David LawsMay 29, 2010
I logged on to twitter last night, and read a long list of tweets about David Laws being outed, and singled out for his expenses claim, as an opportunity to do this.
I have to say, my stomach sank. I don’t like the fact that we live in a time when ‘outing’ is something that still has political capital. I don’t particularly like that one day I will have to explain to my daughter the feelings and thoughts that make that possible.
But I looked at it. I have just finished writing an article about abortion rights, and one of the points I made was that we now have a parliament where Theresa May and David Cameron have both had to pretend that their homophobic voting records were a matter of ignorance they had rectified. Where the first civil partnership in the House of Commons was a matter for the whole house to celebrate.
And I wondered why a Liberal Democrat would feel the need to hide in the closet in this climate- then I remembered that am a 32 year old straight woman, who hasn’t really ever had to hide a relationship at all- and figured that bit was none of my business.
But what is my business is that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, paid £58’000 to a press officer, to spin the hardship that people will experience under his austerity measures. That as well as spending that, he felt that he would misrepresent his personal relationship in claims worth £40000.
Secret or not. You live with someone, you sleep with them every night, you are involved in their mortgage decisions? You are cohabiting, you are married, or you are in a civil partnership- you are living as spouses for accounting purposes.
Seperate social life and bank account as a definition of marriage, would mean I didn’t have to consider divorce proceedings.
This man will preside over cuts and reforms which subject welfare claimants to ever more hardship, and ever more stringent benefit conditions- in the name of austerity.
When I was investigated for 4 months, for losing receipts totalling £100, and made keenly aware that any question of wrongdoing would lead to me losing my job(no question of wrongdoing found btw)-could I use that defence? I was told that this was about accountability for taxpayers money. Could a benefit claimant use the same defence?
If this man is Chief Secretary to the Treasury no less, and is willing to make a fraudulent personal expense claim- regardless of the reason- then that is a problem. And for that reason, Laws should go.
The fact that being a gay man is enough of an issue to cause this much discussion, also a problem. The two problems are very seperate.