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David Laws faces suspension over expenses claims

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  1. It is interesting that while many MPs got off for being within the letter of the rules, while wholly violating the spirit of them, Laws is being punished for being within the spirit but not the letter, and for claiming less than he might otherwise have.

    1. Big deal – he falsified his expenses.

      Who cares if his own personal cowardice meant that he got less than he would have done otherwise.

      The fact remains that he falsified his expenses.

      Any private person in his position would have been instantlty sacked and subjected to a criminal investigation.

      1. Not true, Many businesses would take into consideration whether there was an intent to defraud and to gain monetarily before taking action. If any of the people who worked for me over the years had done a similar thing with similar motivation I would have supported them. I would have made sure they were aware that it couldn’t happen again and how they could raise issues such as this which would ensure confidentiality. A criminal investigation would not happen unless the company decided it was in their best interests which in a case like this it wouldn’t be as the person would be entitled to file the correct expenses claim and so cost the company more. There are wide areas of discretion in private companies it is not as black and white as you seem to want to suggest.

        1. Absolutely businesses and most public sector organisations would take a view as to motivation and offer methods to resolve the issue.
          Also, I feel if this had been referred to police for investigation on a criminal basis that on passing to the CPS it would be found not to be in the public interests to proceed and/or that there was insufficient evidence of mens rea and therefore unable to demonstrate that the offence was complete.

  2. theotherone 11 May 2011, 2:43pm

    Well he is a Poof Dave…

  3. Dave Page – Laws is extremely lucky.

    I believe that he should be the subject of a criminal investigation.

    If i was falsifying my expenses at my job then I’d be instantly sacked and reported to the police.

    How come so few MP’s have been charged with crimes for their theft from the purse.

    Laws should stand down from politics at the next election.

    His dishonesty means he is not suitable to be an MP.

    1. Paul Brownsey 11 May 2011, 3:04pm

      Yes, one wonders if a benefits claimant who lied because he was scared of its getting out that he had a gay partner would have such an easy ride…

      1. True dat. He didn’t need to claim a penny the guy is a millionaire and he would have made cut that would hurt the poorest and disabled people. just cause he’s gay dosent make him a nice person

        1. No it is true that being gay does not make you a nice person.
          Equally it is also true that a person who is an MP is entitled to reason remuneration regardless of any “independent means” and this includes reasonable expenses.
          It also appears to be the case that Laws received a smaller amount of expenses related income than would have been the case if he had been transparently honest about his relationship

          1. What about morality. he wanted to send disabled people into work while letting vodafone of £6bn tax bill. the man is a nasty cowardly peice of work who is worth millions and couldne resist adding to the pile even though it was illegal fcuk the cnut I can’t stand him

    2. @James!

      What is immoral about disabled people working where they can …

      If anything it is immoral not to encourage that – it supports the wider economy, minimises benefits and gives a productive output which is psychologically beneficial

      Of course, there will be some who can not work and Laws was not suggesting ALL disabled people should work

      Your review of Laws morals is morally bankrupt itself

      1. Stu
        Bankers have been given £1tn while people on benefits are seen as scroungers. The deaf and disabled people I know who can work are in work. The prioroty should be to get the banks to pay back their cash before making cuts. Laws Osbourne Cameron Clegg are in the bankers pocket so they will punish the people who didnt vote for them. It’s called politics

        1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 11:42am

          How will they know which people didn’t vote for them?

          1. Oi dont be funny haven’t you heard demographics and political science?

          2. Of course, they don’t know who didnt vote for them ….

            Demographics and political science would not be beneficial to the bankers

            The reality is the govt has penalised some of the bankers and is considering further restrictions on banking business – of course James! doesnt mention this

            Nor does he mention to soaring deficit the govt inherited, nor does he mention the welfare system that was unfair to UK tax payer (whether bank or individual) in failing to encourage those who are able to work back into work

    3. Don Harrison 12 May 2011, 1:33am

      After seeing how MPs’ got away with much more than what David Laws has done and all but a few have got away free I do not feel that he should suffer, There are several MPs’ still in the house. I understand the problems he had trying to cover up his orientation. I was out to some but at the same time I would lie to others. Unfortunately I did not hold a position with a salary at all in the end anyway.

  4. Jock S. Trap 11 May 2011, 3:30pm

    I strongly suspect he broke the rules to protect this relationship not for financial gain.
    However he still broke the rules and is rightly being punished.
    Anybody else who have been arrested and had up in court for fraud and I think it’s time the House of Parliament caught up with that being that ‘we are all in this together’.
    Not just the odd handful.

  5. When was he supposed to declare that he was in a relationship with his landlord? When he first slept with his landlord? At that point it might not have been a relationship. Laws might have assumed it was a one night stand. If it started off as an on off thing then how were either of them supposed to know when it started being a formal relationship? It’s not as though they were partners before, so I think Laws has been treated badly. Sure he made a mistake but he has been dealt with overly harshly and I hope he will be back in government soon.

    1. David Laws is a multi-millionaire.

      If was not in a relationship from Day 1 with his ‘landlord’ then he would not have been renting a room. He’d be living in his own luxurious apartment.

      He told barefaced lies about his relationship for his own unfathomable reasons.

      He was a dishonest coward who is being treated very differently from a private citizen would be treated for falsifying benefit claims.

      1. @David

        Maybe that is what you do or would do as a multi-millionaire, one I am aware of rents a room in one of the cities the his business takes him to.

        I for one do not think it is unfathomable that some people are reluctant to disclose their relationship … there are plenty of reasons why people would feel they want to do so – I was reluctant to disclose mine for many and complex reasons for many years – when I did explain it to some of the people who I was concerned about most I found them being aware was the best thing ever, although it doesnt always seem that way when you are scared at the potential repercussions of coming out etc

        1. i wouldn’t go around telling people how to live from inside a bloody closet.

          1. At what point, specifically, did Laws tell people when they should be open or not about their sexual orientation ….?

            He admits errors in his expenses and will pay the price for that …

            However, In his 17 days in office I don’t recall him ever telling people how to live …

          2. All politicians do is tell us how to live

    2. Rubbish

      He didn’t need to claim a penny he made millions in the city then tried to redeem his soul by making the world a better place. People like that never change and he gets a week suspension disabled people are marching for their survival. £40k would help a lot of disabled people

      1. That rubbish is to drominio.

        Darn tooting David it it was any of us wed be screwed. Have you ever paid your council tax late the fcukers go at you like you robbed a bank

  6. Helen Wilson 11 May 2011, 4:14pm

    If David Laws was a person claiming housing benefit he would of been prosecuted and no mitigating circumstances would be considered. No difference should exist between David Laws and and a single mother on benefits who has a boyfriend living with her undeclared. One will stand before a court and face possibility of going to prison, while the other gets a light grilling and a smack across the knuckles with a weeks holiday as compensation.

    Its one law for them and another for us.

    1. If he had been claiming housing benefit to which he was not entitled and gained monetarily then he would deserve to be prosecuted. David Laws claimed less then he was entitled to but hid certain factors which would have meant a different calculation should have been made. Your housing benefit person defrauded for gain, David Laws did not. Please don’t let your moral indignations cloud your judgement

    2. @Helen

      I completely disagree. The issue of housing benefit falls on two hurdles – firstly, the issue of having ones sexual orientation disclosed in a manner that may hit the media and be disclosed to those whom you choose not to disclose to is unlikely to happen if he had been claiming housing benefit. Secondly, there still needs to be an assessment of the likely success of any criminal prosecution even those commenced by local authorities and this would neither pass the evidential test (due to lack of mens rea) nor the public interest test. Even if the local authority were dogmatic and continued with the prosecution – it would flop pitifully in court. Hence, in this instance why house authorities are not referring the matter to the police

  7. surely the point is that he did not need to declare his relationship – he just needed to not claim his expenses…..simple.
    p.s. doesn’t matter if he’s a millionaire or a pauper

    1. @Andrew

      I do agree that the issue of his wealth is totally irrelevant

      I do have sympathy with him not wanting to disclose his relationship

      If he had not claimed his expenses whilst not declaring his relationship then two things may have happened – firstly, he may not have been in breach of the rules …. secondly, media questions may have been asked anyway as it would be unusual for a MP not to claim this sort of expense or mortgage claim …

      He has done wrong and should be punished but in terms of finance – the exchequer benefits and its not the clear cut ethically unwrong of other ex MPs who face custodial sentence – its greyer than that …. and I am not convinced there is any criminality involved

  8. I think he’s already been treated very harshly. His main offence was having a relationship with his landlord, otherwise claiming rent or mortgage payments would have been fully in order and cost less than he could otherwise have claimed.

    Obviously it was somewhat foolish not to observe the change in the rules, but I understand that the word ‘spouse’ was not defined, so who determines when a friend becomes a spouse? They weren’t in a civil partnership and didn’t attend social functions as an item, so it’s certainly a grey area.

    Just for having a relationship he’s been ‘fined’ £40k, had his sexuality revealed to his family and the whole world, and lost his job and his privacy. Agreed, the money element may be loose change, but overall it still seems pretty harsh to me.

    We should also remember that it’s the Christian, gay-unfriendly Telegraph that stirred this up, simply because they want to destroy the coalition by fair means or foul.

  9. Normally a fine is paid out of net income. Seven days gross pay lost is about £1,250 maybe, but the bottom line difference after tax and NI that he will no longer be paying means the net loss is perhaps half that. What was his offence – not just claiming expenses in respect of the flat he shared with his partner, but – in my opinion – not declaring that he had a personal and fiduciary relationship with a professional lobbyist. A £625+/- fine seems a very light knuckles rap to me, especially as his 2010 campaign etc was heavily into claiming he was whiter than white.

  10. When will you lot wake up?
    This man has admitted to committing fraud, that’s a fact?
    I don’t really care how you wrap it up
    It is such a shame. There are some hard working MP’s and yes they might be hard to find BUT they are out there ….?

  11. Tamzin Beauchamp 12 May 2011, 5:49pm

    So we can accept that he defrauded ‘US’ the general public out of £40,000 but we are supposed to believe every word he speaks as a politician.

    Sorry this guy should be brought to justice just like any other person of the general public, there is no way that any of us could get away with this and still have the opportunity to make a come back into government….!!!!

    He’s a liar and a criminal plain and simple..!

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