Monday, May 9, 2011
Gay MP David Laws may be reprimanded over expenses
Liberal Democrat MP David Laws is expected to be reprimanded over his expenses claims when a parliamentary standards report is published this week.
The former chief secretary to the Treasury’s return to government may be hampered by the verdict, reports said.
Mr Laws resigned from the cabinet in May last year after just days in the job. It was revealed that he had claimed more than £40,000 in expenses to rent paid to his boyfriend, the lobbyist James Lundie.
The MP said that he did not declare that Mr Lundie, his landlord, was also his partner because he was not out and did not want to reveal the relationship.
Lib Dems pointed out that he could have claimed more money if he had been honest about the relationship and claimed for a mortgage with Mr Lundie. The MP apologised and has reportedly now paid back the money.
John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, is expected to rule that Mr Laws broke parliamentary rules. He has also looked at the MPs’ utility bill claims, which were in “rounded” figures.
Mr Laws may be asked to apologise to MPs. However, he is not expected to be referred to police for an investigation.
After he resigned from the Cabinet, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and prime minister David Cameron both said they hoped to see him return to government soon. This will depend on the severity of the report and a return would also require one of the five Lib Dems in the cabinet to resign.
Under last year’s coalition agreement, five places in the Cabinet are reserved for Lib Dems.