Minicos – In defense of David Laws

29 May

(This post is a response to this story in the Telegraph)

David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is the latest to fall foul of the public’s distaste for politicians claiming expenses from us, the taxpayer. According to the Telegraph, Mr Laws claimed in the region of £40,000 from the taxpayer in second home allowance in order to pay for his partners property.

Now, in ordinary circumstances, this would be out of order. Partners often treat dual incomes as one, and pay both into a joint bank account. Mr Laws and his partner did not. Ergo, Mr Laws did not make a financial gain from the situation, and was claiming a second home allowance in the same manner as other MPs – i.e. it was in the rules at the time.

It has also been revealed that Mr Laws has been living with his partner for a longer time than they have been in a relationship – i.e. that the domestic arrangement began as two men living together as flatmates, which is quite common. It beggars belief that because they entered a personal relationship after co-habiting as flatmates, whilst retaining financial independence of each other, that somehow the arrangement of financing the rent should suddenly change – and the more I think about it, the more bizarre it seems. The insinuation I’m picking up here is, it’s ok to fund a shared flat from the public purse, so long as you don’t share a bedroom. If you will pardon the vulgarity, that would be a very expensive shag.

No, I don’t think he should resign. If anything, by paying back the money that he claimed he has not only understood the public mood on this issue, but also that he is willing to act quickly in the public interest, and right now, the public interest is making sure that the deficit is tackled. Laws, along with Cable and Osborne, are the right people for the job.

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