UK – The chief secretary to the treasury, Liberal Democrat MP, David Laws has resigned because he claimed £40,000-00 in expenses to house his lover.
David Laws is guilty of breaching the rules covering the additional costs allowance by claiming taxpayers’ money to be paid to someone he was in a relationship with, according to a rules introduced into the official House of Commons guide to members’ allowances in 2006.
The rules in the “green book”, as it is called, say: “You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you, is obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds.”
It adds: “The additional costs allowance must not be used to meet the costs of a mortgage or for leasing accommodation from yourself, a close business associate or any organisation or company in which you – or a partner or family member – have an interest; or a partner or family member.”
Text of David Laws resignation Letter
Dear Prime Minister,
The last 24 hours have been very difficult and distressing for me, and I have been thinking carefully about what action I should take in the interests of the Government, my constituents and – most important of all – those whom I love. I am grateful for the strong support which I have received from my friends, family, and from you, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor. This support has been incredibly important, but nonetheless, I have decided that it is right to tender my resignation as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I have done so for three reasons.
Firstly, I do not see how I can carry on my crucial work on the Budget and Spending Review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations.
At this important time the Chancellor needs, in my own view, a Chief Secretary who is not distracted by personal troubles. I hardly need say how much I regret having to leave such vital work, which I feel all my life has prepared me for.
Secondly, while my recent problems were caused by my desire to keep my sexuality secret, the public is entitled to expect politicians to act with a sense of responsibility. I cannot now escape the conclusion that what I have done was in some way wrong, even though I did not gain any financial benefit from keeping my relationship secret in this way.
Finally, and most importantly, I have an overriding responsibility to those I love most, and who I feel I have exposed to scrutiny in this way. I have pursued a political career because of my sense of public duty, but I have too often put this before the interests of those I love most. It is time to redress the balance. I want to apologise to my constituents for falling below the standards that they are entitled to expect from me. The job of being a constituency MP is no less important to me than my Cabinet responsibilities. I shall ensure that I co-operate fully with the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner in the review that I have requested. I intend to consider carefully over the period ahead how I can best serve the interests of my Yeovil constituency, which I care so passionately about.
It has been a great honour to serve however briefly in your Government and I will remain its strong supporter.
It is nice to see the long awaited return of personal responsibility to government after 13 years of corrupt Nu Labor™ rule and the degeneration of the Major government leading to their defeat in the 1997 election.