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Gay MP David Laws apologises for expenses claims

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  1. Let’s hope David can put this behind him and get back to being a talented MP. I’d hope that the public would get over its prurient poking into people’s private lives, but i’m not that optimistic.

    1. This “talented MP” as you call him has committed fraud, lied and cheated FACT….
      Wake up to yourself !!!
      Do you want this kind of person representing you ?

      1. @niall
        You are calling someone a liar in the same breath as accusing them of committing fraud. He didn’t commit fraud, go and look up the word. Does that make you a liar or just an ignorant ranter.

        1. Thank you David G i did look and this is what i found
          1. the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; cheating: Once he exposed their deceit, no one ever trusted them again.

          a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for …. ?

          i think and hope LOTS of people realise his huge talent Perhaps that is why he is wanted and will fit in well with this goverment Just a thought

      2. Yes Niall I want a man who doesnt pontificate and has real life experience – yes I would want Laws as an MP …

        He has not committed fraud – there is no criminal offence (if there had been a prima facie case the watchdog would have referred the case to the police)

        He may have lied, he certainly did not cheat – by definition that requires benefit (or aim to benefit) and the public purse benefited from Laws failure to comply with the expenses rules.

        What I certainly do not want representing me is a puritanical, rabid, political opportunist who fails to reflect on the entire situation and demonstrates complete lack of empathy and understanding …

      3. I agree wish I could take £40,000 and be suspend from work for 7 days disgaceful

        1. @Lee

          But also repay over £50,000 – go through the public humiliation and calls (unfounded) for sacking and prosecution and be forced to disclose personal information you chose not to previously in the process

          I think Laws has been punished harshly considering the misdemeanors of other MPs – probably largely due to the fact that he self referred his own behaviour to the watchdog

    2. David Laws is NOT a talented MP.

      He is a lying, cheating, dishonest coward.

      How can such a person be a good MP.

      1. Far from being cowardly, he has acted courageously explaining his reasons for acting and apologising for his impropriety – that requires determination and integrity which the political opportunists wouldnt know if it hit them in the face at with a spade

        1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 3:52pm

          Here, Here!!

        2. Being courageous is being true to yourself in the face of adversity.

        3. He’s a coward for being in the closet even though there was no valid reason in the world for him to be so. The reason he was in the closet was either cowardice or greed.

          He behaved in a ridiculous manner.

          He should be treated in the same manner as someone accused of benefit fraud.

          Why do double standards apply to thieving politicians?

          1. @David

            How on earth do you know the thought processes that went through Laws head as to why he did not wish to disclose his orientation

            There are many and varied reasons why people may not wish to disclose their sexuality – often at sacrifice to themselves out of concern for others … I was concerned about a relatives mental health which I believed would suffer if I came out (although fortunately I was wrong – that does not change my genuininely heald belief at the time).

            Your arrogance saying there is no valid reason is disgusting, calculating and lacks any sense of empathy and humanity

          2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:15pm

            “He’s a coward for being in the closet even though there was no valid reason in the world for him to be so.”
            Actually there is one very good reason… Choice..

          3. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:17pm

            I’m sure if the commission had found David Laws had acted the same way as criminals such as David Chaytor and the like he would have been referred to the police. However he wasn’t so hardly double standards.

      2. yes David i agree …

    3. Li Thotomist 12 May 2011, 2:13pm

      You know, it’s 2011 (ok, 2010 when the election happened) and I don’t feel that someone seeking very high public office should be so deeply into the closet that they tell lies and break rules to hide their gay private life from the public, their family and colleagues. Apart from the possible blackmail risk (back to the 1950s, there), I don’t want someone who is telling lies about himself up there as an example to the rest of us. The fact is, nobody does really care who david laws is having it off with, we do care about the lies, the secrecy, the rule breaking. And don’t tell me he could have claimed more – he’s a greedy millionaire politician, sucking public funds up for his secret boyfriend. If he wanted his privacy so much, he should have claimed nothing, and told no lies.

      1. Absolutely Li, I don’t give a fiddler’s f–k who he’s bedding down with but to use his role as an MP to line his partner’s pocket and fleece us into the bargain is just sickening. His ‘apology’ has more to do with the fact he’s been caught. I wonder how long he would have stayed in the closet and continued to pay his partner if he hadn’t been nabbed.

        1. @CMYB

          I wholeheartedly disagree with you – he did not benefit – if he had followed the rules the public purse would have had to pay out significantly more …

          You spin this in a way which does not reflect the facts of the parliamentary watchdogs report

          We will never know the outcome if he hadnt been caught … So that is mere speculation

          What we do know is that he personally referred himself to the watchdog

          He personally made the decision to resign despite urges from others that he could ride it out

          He paid back the money he was paid (despite arguably being entitled to much much more)

          He has repeatedly apologised – and I personally believe he is very sorry and has a high standard of personal integrity which he regrets not fulfilling

          I am sure (like me) he is much more happy now that his orientation is in the open – makes life more transparent. I was worried about the impact of other peoples mental health of me disclosing my orientation – misplaced concerns fortunately

          1. Intergity?
            The man is in the closet ashamed of his sexuality but willing to go on the public stage and make descisions that will affect all of us. and you call that integrity?

            Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

            you need a good slap

          2. Stu did he or did he not come out only after being caught diddling the tax payer? And used privacy as an excuse to justify his behaviour. Where’s the integrity there?

          3. @CMYB and James!

            I recall one of my tutorials in philosophy at university where we discussed:

            “Persons of integrity may in fact act immorally—though they would usually not know they are acting immorally. Thus one may acknowledge a person to have integrity even though that person may hold importantly mistaken moral views.”

          4. Stu
            I’m obviously not as smart as you cause that souonds like a load of bollocks

          5. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:19pm

            Good to see your debating rationally… cough!

          6. Jock

            You and Stu have gone too far defending Laws. He behaved badly and I’m more convinced now than ever that staying in the closet was a shameless excuse I have to agree to disagree with both of you. And Stu is asking for empathy when I know people who will have their disability allowances cut to zero from Monday. So no help washing , cooking , cleaning shopping they will be left alone at home with no support

          7. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:40pm

            “…have gone too far defending…”
            Crazy says what now?
            I’m sorry James!
            I didn’t realise we weren’t allowed to have differing views meaning while you slag off someone we’re not allowed to defend that person because I feel the slagging is disproportionate to what has actually been done.
            Agree to disagree indeed.
            No HobNobs for you! ;)

          8. @James!

            Firstly, I havent asked for empathy – just have voiced that I have empathy for him

            Secondly, I think Laws biggest failing is found in this quote:

            “Integrity means simply not violating ones own identity”
            Erich Fromm

            However, I believe he thought he had the best of reasons for doing so – although I personally do not know what his motivations for staying in the closet actually were.

          9. Jock S. Trap 14 May 2011, 10:42am

            Simple Stu
            Jacqui Smith probably let them have copies of those porn films her husband used taxpayers money for.
            Otherwise I agree it does seem David Laws is being treated more harshly than so previous offenders.

          10. Jock S. Trap 14 May 2011, 10:43am

            oops that comment was for Stu on his comment below.
            Oh and no I’m not calling you Simple.
            I should have put a comma between Simple and Stu.
            Sorry about that. :)

          11. @Jock S Trap

            Are you suggesting Jacqui Smith would stoop to bribery … shock horror lol

            As for Simple Stu – no apology n ecessary – I smiled … I can be a simple soul … sometimes ….

        2. @james! another valid , worthy comment, what is particularly disgusting on this thread is certain individuals playing “devils advocate” (would be very apt if i took it literally) and trying to justify the unjust behaviour of lowlife like laws who has sold himself to a coalition of attempting to decimate the most vulnerable in society.

          1. Cheers

          2. @Rapture

            What is disgusting on this thread is the political opportunism which fails to answer why Laws should be punished more harshly than for example Jacqui Smith

      2. Connor Wallace 12 May 2011, 2:32pm

        He would have got a damn lot more privacy if he didn’t claim so much. He should have been sacked.

      3. @Li

        You are entitled to your opinion about whether someone shoulld be in the closet or not … ultimately, whether to disclose a relationship is a matter for the people in that relationship, whatever your opinion – they have choice

        Now, I accept if Laws chose not to disclose his relationship then his expenses were handled very badly and in terms of application of the rules he was wrong – but nonetheless, he could have behaved differently with relation to expenses and still kept the relationship secret (if the reason he sought to keep the relationship private was so important to him) and he could not be criticized for exercising his personal choice

    4. Don Harrison 12 May 2011, 4:42pm

      I have read some of the 91 comments.

      There is a combination here of both homophobia and political anti LibDem views as well as genuine comment.

      1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 5:01pm

        Erm, Good to know.

      2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 5:02pm

        Gotta add though, if you think there’s homophobia on here now wait til we get a couple of the regular Nutjobs in.

      3. If you can point us out the homophobic content please do, and we haven’t started slagging off the Lib Dems……yet. I think you’re looking for things that aren’t there Don.

      4. How insightful Don please hurry back

        1. Ha! Yeah Don certainly left us hanging on tenterhooks and then failed to deliver- I wonder is he a Lib Dem MP?

          1. @CMYB

            As much as many of us are waiting for answers as to why Laws should be treated more harshly than others who have broken the rules such as Jacqui Smith etc

          2. Jock S. Trap 15 May 2011, 4:53pm

            I suspect David Laws ‘Video collection’ wasn’t what they were looking for unlike Jacqui Smiths.

  2. Ive got an idea it you want to keep you life private dont go into politics

    1. Should a politicians relationship be subject to public scrutiny and if so how far do you take it, should we examine the type of sexual activity they engage in? Should we consider who their previous partners were?

      Of course not

      They are private matters

      Now, that doesnt absolve Laws of his misdemeanours but the facile line of “it you want to keep you life private dont go into politics” is pure political opportunism ….

      Laws is a very talented and able politician who made a mistake – didnt Heseltine? didnt Clarke? didnt Mandelson?
      let him get back and put it right by doing what he does best – serving the electorate and making things better for us …

      1. Stu he could have rented a small flat when the rules came in, claim rent on it and still live with his boyfriend in the closet. He’s either stupid, lazy or arrogant

        1. or a grubby little theif

      2. Stu – you are tallking nonsense.

        A politicians’s partner is NOT a private matter.

        Samantha Cameron was being breathlessly reported on by the media long before the Tories came to power.

        If David Cameron had kept her hidden and denied her existence and this was later discovered, he would not now be PM. People would have regarded him as a bzarre weirdo.

        The fact that Davids Laws hid the existence of his longterm male partner (when there was no valid reason for doing so) and was fiddling his expenses to do so is dishonest, cowardly and weird.

        This is not someone who is suitable for life as a public servant.

        The whole affair calls his integrity as a human being into question.

        1. @David

          I am not talking nonsense

          I did not say that a politicians partner IS a private matter, merely that it should be

          Samantha Cameron did become piublic knowledge long before the Torys came to power (but long after Cameron himself was of interest to media). That does not make her media exposure right (if it was totally unwelcomed by either of the Camerons).

          You arrogantly continue to have one phrase “The fact that Davids Laws hid the existence of his longterm male partner (when there was no valid reason for doing so)” – there are many reasons why he may have wished to not disclose many of which are admirable and at a cost to him personally.

          I do not accept and nor does the parliamentary watchdog that there was any intention or desire to deceive or abuse the public purse by Laws.

          As learned philosophers have said – some of the people of the highest levels of integrity will err – and that makes us human.

          He is very suited and skilled to be in public service.

        2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:21pm

          “The whole affair calls his integrity as a human being into question.”
          A somewhat bizarre comment, considering what we as a LGBt community have to put up with.

          1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:21pm

            Oops no intention for the small T should have been LGBT.

      3. Dan Filson 13 May 2011, 3:05pm

        Should a politician’s private life be private? No, if the person they bed is a professional parliamentary lobbyist – then we have the right to know who’s swinging the cat (or whatever the phrase is). I’m not quite clear when he start being a lobbyist, and nobody’s telling yet,

        1. Should a politician be entitled to a private life – absolutely – they remain a human being – they have emotion, they are entitled to a private life the same as everyone else under human rights …

          1. Jock S. Trap 15 May 2011, 8:01am

            Indeed, agree with that Stu.
            It doesn’t matter who the person is Everyone is entitled to a private life.
            He’s not Katie Price who wants everyone to know what she’s doing even though no-one is really that interested.

          2. Spanner1960 16 May 2011, 1:33am

            A politician is entitled to a private life, but he is NOT entitled to use public money to subsidise it.
            That is MY fcuking money! (and every other taxpayers)

            If the man wants to keep personal matters to himself, he should avoid doing things that bring him to the public’s attention, like stealing from the British government.

  3. We seem to be experiencing a time delay here between the happening and the apology.

    1. The report of the investigation was published today. Laws’ statement was today. No delay.

      1. The happening Dave- as when Laws was first exposed for fiddling the system and the time that has elapsed since he apologised….today

        1. So that is a significant delay between happening and apology.

          1. @CMYB

            He apologised unreservedly the day he resigned and has done so again today on the publication of the report

            No delay

  4. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 1:09pm

    The apology does sound genuine.
    I never thought it would be anything other than a want of privacy and I hope like already said there will come a time when he can put this behind him and make a return to the cabinet where I’m sure he would be an asset.

    1. An “ASSET” are you for real ?

      1. Absolutely an asset – and it only a biased person who is unable to coherently and honestly reflect on the facts that could fail to see the genuine ability of Laws

        1. Spanner1960 16 May 2011, 1:35am

          I think the words “Leopard” and “spots” spring to mind.

          1. Mandelson, Hesletine, Alan Clark and many others spring to mind

            Or just on expenses Jacqui Smith, Cameron, and many others

            Why just Laws for this treatment????

    2. Sounds genuine? I would be more likely to agree with you if he had confessed and apologised at the outset instead of waiting for the official ruling.

      I have some sympathy with his not wanting to come out – sexual orientation should be a private matter – but he chose a public life and it would have been naive to think he could have kept it quiet when, unfortunately, homosexuality is still regarded being newsworthy.

      1. Polly, don’t forget it was Laws himself who reported the matter to the parliamentary standards body for investigation. That it’s taken a year to report back is not Laws’ fault.

        1. after he got caught you muppet

          1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:28pm

            We all make mistakes.
            Heavens when Labour was in Government disgraced MPs would continue in there jobs until the public opinion forced them out.
            Even then Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would try to keep them as long as possible no matter how soiled they were.
            Then usually given many chances after that and even given peerages as if that would change things.
            It was actually refreshing to have an MP leave quickly, through his own choice because of problems he created.

          2. Dave Page is in f–king denial. Laws was caught, of course he had to try and save some of that perma-tanned face of his and fess up. What are you Dave? His press secretary or something. There’s no way these lies and cheating can be diffused with claims that Laws wanted his private life kept private.

          3. @CMYB

            Again I hear your political opportunism … lack of empathy … and black and white view of the situation …

            I am pleased to say that I recognise (and many others do) that some in public office will make mistakes and it will make those people stronger and more able to lead with greater levels of integrity even than before …

            He has paid back all the money he was given, he has apologised several times, he faces suspension from the commons, he referred the matter to the watchdog himself …

            Laws is not in the same league of wrongdoing as Andrew Mackay, David Chaytor, Eric Illsley or Lord Taylor

            There is no complete criminal offence – the mens rea element is absent ….

            Other politicians who have left the cabinet under shame have been able to return and reflective and honourable people have recognised that they have talent and ability that despite misjudgements are of benefit to the government (of all political hues) … Laws has plenty to offer

    3. His lack of honesty and his cowardice, means he will not be an asset to the government.

      He has lost the trust of the electorate through his own stupidity.

      1. His sense of honour in a timely resignation and apology – with a full explanation that was consistent throughout the investigation – full repayment of money paid out (despite being arguably entitled to more), his sense of purpose in protecting his personal honour and that of the government and recognising he was potentially damaging to the government whilst the investigation was ongoing and his transparency from the moment this came to light is honourabel, courageous and from a man who has high standards of himself and regrets not fulfilling them.
        Of course, we will never know what would have happened if this had not been exposed by the Telegraph. However, we do know the Telegraph is motivated by seeking to undermine the coalition – which seems to be part of what is driving much of the criticism against Laws

        1. Where is the honour in being closeted and defrauding/fleecing the public purse for 7 years and only coming out when its appropriate enough an excuse for him to justify his actions? If you call that a sense of honour then you must have very low standards.

          1. Of course CMYB you would have to try hard to paint him in the worst possible light … Find the most vitriolic adjectives to try and describe his actions …. and then throw insults at those who disagree with you ….

            Demonstrative of political opportunism …

            Closeted – there are multiple reasons why this may be the case and it is a personal issue for which there is no call to criticise. It is a choice in any case, for each individual whether to disclose sexuality.

            I accept that he only came out due to the events – but in the same way as you speculate that he would not have admitted his wrongdoing had he not been caught – I can also speculate that he may have chosen at some other point in the future to come out at a time of his own choosing …

          2. But Stu in all fairness we can all argue the toss here re the motivations for his behaviour but it all boils down to Laws claiming money ‘unfairly’ and only admitting to his actions when an investigation began. Even HE has made an attempt at apologising, now he wouldn’t confess and apologise if he had done nothing wrong would he?

          3. @CMYB

            No one on here has suggested that he has done “nothing wrong” …

            I would also argue that he did breach the rules but since there was actual loss to him compared to what he arguably should have claimed then the label unfair, is in itself unfair.

            We can debate his motivations for what he did – the only person who is ever going to know the complete truth regarding his motivations is David Laws.

            He reacted to the investigation more honourably than many other MPs who were found wanting.

            Ultimately, my question is why should Laws be made such an example of when other current MPs and former MPs have acted with worse standards of propriety and received less stringent penalty (or indeed no penalty)?

          4. well said, laws is a disgrace.

          5. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 12:16pm

            There have been much worse, usually in the Labour ranks.

      2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:23pm

        By electorate you mean of course you, right?
        Not everyone clearly feels the same.

    4. Dan Filson 13 May 2011, 3:07pm

      Genuine, my foot! He is back on the ‘sorry I tried to protect my private life’ tack, and it doesn’t wash. He doesn’t really acknowledge he was wrong!

      1. Here are some extracts from Laws apology – sounds like he acknowledges he was wrong to me …

        I accept the conclusions of the inquiry and take full responsibility for the mistakes which I have made.
        “I apologise to my constituents and to Parliament
        I should have resolved this dilemma [conflict between privacy and duty to public transparency] in the public interest and not in the interests of my privacy.
        I fully accept that this is not an adequate reason for breaking the rules.
        I can only apologise without reservation.”

        1. Jock S. Trap 14 May 2011, 10:45am

          It’s pretty much accepting and acknowledging he was wrong to me.

  5. He just comes across as a very duplicitous individual. 40 grand is a helluva lot of money to be conning from the public purse. He’d more than likely still be claiming it if he weren’t caught. Wanting to keep private about his sexuality and boyfriend is really a very convenient excuse to justify the fiddling.

    1. and … Im not sure about you BUT i do not know of anyone (my friends / family) that can put their hands on £40,000 just like that ?

      1. Oh so this is more about the fact that Laws has independent means rather than any sense of morality

        1. It makes it worse Stu, as he’s financially secure as an individual to then take public funds to feather his boyfriends nest when he needn’t pay rent at all makes it worse to be honest.

          1. His personal wealth is irrelevant.

            He was and is a serving MP and is thus entitled to appropriate expenses.

            The issue is whether the rules were followed or not – not whether he should have claimed or not – he was entitled to claim certain amounts. His wealth does not preclude his right to those expenses.

            Indeed, suggesting that persons of independent wealth should not claim expenses, in my opinion, undermines democracy and ensuring that all persons have an equal access to be representatives of the people in our democratic system

        2. Dan Filson 13 May 2011, 3:10pm

          It’s actually far from clear how well off he actually was, most people in politics understate their wealth, I think it possible he was happy for an aura of ‘made his money and is comfortably off’ to be created as it made his financial credentials as a guru on Treasury matters better.

        3. Spanner1960 16 May 2011, 1:41am

          The fact that he DOES have independent means makes it all the worse that he chose to take even more money via expenses.

          If he had the financial wherewithall to provide for his boyfriend independently, why did he not choose to do that? Instead he funds his cloak and dagger relationship with public funds, and when he finally gets caught, he then tries to spin the whole sorry tale to his advantage.

          1. @Spanner

            As with any public employee they are entitled to assistance with the cost of a second home …

            Whether they have wealth that means they could fund it themselves is irrelevant – and the constant raising that as an issue is a distraction and politically motivated

    2. Nobody’s denying that he broke the rules. But it’s hard to accuse him of conning money out of the taxpayer when he could have claimed more if he’d wanted his relationship to be public.

      1. The man is a cnut

        Outlining spending cuts in May 2010, Laws said Child Trust Fund payments would be axed by January 2011. He said halting these payments to newborns from the end of the year – and the top-up payments – would save £520m. Mr Laws said: “The years of public sector plenty are over, but the more decisively we act the quicker and stronger we can come through these tough times.” He said that “We also promise to cut with care, we are going to be a progressive government even in these tough times.” [17] Iain Martin of the Wall Street Journal published an article on Laws’s early performance and described him as a “potential future prime minister”[18]
        He’s a bstard

        1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:24pm

          You seem to be blaming one man for a government decision, James!
          I actually think this Child Trust Fund was a white elephant to begin with.
          Being that Labour put us into near bankrupcy it makes sense that some ‘luxury’ items have to go.
          Common Sense but hardly right to blame one man.

          1. No Jock the banks nearly bankrupted us. Laws was happy to impliment changes that would affect the poorest of us. He is not worth defending

          2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:53pm

            Actually you’ll find that the Major Financial problems of this country were Labour driven.
            Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls being the main culprits to blame.
            This is why Labour will Never get back into power with the two Ed’s in charge.
            They are a disaster.
            I know I will never vote Labour as long as both of those are at the top and seeing last weeks elections and AV I am clearly not alone in thinking this.

          3. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:54pm

            At the end of the day the public trust the coalition more to sort out this countries problems that Labour.

          4. securitisation caused the recession not even brown can be held responsible for that. It is selling bad debt as AAA rated securities. It was one big global con

          5. @James!

            I do agree with you about the bankers causing the recession

            I do not think that Laws picking up the pieces as Ch Sec to the Treasury left behind by the previous govts attempts (much of which I agreed with in principal) but couldnt go on ad infinitum is relevant to his errors of judgement re his expenses.

          6. Eh, the problems started in the US with the mortgage situation! And this way of king voodoo economics was started by Reagan and his poodle Thatcher.

            Brown? Please. Those poodles only took what queen thatcher did and ran away with it but unfortunately remembered that they are left wing so also spent a lot on social programs.

            Spent money on social programs, didn’t tax the rich, went to war…

            It was right left, right left, right left!

        2. @James!

          For me you comments demonstrate a man who cares about the fiscal situation of the nation and underline starkly the ability of the man to lead and govern …

          Please continue to give your evidence against Laws because for me statements such as that you have just given wholeheartedly demonstrate how strong a minister he would be and the capability he has – and that this episode was a mistake, he referred himself to the watchdog, that he regrets and has apologised for ….

      2. Its hard to ‘accuse’ him of conning the taxpayer Dave? But that’s exactly what he did do, he’s not been ‘accused’, its been proven and he’s being punished accordingly though pretty lightly. He fleeced the public purse over 40 grand plus repairs and maintenance to his boyfriends flat, he’s a grasping conniving liar. In 2006 rules were set in place so politicians couldn’t line their partners’/spouses ‘ pockets by paying ‘rent’ but he flouted these rules. It shows him to be untrustworthy. As for him being a ‘lodger’, yeah right. I’m assuming he shared a bed with his boyfriend (wouldn’t have been much of a relationship if they hadn’t) and still claimed rent as if his partner were actually his landlord. As for the quote;.. I have no evidence that Mr Laws made his claims with the intention of benefiting himself or his partner in conscious breach of the rules…..he did benefit his partner with a very tidy sum, if he didn’t want to benefit his partner he shouldn’t have made claims for rent.

        1. or he could have rented a small flat when the rules came in, claimed rent on that one and still lived with his boyfriend in the closet

          1. But that would have taken some smidgen of integrity, instead Laws and his boyfriend knowingly fiddled the system. Has his boyf been reprimanded? But then when have lobbyists ever been known for honesty. 7 years milking the system and only now he sees the error of his way. Laws is some piece of work.

          2. Lets see if his defenders can resopond

          3. @James!

            If he had lived somewhere other than where he claimed for – that would in itself be fraud – and the cause of many of the public criticism of MPs that has been founded, so you solution would be dishonest in itself

          4. Ok he could have asked his boyfriend to move in with him or they could have spent alternate nights.

            The point is he did not have to break the rules if all he wanted to do was keep his sexuality secret. The more i think about it the more i see the idea of him staying in the closet as an excuse for his money grabbing ways

          5. @James!

            The more I think about it the more I can see how reasonable his actions may seem to someone very concerned about risks to themselves or others of disclosing his sexuality

          6. Bloody hell Stu he worked in the city and earned millions. He was in no mortal danger as his outing has shown. had he been in a township in SA I would have respected his descision. He couldnt even gauge his family response to his homosexuality so he should not be in charge

          7. @James!

            I couldnt gauge my family response either – I was wholeheartedly shocked at my family response (for the good) and had lived in fear of them knowing (with some good reason) for many years.
            That does not mean I am incapable of leadership in an organisation …

            Equally, he can choose not to disclose – there is no requirement to disclose …

          8. Stu, he’d been in a relationship with his boyfriend for 6 or 7 years by the time he was caught fiddling expenses, it was an open secret, Laws using his sexuality now is a last ditch attempt at an excuse for his actions.

          9. @CMYB

            The important word in your statement there is secret

            He could choose to disclose to some if he wished to – which is how I managed my coming out …

            If you havent had difficulties in worrying about harm that coming out may cause you or others you care about (which I have had lots of stress about in the past) then fantastic … even in todays enlightened times there are issues that affect some

          10. Harm from what Stu? Laws is in a far better position than you or I am or were when we came out. He lives a very cushioned privileged lifestyle. He’s not the first gay MP in Westminster, he didn’t run the risk of being hounded out of his home or job like other people do. He used his sexuality as an excuse when it suited the convenience of his situation.

          11. @CMYB

            I agree Laws is in a very privileged position and has a lifestyle far better than I could ever expect or hope for.

            That said, when it comes to personal and emotional issues such as orientation and relationships – money, comfort and privilege do not solve all the problems.

            I don’t know Laws personal reason for not wishing to disclose his own orientation but I am aware of my own and a few others who have made choices at points in our lives not to disclose for (at the time) justifiable reasons and can only contend Laws might have had similar reasons.

            I was concerned a close family member who was emotionally unstable and had various problems accepting my sexuality would suffered further mental ill health due to any further disclosure regarding my long term partner – as it turned out I was wrong but there was significant reason (that friends agreed with) for believing this could be the case.

            I have had friends who had legitimate reason to believe their would be blackmail etc

          12. @CYMB

            Laws boyfriend did not make any expenses claims … therefore, he would not be subject to the rules governing them, therefore not able to be penalised as he would do nothing wrong under those rules

          13. @CMYB

            Where do you get the idea his relationship was an open secret?

            According to an article in The Times today, neither his friends nor his colleagues were aware of his sexuality in advance of the expenses fiasco

    3. @CMYB

      Laws does not come across in the slightest as duplicitous …

      I refer you to my comments above …

      1. If David Laws was not a multi-millionaire public figure, but instead was a welfare recipient who was caught fiddling the system, he would be facing potential jail time now.

        The man is dishonest. The man is a coward, And he is a hypocrite.

        He is not suitable for public office. His own behaviour is proof of that.

        1. @David

          Wrong, it the situation were identical then there would still be no mens rea and no mental element of the offence … also given his prior good conduct the liklihood of a custodial sentence (if any mental element could be proven) would be virutally nil

        2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:29pm

          Being that we Have had disgraced MP’s referred to the police and as a result jailed for their actions, it is clear that those that knew ALL the facts in this case believed differently to you David.
          Otherwise he would be facing a police investigation wouldn’t he?
          He isn’t so no he can’t be compared to the likes of the expense criminals.
          Plus we all make mistakes, even yourself David, along with James!
          And I fully expect you would seek a second chance, just like everyone else.

        3. This is modern britain, so much for ending the class system. Obviously one law for the rich and politicians stealing from public funds , another for average joe on the street.

          1. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:13am

            Don’t forget those the Rich/Poor divide widen more under the last Labour government.

          2. And there Jock is where I do AGREE with you.

          3. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 3:40pm

            Thank you, terrible grammar though won it?!

          4. @rapture

            absolutely agree with you regarding the class system – but that is another reason why all MPs should be able to claim reasonable expenses despite what some contributors on this thread have said

  6. David Laws should be expelled from the House of Commons.

    And his case should be sent to the police to investigate if he should be charged with a crime.

    David Laws deserves the exact same treatment as any suspected benefit cheat.

    The politicians of this country clearly regard the electorate with utter contempt for their reaction to this controversy.

    (Laws cowardice regarding his sexuality is entirely his own business. Cheating and lying on his expenses is all our concern, as effectively he was stealing from us).

    1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:21pm

      And join the ranks of all those disgraced Labour MP’s and the Tory Peer…
      The difference is he already paid the money back.
      Those others refused to believing they did nothing wrong.
      As already point out it was Mr. Laws himself that referred himself to be investigated to.

      1. As already point out it was Mr. Laws himself that referred himself to be investigated to after he was busted

    2. Why should he be expelled when other MP’s who claimed MORE than they were entitled to were treated more leniently ?

      Why should it sent to the police when no crime has been committed ?

      He is not comparable to benefit cheat as they have deceived for financial gain which is fraud, David Laws has not he actually lost out because of his deceit.

      However he dealt with his sexuality it is never and easy thing to come out, harder for some than others, I tend to the sympathetic and compassionate view, you obviously are an individual of unbelievable courage and perfection, perhaps you should be our leader with such qualities or are you simply most courageous when ranting from behind your keyboard.

      Laws did wrong, but even a Labour MP has pointed out that he has been punished more harshly than most even without a suspension. He will take his punishment and then, like everyone else who has done wrong and has paid the price, should be able to resume their life.

      1. Get a grip Dave, are you suggesting that he’s the victim of some homophobic smear campaign? That its ok for him to fiddle cause everyone else was at it and he shouldn’t be held accountable cause he’s gay and in Whitehall?

      2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 2:56pm

        I’m not being funny but David Laws compared to some of the Labour crooks just Doesn’t compare.

        1. Li Thotomist 12 May 2011, 3:02pm

          David Laws has taken £100,000 of public money and has had to pay back over £56,000 already, what ex Labour MP can you name that’s claimed more than that ? and those bad ‘uns lost their seats or went to prison, David Laws still sits in parliament and pulls a huge salary and expenses. Face it, the current government is protecting him when he should resign.

      3. Li Thotomist 12 May 2011, 2:57pm

        If you can’t see that David laws taking £100,000 of public money constitutes “financial gain” then you’ll never see anything. Laws broke the rules, he could have preserved his privacy by claiming nothing, instead he took public money and was not truthful about his circumstances. For a millionaire to do that is perhaps more objectionable than someone living on benefits wangling a few extra quid, not less so. Laws is also a hypocrite, he put out election leaflets ranting on about how honest he was and how little public money he claimed, while grabbing thousandss in “repairs maintenance and utilities” for which he never produced a receipt. He paid his BF a rent which its confirmed was “above the market rent”, he moved house with his BF, gave him £99,000 towards the new plush pad and then claimed rent for a property he effectively partly owned! He falsely descibed the London place as his second home, so he could claim more expenses associated with it!

    3. @David

      There is no prima facie case for the police to investigate.

      There clearly is no element of mens rea – necessary to complete the mental element of the criminal offence

      The watchdog recognises the lack of mental element

      That does not mean the rules have not been broken – merely that a criminal offence is not complete

      However, rememeber Laws referred the matter to the watchdog himself (he did not have to), he repaid the entire amount back (he was not ordered to at that point), he could have claimed much more if he had followed the rules to the letter and he apologised firstly on resigning …

      Also, why make an example of Law – no MP has been expelled since 1976 – why should Laws expenses case stand out?

      1. What utter bull.

        Why is David Laws not being treated in the same manner as a person accused of benefit fraud!

        1. @David

          If it were benefit fraud there still would be no mens rea

          If you are going to argue the case at least have a better argument, ideally based on facts and accurately reflected legal knowledge rather that “what utter bull” ….

          There is no evidence of any complete criminality in this case

        2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:30pm

          Because the people that Knew ALL the facts and Saw ALL the facts in this case thought differently.

          1. Well said, Jock S Trap

            I might buy you some Hob Nobs now lol ;-)

          2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:58pm

            Ta Very much, I was down to my last packet.

  7. AT least no one can say that he ripped off the general public in claiming the money. He only ripped off himself as he should have claimed far more, and could have done so if he had been honest.

    It is a very poor example to set as an MP in a party that preaches gay equality. Being in the closet is always a bad thing.

    1. Come again? So who was he ripping off if he wasn’t ripping off the public? Are you reading the same story as the rest of us?

      1. If he had followed the rules he would have been paid much much more – ergo the public purse was not conned financially (and he has also paid back what he was paid) ….

        CMYB – he has not ripped off the public purse, he has brooken rules – but the public purse is better off – significantly so …

  8. And the figures, for those of you who think Laws is the victim here; According to the Telegraph, Laws claimed between £700 and £950 a month rent between 2004 and 2007, plus typically £100 to £200 a month for maintenance, to sub-let a room in a flat owned and lived in by his partner in Kennington, South London. After the flat was sold for a profit of £193,000 in 2007, Laws’s partner bought a nearby house for £510,000. Laws then began claiming rent for the “second bedroom” in this property, at a cost of £920 a month, until September 2009.

    1. I don’t see what any of your figures prove in relation to this case CMYB

      The fact remains if he had been living with his landlord and not in a relationship with him then he would have been entitled to these exact payments …

      If he had declared the relationship then he would have been entitled to mortgage assistance

      The failure relates (mainly) to the disclosure of the relationship, yes there were roundings on some of the other bills (for which other MPs have received slapped wrists and no further action).

      Lets take proportionate action … and bearing in mind no MP has been expelled over these issues and others have been blatant in their criminality – whereas Laws is not – a suspension I would argue is harsh

    2. I think those figures are a very good argument for encouraging MPs to sleep with their landlords actually. Not a bad rate for room and board in Kensington.

      1. Or to paraphrase getting your ‘whole board’ Tom, getting your hole bored.

  9. I wholeheartedly agree that David Laws has a lot to offer in public life. He has made mistakes – and I would far rather be represented by people who recognise their errors and learn from them and move on, as opposed to those “who are without sin”. We live in a real world. None of us knows the reasons why Laws did not wish to disclose his orientation – whether that be desire for privacy, concern that disclosure would be difficult for another person or persons, blackmail or other reason. There remain (despite some gay activists ardent belief otherwise) significant reasons why some may not wish to reveal their orientation. For me the most important phrase in the report is this “I have no evidence that Mr Laws made his claims with the intention of benefiting himself or his partner in conscious breach of the rules.” and the recognition that the public purse benefited from Laws failing to follow the rules. This is not fraud there was no mens rea. No criminal offence is complete.

    1. Li Thotomist 12 May 2011, 3:35pm

      But Stu, he didn’t ‘see the error of his ways’ and come clean. he was exposed by the Daily Teelgraph and then couldn’t hide. And this crap about ‘no mens rea’. Well my understanding is that ‘mens rea’ is proven by intent – and David Laws knew he was falsely filling in expenses forms and submitting claims with no receipts, he had the clear intent of telling lies to hide his boyfriend and the fact he was living with him and paying him public money he had no right to, ‘mens rea’ is proven by Intention and Direct Intent – he intended to keep his sexuality secret while claiming expenses paid to his boyfriend in breach of parliament’s rules. He deliberately filled in expenses forms with that in mind, to achieve his desired result. Conduct leading to result = direct intent = proof of mens rea.

      1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:05pm

        I’m sure had you been right and the Parliamentary Commission found the same they would have ruled so and refered the matter to the Police making David Laws join the ranks of David Chaytor and the rest.
        But fact is they didn’t.
        Mr Laws now is being punished to which even some on all parties are claiming as harsh.
        He has apologised and I feel that should be the end of it.
        Time to get him back and allow what the rest of us have when we make a mistake… a second chance.
        Get him back and sorting out the mess the last government left this country in.

      2. In order to prove mens rea in dishonesty cases however, the CPS rules of guidance for prosecutors state that there must be knowledge that what they were doping was both dishonest (which I would suspect Laws could successfully argue – in terms of the bigger picture – that he did not believe it was dishonest) and that there was financial gain – and it can be clearly argued that there was actual financial loss by Laws by his actions

        Mens rea is not crap – its an essential aspect of law – the actions such as formulating the expenses claims is actus rea

        1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:50pm

          Sorry I have to say this and yes I know my spelling/grammar etc can be questionable but I fear you may be responible for a potential ‘doping’ scandal, esp involving the CPS.

          1. @Jock S Trap …

            My spelling is usually so much better … my typing however ….

            what they were doing ….. of course lol


          2. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 5:04pm

            It’s alright, it made me giggle!

        2. Li Thotomist 13 May 2011, 9:08am

          Do you really assert that someone as intelligent as David laws had no knowledge that what he was doing was dishonest ? Really ?
          And if it did not involve financial gain, why has he had to pay back £56,000 ? Why did his monthly claims for utilities and maintenance run at a high level when he didn;t have to provide receipts then suddenly shrink when receipts were required ?
          You just don’t want to accept he did a whole series of immoral and dishonest things and should pay the full price. He’s being sheltered and protected by the current government, where other MPs ended up in court.

          1. I honestly do think in these particular circumstances that Laws could easily have convinced himself at the time that he was acting with principles – he has reflected and accepts (see his apology speech yesterday) that he made serious errors of judgement and that he was wrong. He chose to pay back the money he claimed wrongly under the rules (he may have been required in any event) but he could (the watchdog concedes) have claimed much much more if he had followed the rules. You can talk about receipts – but has the watchdog undertaken such a review of Jacqui Smith or many other similar politicians.
            I believe in fair justice, that means treating people equally – Laws was wrong in what he did, but so were others who have not been punished and thus this punishment is a travesty of justice and merely the watchdog flexing its muscles.
            If similar actions were taken against all others – fair play

        3. Li Thotomist 13 May 2011, 9:11am

          And Stu, I am not saying mens rea is crap, I am saying that your constant claims that ‘there was no mens rea’ is crap. There’s clear evidence of intent to deceive and deliberate action leading to a desired result, which is proof of mens rea.

          1. @Li

            There is clear evidence that Laws believed at the time that his actions were prudent and appropriate but that on reflection he was wrong. I would contend that is a legal scenario whereby proof must be beyond reasonable doubt as in a criminal trial that most juries would find there to be doubt – you may not, but I suspect CPS would not pursue this case. I would also suggest that the watchdog and his legal advisors are far more likely to have a more informed and dispassionate view on this matter than you, I or Mr Laws. They will have considered whether there is sufficient evidence and public interest to refer this matter to the police and have concluded there is not. Indeed the watchdog himself said “I have no evidence that Mr Laws made his claims with the intention of benefiting himself or his partner in conscious breach of the rules”
            Are you suggesting impropriety on behalf of the watchdog by not pursuing this further?
            Why should Laws be punished more than Jacqui Smith?

    2. I would prefer to be represented by somebody honest and with the semblance of a spine.

      Cowardice and self-interest is clearly the reason for him staying in the closet.

      After all what possible excuse does a middle-aged, millionaire in a gay friendly job have for remaining in the closet.

      1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2011, 4:54pm

        You mean someone like David Chaytor, prehaps? Or Elliot Morley?

      2. @David

        I have already given you a few reasons above why someone may wish to stay closeted – you clearly dismiss them as irrelevant – with a similar level of consideration and care as you did to the entire consideration of the Laws case …

        I would much rather have a man who has erred and learnt from it than someone like repulsive Illsley

  10. Anybody using the defence of he could have take a lot more are being ridiculous. That is like catching a thief red handed and them pleading with the judge, “I could have the car but I only stole the TV, aren’t I such a good moral person!” He shouldn’t be let anywhere near the treasury, he can be trusted with thousands of pounds, let alone billions!

    1. @Daniel

      I see where you come from with your argument …

      However, you need to look at the entire explanation and not single pieces of words in isolation. If you consider Laws entire explanation then it is easy to see how the mens rea is incomplete as he could honestly believe he was acting appropriately – despite breaking the rules – in the cold light of day, its more obvious that this isn’t accurate – but thats not always clear when you are trying to prevent disclosure of something that you do not wish to disclose (however appropriate)

      1. The fact remains that David Laws lied on his expense claims.

        That is an indisputable fact.

        Therefore he is not suitable to be a politician.

        He cannot be trusted thanks to his dishonesty.

        (His cowardice for being in the closet when he had no reason to be is beside the point ).

        1. In which case none of the following should hold office either and should face sanction by the House of Commons and potential criminal investigation if we accept your argument:

          Andrew Turner MP
          Tom Watson MP
          Alistair Darling MP
          Glenda Jackson
          Bill Cash
          Mark Hendrick
          and many others

          I suspect many of those above and others made errors in their claims but failed the criminality test and were not referred to police

          I wonder why when there are many other questionable politicians of all political hues, some of whom remain in office, Laws is such a special case

      2. [18:48:01] Will Healey: I’m well aware that it wasn’t technically a crime, however I merely used the example as an analogy. The fact is he that he wrongly claimed £40,000, and this is proven by the fact that he gave it back. Furthermore if it was an honest mistake (which I don’t believe it was), how can a man who was supposed to oversee the country’s finances ever be trusted in such a post when he can’t even keep his own finances in order. I fully appreciate that he may not have wanted to disclose his sexual orientation, however this is further evidence he is a moron, because clearly the best way to keep your relationship private is to give money to your partner from the public purse!

        1. whoops copied it straight off skype, wanted to make sure I didn’t sound like a moron when calling someone moron!

    2. Well said Daniel, as if we should be applauding him for having not fiddling more than he did when he had the opportunity. Honestly.

      1. No one has suggested applauding him for his expenses claims or breach of the rules …

        No one is suggesting he could have “fiddled” more – rather the opposite he could have legitimately claimed more than he actually did ….

        You seem not to be getting that particular fact CMYB – I shall try and explain it simply …
        He claimed a lot of money on expenses by breaking the rules
        If he had been honest and had followed the rules he could have legitimately claimed a lot more
        Therefore he saved the public purse a lot of money
        That is not to say breaking the rules is honourable but it is not the fleecing many are suggesting

        1. Or being that hes a multimillionaire he could have just not claimed at all! That really would have saved the taxpayer money!

          1. Of course, we could just have multimillionaires as MPs and undermine democracy as it would be cheaper

            The point is he broke the rules – but he was entitled to some level of expenses as an MP …. probably a lot more than he actually received (wrongly) …

            His wealth is irrrelevant

      2. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:19am

        No one is suggesting applauding anyone.
        Being suspended from Parliament is a Very serious punishment when it comes to Parliamentary matters but at the end of the day it has been proved that unlike Elliot Morley etc, David Laws did not do anything for financial gain. He is Not a criminal.
        It is time for him to do his punishment get get on with the job he was voted in for.
        The Electorate will decide if he stays or goes at the next election, that is called democracy.
        I still think he would be a good asset to government in time and hope to see him take a cabinet position soon.

        1. David Laws did not do anything for financial gain Umm £40k?

          1. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 12:17pm

            Well the commission clearly didn’t think so.

          2. The parliamentary watchdog said there was no evidence Laws intended to personally gain

  11. If I was claiming housing benefit and refused to tell them I was gay and my landlord was my partner , I’d be before the courts and prob jailed. Whats the difference!! Oh yea he’s a liberal do as I say and promise not as I do !!! He should go on trial !!!

    1. Oh, I get it John ….

      Its not about legal facts – because if they were similar and as described there would no complete criminal case and even if a draconian local authoirty took you to court they would be unable to prove a criminal offence complete ….

      Its about the fact he is a LibDem …. it all makes sense now – its true political opportunism …. nothing about morality

      1. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:25am

        Exactly this has nothing to do with weither he did wrong it’s purely because most people were up for a coalition government but a Labour/Lib Dem one not a Tory/Lib Dem one as the voters requested.
        It’s pure bitterness because of the democratic process.

    2. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:22am

      I’m sure if the Commission had found anything criminal in this they would have referred it to the police.
      But they know ALL the facts and have decided that his behaviour was wrong but not criminal as he did not do it for criminal gain unlike several others now jailed.

  12. Now how about an apology from David Laws (and all his Lib Dem mates) for voting in favour of this piece of daft legislation (Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill)?

    1. Fail to see the relevance

      1. Do we really want elected police commissioners? At least the Lords saw sense last night.

        Did Laws apologise for his broken promise about tuition fees?

        1. Do I want elected police commissioners? I have an open mind on that – it works very well in some countries …. but depends on the powers they have etc

          Tuition fees – that was so wrong …

          Relevance to Laws expenses of either issue – NIL

        2. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:28am

          Did Labour apologise for their broken election promise when they introduce tuition fees in the first place?
          You clearly can’t grasped the concept of how a coalition works.

        3. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 8:35am

          I’m afraid all this Lib Dem coalition does prove is that when a party has no chance of overall government they can make all kinds of wild claims and promises but when in government suddenly reality kicks in and those promises become unworkable.
          Lets not forget the Lib Dems are the party that introduced the full on negative campaign that Labour also adopted.

          1. the lib dems under clegg are breaking many promises and con/dem have attacked the most in need by reducing the money they get , eg the deaf and the disabled, libraries etc are affected

          2. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 10:59am

            Actually Chester, you’ll find many of the libraries and stuff being cut is the councils trying to make a political statement.
            Many have massive reserves they could use to help and many still insist on chief executives with massive pay packets.
            Not forgetting these cuts were to be over four years and most councils are doing in one go so the Tories cannot be blamed for how individual boroughs which to make their political statements.
            In a coalition both parties would have to make sacrifices and changes to policies that is the way coalitions are formed.
            It would have been even worse had they gone with Labour and the other parties to make up the majority.

          3. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 11:00am

            As for attacking the most needy, I think you’ll find that the Tories/Libs are just trying to sort out a massively abused benefit system that Labour left behind.
            I don’t deny some with suffer needlessy but this action did have to be undertaken.
            The benefit culture had to stopped and those who can work do so and those most in need get the extra help they deserve.
            Thats fairer in my eyes.

          4. No Jock its the bankers taking £1tn its vodafone let of a £6bn tax bill its philip greens tax aviodance. This benefits culture is a myth. some people do take the mick but its nothing compared to the tax aviodance of companies like google who pay no uk corporation tax

          5. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 12:20pm

            So why didn’t Labour stop the tax avoidance then instead of allowing it to happen?
            You seem to blame the companies but they are only doing what the government allowed them to do.
            This is from the last Labour government.
            Why didn’t people protest while this was happening under Labour?
            It’s all very double standards.

          6. Jock they’re both bad the difference is Labour will help the man on the street and the Tories will help the rich. I just dont like the red herring of “benefits culture”

          7. Jock S. Trap 13 May 2011, 3:48pm

            You misunderstand me.
            I don’t blame the man/woman on the street for the benefit culture.
            I do blame labour because it got that many who had to go on benefits either found it hard to come off them or find a job that paid more.
            Labour’s handout became a thing of something you had to weigh up when taking a job because by taking a job many would end up worse on than on benefits.
            So no I don’t think it was fair.
            It certainly wasn’t fair for the majority who wanted to work but felt forced onto benefits.
            Either way the system needed changing and now the Tories want to bring in that when you come off benefits into work the difference would be met meaning it paid to work.
            That is the best idea.
            However, for many that won’t work because it doesn’t come in til 2013 so most would lose out.
            Again though, however this country cannot afford to keep people out of work and on benefits.
            It is a major problem and I for one is glad it is getting sorted out.

          8. I agreee that benefits have to be changed. But the cuts and redundancies are uncessary.
            If the govt took £6bn tax from vodafone stopped businesses avoiding tax then the cuts wouldnt have to be so severe. People will die because of these cuts.
            Tories are taking money from the poorest and most vulnerable and letting big business off its fair share. Remember Goldsmith and Ashcroft who fund the tories pay no uk tax

          9. Jock S. Trap 14 May 2011, 10:51am

            But James! Labour have already admitted no so long ago they would have had to make just the same cuts if not more so it doesn’t matter who does the cuts it’s who you trust to do them and get the country back to business and personally I feel safer with the economy in the hands of David Cameron and George Osborne with the Lib Dems than I do with Ed Milibore and Ed Balls-up.
            Anyone who knows what it’s like to be near bankrupcy knows recovering from that is far from easy, why would you think this would be any different?

          10. @James!

            Whilst I don’t think this thread is or should be about “benefits culture” but I have to say my experience of working in the public sector in a wide range of areas, some very deprived and some extremely wealthy – I have seen people in all walks of life who take the view that benefits are their entitlement and that they should merely accept them and not seek to contribute to the economy. In some deprived areas people are 3rd and 4th generation unemployed and see no reason to want to work preferring benefit (and sometimes crime). In some wealthy areas, DLA and other benefits are seen as rights.
            It is that sort of culture that needs tackling. These are my personal observations from numerous encounters I have had working in emergency services. That said, there is a strong need for benefits and some genuinely can not work – carers, severe disability/illness, some single parents etc. Equally, some do strive to find work. Also that is not to underestimate the cost to ….

          11. … the economy of the banking system collapse. The bankers must take responsibility for the mess they caused – but equally we should acknowledge that the benefit system needs reform partly due to excessive spending on benefits – some of that money could be more wisely spent on encouraging some benefit claimants into work – thus reducing benefits, increasing employment, improving output and increasing revenue for the exchequer …

  13. I’ve often defended David Laws’ position. But these days I wonder why he claimed at all if he wanted to keep his secret. He has no need whatsoever of the money, after all.

    1. Are you saying David Cameron shouldnt claim expenses due to his independent wealth …?

      1. Grr, irritating thing won’t let me reply directly on to your post. In answer to what you said, of course thats not what I was implying. Expenses are for MP’s that require them to offset the cost of their political careers. The very reason we have an expenses system is so that being an MP isn’t just the preserve of the rich. People such as David Law’s have abused the system, they don’t require the money so they simply shouldn’t claim. So in answer to that question, no David Cameron should not claim expenses for anything other than merely maintaining his office and staff.

        1. I also find the system irritating that sometimes it wont allow direct responses …

          Expenses are not about offsetting costs – they about meeting costs of providing democratic representation and reasonable expenses associated with parliamentary business. A millionaire nor a pauper should be expected to meet the costs of providing democratic representation to their consituents.

          David Cameron arguably should claim less as he is given grace and favour accommodation …

          1. As far as i’m concerned the costs of democratic representation in his case should only be viewed as paying for his office and staff. His partner already owned the property, so he shouldn’t have been claiming for it. No cost was incurred to him, such as having to find a property. It was a cost he was going to have regardless, so why when hes in parliament should he suddenly expect the public to fund it.

          2. I can see your argument but as the watchdog said he could have claimed on his home in Yeovil. There was an entitlement under the rules to a claim – whether you like that or not.

  14. Well unlike some of you in the above comments as the article states “-… Mr Laws is to be suspended from the Commons for seven days – a rare punishment seen as second in severity to expulsion”. Wake up, he committed a serious offence, end of story..On top of that, it’s quite annoying that a lib dem MP would wish to hide the fact that he is gay when the lib dems are considered the be the gay friendly party. I, for one , can’t tally his behaviour with an inteligent MP whose is full of ntegrity. Good luck to him in the futurue but please no more sickly comments about how wonderful he is. As for the 7 days suspension, is this supposed to be symbolic only, it’s more like an opportunity to take a week’s holiday? And does this guy attend the commons on a regular basis anyway, how many times has he attended since leaving the cabinet?

    1. You try and suggest sycophantic support – I do not endorse every Lib Dem policy and find it appalling that tuition fees were dealt with in the manner they were – but I recognise mistakes and talent – which Laws has in spades.
      No criminal offence occurred. Breach of Commons rules yes.
      As for voting record:
      From To Party Rebellions (explain…) Attendance (explain…) Teller
      6 May 2010 still in office LDem 0 votes out of 171, 0.0% 171 votes out of 271, 63.1% 0 times
      5 May 2005 12 Apr 2010 LDem 7 votes out of 866, 0.8% 866 votes out of 1288, 67.2% 0 times
      7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 LDem 19 votes out of 926, 2.1% 926 votes out of 1246, 74.3% 0 times

      1. first point of the table in each period is rebellions then attendance – not bad compared to other MPs

      2. Stu – it is possible to wish someone good luck in the future and still not be supportive of that person now..the guy has already stated last yr that he might resign after the next election pending the review. The review’s been and it’s not me who has found him guilty it’s the commons and it’s a serious breach of rules. You don’t normally get rewarded in any other job (regardless how brilliant you’ve been at it) if you’ve been caught out in the wrong. That’s the fact. As for talents, then I’d never heard of this guy prior to this affair and it’s only possible by chance the lib dems have an opportunity to be in govt. So hold on there, there was an awaful lot of time for him to prove himself to be regarded as brilliant and what it did doesn’t prove he was a brilliant politician which involves more that just being good at figures etc..He was know to be gay within his circies and again it’s hurts me to know that a lib dem whose policy is gay friendly would chose to hide that he was gay ..

        1. @john

          I fully accept that it is possible to wish someone well in the future and still not be supportive of the person or indeed some of their actions – I have held this view on many prior colleagues etc

          Equally, it is possible to support a man, like him and want him to continue and not endorse all the actions he has carried out. Or, to agree someone has made a serious error and deserves some punishment but to identify that there is an inconsistent manner in how similar errors have been dealt with.

          He may or may not continue in parliament – I hope that he does because I genuinely believe he has a lot to offer. I think his breach of the rules was foolish and wrong. I agree he deserves a penalty. I think he genuinely had concerns about being outed.

          You say he was known to be gay – The Times editorial takes a very different view on this today. I tend to accept Laws and the watchdogs view on this.

  15. I wonder if he made up that money he repaid when he wrote his 22 days in may book…never read but I’m sure it must has made some money.

  16. The facts are that 1. David laws blatantly lied on the official house of commons expenses claim forms.
    2.He did not come forward as some sort of noble gesture, he came forward when his lies were about to be exposed
    3. He claims in tonights house of commons speach that he acepts his mistakes, what mistakes were they? he lied and lied again, not a mistake but a cold calculated lie

  17. Now its obvious why people have lost all trust and faith in politicians in this country. and this laws guy is being touted as an mp of integrity.

    1. If we are to have an honest debate then we should deal with all MPs fairly on this issue

      We should also accept that MPs are human and make mistakes

      That is what the watchdog has proposed – what is inappropriate though is that he receives a fair penalty when others who have deliberately milked the system in far more sophisticated and costly ways are not punished

  18. whymewhyme 13 May 2011, 6:40am

    as an MP he should be setting a role model because as an MP – he tells others how to behave.

    failed) on financial integrity
    failed) on making use of modern Liberal attitudes to society
    failed) on associating illegality with being Gay

    how can a gay kid growing up on a council estate in modern UK possibly look up to such a person – let alone do as he is tells to do.

    shame on you!

  19. dave wainwright 13 May 2011, 1:40pm

    I note that in todays headlines a man was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for e-frauding male prostitutes , yet laws gets a one week suspension for de-frauding the tax payers of this country with his fruadulent expenses claims

    1. I suspect the watchdog has access to far more information with which to judge whether criminal actions occurred or not – than either you or me …

      It may be hard to accept that breach of rule of expenses from an employer does not necessarily equate to a criminal act – it can be – it isnt always …

      1. Spanner1960 16 May 2011, 1:58am

        Well, I would have thought walking away £40,000 better off was slightly more serious than walking out of the building with a couple of biros.

        Even if the whole matter turns out not to be illegal, it is certainly immoral, and I wouldn’t trust this man to run a bath, let alone a country.

        The bottom line is we elect these people to guide us, and that includes the ability to use a “moral compass” – I appreciate that nobody is whiter than white, but equally, this man knew what he was doing was wrong, even if it was a bending of the rules, if not a breaking of them.

        Any person of that standing should not even *think* like that. If they do, then they are obviously the wrong person for the job. He should be unceremoniously booted out, and hopefully make a very clear warning to any politician of any party that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.

        1. The point you miss is that he didnt walk away with £40k, he could have legitimately claimed more – which was part of his consideration that what he was doing may have been justifiable.
          Yes there is a moral compass – and his referral of the matter to the standards watchdog, resignation and immediate apology speak highly of the man
          Hesletine came back after Westland helicopters
          Mandelson came back after the dodgy loan
          Cameron claimed for Wisteria
          Laws was wrong – but let him make up for it, with what he can capably do for the nation

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