BREAKING NEWS – David Laws Has Resigned from the Cabinet
Just a couple of weeks into the life of the new coalition government the first resignation from the Cabinet has been reported. The irony is that the cause was the issue that so dominated the last Labour government, namely that of sleaze. The Daily Telegraph which exposed so many MPs and Ministers of all parties ran an expose that Lib Dem MP David Laws had been claiming public money which he had paid to his partner in rent, against Parliamentary rules. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laws was the man responsible for the allocation of public money and therefore the allegations were doubly damaging.
Laws is very much on the right of his own party and is one of the Lib Dem MPs that is popular on the Conservative benches. His stock rose even further when he set out the arguments for cutting the deficit in the House of Commons and made mincemeat of Shadow Chancellor Alastair Darling in the process. He was seen as a rising star of the coalition government and one who had usurped Vince Cable’s reputation for economic wisdom.
The loss of Laws from the Treasury team is a severe blow to the new government but his swift action in repaying the money in question, referring himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and his resignation should allow him to return to the front benches in due course. Undoubtedly he committed an error in judgement but as Iain Dale has highlighted if he were seeking to profit from the public purse he could have claimed far more money from other ruses used by other MPs.
I have the highest regard for David Laws and have long thought that in earlier times he would have found a warm welcome in the Conservative Party. Now he must return to the back benches for a time but I am sure he will be back in due course. The time he spends in exile will probably depend to a large extent on the findings of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
Tonight both the government and the Lib Dems have lost a man of stature and wisdom.
UPDATE: Danny Alexander has replaced Laws in the Treasury and Michael Moore will be Secretary of State for Scotland.