Treasury Secretary David Laws Claims £40k To Live With Gay Lover
Lib Dem Minister Outed Against His Will Over Expenses Row
David Cameron's new coalition government is in the midst of its first scandal and its a double whammy of sex and expenses. It emerged yesterday that new Treasury Secretary Lib Dem David Laws has been claiming parliamentary expenses of up to £950 a month for renting a room in the house of James Lundie.
This would have been fine except that he has now had to admit that the two have been living together as partners in a secret homosexual relationship since 2001 and so the expenses claim is in effect illegal.
The question of Mr Laws sexuality is not the issue here but the fact that he has lied and claimed expenses fraudulently amounting to many thousands of tax payers' money is.
Many feel that despite Mr Laws promise that he will "immediately pay back the costs of the rent and other housing costs I claimed from the time the rules changed until August 2009" that new Prime Minister David Cameron will have no choice but to suspend Mr Laws from his post as Treasury Secretary.
There are many openly gay politicians serving on both the front, back, government and opposition benches and some feel that when taking such high public office it is better to be open about all matters including ones sexuality. In this case David Laws claims he hid the relationship to avoid upsetting family but this does not explain why he claimed £950 a month from the state to live with his lover. Had he not broken the parliamentary rules he may have even been able to keep his private life private but as soon as the expenses claim was public so too was his lifestyle.
The public do not take to politicians who say one thing and do another and David Laws' words of December 2009 are coming back to haunt him: "I take very seriously the need to ensure proper use of taxpayers' money. It is vital that we rebuild trust in our political system."
Speaking to The Times newspaper after news of the row broke, Mr Laws said: "When I grew up, being gay was not accepted by most people, including many of my friends.
"So I have kept this secret from everyone I know for every day of my life. That has not been easy, and in some ways it is a relief not to have to go on misleading those close to me about who I am."
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said it was "staggering" the information had only just come to light.
He said: "I'm genuinely shocked that somebody who is now Chief Secretary to the Treasury is faced with disclosure of this nature where he clearly hasn't told the full truth to the people dealing with expenses in the House of Commons.