Pity poor David Laws, the latest victim of British stone throwing.
He sacrificed a lucrative career as a city banker for public service. In doing so has become the latest victim of the Thatcher government’s MPs Expenses scheme. The rules were open to interpretation and many MPs have already paid the price. In a statement Laws said "At no point did I consider myself to be in breach of the rules which in 2009 defined partner as "one of a couple ... who although not married to each-other or civil partners are living together and treat each-other as spouses".
Those with the great British gift of hindsight are already screaming for his scalp but here is a man with a Cambridge double first in economics and top level experience in the financial sector who was admired on both sides of the House for the mastery of his brief in the Queen’s Speech debate. In a time of severe national crisis should we sacrifice a highly competent Chief Secretary in response to another journalistic scoop by The Telegraph over a technicality? If the same attitude had prevailed during the war no doubt Churchill would have been ousted.
Any doubt over the interpretation of the rules could have been sorted out by having a quiet word to resolve the matter without its sensationalist accompaniment. In their exposure The Daily Telegraph claimed that there was no intention to disclose Mr Laws' sexuality, but in a statement issued in response to questions from this newspaper, the minister chose to disclose this fact”. How very noble of them.
The wolves are now in full cry. From Times Online: “David Laws ‘should step aside as minister’ after claiming for rent paid to lover”. The innuendo is clear when in fact David Laws is paying the price for being the model of discretion in his private life. Contrast that with the overt lifestyles of US Bps Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool who have rocked the Anglican Communion by the open celebration of their sexuality. What people do in the bedroom is a private matter. Leviticus and feminism are no substitute for the Gospel. If the church and the media grasped that message many would be spared unnecessary heartache.