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Cabinet minister David Laws forced to come out as gay following expenses expose

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  1. Poor bloke. Although he shouldn’t have cheated on his expenses, I do feel a little sorry for him. If someone wants to be openly gay then that’s their right but if someone wants to keep their private life out of their professional life then that should be their right.

  2. So much for ‘transparency’!

    I suppose the sad truth is that if people want to be ‘intensely private’ about their personal lives, they can be – and obviously are – equally private about their finances; and that’s not terribly desirable in a politican, let alone the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

  3. Mr. Laws seemed like such a decent politician (and a very good-looking one!) and I feel sorry about what’s happened today. I hope his political career won’t suffer as a result of this. He might have bended the rules but I don’t think he broke them, I hope that the Committee will come to a similar conclusion.

    Did you know that he was gay? I’m asking because today’s news came to me as a complete surprise.

  4. James Lundie was outed too.

  5. I’m sorry – but I have little sympathy for the man. He appears to be saying that coming out was too difficult for him. Which era is he living in?? There are plenty of openly gay MPs around now; the days when people had to hide in the closet for fear of losing their jobs are gone. And it is super-naive to imagine that he could take the job he has and then not be subject to high levels of media scrutiny. PLUS he appears to have diddled us as tax-payers by benefitting his lover through the payment of rent for a room in his house. If this were a straight politician (e.g. Jackie Smith renting a room in her sister’s house) we’d all be up in arms. So I’m afraid we can’t feel too sorry for his man. It seems to me that he’s had his head in the sand, and just hoped that somehow he would escape any interest in his personal life/affairs. Silly, naive, sad. He should resign.

  6. What a cheating sneaky sly slime ball – he should be sacked.

  7. I thought Clegg had said “Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution (ie gay marriage) should be the same, too. All couples should be able to make that commitment (ie marriage) to one another.” I personally find it disturbing that MPs in a party that issue statements like this feel the need to “hide their sexuality”. The implication is that you wouldn’t have to hide your sexuality if you were straight and that you are rather ashamed of what you are. It’s rather insulating. As for the expense claim then he has broken the rules and I can’t believe the above comments saying otherwise. He has manipulated the rules and not bent them…Why is a party that is supposed to be pro gay and pro gay marriage made up of some MPs who are so ashamed of the fact that they are gay? Was the guy pretending to be straight to safeguard the knowledge of his “sexuality”, what was the story he didn’t like sex , he wasn’t interested in either sex. A person’s sexuality can’t be hidden , it a natural part of who you are.. What is a person with a hidden sexuality anyway….

    I have no idea what pinknews is going on about when they say “so this publication did not chose to breach his right to keep his sexuality secret ” because he has good record on LGBT issues – what the hell do they mean, are THEY normally then in the habit of breaching people’s rights?

  8. straight out of John Cleese…

  9. I can’t actually see that he’s broken any rules. And the rule change in 2009 seems a little strange. I can see the wisdom in not allowing payments to spouses/ CP’s, but they are not married, who knows what arrangements there are between lovers. Why should his lover have to bear the cost of him having a room in his flat? If he does pay rent for a room in this guy’s flat for when he’s working in London, why should he not claim it back if that’s what the rules provided for?

    This looks like some sort of political assassination attempt, perhaps backed by some really corrupt financial interests.

  10. Patrick James 29 May 2010, 11:56am

    I think it is true that even in this day and age many people do find it difficult to be open about their LGBT relationships.

    However I think that this David Laws expenses scandal means that it would be very difficult for him to continue in his role.

    How is he going to be introducing cuts, which will be making people redundant, ruining their incomes, when he has been dipping into tax payer’s money himself in this way?

    The speed at which the con-dem government has been immersing itself in sleaze is unprecedented.

    The Queen’s speech was leaked to, surprise surprise, the Murdoch press.

    I’ve no doubt the speech had to get Murdoch’s approval anyway.

    In the week of the Queen’s speech the government tries to bully Question Time TV programme into dropping Alastair Campbell as a guest. The government pulls out over the issues showing that it has total contempt for democracy in that it doesn’t want to be questioned over the Queen’s speech content. It’s a small world that it was actually David Laws they pulled from the programme.

    Peerages are being handed out to Conservative party donors and to business persons who campaigned for them against the proposed NI rise.

    It just goes on and on, and this is within three weeks of government!

  11. I do think he’d have been better not trying to weasel out of the ‘spouse’ argument by saying “we did not treat each other as spouses. For example we do not share bank accounts and indeed have separate social lives.” Lots of couples I know, including my parents, have/had separate bank accounts and to some extent independent social lives without considering themselves any the less espoused as a result.

  12. there are obviously family issues involved in this as well, whcih as any gay person knows can be extremely tricky regardless of the progress made elsewhere. there might well be certain…other issues too.

  13. David Laws MPs expenses| Western Gazette| Oct 2009 – This is

    Laws in the clear over expenses, promises to be even more frugal

    Saturday, OCTOBER 17 2009

    YEOVIL MP David Laws won’t have to pay back any of his expenses claimed during the last five years.

    This week MPs received letters from auditors working for former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg who is leading the review into abuses.

    Mr Laws has not been asked to repay any expenses but would be required to provide a copy of his council tax receipt to the review team.

    He also said he would be publishing his full expense details for the first six months of the financial year on his website at Home Page for Yeovil Liberal Democrats

    He said: “I am, of course, very pleased that the Independent Inquiry into MPs expenses has not required me to reimburse any of the amounts I have claimed.

    “Indeed, the only additional information which the inquiry team has requested from me is a copy of a council tax bill, and I will be very happy to provide this.

    “I believe strongly that all expenditure by MPs – whether it is on staffing and office costs, or for reimbursement of our own expenses – should be made available regularly for the scrutiny of those we are accountable to, our constituents.

    “The vast majority of my spending against my allowances is on the costs of delivering a good quality of service to my constituents. That is why around 85 per cent of my spending is on staff, office costs, advice centres and postage.

    “My expenditure on the costs of living in London while Parliament is sitting is well below the allowable amount, and I intend to keep things that way. For the rest of this Parliament and the next, I intend to keep my spending to at least 20 per cent lower than the amount presently set by Parliament, as a commitment to prudent management of public funds at a time when tough decisions have to be made to hold down overall public spending.”

    His leader, Nick Clegg has agreed to pay back £910 in gardening expenses. Many MPs have expressed concern that they were being judged on their past behaviour under new standards that have been set since the expenses scandal exploded earlier this year.

  14. The man is a thief, if he’d been defrauding the DWP he wouldn’t get away with saying “I was ashamed of being gay so I had to steal £40K” No way, he is ruined and rightly so, as Deepthroat said follow the money.

  15. Davis Laws is a cheap millionare. He could have made £40k in interest there was no need for him to claim that money if he was in politics for the good of the nation. And he had the security that money brings so comming out could have been relatively easy for him. Sorry but Im finding it difficult to feel any sympathy for him. and he used to be a banker.

  16. @10:

    “The speed at which the con-dem government has been immersing itself in sleaze is unprecedented.”

    Har, har, har !!!

  17. Mr Laws’ position in Cabinet is untenable and he should resign immediately. Regardless of the actual nature of the financial arrangements he has with his partner, taxpayers will see handing over cash to Mr Laws’ partner as equivalent to handing it to Mr Laws directly.

    How long Mr Laws spends on the back benches may well depend on what motivation the public ascribes to his conduct, and PinkNews appears to be making rather than breaking the news here. We could all guess that there were some in the Westminster gay mafia who had known Mr Laws’ relationship status for a while (after all, this story got out somehow). PinkNews, though, seems to be confirming that this was the case.

    Mr Laws’ claim to public sympathy relies partly on the implication that he was completely or almost completely closeted. Under those circumstances, people can behave in extreme ways to avoid disclosure and may deserve some measure of compassion – the ‘Emmerdale defence’, to pick up on a recent soap storyline.

    Being out to a few gay people is not at all the same thing as being out to your family or your straight colleagues, and on the basis of the stories published today I’d still be content to see Mr Laws back in Cabinet after a decent interval.

    But the more people who knew about Mr Laws’ sexuality, the less credence the public will give to his claim that his behaviour was motivated by an extreme need for secrecy, and the more likely they are to see this as an attempt to mislead and defraud the taxpayer.

  18. His partner is a political lobbyist I believe, this is what wikipedia says about a lobby -
    The terms ‘lobby’ and ‘lobbying refer to discussions that attempt to influence an MP’s vote—either by their parliamentary colleagues, one of their constituents, or any outside organisation—that took place in the lobby of parliament. A professional lobbying industry (also known as ‘public affairs’) has steadily grown in recent years, and was estimated to be worth £1.9 billion and employ 14,000 people in 2007, with some MPs being contacted 100 times a week[8]. It is recognised that funding political parties can also be an indirect form of effective political influence. Following legislation of disclosure of contributions to campaigning, donations to parties some were described as loans[9]. Some contributions to party funds were being used to ‘buy peerages’ allowing the person to participate directly in the legislative process.

    Recently many recent MPs and in particular Ministers are recruited by lobby firms and lobbyists have been recruited by ministers as ‘special advisors’ using what is termed the Revolving door of influence. In 2009 the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee recommended that a statutory register of lobbying activity and lobbyists would improve transparency to the dealings between Whitehall decision makers and outside interests[10]. Parliament controversially responded to this recommendation by saying that self-regulation was more practical[11]. The Conservative leader, David Cameron, predicted that it was “the next big scandal waiting to happen” and was one that had “tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money”[12].

  19. Mr Laws is now almost certainly the most powerful gay man in Britain.

    So what? And anyway it’s not as if he will be for much longer.

  20. Pumpkin Pie 29 May 2010, 1:38pm

    I have no idea what pinknews is going on about when they say “so this publication did not chose to breach his right to keep his sexuality secret ” because he has good record on LGBT issues – what the hell do they mean, are THEY normally then in the habit of breaching people’s rights?

    I took that to mean that if Laws was a homophobe who voted against us, Pink News would have outed him. I think that’s a sort of unwritten rule amongst gay news sites. Outing a closeted gay person just for the sake of salacious journalism is cruel, whereas outing a closeted gay homophobe is beneficial as it stops them from being able to continue their lobbying.

  21. I’ve been looking through the comments posted on the MSN article covering this story and, honestly, the dumb homophobic minority in this country are just looking for an excuse to express their ignorant views about gay people.

    Seriously, this is about the alleged misuse of public money. The fact that Mr Laws is gay has nothing to do with it.

    Pathetic bunch of homophobic retards lol.

  22. This man is in a position of responsibility for the nations finances. He has proved himself to be dishonest and must be sacked. Would you let your bank manager get off stealing your savings just because he did not want to reveal his sexuality?

    Using his sexuality as a excuse for being dishonest only adds more insult to us all.

  23. “Mr Laws is now almost certainly the most powerful gay man in Britain.”. isn’t that sad

  24. BobbetStillTheSame 29 May 2010, 2:32pm

    And this “city high flyer” is in charge of milking money out of the poor? And going to his pocket more like. Me says, he should join the Tory Party. Ah, I forgot, he’s in bed with the toffs already, isn’t he?

  25. Er, if he’d been open about his relationship, he could’ve claimed more money than he did, so Laws trying to keep his sexuality secret actually saved taxpayers money. There is no scandal here.

  26. Tom – I don’t get what you mean, can you enlighten me? I can’t think of any expenses he could’ve claimed by being open about his personal circumstances (please take this question at face value, it’s not meant to be critical, am merely interested in what you mean).

  27. “…my wish not to reveal my sexuality.” Don’t insult peoples intelligence. They could tell a mile off. He must fall on his sword, or sit on anything else available.

  28. A chiselling crook is a chiselling crook and suddenly outing yourself as gay, in order to excuse the indefensible, is in itself indefensible. There is no question that the man should be sacked.

    Still, good to see the true hypocrisy that Liberal Democrats are actually made of now that they are finally being subjected to the scrutiny of being a a party in government.

    New politics my *rse!

  29. Tony Iveson 29 May 2010, 4:51pm

    David Laws has brought harm to all gay people by his craven self oppressing homophobic denial.

    To say that he did not consider his lover to be his partner when he shared his home and his bed for years is sickening to hear.

    David Laws is a member of the most socially libertarian party in the UK. He had no need to hide his sexuality. Other gay people from the Conservative and Labour parties have come out. They remain major political figures. David Laws had no need to fear for his job or his reputation.

    The message that gay people hear from David Laws is:

    “I am ashamed of my sexuality but I have sexual urges that need to be satisfied. I’ll keep a secret male lover but I will ensure that we don’t mix socially because I don’t want people to find out my shameful secret”.

    His excuse that he is a very private person is just not true. Very private people do not speak on national television nor do they hold public office.

    It is not enough that he says he is feeling relieved he has been outed and no longer needs to hide his sexuality. He should have had the guts years ago.

    David Laws should leave public life now and make way for open, self respecting gay politicians who will provide positive gay role models.

  30. he didn’t come out he crawled on his knees clutching his cheque book

  31. Sister Mary Clarence 29 May 2010, 5:32pm

    I note that a number of the Labour supporters not so quick to condemn their own have really laid into this guy (well one notably to be strictly accurate), however this guy claimed rent for a property that he failed to declare he had part purchased and there was a clear intent to deceive (for whatever reason).

    There was nothing whatsoever stopping him renting a room elsewhere in London and racking up untold expenses on it whilst spending the night (and/or day) at his boyfriend’s flat, and in so doing not have appeared to be lining his own and his lovers pockets.

    I do respect that it may have been difficult for him to come out, but he did rather nicely out of the struggle for quite some time it appears.

  32. So ‘spouse’ means anyone that you’ve had sex with in the past? or the last year? or?

  33. David No. 5 and Tony No. 29, I so agree with both of you. In this day and age, a politician of all people living in the closet suggests that equality has a very long way to go if he’s so terribly uncomfortable about his sex life being made public. He should be setting the example that being gay is okay, not hiding from it. It sounds as if he has issues about who he is. Straight married people don’t hide that they’re married so why should he hide his relationship? What is there to be ashamed of? Who gives a toss about what people think? Live your life openly and freely. Of course, he can’t treat his partner as a spouse because he can’t get married.

  34. I am a very private person. Yet somehow I manage it without scamming the taxpayer or anyone else of forty grand. Funny that.

  35. The rules are clear, you don’t need to be in a civil partnership or be married to be considered ‘partners’, they need to treat each other as such. They lived together and had been with each other since 2001. I think 99% of people would consider them as partners, I mean just because he has issues about coming out doesn’t mean they weren’t partners!

    As a couple, they were clearly profiting from this arrangement, hence why the rules were changed in 2006. As a single person, he wasn’t profiting…but he wasn’t single, he was with someone…the word for that person would be partner…he broke the rules, pure and simple.

    Good riddance.

  36. It is a shame, it must be said. Here was a man who looked like he could have actually achieved something for the UK having negotiated a lot of the deals within the coalition.

    Had he declared his boyfriend as an official partner, then he would have been entitled to claim much more money than the £40K he actually did. Inadvertently, he has managed to save the taxpayer a fair sum of cash, which at least makes up partially for the lying. However, by claiming that his boyfriend was only his landlord, he broke the rules. Rules is rules, didn’t someone tell him that last October? As a former city banker and with enough nouse to understand parliamentary procedures correctly, he ought to have avoided this situation with ease. And he could have even done things by the book whilst keeping his sexuality hidden – simply move out of the accommodation and change landlord. Is that difficult? That would hardly have aroused any suspicion, MPs do it all the time.

    What really riles me is that he is an MP for a party that has actively carved out its reputation based on its support for civil rights, particularly gay rights. What he has done flies in tha face of those values and I did not intentionally vote for a party that had candidates contradicting such fundamental criteria. I feel I have been misled somewhat. How ironic that it should be the Lib Dems in this situation, whilst the Tories have a handful of openly gay MPs. Nick Clegg must be livid that the anti-sleaze campaign he fought has been undone by this two-fold affair.

    I must ask though, if you are so sensitive about your sexuality being discovered, what on Earth would possess you to go into public life where ever last detail of your existence is open to investigation and scrutiny? What planet did he think he was living on? Did he feel he had some immunity to it? Single man in his 40s, no previous straight relationships to report, no children…..prurient press canon fodder. That isn’t even naivety, that’s stupidity personified.

    I have no time whatsoever for ‘I’m not gay but my boyfriend is’ types, it’s beyond hypocrisy. It’s as if he is condescending to the rest of us by refusing to admit that he is the same as us. You know, that we do those ghastly things with members of our own sex. One of the SU Sabbatical Officers at my university (who is now out, amazingly) did everything to hide he was gay bar the painted on t-shirts and using gaydar. At the same time, he was snuggling up to the LGBT Society to ensure they gave him their votes and to show us all ‘how much he cared’. The false sincerity drove me to nearly nutting him one, how dare he be so arrogant, hypocritical and condescending. Perhaps, in view of the Malawians who have fortunately now been pardoned, Mr Laws will reflect on what oppression and freedom really are – he is 16 years older than me, not 60, we aren’t talking about a completely different time that he has come from. Plus, he has been an elected MP for 9 years, within the period where Labour changed everything that would make his life easier. Plus, he is a millionaire, he wasn;t dependent on anyone else to put food on his table. He could have been honest from the very start in line with his party’s views. His choice and he has to take the responsibility for that. I think he is just one of those paranoid types that reckons the world is out to get him and now that it’s not, he would rather live as a cowering victim rather than man-up and do the right thing.

    Anyway, he’s got a bit more time on his hands now, he’s just resigned!

  37. Okay, I accept that there are openly gay politicians who are treated no differently for it – but maybe he had his own reasons for remaining in the closet. The article mentioned that he wasn’t out to friends or family. Personally, I really don’t want to come out to my parents so, were I famous now, I wouldn’t be out to the general public. There are still unaccepting people around, and, as for “who cares what other people think” – sometimes the unaccepting people are those whose opinions you care about.

  38. Whilst I have compassion for Mr Laws, He obviously does not get it, being a politician requires total transparancy…. end of. He has let himself down and not done much for the LGBT community. Poor show David. Still like Mr Mandelson I am sure you will resurrect your career.

  39. Sister Mary Clarence 30 May 2010, 5:50am

    No one resurrects a career like Mandelson!

  40. Another STR8 acting gay cuaght with his ck’s down and hand in the till.

    I personaly am not bothered if he is gay or not !!!

    Iam however BOTHERED he thinks he can use being GAY as an exsuse to manipulate a situation for his own benefit I feel insulted.
    I would like to say i have sympathy for him but i don’t He has shown his true colours.
    I made the mistake of voteing for the Lib Dems more fool me …

  41. @16:51 Above – ‘To say that he did not consider his lover to be his partner when he shared his home and his bed for years is sickening to hear.’

    Exactly.

    It reminds me of Dirk Bogart who said on returning to UK after years of living in Provence — because his “chauffeur” had died.

  42. They should both be sent to Malawi.

  43. Sex and money, it’s the same no matter in who’s closet you look. Good riddance.

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