Laws faces punishment for breaking expenses rules

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Indy Politics

The Liberal Democrat former minister David Laws was last night braced for an official reprimand after being found guilty by Parliament's anti-sleaze watchdog of several breaches of Commons rules over his expenses.

The disclosure that he had used his claims to pay rent to his partner forced his resignation as Chief Secretary to the Treasury a year ago. It has now emerged that Sir John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, has concluded that the Yeovil MP broke six different rules. It is understood they include claims for telephone bills and building work.

Sir John's verdict was leaked within hours of MPs on the Standards and Privileges Committee meeting to discuss his report. The findings were said to be "pretty bleak" for the MP.

Liberal Democrat sources claimed the leak was "politically motivated" and an attempt to hamper Mr Laws's prospects of returning to the Government. Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said they want him to come back, but his chances depend on the strength of the punishment recommended by the committee, which is expected to report tomorrow.

Mr Laws claimed £40,000 to pay rent to his partner, Jamie Lundie, in contravention of the rules on parliamentary allowances. He admitted the offence and resigned from the Treasury after just 17 days in the job.