David Laws: the view of party members – 59% say he should have stayed put

by Stephen Tall on May 29, 2010

Lib Dem Voice polled party members registered on our members’ forum today asking them whether David Laws should resign following the Telegraph’s allegations over his expenses. Over 350 members responded, and here’s what you told us …

LDV asked: In the light of allegations made against Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury David Laws and his expenses claims, what do you think should happen next?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 59% – He should stay put in his job
  • 29% – He should step down temporarily pending the findings of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner
  • 12% – He should resign immediately
  • (Excluding Don’t know / No opinion = 6%)

    Here’s a selection of party members’ comments:

  • He has already said he’s paying it back immediately, sad to see his private life aired in public, he may have made a mistake but could have claimed much more & the country can NOT afford to lose him.
  • On balance I regret to say he should resign. He has broken the rules (though in personally unfortunate circumstances). If he stays, he will not have the same authority as he had last week, especially in telling others to cut public expenditure. He could come back again in the future.
  • What has happened is unfortunate but there should be no distraction from his job of dealing with the deficit/spending cuts.He is the right one for the job,period.
  • What he has done is techincally against the rules, which makes his position in such an important job very difficult to maintain. I have a great deal of sympathy with him as I think the situation brings this rule into disrepute as he has done nothing from which he who his partner has benefitted (presumeeably his partner would have found a different tenant), and he has actually SAVED the tax payer money by this arrangement
  • I dont want him to but I do think to keep the integrity of the party (I mean Lib Dems not the coaliation) he needs to.
  • Just….. why, oh, why, oh why? Surely he knew that subletting off someone he was sleeping with was plain wrong, whether or not they regarded each other as “spouses” – he’s a multi-millionaire, it was a completely obvious and unnecessary bad move.
  • The Torygraph say he should have treated Mr Lundie as his spouse – which is nobody’s business but theirs – and at the same time criticise him for claiming less money than he’d have been entitled to in a joint mortgage if he’d, er, treated Mr Lundie as his spouse. This is homophobic dirty tricks, pure and simple.
  • I think the allegations are not serious enough to justify resignation. It certainly isn’t a case of corruption – David’s arrangements actually cost the taxpayer less than if he’d done it another way. However, he possibly should have considered in the wake of the expenses revelations last year whether he should have looked at his arrangements and ensured that they stood up to scrutiny if they ever became public. But given his desire for privacy, it’s understandable if that didn’t happen.
  • I am extremely frustrated and angry about this, and surprised that David (who everyone agrees is very intelligent) didn’t see this coming and take steps to avoid it. I am also even more appalled than usual by the sanctimonious Daily Telegraph.
  • As a gay man, I am fully aware of what mind set someone like David Laws might have regarding his sexuality. I know we live in enlighteded times but there is still much discrimination out there, particularly in the financial world. You have only to see how Lord Browne of Madingley, ex chairman of BP was treated when he was outed just three years ago – he felt he had to resign; disgraceful. David Laws has been foolish but I don’t think he is dishonest and I think we need him in the post he currently holds for the sake of the Country. I know I am not alone in my views, both inside and outside the party.
  • I do appreciate he was not trying to profit, but keep his personal affairs private. It appears that he did break the rules however. As a person who claims disability benefits I have had to endure the invasion of my privacy, this is the norm for someone claiming from public funds. However I feel there is a witch hunt going on from the right wing press, who want the coalition to fail. While I can see how he ended up in this predicament, I still think he did the wrong thing, and in order to calm the waters he should step down temporarily. I really hope he is not forced to resign.
  • It seems ridiculous that he should lose his role based on a silly technicality that means he claimed rather less in expenses than he might otherwise have done