David Laws set for ministerial return in autumn?

by Stephen Tall on August 6, 2011

So says The Sun, oracle of all political prophesy, and (as we now know) superbly connected to the occupant of Number 10:

OUTED Treasury chief David Laws is lined up for a surprise return to Government in the autumn, The Sun can reveal. PM David Cameron plans to hand the expenses scandal MP a new role – probably in the Cabinet Office. … Mr Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg believe his peace-making skills within the Coalition will outweigh any backlash about his frontline return. Mr Cameron told a confidant: “Nick and I want David back. September or October is not too early. We need him back as soon as possible. It’s very important for us now to have more voices like his inside Government.” …

Mr Laws, whose high intellect is respected on both sides of the Coalition, is seen as a man to bridge the gaps. The Yeovil MP may also be asked to take on some of Mr Clegg’s workload. Mr Laws repaid £56,000 after resigning as Treasury Chief Secretary for claiming excessive rent. Ironically, he could have claimed even more had he been out of the closet.

In May, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards identified breaches by Mr Laws in claiming expenses, but crucially made clear that he accepted the motivation had been maintaining privacy and not financial benefit. As I commented back then:

Quite simply, this was a man who went to extraordinary, and wrong-headed, lengths to protect his privacy. And in doing so, incidentally, saved taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds. If justice truly is blind, then David Laws will be rightly restored to government before long.