Current Affairs

Tories criticise government appointment of David Laws

September 7, 2012
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Nick Clegg has been accused of getting a “sixth” Lib Dem MP around the cabinet table after the London Evening Standard revealed it had been an “11th hour” fight to fully resurrect the political career of gay Lib Dem MP David Laws.

The paper claims the final decision to allow Mr Laws to attend cabinet was made just hours before it met following Tuesday’s reshuffle.

He has now been appointed as children’s minister to work underneath Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Mr Laws was forced to quit as chief secretary to the Treasury just weeks after the coalition was formed in the summer of 2010, after becoming embroiled in the expenses scandal.

The Telegraph revealed he had claimed almost £40,000 in rent that was paid to his secret partner breaking the rules on MPs’ second home expenses.

The scandal also forced him to come out of the closet.

According to the Standard, Mr Laws will effectively be Mr Clegg’s “right-hand man”. While not a full cabinet minister, he will also have an office in the Cabinet Office – where Mr Clegg is based in Whitehall.

Conservative MP Peter Bone, who is vehemently opposed to the coalition’s policy on equal marriage, previously describing it as “completely nuts,” said: “This has become more of a Liberal Democrat government than before the reshuffle.

That is going completely in the opposite direction of what many of us on the back benches want which is for the government to be more Conservative.”

Tory MP Brian Binley was also not happy, saying: “It’s all about Liberals needing to be, rather like naughty children, seen to be getting their fair share.”

However, Tory MP Mark Pritchard welcomed the appointment.

Meanwhile, this week’s reshuffle by David Cameron has ruffled feathers across all parts of the political spectrum.

Major departmental changes to the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has surprised and alarmed several LGBT equality groups.

On Tuesday, Downing Street confirmed the GEO was being moved from within the Home Office, to the Department for Media, Culture and Sport as part of the reshuffle.

The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches spoke of its concern on what the changes could mean for the coalition’s policy on equal marriage.

Concern was also raised about the new culture secretary, who is now ultimately responsible for the GEO, Conservative MP Maria Miller. Her LGBT parliamentary voting record is seen to be poor.

More: cabinet, Conservative, David Laws, England, expenses scandal, Government, government equalities office, Lib Dem, liberal democrat, Maria Miller, Michael Gove, Nick Clegg, reshuffle, Telegraph

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