked to charge their wives rent?
Anyone who leaks confidential information deserves condemnation - I gather that, following Rajaratnam's conviction, several US executives are going to gaol for doing so! Is FTD a fan of insider traders? Or merely of people breaking their oaths?