Met urged to investigate David Laws' expenses

A Labour MP has today written to the Metropolitan Police asking them to investigate the Commons expenses claims of the Lib Dem former Cabinet minister, David Laws.







Thomas Docherty said he was asking Scotland Yard to mount a criminal investigation after Mr Laws was found guilty of six breaches of parliamentary rules by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.



"If this matter was not referred to the police the public would rightly ask is there one law for David Laws, and another for them," Mr Docherty said.



"If anyone else had fraudulently obtained £50,000 and their defence was that they had done it to protect their privacy, then they would rightfully have had the book thrown at them."







Mr Laws now faces a seven-day suspension from the Commons after the Standards and Privileges Committee found yesterday that he committed "a series of serious breaches of rules".



In a personal statement to the Commons, Mr Laws apologised for deliberately concealing the fact that he was using allowances to pay rent to his partner James Lundie. But he insisted his only motive had been to avoid being outed as gay, rather than financial profit.



In his letter, however, Mr Docherty argued Mr Laws's claims were based on a "false premise of their relationship" and that he had submitted "fraudulent documentation" to the Commons authorities in order to create that impression.



He said also that, living as lodger as he purported to be, there was no reason for Mr Laws to claim for repairs and maintenance of the property, raising questions of whether "the real motivation was to benefit himself and his partner".



Scotland Yard declined to comment, saying that it did not discuss individual cases.



A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “Nothing which approaches criminal conduct has been found despite over a year of painstaking investigation of the facts. This is not a case for the police to take up as a result of the Commissioners findings.”







Three former Labour MPs, David Chaytor, Eric Illsley, and Jim Devine, have already been jailed for fiddling their expenses, while a fourth, Eric Illsley, and the Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick are awaiting sentence. A second Conservative peer, Lord Hanningfield, is awaiting trial.



Any police investigation would be a severe blow to Mr Laws's hopes of making a political comeback.



He was forced to quit last year as Treasury chief secretary just 17 days after taking office when details of his expenses claims were disclosed by The Daily Telegraph.



The Standards and Privileges Committee's recommendation he should be suspended for seven days is the toughest punishment it has handed down since Derek Conway was suspended for 10 days in 2008 for paying his sons for work they had not done.



Nevertheless a series of senior figures led by Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg rallied round yesterday to express their hope that Mr Laws could make a return to government.



In his report to the committee, Standards Commissioner John Lyon found that "any reasonable person properly seized of the facts" would agree Mr Laws had been in breach of rules against using expenses to rent from a partner, which were introduced in July 2006.



However, he went further and concluded that from April 2005 the MP was wrong to designate his home in his Somerset constituency as his main home, because he was spending more time with Mr Lundie in London.



Mr Lyon also said the MP had misled the Commons authorities since 2001 by filing documents which gave a "false impression" of his relationship with Mr Lundie.



Mr Laws was found to have paid his partner up to £370 per month above the market rent, and used expenses to contribute £2,000 to building works at the second London property they shared.



The report also revealed that Mr Laws admitted regularly putting in expenses claims just below the £250 threshold which would have meant receipts were required.



The Commons will debate the committee's recommendations on Monday, with Mr Laws's suspension expected to begin on June 7.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit