Stephen Glover: This was a perfectly legitimate scoop

Media Studies: Whatever one's speculations about motivation, the point stands... this story was justified in its own right

The Daily Telegraph commanded widespread public support as it removed one political scalp after another during the expenses scandal last year. Will it do so now that it has finished off the reputedly brilliant and supposedly indispensable David Laws as Chief Secretary to the Treasury? There are mutterings about homophobia, and I have heard suggestions that the Telegraph, which has been suspicious of the coalition, was trying to damage it by doing down the Lib Dem Mr Laws.

His resignation speech will have certainly won him sympathy at the expense of the newspaper. It was done with much grace. I can't remember any politician ever publicly admitting that what he had done "was in some way wrong", as Mr Laws did on Saturday. Far from clinging on to power, he reportedly resisted the arguments of David Cameron and others that he could and should remain in office. He was honourably determined to admit fault, and go.

There was, however, one strand of self-delusion in his speech that needs to be tackled. This was that his "recent problems" were caused by his desire to "keep his sexuality secret". The implication – that he was in some way a victim of homophobia – will be eagerly developed by some pundits, and used against The Daily Telegraph. I was glad to see Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the Gay equality group Stonewall, puncturing this line of argument yesterday.

The truth is that Mr Laws's apparent breaking of parliamentary rules had nothing to do with his being gay, and I doubt the Telegraph was motivated by homophobia. He claimed up to £950 a month for eight years to rent rooms owned by his partner James Lundie. If there was any ambiguity at the start about the propriety of such an arrangement, it should have been removed in 2006 when parliamentary authorities told MPs that second-home allowances "must not be used to meet the costs of a mortgage or for leasing accommodation from ... a partner or family member."

That was the moment when he should have stopped claiming these expenses, and if he had done so there would not have been the slightest imputation of wrongdoing. I can't say why an evidently honourable and decent man did not take this course of action which would, by the by, have caused him little or no inconvenience since he is a millionaire. I can understand why he did not put up his hand last year when the expenses scandal was in full flood because to have done so might have drawn attention to his relationship, which he was at pains to conceal from his family. But there would have been no embarrassment if he had simply stopped claiming in 2006.

As for the Telegraph's motives, I obviously can't prove that they were untainted by homophobia or a desire to damage the coalition. All one can say is that in view of Mr Laws's expense claims – which were "wrong" in his own estimation – the paper was justified in running its piece. I feel sorry for him, and it is unfortunate that at a time of financial crisis the Government should have lost so clear-thinking an economist. But could we really expect a newspaper which has revealed the abuses of so many MPs of all parties to sit on this story?

Telegraph sources tell me they did not receive a tip-off about Mr Laws but decided to take a closer look at his claims (already in their possession with those of hundreds of MPs), following his sudden and unexpected promotion to high ministerial office. This may strengthen the suspicions of those who believe that the paper was out to get a Lib Dem so as to weaken the coalition, though as an economic "dry", Mr Laws would have been low on the paper's hit-list. But whatever one's speculations about motivation, the point stands: this story was justified in its own right. If Mr Laws had been a heterosexual Tory Cabinet minister, I expect the paper would have treated him in exactly the same way.

In the end, though, he did not do a great wrong, and he did not break any law. On Friday afternoon, after he had got wind of the Telegraph's intention to run a story, he issued a statement that was candid and honest and open. Neither then, nor in his dignified resignation speech, did David Laws attempt to run away from what he had done. It is not often in politics that in the act of resignation a man emerges with honour, and sets a standard for political behaviour, so that the instant response of many is to wish for his return.

H ow ironic to see the BBC leap to Campbell's defence

Downing Street was silly to have refused to field a Cabinet minister – ironically David Laws – for last Thursday's Question Time on BBC1 unless Alastair Campbell was dropped. David Cameron's communications chief, Andy Coulson, felt it was wrong of the BBC to invite an unelected former spin doctor to sit on the panel rather than a shadow minister. So the senior backbench Tory MP John Redwood was sent in Mr Laws's place.

What business is it of Mr Coulson's whom the BBC invites? It looks like bullying. The irony is that when he fulfilled the same role, Mr Campbell was a much bigger bully than Mr Coulson could ever be. He bullied journalists and he bullied ministers, telling them when and where they could appear, and often what they should say. Yet last Thursday the biggest thug in modern politics was able to present himself as a victim of bullying.

Above all, Mr Campbell bullied the BBC. It is fascinating to see the corporation bowing and scraping before the man who declared war on it after Andrew Gilligan's revelations about the "dodgy dossier" and New Labour's lies over Iraq. I can't work out whether the BBC is being noble or craven in constantly paying court to the monster who tried to destroy it.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
The dress can be seen in different colours

Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Senior Web Developer - C# / ASP.NET - London - £55K

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Web Deve...

SThree: Internal Recruitment Consultant (In-House)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money moti...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Manager / Account Director – DSP / Ad tech / RTB

£50,000- £70,000 + commission : Sphere Digital Recruitment: This DSP is an onl...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower