David Laws is my MP in Yeovil. That he is a homosexual was known in Somerset. We cared not a jot. I find however his excuses for his breach of expense claim rules repugnant. His claims that the man he had lived with since 2001 was not his partner or spouse because they did not have a joint bank account is laughable. It shows the lengths to which our sordid politicians will go to try and wriggle out of the truth. Worse for us Mr Laws used this type of argument to deny us the LibDem promised referendum on Lisbon. It shows Laws arrogance. He thinks we are inconsequential fools that can be safely ignored for the next 5 years by our self serving political elite. Clearly he is not going to write cheques on a D Laws and James Lundie account if he wished to keep his homosexual lover secret. My wife and I have been married for many years and we still have separate bank accounts!
The efforts of his 'friend' from the neighbouring constituency of Taunton Deane, one Jeremy Browne, this morning on the pro LibDem BBC Radio 4 Today programme were even more cringe making. Browne's blatant attempts at red herrings and evading the issue that Laws clearly broke expense claim rules did him or Laws no favours. It merely confirmed public impression that these MPs think that rules are only for ordinary little people and do not apply to them, the political elite. Where was Paddy Ashdown, Laws predecessor as Yeovil MP and chief LibDem apologist?
The LibDems have had two leadership elections in the last two years. Laws stood in neither but nobody in the mainstream media asked why someone of his undoubted ability did not stand? Some people in Somerset knew the reason. If his private life came under the sort of scrutiny a leadership election generates his boy friend would be have been revealed and the illegality of his expenses claims exposed.
I simply don't believe Laws homosexuality was not known to many LibDem MPs. Why on earth could Laws not have been open about his sexuality with his constituents? It would have done him no harm if he had not been cheating the expenses system. Yes he is entitled to a private life but he chose to stand as an MP and therefore has to accept that where his private life impinges on his responsibilities as an MP it is of legitimate public interest especially to his constituents.
If he is as rich as is maintained by the LibDems spin machine why bother claiming parliamentary expenses at all? The answer must be he is just another greedy MP we would well be rid off.
Was Cameron so desperate for power that he did not look at the MI5 files on Laws before appointing him to the Cabinet? I feel sorry for Cameron. He has been badly let down by Laws and Clegg but really he is also culpable for not doing his due diligence, a bad failing in a Prime Minister. I hope he does not compound it by not sacking Laws.
As regards Laws performance as a constituency MP I sent him an email on 23rd May on how easy it is to get more equally sized constituencies, something that appeared in the Queen's speech later that week and something I regard as an excellent reform. I reproduce my email below.
Dear Mr Laws,
As one of your constituents congratulations on your election as MP for Yeovil and appointment as Chief Secretary of the Treasury.
I read the new government intends to push ahead quickly with the above topic and probably reduce the number of MPs as well something I thing that has been long overdue. I gather the aim will be to reduce the disparity in constituency sizes and hence make our votes more equally weighted. I used to set this as a difficult 3rd year problem to my undergraduate students on the Liverpool University Maths course. As such it was purely objective and not therefore open to accusations of political gerrymandering. The main points of my approach were:
It is a minimax problem ie the objective is to minimise the maximum difference between the smallest and largest constituency.
It is superbly suited to be handled by a Mixed Integer Programming model as this allows the incorporation of every sort of constraint one can imagine e.g. constituencies cannot cross county or national boundaries etc
There is ample scope for political input in that once the number of MPs has been agreed and hence the size of the average constituency established each political party can be asked to produce sets of possible constituencies near to this average size. The only restriction is that they should be composed of local authority county or district council wards. Once this is done it goes into the model. A result is produced which can then be reviewed or refined probaly by the addition of additional constraints in the model. The effect of these new constraints can be precisely ascertained.
My own personal view is that the number of MPs should be reduced to 435, the number set by US law as the number of members of their House of Representatives. This would make our average constituency size around 100,000+ but the model will work with any number of MPs.
The beauty is the results are entirely transparent in that the largest and smallest of resulting constituencies can be easily seen as can the effects of any constraints requested by political parties. The process is only understandable to those of a mathematical bent!
I know this will be handled by the Boundary Review Commission but I would be grateful if you could pass on to them my interest in this topic which I regard as key to our democracy. I would also be grateful for any comments you have on my proposal if you have any time left after cutting government expenditure. You are certainly better equipped than most MPs to do this.
Well I did not even merit a reply from Mr laws. All I got was a standard bounce back from his office. I reproduce it below.
Dear Mr Edmond,
Thank you for your e-mail of 23rd May 2010 to David Laws MP.
We will be back in touch as soon as possible.
Office of David Laws MP
Needless to say I have not heard from Mr Laws.
Nothing seems to have changed since the expenses scandal. MPs only refer themselves to the authorities after they are exposed in the Daily Telegraph. How many are still unexposed and fiddling the tax payer?
PS I have just read that Laws has resigned as Chief Secretary, We still are stuck with him as an MP. How many other ministers live with Lobbyist partners of either sex. Cameron's judgement seems questionable.
I am reminded of Warren Buffet's dictum, there is never just one cockroach in the kitchen. How many other MP fraudsters are in Cameron's new clean government?