I watched with interest the story of David Laws, whose elevation to the role of Chief Secretary to the Treasury lasted just seventeen days. His decision today to stand down from the post in the light of revelations about his expense claims is perhaps honourable, but let’s not forget that he broke the rules in the first place.
Mr Laws claimed around £40,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay rent for a ‘second home’ to his partner James Lundie, in a clear breach of Parliamentary conditions, which states such payments cannot be made to spouses or partners.
However, the saddest point about this story for me was that Mr Laws made a point about not wanting to reveal his sexuality. Over the last few years we’ve heard strong views from all parties about their wish to make our Parliament more inclusive, more representative. He may have broken the rules, for which his decision to step down was absolutely appropriate. But for someone of Mr Laws’ undoubted talent to have to fear disclosure of this element of his personal life is tragic.
It appears Parliament isn’t as inclusive or representative as it’s been portrayed.