Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The David Laws decision is a disgrace

The old saying goes - 'its not what you are, its who you know'. This appears to apply to David Laws the MP, multimillionaire and chum of David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Laws, who was the rising star of the new Coalition government a year ago, admitted fiddling his MPs expenses, and according to a Guardian report:

"A year-long inquiry ruled that Laws "seriously and extensively" broke the rules to claim rent which was paid to his partner over a period of seven years. He has already paid back nearly £60,000 and was forced to apologise to the Commons."

But Laws punishment for his 'crime' was seven days suspension from the house of commons. Contrast this with the 12 month prison sentence handed down to ex-Labour MP Eric Illsley for fiddling his MPs expenses. Illsley, who was released from prison recently, expressed surprise that he had suffered this punishment whilst others, including Laws, had escaped. He's not the only one. Many of us are wondering why MPs, including Gordon Brown and David Cameron, were simply allowed to repay the expenses that they shouldn't have claimed. What would have happened to you or I if we were found fiddling our expenses at work? At the very least we would have been sacked, if not prosecuted.

Could it be that MPs had to find a few scapegoats to assuage public anger at the expenses scandal whilst protecting important figures like Laws and Cameron? Of course wrongfully claiming expenses was not the greatest of Laws' crimes - it was as a wealthy man he was prepared when a treasury minister to introduce savage cuts which have affected the poorest and most disadvantaged people in this country knowing that he personally wouldn't be affected. That is something he shares with George Osborne and David Cameron.

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