"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Not Again!

Here's a tough one for Cameron.  Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws has quickly gained a reputation for being a man whose actions match his tough words on cutting waste in government departments but he's now up to his eyes in an expenses row.

From 2004 to 2009 he claimed the cost of renting a room in his partner's home - sums varying between £700 and £950 per month - and has already referred himself to John Lyon,  the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner  He's also apologised and said he will repay the money (£40k) immediately.  He says it was done to protect the privacy of himself and his partner and that there was no profit motive.

Mr Laws also made a series of claims every month for maintenance, repairs, telephone bills and utilities.

Why didn't he sort this out last year when the expenses scandal was at its height?  Whatever happens now, he's tainted and it's such a  let-down.

Law's partner, James Lundie, works for Edelman UK, "the largest independent lobbying firm in the UK marketplace".  He formerly worked as an advisor to Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy.  At the time of writing this, Edelman's website is down so I can't provide the link.

Btw - is £950 a month the going rate for renting a room in a flat in London these days?  If so, did Mr Lundie declare it to the taxman?  I also wonder if all this had something to do with David Laws' non-appearance at Question Time - talk about coincidence.

8 comments:

  1. Hello GV, cynical I know but I wonder why this was not disclosed prior to 6th May when pound to a penny it was known?

    'New' politics seems much like 'Old' politics - what a surprise, not!

    Nice take on the story, by the way.

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  2. As predicted we now have another house full of fools GV. Give it another two parliaments and we will welcome dictatorship. That's the plan.

    Right here, right now that dictator is being groomed.

    Could you put those little sweary faces here, that Spidey's got at his place, for use of your commentators?

    I need them!!!

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  3. I tend to agree Mr W - surely he must have realised how it would look? The timing bothers me though - it's too convenient considering the acclaim he's received since taking over the Chief Sec's job. If Mandelson was still in government ... ... but Balls is still there and no doubt Whelan and McBride are hovering around him (like flies).

    Sorry, Incoming, no sweary faces here - I think that's another comments format so you'll just have to keep it inside your head :-) (as you can see, we can't even do smiley faces here!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, Laws should've come clean earlier, but I do find calls (from the left) for his head to be somewhat hypocritical, given that Darling was guilty of flipping and CGT fraud - and he kept his job.

    Laws has talent, and for that reason, I hope he stays. He will have to find a way to redeem himself.

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  5. It's true that other MPs & Ministers have done much worse than he has, Fausty, but the country's still really angry about expenses, flipping/CGT and tend to see things in black & white. The Left are crowing too and would love to take him down (because he looks like being good at his job).

    It's a shame he felt it necessary to hide his sexuality - if he'd been open, all this wouldn't have happened. If he had 'come out' he'd have been able to claim more through the Green Book rules - so, in a way, he saved taxpayers' money!

    That he didn't come clean last year shows poor judgement on his part - he probably never believed he'd be a part of government nor expected to be put under such close scrutiny. Let's hope they can find an honourable way out of it.

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  6. AnonymousMay 29, 2010

    If he wanted to protect his privacy he would not have made fraudulent claims in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If he'd wanted to protect his privacy he wouldn't have become a politician in the first place.

    As Paddy Ashdown has kept saying today he could earn far more in the private sector.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anon, no-one disputes that he did wrong and his judgement was flawed.

    The coalition seems to be keeping his seat warm for him SR - we'll just have to wait for the outcome of the inquiry to see if he goes to the private sector. I just think it's a shame it's all predicated on his sexuality, in this day and age. He should have been honest from the outset.

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