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David Laws resignation: Your reaction

20:31 UK time, Saturday, 29 May 2010

Liberal Democrat David Laws has resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, after admitting he claimed expenses to pay rent to his partner. What's your reaction?

Mr Laws had earlier apologised over the revelations in the Daily Telegraph, and said he would pay back the £40,000 he had claimed. He said his intention was to keep his relationship with partner James Lundie private.

Since 2006, Parliamentary rules have banned MPs from "leasing accommodation from a partner". But the Yeovil MP queried whether Mr Lundie counted as a "partner" as defined by the rules on expenses.

The Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg paid tribute to Mr Laws, saying they hoped he would return to government. Mr Laws will be replaced by the Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander, who is also a Liberal Democrat.

Do you think David Laws did the right thing in resigning? How will this latest MPs' expenses story affect the coalition government? Should further changes be made to the system of claiming expenses?

Read David Laws' resignation letter in full.

Watch his resignation speech.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 17

  • Comment number 1.

    "The sleazy has come back so soon, or did it never go away?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I find it sad that Mr Laws should feel forced to resign. I didn't vote for his party, but I have found him to be an honorable man. I look forward to his quick return to government and hope that the British media and public grow up equally speedily.

  • Comment number 4.

    Pity, he obviously has talent. Being hounded out of your job for not claiming enough expenses just shows what a farce the so called expenses scandal is. It also shows that when you have barking mad rules you destroy innocent people. I have no idea why anybody should want to get involved in politics.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the Government put as much effort into stopping "expenses cheats" as they did "benefit cheats" then the country would've saved a lot more money.
    A rule for them and a rule for us. I'll never trust an MP.

  • Comment number 6.

    The media have got what they wanted from the start. A way to try and destroy the coalition. The media do not want a political system that is an adult one, based on consensus and compromise. They want a horse race system, with back-biting and dirty tactics.

    If, within a decade, we have a government controlled media, I for one will not be surprised. In fact, at the moment, I think it would be deserved. The media never investigates the media. So no one is talking about whether this story should have been reported and the reasons behind it It is this incestuous relations that will bring this country down. And I included the 'Red Top' BBC in this!

  • Comment number 7.

    Clegg's and Cameron's support for this man shows they still have not learned from past mistakes.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think David Laws ought to resign from parliament. I voted LD at the last election so my motivation is in no way partisan. The last parliament was seriously tarnished by this expenses issue and here we go again. He is a man for figures. He knew what he was doing in claiming those amounts. There's no way that he had to claim for those room rental expenses to keep his sexual orientation private. That justification just does not wash. The claims were for financial gain and in my opinion, unacceptable. Being gay in our society is no big deal and many MPs are expressed about their orientation and good for them. He has used the system to gain about £20,000 and that is not on. With Cameron and Glegg now saying that they hope he returns to government, the rehabilitation of parliament in the eyes of the public is going to take even longer. Lance the boil, resign and let's ensure that our parliamentarians are truly accountable to us, the people!

  • Comment number 10.

    This is a real shame. David Laws looked like he would achieve a lot in his post.

    It is the Daily Telegraph who should be vilified for their actions. Why when they were publishing details of other ministers expenses earlier in the year did they wait until now to publish those relating to David Laws? Not in the public interest....

    I should also I am a life long Labour supporter. This is not about party politics. It is about getting the best people to represent us, and to enable them to perform a very difficult job. Few of us would wish to take on David Laws previous role.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    is it only in politics that you can you cheat the taxpayer out of £40,000 and be described by the prime minister as an honourable man. i give up!

  • Comment number 13.

    David Laws seemed like someone taking on a difficult job because of a sense of public service. He seems genuinely perplexed that he might be considered by some to have done something wrong in making expense claims for renting a room from someone who, while possibly or possibly not his "partner", was uncontestably, but secretly, his long-term lover.

    Sadly, in this "perplexity" David Laws exhibits our politicians' normal myopia. "The public" are no longer worried about our politicians' sexuality, race or class. We just want to be represented by people who can be straight with the public and tell us what they believe in and allow us to check that they live their lives by the same rules that they suggest others follow. If politicians conduct their private lives in a way that they feel necessitates keeping features of them secret, or at least so private that it may be necessary for them to mislead their constituents and the wider public, then, sadly, they should conclude that they should not seek a life in public service.

    It's quite simple. The "public" in "public life" is there for a reason. If you are not prepared to stand up in public to justify your life, then you should not seek public office. There are many ways of serving in a private way. It is not a necessity for anyone to seek public office. Only seek such office if you can be public about who you are and what you do.

    It's really that simple.

  • Comment number 14.

    Only honourable men resign these days. Mr Laws has shown that he has a lot to contribute to the country and must be brought back to the government right away.

  • Comment number 15.

    As regards David Laws and the legality of his paying £40,000 to his 'live in partner', I have to ask myself that if I was a benifit claimant that gained a payment, which was dependent on my disclosing that I had a 'live in partner' which I then chose no to disclose but lie about, I doubt that I would have been allowed to use as a defence in court, if charged with fraud, that I was simply trying to protect my sexuality.

  • Comment number 16.

    It is good to know that it is all party thing. Now Clegg and Lib dem can't tell us their party is white as snow.

  • Comment number 17.

    What I suggested should happen has happened. He has fallen on his sword and this was the correct thing to do. Like David Cameron I too hope he can return to government in the fulness of time and after he has had time to reflect on the unfortunate way he acted over this situation.

    He is no doubt a talented man and this should be a salutary lesson to him that when you interpret rules in a way that favours your own situation rather than in either the letter or the spirit of the law then you must pay the price.

    It probably was a bad culture in the past that made MPs think they could manipulate the claims in this way (and even worse ways) but hopefully the new situation will make it perfectly clear what is expected.

    Sad for him, sad for the coalition but hopefully now a veil can be drawn over it and sanity restored.

  • Comment number 18.

    A disappointment. I don't vote Lib Dem, but he seemed to be an honourable and good man.

    On the other hand, while this is definitely a loss for the coalition, it may strengthen it in the short term. Its ability to deal with this so-called "sleaze" will give it good publicity - hopefully this will end the "Trial by Telegraph".

  • Comment number 19.

    Now we cut off our collective nose to spite our face. We crave a minister at the treasury who is actually capable of performing, then the first chance we get we hang him out to dry.

    Seriously, if this country wants a future, we need to get a grip. I don't care what the man's personal life is like. I don't care if he spent £40k to protect that. If he is the best man for the job, which by all accounts he seemed to be, we should fight to keep him in place.

    This witch-hunting has to stop.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think he had no alternative other than to resign. His excuse that it was a genuine mistake hardly equips him to do the job he was given. Could we have expected genuine mistakes in the country's finances. I expect over the coming months there will be a few more comings of MPs genuine errors. It will be sometime yet before all of the recent expense scandals come to light & it would have been even worse if so many of the MPs had not stood down.

  • Comment number 21.

    The Lib/Dems brought shame on themselves by joining with the Tories. This was total hypocrisy. They were continually blaming everyone else for the expenses row and stating how they were such a bright beacon, and that if they were in government it would be eradicated. Well, well what do we have here then, nothing but the same. Personally, I didn't much care about the expenses cases (moats and duck houses excluded) because I think that our MP's should be paid better than they are at the present time.

    What really bothers me is the total hypocrisy of it all.

  • Comment number 22.

    If this has been reported correctly then he has done the right thing. On a wider issue just how much time does a politician have to live multiple secret lives while supposedly doing an important and difficult job?!!!!

    How many more of our leaders and "betters" are living secret lives?

  • Comment number 23.

    Laws did the honorable thing, and for that I am grateful to him. I wish him well, and I hope he will continue as MP, and I will be happy to see Laws return in any senior position at any point in time later on. But for all MP in the new Parliament, there is only one way which is "whiter than white", and there is no room for any doubt this time....

  • Comment number 24.

    Is David Laws any different to a benefit cheat by making a false claim from the tax payer regardless of the amount involved

  • Comment number 25.

    Not bothered about his private life. Not even that bothered about the cash and the deception. But he was looking forward to butchering public services and that's wrong.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why should it be acceptable to act with such a lack of integrity and then claim it was to hide a relationship, which in todays Britain would hardly raise an eyebrow.
    He is right to have resigned but it will be for an investaigtion to decide if he has broken the law.
    As for Clegg hoping he will "return to governemnt one day" please do not us have another Blunkett and Mandelson, individuals who cost Labour dearly in public opinion.


  • Comment number 27.

    I think it is sad that David Laws has had to resign from the government over this matter, and it is sad that he felt the need to be so private about his relationship. I presume he was genuinely living in the accommodation for which we has claiming rent, and over such a long period the amount of money is hardly exorbitant. The rule change may well have been very awkward for him - he may have felt that to stop claiming rent would have been tantamount to admitting his landlord was his partner.
    It is sad that a minister who had much such a promising start in a job that is important to the country's future has gone like this.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's unfortunate for David Laws; had he been just another Lib Dem MP it probably wouldn't even have made the headlines. But of course he's a cabinet minister so is a prime target. He did the honourable thing in resigning, if only predecessors had done the same, they might have restored the public's faith in them.

  • Comment number 29.

    Contrary to Nick Clegg's and a few other colleagues' view that Mr Laws is an honourable man, I only see a most dishonourable one. This is an MP who knowingly broke the rules, kept it quiet and only ceased his dishonest behaviour at around the time that the expense scandal broke last year. Nothing honourable there. Further, he cites that he only wished to maintain the privacy of his partner, as though this was sufficient reason to skim 40k off the taxpayer. Utterly contemptuous. He is no better than the benefit cheat and should be prosecuted and shamed accordingly. The real worry is that those, like Nick Clegg, who praise such a person in resignation, have STILL not got it - theft is theft - covering it up is covering it up - and those who do so have no place in the Houses of Parliament.

  • Comment number 30.

    He did the decent thing i. e. resign. Besides, his position was becoming increasingly untenable because there was a whiff of sordidness about claiming expenses to pay for one's partner.

  • Comment number 31.

    I can not understand people claiming when they have no right. Even worse when they are in a position of example and they make the rules yet they don't follow. BUT worse is when goverment and Law agency (Police) does that. One start asking what is to happen. People are ready to follow the law yet it is when that road is closed by the people that are supposed to open and protect it, that people start uprising. Call it dissent, revolution, terrorism, stealing, forgery etc. When the majority and ordinary people start thinking and beliving that their own elected representatives and/or The Police that is supposed to protect them percecutes them anything happens. Hence it becomes to increase the powers of police so that they can enforce unjust laws which in turn has adverce effect and so forth.

    PS ex:The seizure of any money can happen under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which allows the UK government to recover the proceeds of criminal activity without requiring a criminal conviction.
    And have a guess when and how police excercise this power considering any seizesure gets a prim to the officer and funds to goverment.

  • Comment number 32.

    A real shame. He was so obviously right for the post of Chief Secretary and had achieved a great deal in just a couple of weeks. I wish he could have felt able to stay.

    It seems our parliamentary expenses system is rotten in two respects: it encourages venality whilst simultaneously threatening MPs' privacy. And we, the public, are the poorer as a result.

  • Comment number 33.

    this is madness. why should a man who has made such a good impression at his first statement to the commoms have to resign over such a trivial error?

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    The exposure of a private life is a conundrum for the rest of us. But then this is politics. The country is in a mess, and somebody who is extremely talented has to go.

    What are our priorities?

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree with S Cohen, I hope that this is a hurdle easily negotiated and that he returns to office. He has a great talent and I believe he is honourable.
    BUT let this be a warning to others, the spotlight IS on you all, the people do want change, and an open and honest Government is high on the list of things to do !!.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Once again the Daily Telegraph has demonstrated the depths to which it has sunk. This information is not in the public interest and all that has been achieved here is the loss of a capable minister.

    When will the papers learn that hounding politicians and civil servants out of their jobs in the name of creating scandal to boost circulation is a gross abuse of their responsibilites.

  • Comment number 40.

    It's a pity that David Law resigned. I didn't vote for Lib Dem in the general election. He has faults as all of us. Do we have to pretend that people in public life are perfect? Do we really think that they are infallible? How should society deal with the weaknesses of people in public life ? Do these weaknesses become their strength? A role model for everyone? Psychologically speaking he was 'in denial' a common defence in all of us.

  • Comment number 41.

    I wonder if Cameron and Clegg want to keep the powers for constituents to sack MP's if they're corrupt! Im sure David Laws' contituents will want to sack him after the revelations, I know I would if he were my MP. Another thing to think about is if the Telegraph is hiding anything else about other ministers? Wait and see!

  • Comment number 42.

    I understand he was claiming for contributions he made to the costs of staying at his partner's home.

    Now if it was his home, or a jointly owned home, which he had as a London base away from his constituency, he WOULD be able to claim. Why are contributions effectively 'rent' to a partner not allowed? I understand it was only about £700 pm - that sounds like a good price. He could have claimed for a flat he rented but never slept in (say £2500pcm is reasonable for that part of town), spent every night with his partner and been totally in the right - but what a waste of space and money that would have been.

    Why do we have a situation where a public uproar about expenses is allowed to ruin the career of perfectly good politicians?

    The whole expenses scandal has been a smoke screen anyway to draw people's attention away from other issues.

    One little know fact I heard is that the total amount of expenses claimed by all MPs is only about 75% of the total expenses budget, which means the average MP is doing a good job of keeping their claims low, and we are actually in pocket.

  • Comment number 43.

    3 weeks and already in trouble, how on earth did he think his £40000 would not be uncovered, did he sleep through the maelstrom last year about these issues.
    Did this partner delare this income to the Inland Revenue? Laws fit to be a future Government minister? I think not, but as the Con Dem collusion have ditched any principled stand on manifesto commitments then frankly anything is possible when holding onto power is the primary goal.

  • Comment number 44.

    My reaction? Good, I'm glad he's gone, although I think he could have done a good job at the Treasury; let's hope he thinks twice in future before fiddling his expenses again.

    As for that load of flannel about wanting to keep his sexuality and his private life, private....Hogwash! He could have kept his sexuality private quite easily if he hadn't been greedy; no-one forced him to claim expenses, he could have just said he didn't need to claim rent for a second home because he stayed with a mate while he was in London, but no, the lure of £40,000 was too much.
    You can do what you like in your private life, just don't expect the taxpayer to foot the bill!

    Incidentally, Cameron should have sacked Laws this morning rather than let this drag on all day. This has made Cameron look weak and apparently tolerant of expenses cheats.

  • Comment number 45.

    "honorable man" Do you think that anyone else who lies to the extent of giving his partner £40,000 of public money should be anywhere else but in the courts. Taking money that you are not entitled to because you with hold the truth is not the act of an "honorable man" If he was a benefit claimant he would be behind bars.
    So as far as Clegg and Cameron support him, they have reviled themselves to be as bad as what has just been thrown out.

  • Comment number 46.

    Prosecute him. Thats what would happen to any other government servant.

  • Comment number 47.

    Think about this - if we bring everyone down who has done something wrong, there won't be any talent left to run the country.

  • Comment number 48.

    A word of advice for the PM - To avoid any further embarrassments down the line of a similar nature, David Cameron & Nick Clegg should ask all of his Cabinet Ministers who have any secrets regarding their conduct in office (be it expenses or otherwise that could tarnish the image of his govt and the principles they stand for) to come out and declare themselves. Just like President Obama did before he appointed his Cabinet. The problem was there was no due diligence of appointed Ministers and by the way, why was this not raised before nor addressed by the Committee that was set up to look into the expenses scandal?

  • Comment number 49.

    Wow someone resigned with out being pushed, this is reason enough to have him back at his job , how come the only ones who go willingly are the better ones at the job ... but to be honest we need to give this a break now , lets just get the obviously bad hats out , we do after all need a parliament or ......

  • Comment number 50.

    At the end of the programme Alistair Campbell held up a photo of David Laws. In light of subsequent events this seems odd. What did he know? He said on twitter: "Mugged up on David Laws cos led to believe he was govt minister on Question Time."

  • Comment number 51.

    The Telegraph (very timely, with political intent) made a few extra column inches; the BBC has found something to repetitively fill the rather empty 'news' channel and a member of the government, generally thought to have a degree of intelligence in matters financial, has walked the plank.
    All is well with the good ship S.S. Gt Britain then. Rock and roll to the grubby media wrestling the ships wheel.
    At least Mr Laws comes out showing a degree of dignity even if he has been guilty of a misjudgement.
    P.S. Has the BBC asked A. Campbell for his reaction on camera yet??

  • Comment number 52.

    We have heard a lot of pretentious bleating and pleading from a number of politicians and media people today re the David Laws position saying that “…he is an intelligent, honourable, private man...” who “...should be allowed to continue in his cabinet role…” as it’s just “... a personal and national tragedy…” and “… a witch hunt by the media …”.

    The MPs expenses issue was raised over 12 months ago and David Laws has had sufficient opportunity to review and properly declare his expenses claims. We are told that he did not do this because he wanted to keep his personal life private. Surely his sexuality has nothing to do with it. The issue is that he incorrectly claimed expenses which he himself has admitted. Over the last 12 months and as a result of the expenses scandal many MPs have lost their jobs, did not stand at the last election and some face further prosecution. Most pleaded that they did not think that they did anything wrong and that they thought they acted under the rules. What is the difference between these other MPs and David Laws? Why have people been trying to put forward a special case for David Laws to say that he has done nothing wrong or that what he has done is only very minor? If you are not sure of the rules or the laws then check as ignorance of the law is no defence. For an apparently intelligent person David Laws did not do this obvious thing.

    Imagine the scenario where a man and a woman share a house with one of them an MP claiming expenses for renting a room in the house. Some years later it is published that the MP is actually a long term partner of the other person in the house. The MP then admits that they misclaimed on their expenses because they wanted to keep their heterosexuality private. How would this excuse be treated by the Government, other MPs, the media and the general public? It would be laughable.

    David Laws’ sexuality should have nothing to do with any of this. If he has misclaimed over his expenses as an MP then he is just as guilty as any of the other MPs who have been exposed and lost their jobs over the last 12 months. Whether you steal £1 or £1,000 doesn’t matter – you are still a thief. He has done the only thing he could do, which is to resign.

  • Comment number 53.

    Corruption has been at the seat of all governments for thousands of years. So much so that no-one in politics recognises it anymore - neither do most of the politicians tail-waggers.

  • Comment number 54.

    It is unfortunate that the backroom power brokers who select politicians for us to vote for cannot do a little more research on their candidates. This man does not appear to believe that he has done wrong, and the Koalition leaders describe him as honourable, but someone has diddled the tax-payer and he has to go.

    And he was prepared to stand up and defend cutting services, education and a lot more. What can we say? Good bye.

  • Comment number 55.

    What a shame! This is rule by media and they have not been voted in.
    What is the telegraph trying to prove? I thought they were supporters of the tories, or they are trying to ruin another homosexual. Who cares - we are not living in the 50s!
    There are far too many people objecting to this Telegraph 'revelation', and up to now they have not posted my comment.
    Anyway $900 per month is a good value for a flat in Kensington.

  • Comment number 56.

    Once again a Scot is in charge of the treasury. Are they going to put an Englishman in charge of the Scottish office. This was a wrong move. Vince Cable should have moved sideways. As far as the choice of Laws was concerned both leaders should have ensured that their new minister was squeaky. Interpretation of rules does not always fit the public perspective and the reality is that if Mr Laws had told the electorate that on poling day the chances are he would not have been elected. His sexual proclivites are neither here nor there in this respect. This is an own goal and the Government must clear this rot out.

  • Comment number 57.

    It is a shame that Mr Laws did not decide to sort this out before his appointment. He has said he will repay the 'amount estimated by the Express' - note that, as maybe they are wrong too as he did not claim all he might have. AND once he has been dealt with would it be at all possible for this man to be given the leeway so many other guilty persons have been allowed? Can we be told how many have made full restitution, how many are still awating a verdict on their claims and what the outcome is?
    Fair's fair - none of this should just be allowed to slide out of the public notice. So, come on 'media', of all kinds and colours - don't just pick out the juicy bits you like but pursue it all. Finish the job honestly - get them all and salvage your own reputation at the same time!

  • Comment number 58.

    Whilst what he did was wrong - at least he had the decency to go - unlike a swarm of crooks from newliemore who used ANY excuse to hang on to office!

  • Comment number 59.

    Jeez, what a bunch of complete hypocrites, open and honest Government after all the spin & lies of the last 13 years they tried to tell us. Looks like this was just another bit of spin.

    Just read this quote from Mr Laws,

    {He said: "I apologise to James [Lundie], and to all my family, friends and constituents who I have not been honest with about who I am over all the years of my life."}

    Kind of says it all doesn't it. I don't know what disgusts me more, the fact that this millionaire was fiddling his expenses or the fact that he didn't have enough backbone to stand up for who he was and hid away in the cupboard.

    How naive was that in any case, as soon as he became a Government minister it was inevitable that the press would dig this out. So not only is he a hypocrite and dishonest, he is also a fool. Is this really the calibre of person we want running our country.

    To top it all he is responsible for taking away money from poorer people for (and if I hear this again I think I may be physically sick) "The Good Of The Country", well does he think his actions over the past years have been for "The Good Of The Country".

    Should we all follow his example, fiddle our expenses, dole money, taxes or whatever and lie about who we really are for "The Good Of The Country" or for the good of David Laws.

    As for Paddy Ashdowns defence that it was a human tragedy and he was merely being "economical with the truth" to protect his privacy. Yeah right, IMHO he was more interested in not jeopardising his career.

    The spin king is dead, long live the spin king.

  • Comment number 60.

    Two other cabinet Ministers, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox, pleaded guilty to "misinterpreting' the rules and repaid large sums of money, £9,500 and £20,000 respectively.

    Unlike the the duck house and moat brigade they were not disciplined by the Tory party, presumably because they were close to Cameron.

    Shouldn't they now be asked to resign?

    Or is there a different code of conduct for Tories and Lib Dems in the coalition?

  • Comment number 61.

    I am really sorry he has gone. I am not a Liberal Democrat supporter, but I think he was a good man and also a very clever man, and we need people like him to sort out Labour's appalling mess.

    I am getting rather fed up with the Daily Telegraph 'outing' people and destroying their careers. I wonder if they are perfect.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have to agree withh the comments of the person who said the real agenda is to destroy the government. Excluding the expenses, I think the story smells of homophobia. Once again the press are on a witchunt against people who don't fit the norm of their percieved readership. I think its time some of us got together and set up a website to expose certain reporters for national newspapers. I have found them to be self opinionated, oafish, unitelligent, and a lot of their articles are poorly researched.

    But excluding the above I wondered how long it would be before the right wing tories would set about destroying the government. One of the major causes of the the tory government in 1997 was the Tory press. Labour had it crazy left that kept it out of office for years. Now a few far rightwingers aided by the Press is going to destroy this government.

  • Comment number 63.

    Well good luck to David. The public did not vote for more scandals and did not certainly vote for public mistrust. I just feel he should have declared this early but he chose not to but continued claiming the expenses. Loyalty, dignity and respect are part of what employers look for in an employee. If he was to stay it would be undermining our votes and taxpayers would not have been amused I being one of them. His private life is his own. He may be a good person but good character is one of the aspects that is expected of everyone in every different job how you maintain that in your job counts. He is accountable for what he did. If there are more MPs who have continued with the scandals please declare yourselves now or leave peacefully.

  • Comment number 64.

    Re: 39. At 9:25pm on 29 May 2010, grab that badger wrote:
    Once again the Daily Telegraph has demonstrated the depths to which it has sunk. This information is not in the public interest and all that has been achieved here is the loss of a capable minister.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, absolutely shocking that a newspaper should expose apparent misuse of public funds. And it's obviously not in the public interest that public money has been mis-spent.........

  • Comment number 65.

    Regardless of whether he gave the money back, it was still stolen in the first place and wouldn't have given it back if he hadn't been found out. New government, same old MP's. This elect is no different to any other, soon as they are in power nothing changes. All these policies they preached about aren't going to happen. MP's think they struggle with having to travel etc, well how do other people survive on half their income. I pay enough tax, the greedy rich should pay for their own mistakes!!

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Mr Laws has fallen on his sword and he should be respected for that. Hoever the question it now raises is "Is the era of sleaze over?"

    No doubt others will be looking to their laurels and hoping that previous unwise actions will not be revealed.

    It is a shame that Mr Laws' sexuality should have even been discussed and hopefully the private lives of his fellow MP's will not be scrutinised - we are all human.

  • Comment number 68.

    There is a zero torrerence mood in politics after the surrey case and expense row.It is a pity that his sklls cannot be used in this position.However if you get suspected of council tax fraud or benefit fraud you are personally hounded for greater than this even if their is no case against you!

  • Comment number 69.

    Today Paddy Ashdown was questioning if the definition of the word "partner" was clearly defined, suggesting this as an "escape clause" for David Laws' expenses claim. I believe the man in the street has a clear enough definition of this word to know that David Laws' expenses claim which he paid to his long-term partner was clearly not legitimate. That's the real issue.
    From what our new leaders are saying about this, it seems that the new coalition government still doesn't get it, despite all that's happened in the recent past.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm disappointed in David.

    I'm disappointed for the country, because it's much better with him as Chief Secretary than without.

    Most of all, I'm very disappointed that he felt he had to allow himself to be compromised by secrecy. The saddest thing about homophobia is that for a variety of reasons it's most often self-inflicted.

  • Comment number 71.

    It worries me that Osborne now has no-one to keep him in check.

    I think allowances should have been made for Laws. We need people of his calibre to pull our country back from the brink.

    The only people who have no past history are people who have done nothing.

    Looks like we've shot ourselves in the foot again. HeyHo.

  • Comment number 72.

    So much lost for so little, so sad this is a petty crime committed by a petty criminal.
    Why sell yourself so cheap man, surely your worth much more that press fodder. So sad, so very sad.
    Also, if you sell yourself so cheaply, how much less would you sell us, your fellow countrymen, for?

  • Comment number 73.

    If 2 men, 2 women, or a man and a women are lovers, share a house and tell social security they are not lovers and so get away with £40,000 over 8 years they will go to prison if found out. One law for politicians and another one for the rest of us?

  • Comment number 74.

    He should not be resigning..he like every government worker should be suspended without pay immediately until an enquiry, like every other civil servant suspected of fraud,human rights abuse or assault.

  • Comment number 75.

    on hearing the News of David Laws I think he should he should also give his his parlimentary seat and a by election called

  • Comment number 76.

    I think this is desperately sad, both for David Laws and the country. He had made such a great start in governement and had so much to offer. What about his human right to a private life?

  • Comment number 77.

    An honourable, if sad, exit. It contrasts with some ministers in recently departed governments who did not resign, although they had taken much larger sums, and solely for personal gain. Hopefully the new parliamentary authorities can work to ensure that fair treatment for all is the rulein future.

  • Comment number 78.

    No tragedy, no honourable man, just another MP caught out bending the rules. If he wanted secrecy then don't claim the expenses to which he was not entitled. This should not be too difficult for someone claimed to be doing such a vital job for the country. Is this man who is unable to interpret expenses rules and the national mood on MP's expenses really the best we have to cut budgets and sack 1000's of people?
    The coalition have made a big pitch about "New politics" and accountability to the people. His non partner made a profit at our expense. Let them ask the people who would want him back given his error of judgement. How many ordinary people would find such "errors of judgement" forgiven and receive such glowing references and prospects of a speedy return from their employers

  • Comment number 79.

    I've never heard so much rubbish about Mr. Laws privacy.
    If he had not claimed expenses for his accommodation not one single soul would have known or cared about his private life.
    The fact is he claimed, and just like all benefit claimants, details needed to be recorded and therefore questions asked.
    Will the MPs and Lords ever realise that they should be scrutinised and treated in the same way as all benefit claimants are?
    Are we always going to put up with the fact that some of them are the biggest and most expensive benefit scroungers and cheats in this country?

  • Comment number 80.

    I am a resident in David Laws Yeovil constituency. I did not vote for him, however I have had many dealings with him in the past and have found him to be very honest and open.

    Mr Laws mentions that he wished to keep his sexuality a secret. This is one of the worst kept secrets in public life as it was common knowledge amongst both his peers and constituents. This has not in any affected the standing that he has amongst those who voted for him - he increased his share of the vote in the last election.

    Mr Laws is a very intelligent person having made a fortune on the stock market and having ran BZW, and to think that his situation did not fall foul of the rules since they were changed to include partners is very foolish indeed. At the very least he should have checked with the Parliamentary standards office - the whole situation could have been avoided.

    I do hope that the situation is resolved swiftly, and that Mr Laws can take a similar position in the government again soon.

  • Comment number 81.

    What was David Cameron on about when he called David Laws an "honourable man”, or Nick Clegg stating that he had always admired Mr Laws' integrity? How do those judgments do other than fit extremely well with Mr Laws’ appalling lack of judgment in thinking that the taxpayer should pay for his old-fashioned desire for privacy. He must be the last person one would want to be counting the £6 billion savings he’s charged with making. Like all the other deceitful expenses fiddlers, in his fulsome apology to his nearest and dearest Mr Laws made no mention of an apology to the taxpayers whose money he so wilfully misused. It does support the notion that they are all the same and it shows clearly that the old culture persists and that our brand new No-10 duo fully support the old ways of doing things. New politics, my eye!

  • Comment number 82.

    He could have kept his relationship private by not claiming the accommodation expenses. Ultimately, money was obviously more important then privacy. Here we go again!

  • Comment number 83.

    He only quit and apologised AFTER he was caught. If he hadn't have been, I'm sure he would never have paid the money back. Honorable?

  • Comment number 84.

    £40000 that would pay an Incapacity claimant for 9 years If any benefit claimant said someone was paying them rent when infact they where living with that person they would end up in jail and if they said they where trying to keep their sexualty secret they would be laught out of court and considering D Camerons comments if that is the sort of person he wants in his government and is sorry to loose I think we can expect no more than what we got from Mrs T and her henchmen

  • Comment number 85.

    Shame to loose such a great talent at such an important time. He has, however, done the right thing by resigning.

    After claiming to be whiter than white his credability has been severly dented and in his high cabinet role his judgement would regularly be questioned.

    Politicians need to have the courage of their convictions and be prepared to pay the price when they fail to live up to the standards they campaign for.

    Why is no one aking the right question?

    He extended his main homes mortgage to help his "partner" purchase a property that he then rented a room in and claimed it as an expense from taxpayers - it's like me renting a room in my own house and then claiming housing benefit to pay the rent!

    For someone with reputed economic/financial acumen, this looks very dodgy.

    Lots of libdems have been speaking all day about his desire to keep his relationship private (SECRET!!!!!!) Limpet Opik speaks of the breakdown of the relationship between politicians and the press. Even Cleggy has made privacy an issue - looks very like the ground work is being laid for a push on privacy reform to be included with the review of libel laws.

    Apharently it was already common knowledge within the Westminster village that he is gay, so I do find it hard to understand why this is now an issue. The cynic in me suspects another agenda here.

  • Comment number 86.

    So thats why the government was frightened to put a minister-eh! Mr.Laws forward for question time?Why are these politicians so shallow? They never learn and Mr.Laws has paid the price.He is a millionaire so what was the use of £40,000 bar the fact that he had his nose in the trough along with many others?It had nothing to do with his private life.The days of shutting the gate on scandal and simply getting away with it have gone.To the whingeing MPs who claim that its not fair to subject them to a witch hunt I say-its tough at the top so live with it or resign-the people(your employers) dont give a fig.No MP is asked to stand for election,there are more than enough willing to fight an election to try and get into the life of plenty for little return.
    The first few weeks of government have shown us nothing has changed and the nice close relationship of Tories/LibDem is nothing more than a back stabbing exercise.I see an election on the horizon.

  • Comment number 87.

    why did'nt he pay the rent out of his own money?

  • Comment number 88.

    What he did regarding expenses was wrong and he had to resign. If he'd been outed (expense-wise) during the whole debacle in the last parliament, he would have merely been one of many and could have just paid up and moved on. But the new Government needs to be seen to be a clean break with the old - "new politics" and all that.

    Apart from the loss of a great asset to the Government, the biggest shame is that in the 21st Century someone still feels the need to have to try to hide their sexuality.

  • Comment number 89.

    Surely Mr Laws would have maintained the privacy he craved,simply by claiming nothing over the past years.As we hear he re-morgaged his own home to finance his partner's propery aspirations and it was inevitable personal details would emerge.We may have lost an able minister whose judgement was sadly lacking.Will his replacement be just as able?

  • Comment number 90.

    If Parliament is to clean up its act - then David Laws was right to resign. I'm not Lib/SDP supporter but he it was honorable for him to resign and I'm sure he'll be back.

  • Comment number 91.

    Like all those other infringers on expenses, I'm sure he knew the rules and has therefore paid the ultimate, but correct price. Strange how this was leaked AFTER the election! Plenty more skeletons in the cupboards for the press to glee over no doubt. Another 2 weeks and the World Cup will take over!

  • Comment number 92.

    I was horrified to hear so many people defending David Laws. He has taken money from a country which is virtually bankrupt for his own gain and we are being told that we will have to pay to get the country back on its feet. He has had every opportunity from when the rules changed to pay back the money he owed and it is only because he has been found out that he is now admitting to it. Of all positions people in the treasury should be beyond reproach and as for lack of judgement - if this is true he is not suitable for the position. We cannot afford to have people in the government who suffer from lack of judgement at this crucial time.

    We need seriously to look at cutting costs in the public sector and getting back to basics before we start increasing taxes. We also need to start making the people who caused this crisis face up to their responsibilities and take part in helping to pay back the deficit to get the country back on its feet.

    We need to go back to morals of what is right and what is wrong, not what we can get away with and it must start at the top with the government. This is the only way forward to put the Great back in Britain.

  • Comment number 93.

    .........AND SO IT GOES ON!!!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    MPs really don't get it. In Laws defence we are told he could have claimed more if he had declared his partner. Does this mean all MPs with partners are entited to claim more than the single ones? Am I the only one that feels we are still being taken for a ride?

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    It is deeply, deeply depressing that, as a direct result of The Daily Telegraph having chosen now to run this story at this time (having had access to all the facts for many months) the government and the country are being deprived of the talents of the person who is by far the best qualified for the job he held.

    The editor of The Daily Telegraph should be deeply ashamed of himself for the cynical and deliberately destructive choice of timing for running this story, because (with a few weeks to go to the emergency budget) it literally couldn't have been run at a more damaging time for the economy and the interests of the country.

    I was completely supportive of the Telegraph's role in outing the original litany of expenses stories - but I utterly condemn their action in running this story at this point because it looks to me to be very directly damaging to the national interest!!

    ps...the BBC News Channel seems to be doing a very poor job in suggesting that the public is split 50/50 on this issue. I think the media are hanging together on this issue - and a vast amount of blame should actually be laid at their door, rather than that of Laws or the Government. The question of BBC bias again seems a very live topic!

  • Comment number 97.

    If he had been falsely claiming benefit and not declaring that he was living with a partner he would be prosecuted, doubtless he will get away with it being an MP. £40,000 and they are refusing to give me the £30 I paid in good faith for my ID card.

  • Comment number 98.

    1. David Laws has done the right thing by resigning from the government.
    2. Cameron, Clegg & Osborne have done the right thing.
    3. This is not about expenses.

    This is about unreconstructed conservatives undermining the coalition. The Telegraph has had months to publish this information - why now?

    Our country is sinking and we faffing about!

  • Comment number 99.

    Maybe it is sad, but this man holds a position of huge responsibility, requiring integrity. He has clearly been less than honest. I would also consider it quite unforgivable that a public representative, who supposedly supports equality and diversity should consider his homosexuality to be a grubby little secret rather than something to be celebrated. Frankly his excuses are limp and unbelievable. It is quite right that he resigns. We've had enough of ministers lecturing us on how we have to make financial sacrifices and face tough cuts , whilst they cynically manipulate the expenses system to fund their own extravagant lifestyles at the taxpayers expense.

  • Comment number 100.

    Have you read Laws's statement? Been living together for 9 years in a relationship but didn't consider themselves as partners because they had separate bank accounts and social lives!!

    I've been married for nearly 30 years and we have separate bank accounts and social lives - pass me the claim form I could do with £40k

    Unbelievable - and there are people on here defending him (and now of course trotting out the homophobia line and blaming the Telegraph)

 

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