UK Treasury Secretary David Laws’ Resignation Jolts Ruling Coalition

May 30, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

David Laws, UK chief treasury secretary, arrives for a press conference at Her Majesty's Treasury on May 24. (Rupert Hartley - Pool/Getty Images)
David Laws, UK chief treasury secretary, arrives for a press conference at Her Majesty's Treasury on May 24. (Rupert Hartley - Pool/Getty Images)
UK Member of Parliament David Laws resigned as Treasury secretary after it was revealed that he had concealed using his government expense account to pay for living in his lover’s home.

This is a setback to the new coalition in the UK as Mr Laws was considered a hatchet man who could see through the debt-cutting begun with Chancellor David Osborne on Monday last week.

Mr Laws’s experience as an investment banker at both JP Morgan and Barclays de Zoete Wedd was expected to help the coalition make it through the financially spartan times ahead.

David Laws had been involved in writing the Liberal Democrats' Orange Book and negotiating the coalition with the Conservatives. He is still reportedly much respected by parliamentarians.

At the height of the expenses scandal Mr Laws had been forthright in disclosing his expense accounts and was given a clean bill of health by Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry. However, to keep his relationship with his lover private, he was not open about renting a room for £920/month in a house owned by the man.

Mr Laws has referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and says he will pay back the nearly 40,000 pounds stering (USD 60,000) in expenses.

The rules defining partners are unclear, and Mr Laws claims he and his lover did not live as a couple and so the expenses were not used dishonorably.

There has been sympathetic acceptance of his resignation from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and senior Conservative ministers.