The LD have maintained that they have been innocent compared to the Lab/Con expenses. Despite evidence to the contrary. So now one of their top people get caught out trousering £40,000 and they have turned tribal in defending him. If he broke the rules, he should resign. Are criminals alowed to just pay the money back with no punishment? No, so why should MPs. Yesterday we saw Baroness Scotland get away with it while her cleaner was sent to the cleaners. Loloahi Tapui, imprisoned for overstaying her student visa by four years, ex Attorney General getting away scot free. One rule for them, another for the rest of us.
LD Craig Murray says
"the Commons rules stated quite unequivocally that an MP could not claim to rent a room in a home owned by their partner. In 2006 a specific amendment was made to make that crystal clear. Laws does not deny he broke the rules, and is paying the money back.
The point made by Lib Dems throughout the blogosphere is that, if Laws and his partner had owned the homes jointly, he could have claimed the mortgage payments. That is of course true. But Laws did not do that, and the rules are explicit that the alternative of paying rent to your partner is not allowed."
David appologised this morning.
"I've been involved in a relationship with James Lundie since around 2001 - about two years after first moving in with him. Our relationship has been unknown to both family and friends throughout that time.
"I claimed back the costs of sharing a home in Kennington with James from 2001 to June 2007.
"In June 2007 James bought a new home in London and I continued to claim back my share of the costs.
"I extended the mortgage on my Somerset property - for which I do not claim any allowances or expenses - to help James purchase the new property.
"In 2006 the Green Book rules were changed to prohibit payments to partners.
"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".
"Although we were living together we did not treat each other as spouses - for example we do not share bank accounts and indeed have separate social lives.
"However, I now accept that this was open to interpretation and will immediately pay back the costs of the rent and other housing costs I claimed from the time the rules changed until August 2009.
"My motivation throughout has not been to maximise profit but to simply protect our privacy and my wish not to reveal my sexuality.
"However, I regret this situation deeply, accept that I should not have claimed my expenses in this way and apologise fully.
"I have also referred myself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner."