'Door still open' to David Laws despite expenses verdict
David Cameron held out the prospect of an eventual return to government for David Laws despite the scathing verdict yesterday into his expenses claims.
The former Liberal Democrat minister, who was forced to quit last year after just 17 days in the Cabinet, is to serve a seven-day suspension from the Commons for breaking parliamentary rules by renting accommodation in London from his partner.
His friends were livid over the punishment, which they claimed was far harsher than that meted out to MPs who had been more mercenary in their claims. They insisted his main motivation was to maintain his privacy as he had not openly declared his homosexuality at the time.
But the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, said the Yeovil MP should have been open about his living arrangements and detailed six breaches of the rules applying to MPs at the time. Mr Lyon said: "His wish to maintain his personal privacy cannot, in my view, justify – although it may explain – such conduct."
The Commissioner concluded that as well as failing to declare his relationship with his partner, Jamie Lundie, Mr Laws had claimed too much in rent and was wrong to designate his house in his Somerset constituency as his main home. The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee accepted the conclusions and ordered his suspension for seven days when Parliament is sitting, beginning on 7 June.
Mr Laws apologised "without reservation" to the Commons, accepting "complete and personal responsibility" for his mistakes. The Commissioner's conclusions virtually rule out any chance of Mr Laws returning to the ministerial ranks this year. But Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg – both admirers of Mr Laws's abilities – were careful yesterday to leave open the door to his eventual return.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Work until you’re 70: Chancellor accused of ‘living in fantasy land’ over Autumn Statement pension reforms
What made Charles Saatchi grab my throat, by Nigella Lawson - as she accuses him of threatening to 'destroy' her with drug claims
Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
Paul Walker death: Eight-year-old son of Porsche driver Roger Rodas tried to rescue his father
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...