Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%. I’ll do a proper write up of the poll tomorrow morning once the tables go up on the YouGov website.

So far I am not aware of any other polling in the Sunday papers.


104 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 37, LAB 42, LDEM 8”

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  1. @ Amber Star

    “David Laws; he’s not coming back anytime soon, regardless of what happens to Chris Huhne.

    Getting suspended from the House for 7 days may not seem like much of a punishment to us but it is a censure that no MP can blow past & bounce back into cabinet.”

    Why not? I like David Laws. He may have some wacky economic ideas but I respect the man and I wish he would come back as a Cabinet member.

  2. @ Old Nat

    “I was assuming that LDs in most of the Central Belt would vote Labour for Westminster.

    That’s why I was suggesting Labour would lose few Westminster seats in Scotland. However, the likely scenario would be that many/most LD seats would become SNP.

    Scottish politics could, however, be very different in 4 years time, and it’s much more likely to see significant movement than England – where politics is still being fought within the late 20th/early 21st century context.”

    That does complicate things. I’m not sure either Labour or the Tories can win an overall majority simply on the backs of the Lib Dem collapse alone.

    @ Crossbat11/Nick H

    “They lost over 300 councillors to Labour, lost control of many councils, semi-collapsed from an already calamitous position in Scotland>”

    Yeah, Labour had a perfectly good election result. It wasn’t the greatest local election victory ever but honestly, you all probably don’t want to peak too early. The Tories are simply poking fun at Labour because they have the opportunity to do so. It looks childish though because Labour is probably closer ideologically to the Tories than the SNP is (at least Labour favors the union).

  3. @ Old Nat

    “Even Alex Salmond (whom I have never heard swear) was caught saying “F… me”, when he heard the Clydebank result.”

    Lol. He’s a regular Joe Biden. :)

  4. Amber, as ever I admire your ability to rewrite history, aka spin.

    “Not so long ago” people were also talking about 10+point Labour leads and a wipeout for Cons on May 5, which didn’t materialise.

    With four years left to a GE a 5 point lead is peanuts,

  5. SoCalLiberal

    “He’s a regular Joe Biden.”

    I know who Biden is, but I don’t get the cultural reference.

  6. CrosbatII

    According to Thrasher and Rawlings, who use a larger set of key wards,
    the Tories led Labour in the projected share (projected to all GB, from the English local elections).

    38% Con, 37% Labour, 16% LD.
    That would be +1% for the Tories since the 2010 General Election.

    The BBC showed a 2% Labour lead,
    37-35-15, but this was projected on the basis of I think less than a third of the results in, and on fewer key wards.

    They also had net gains compared to 2007 – that is a good result.

    I think Labour’s 800-850 seats net gain was respectable but in a grey area where one could argue about it.
    400 would definitely be a bad result, because it would mean doing worse than 2003 when in opposition.

  7. Roger Mexico

    There might be a few straws in the wind as to Scottish attitudes in the 4 local by elections over the next 5 weeks. On the basis of 2007 1st preferences, one would expect 1SNP, 1 Independent, 1 Tory, and 1 LD councillor to emerge.

    Any LD win is unlikely.

  8. @ Old Nat

    “I know who Biden is, but I don’t get the cultural reference.”

    Last year after the enactment of health insurance reform or Obamacare, Biden uttered (accidentally into the open microphone) ‘it is a big f**king deal!’. I love Biden, he demonstrates the importance of following UK politics for Americans (and also why plagiarism isn’t a good thing).

  9. SoCalLiberal

    Thanks. I remember that now.

    There are times when politicians and open mikes make them seem almost human, so likable.

    Then there are the other ones like Gordon Brown’s misfortune that reveal sides of them that we would rather not have seen.

  10. @ Sergio

    “Not so long ago” people were also talking about 10+point Labour leads and a wipeout for Cons on May 5, which didn’t materialise.
    ———————————————
    I think you’ll find it was Tories who were forecasting a 10 point lead & a wipe out for their team on May 5.

    Expectation management & spin from the Tories oughtn’t to be confused with the non-partisan, absolutely spin-less comments posted by the totally unbiased, nice & accurate, AmberStar ;-)

  11. ‘it is a big f**king deal!’.

    Good, but not as good as Obama reportedly calling Libya a “t*rd sandwidge”. He was bang on the money with that assessment.

  12. @ SoCaL

    Why not? I like David Laws. He may have some wacky economic ideas but I respect the man and I wish he would come back as a Cabinet member.
    ——————————————–
    Getting a cabinet job after a suspension, it’s just not how things are done here. I actually thought he was merely a bit silly, until the full details of his expenses claims were revealed by the investigation.

    He is a millionaire, who cheated on his expenses. All this talk of protecting his mother from the shock of finding out he was gay… what is that about? He could’ve simply not claimed the money, if his mother’s peace of mind was truly important to him.

    He ran around boasting that he’d take an axe to public spending & all the while he’d been troughing, claiming above market rent for a home which he co-owned with his boyfriend.

    So do tell, what is it you like & respect about David Laws? The way he hid in the closet whilst others stood up for gay rights? They way he ran his election campaign, saying how clean he was on, of all things, expenses claims? Or the fact that he made false claims & got caught?
    8-)

  13. @ Mick Park

    “Good, but not as good as Obama reportedly calling Libya a “t*rd sandwidge”. He was bang on the money with that assessment.”

    I haven’t heard that. I doubt he would say that. I’m glad Obama chose to intervene in Libya. He made the right decision.

    @ Old Nat

    “Thanks. I remember that now.

    There are times when politicians and open mikes make them seem almost human, so likable.

    Then there are the other ones like Gordon Brown’s misfortune that reveal sides of them that we would rather not have seen.”

    Heh. That’s true. I think it’s helpful for politicians perceived as wooden and stiff and inhuman to have those moments.

    Ot, have you ever spent time discussing the I/P situation with people (your comments about Benjamin Netanyahu and brainwashing are appropo right about now) who simply repeat talking points and will not bend from their ideology? Or people who simply want to act as if one side in that conflict has clean hands and the other side just wants blood? I tell you, sometimes, it can get infuriating. I don’t want to sound like a complete hypocrite but sometimes I think there is some brainwashing involved. Or it appears that way.

    IMO, Obama is right and I’m glad Tzipi Livni is backing him up.

  14. @ Amber Star

    “Getting a cabinet job after a suspension, it’s just not how things are done here. I actually thought he was merely a bit silly, until the full details of his expenses claims were revealed by the investigation.

    He is a millionaire, who cheated on his expenses. All this talk of protecting his mother from the shock of finding out he was gay… what is that about? He could’ve simply not claimed the money, if his mother’s peace of mind was truly important to him.

    He ran around boasting that he’d take an axe to public spending & all the while he’d been troughing, claiming above market rent for a home which he co-owned with his boyfriend.

    So do tell, what is it you like & respect about David Laws? The way he hid in the closet whilst others stood up for gay rights? They way he ran his election campaign, saying how clean he was on, of all things, expenses claims? Or the fact that he made false claims & got caught?”

    Well let’s make sure we have the facts right on this. My understanding was that he would have paid more money and received less in expenses had he been out and been able to claim a spousal benefit. My feeling is, no harm, no foul. If he misclaimed but did so in order to pay more money, then he wasn’t cheating the system. But that doesn’t mean I’m right and I don’t know what the full investigations revealed.

    I think that one’s sexual orientation is everybody’s business. With that said, I don’t think people should be outed if they don’t want to be, unless they are working to actively harm the LGBT community. If Laws was voting with the Tories to harm gays and lesbians, then his outing would have been appropriate. Then he would be like the seemingly never ending cavalcade of closeted Republican politicians who get outed.

    But as it was, the Tory positions on gay rights are why he never became a Tory and became a Lib Dem and in Parliament he voted in favor of gay rights (and I think helped negotiate the coalition agreements so that the Tories would not go back and revoke all that Labour did on LGBT rights issues during its 13 years ini power). That’s far more than I could say for so many Republicans.

  15. Weekly Average –
    Labour – 41.2 (Min 40 – Max 42)
    Tory – 37.6 (Min 36 – Max 39)
    LibDem – 9.2 (Min 8 – Max 10)
    So Labour and LibDem VI showing approx 1% variance and Tory VI showing 1.5% variance from the average.

    I think that if Clegg doesn’t bottle it over his blocking of NHS reforms, the LDs will increase their VI numbers.
    If he does make a big noise about blocking it (much like the LDs umm’d and aah’d about tuition fees but then largely voted for/abstained) and it’s passed through LD votes for/abstains then their vote will drop significantly after.

    People who’re still backing LDs are largely against the proposed NHS reforms – which is probably why Nick’s making such a fuss.

    Strange Questions in the detail –
    Even though Tories and LibDems think that Chris Huhne probably did it, that his wife should be able to say, that there should be a criminal investigation and think that it is a serious offence to commit.. both groups more than not think Huhne shouldn’t resign if he’s found guilty.
    What ever happened to the New Politics of the LDs and Law and Order Tories?

    And not great polling news for the Tories on the ‘Tough on Crime’ question (Tories tend to get the ‘tough on crime’ voters) –
    Labour equally tough on crime as Tories – 43 (50% of Tories, 33% of Labour, 54% of LDs)
    Tories less tough on crime than Labour – 30 (14/52/15)
    Tories tougher on crime – 9 (20/2/13)

    And although that means it’s 50/14/20 (Equal/Less/Tougher) with Tory voters, the number declines with 2010 Tory voters 51/16/17 (Equal/Less/Tougher).
    If Labour can make the ‘soft on crime’ label stick to the Tories while bringing back the ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ message, they may be able to peel away Tory voters.

  16. @social Liberal

    You are fundamentally wrong on Laws. He defrauded the taxpayer of £40.000 on a spurious ground of protecting privacy. Truthfully had he been honest he could easily have said he was staying at a friend’s house and as both were wealthy he did not require such expenses. No-one would have questioned this, and he would be seen as a decent public spirited individual – it would not have raised any questions about sexuality.

    His motivation is not the isue here, it is the systematic fraud involved which is. Far from being ready for recuperation, I honestly believe that Laws has shown such contempt for public finaces and propriety that he should actually be considering his very role as an MP.
    Others doing very similar things are in jail at present. Had you or I done this we would by now be facing fraud and dishonesty charges from the local prosecution service.The fact the the coalition partners or even the liberals believe he can be rehabilitated shows just how hypocritical our political culture remains. If he ever were rehabilitated into cabinet it would be an absolute gift for the Labour Party and rightly. At present they have not attacked Laws too much because they don’t want to appear homophobic or hypocritical.

    The man should quietly revert to the role of back bencher then leave politics at next election – and count himself very lucky that he has no criminal conviction to his name.

  17. Interesting stuff from Tinged Fringe.

    I find the Huhne stuff particularly enlightening and depressing. If Huhne did indeed lie about this, then he is guilty of perverting the course of justice – and should be jailed, yet the UK populstion appear to regard such a criminal act as a minor misdemeabour -not even worthy of resignation. I am seriously concerned from this observation about the moral compass of our population.

    We appear as a nation to be accepting of criminal dishonesty. ( Laws springs to mind too in this regard) I find this frightening in its implications for behaviour in our society as a whole.

    I fear that Thatcher’s societal legacy is the exact opposite of what she intended. She wanted self- reliant individuals who would prosper on their own merits unshackled from the state. She has helped create a population of opportunists who would sell their granny for a few quid and do anything to save their own skins, and who also believe such behaviour to be acceptable in others. Depressing really.

  18. Laws lack of respect revealing Liam Byrnes private jokey note breaking an unwritten rule did not go down well with MPs on both sides.
    Which is one of the reasons few are calling for him to be back in Gov’t.

  19. In the last GE campaign weren’t the LDs saying how honest etc they were and so unlike the Cons and Lab, and how they would do things differently?

    I hope Laws and Huhne are both prosecuted – if they have committed a crime.

    As my wife would say, MPs are all the same. Basically they tell untruths (I paraphrase!).

  20. “I fear that Thatcher’s societal legacy is the exact opposite of what she intended.”
    I think the explanation is in what she promoted by policy –

    A little background on my thoughts – Shalom H Shwartz created a value theory/scale system that is the basis for the European Social Survey.
    In it he postulated that there are certain universal values but that some of these values come in to conflict.

    So in effect, the values would form two scales – what we usually broadly refer to as social and economic (although it is a little more complex in the theory) –

    On one scale, you have Power & Achievement vs Universalism/Social Justice. (What we would usually call economic).
    The values of power and achievement rarely come in to conflict, but power comes in to conflict with universalism (equality under the law) and achievement comes in to conflict with social justice.
    This would be the standard left/right scale.

    On the other scale you have Security & Conformity vs Self-Direction and Stimulation/Hedonism.
    Security rarely comes in to conflict with conformity but does with self-direction.
    So this is the individualist vs communitarian scale.

    Thatcher, while promoting right-wing values (what you might call economic individualism, but I would say ‘achievement(ism)’) which was a shift from One Nation Tories who were somewhere between achievement & social justice, she also was big on communitarian values – much as the one-nation Tories were.
    So Thatcher is Right-Communitarian, One-Nation were Centrist-Communitarian.

    Compare this to classic liberals who are right-individualists or libertarian socialists who’re Left-Individualist.

    So the idea that we should allow criminals to go free – as long as they’re our criminals – is the value of power overriding the value of universalism.
    So Thatcher may have talked about Individualism, but she only really meant *economic*.

    Compare to New Labour who were torn apart by centrist-communitarians and centrist-individualists.

    Now what worries me (as a Left-Individualist – aka a Libertarian Socialist) is the rise of some of the elements of Blue Labour – Left-Communitarians.
    But we’ll have to tackle that bridge when it comes to it.

  21. Also – a quick PS –
    This sort of system also explains the split in the Liberal Democrats –
    LibDems are broadly all Individualist but split over Left-Right values.

    Which is why they’re being torn apart – they were able to cater to both extremes (Far-Left individualist and Far-right individualist) because they were an individualist party.
    So when they had to make a right vs left decision, they lost the lefties.

    And it also explains the confusion when it comes to categorising right/left.
    We often refer to parties like the BNP as far-right but who’re actually extreme-communitarian parties (high on security and conformity (explaining their racial policy) and may hold centrist/left-wing views.

    Because for a long time Right-wingers were typically communitarian and Left-wingers were typically individualist, there’s a confusion when trying to separate them.

  22. @ALEC

    “I wonder if he is now p*ssing off his remaining right leaning supporters?

    Tory backbenchers are certainly outraged by his behaviour, to the extent that they are now backing Lansley. I wonder whether Clegg’s duplicitousness is now losing him votes at the other end of the spectrum?”

    My feeling increasingly Alec.

  23. Interesting poliing, the Labour lead has settled down to about 3% which is amazing considering the action which the Coalition has had to take to clear up the previous Governments mess. Although not a fan of either partner I think the Tories are well placed and the Libs will recover ground especiall from Labour as the economy improves and the Coalitions economic policy is proved correct.

    I see that Osborne has finally sunk Gordon Browns chances of the IMF job although as I have said previously how anyone in their right mind………..

  24. @Socal – you are completely wrong about Laws, as others have said.

    His actions were seen as very serious by the ivestigating committee of MPs and the suspension is an extremely serious punishment. Not many MPs received this – Jacqui Smith, for example, was required to apologise to the house only.

    While unconnected to the facts of the case, there are also other factors to consider. Laws put statements in his election leaflets directly criticising sitting MPs from neighbouring constituencies for expenses abuses, claiming he was one of the good guys. He acted like a serial liar and deceiver, and has been rightly found out.

    Cameron hounded out many of his own parties MPs for much lesser offences if he didn’t like them. If he accepts Laws back into government it will be as clear a sign as you need of his lack of principle of this issue. You are committing the exact same mistake – judging someone not on their actions, but on whether you like them or not.

  25. “Internationally, his reputation remains intact and he is admired for the way he tackled the global banking crisis. An IMF source said: ‘He is very well regarded.'”

  26. PPS –
    That isn’t to say you can’t, as an individual, value universalism and achievement – just that you’ll find yourself in internal conflict more often than if you value power & achievement over universalism.

  27. @ Iceman and Alec

    So would you have been completely happy had Laws claimed in the correct way and been paid a lot more money, which he was fully entitled to be, as a result?

    I really would like to know your answer on that one.

    I just think there is an awful lot of humbug and thinly disguised prejudice here.

  28. @ the othe howard
    ! don’t for one minute think the labour lead has “settled down to 3%” nor is there any evidence that the coalition have succeeded economically in any way. This is wishful thinking on your behalf.

    As I have stated previously we are not yet into mid-term. We have had 13 years of lab government and the electorate who shifted to the tories in 2010 are largely sticking to their guns until the effects of austerity hit. If the economy comes through this by 2015 and is in real recovery – an economic impossibility in my view – then Osborne et al will have been proved right in some sense and Tories will win election – by a large margin.

    If recovery which has stalled fails to materialise – highly likely given the falling living standards of UK workers and the imminent collapse of the Eurozone – all brought on by insane austerity measures at the cost of all economic growth – and we remain in stagflation – as commodity prices continue an inexorable and inevitable rise – and we see the growing effects on quality of public services as NHS and education services both suffer direct consequences of the cuts then we could yet see a catastrophic collapse in Tory support by 2015.

    In essence it all comes down to the big gamble on deficit reduction – madness in my view – if it works then Tories are home and hosed ,if not then the Tory press, Sky News, Tories on the beeb political staff (Kuennsberg and Robinson) will all have to work incredibly hard on continuing the “Blame Brown” message right up to 2015 to give them any chance at all of a second term.

    In all of these scenarios, of course, the lib-dems are dead!

  29. @Robert C – “So would you have been completely happy had Laws claimed in the correct way and been paid a lot more money, which he was fully entitled to be, as a result?”

    Yes I would – always, always, always stick to the precise letter of the regulations, for no other reason than your own protection.

    And:

    “I just think there is an awful lot of humbug and thinly disguised prejudice here.”

    I sincerely hope you are not accusing me of some form of homophobia? Likewise some kind of anti Lib Dem biase on the expenses scandal – I registered my disgust at all MPs of all the main parties and likewise saluted those from all sides who had behaved with impeccable honesty.

    The Laws case is much more serious than you, and his other supporters want to make out. As several people have said previously, the privacy argument is irrelevant. If that was important to him, as a millionaire he could simply have foregone his second home allowance, as many others did. He also made great play of criticising others who got caught out in the expenses scandal, while all the time defrauding the taxpayer himself. His fellow MPs have heard all the evidence for and against and have concluded that it was a very serious offence.

    I would suggest the humbug and prejudice lies elsewhere on this one – perhaps closer to your own views perhaps?

    I really would like to know your answer on that one.”

    I just think there is an awful lot of humbug and thinly disguised prejudice here.

  30. @Robert C

    Absolutely. Laws is entitled to claim whatever he is entitled to. Not sure how he could have claimed more, but if he was entitled to spousal rights with his partner then he should absolutely have done this. it’s about honesty – and obeying rules – and the law – not the cash per se.

  31. @Robert C

    I don’t really to know, nor am I particularly interested in the details, but wasn’t Laws found to be claiming well above the market rate for the area, and paying that money to a partner?

    Didn’t he also claim many hundreds of pounds per month for extras such as telephone/utilities/cleaning/laundry/building works etc… which miraculously came down to £34 per month after the fees office queried these “extras”?

  32. It’s certainly humbug to claim that it’s OK to fiddle because in the end Laws has in fact saved us money.

    If you fail to claim expenses you are entitled to but instead put in a corrupt claim for something else it doesn’t make that claim any less corrupt.

    ——————-

    I often think he waffles on and states the obvious but Rawnsley is a good read today.

  33. Robert C

    I have no problem with MPs claiming what they are entitled to, even if it’s a few pence or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    If any MP has fraudently claimed expenses they should be prosecuted regardless of whether they could have legally claimed more or their ‘excuse’ or their sexual preferences or their religion, colour of skin etc.

    All of us must be subject to the same rule of law (no pun).

    A failure to prosecute if a crime has been committed sends the wrong message to all of us.

  34. @Iceman and @ Alec

    If you would have been happy with him claiming more money, as he could legitimately have done, you are admitting that he did not do what he did for financial gain (there was none).

    So we are talking about how he filled out the forms.
    In which case, what is the fundamental principle you are talking about?

    @ JimJam

    “Laws lack of respect revealing Liam Byrnes private jokey note breaking an unwritten rule did not go down well with MPs on both sides.”

    That is quite frankly a feeble attempt at trying to twist the event to take the blame away from Labour’s ruination of the public finances.

  35. @ Mike N

    “I have no problem with MPs claiming what they are entitled to, even if it’s a few pence or hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

    He was entitled to claim for living expenses, so what are you talking about? He did NOT make any financial gain as a result of what he did.

    The fundamental point is: is it wrong to give false information deliberately in order to claim more money than you are entitled to? Answer: yes.
    Did Laws do this? Answer: no

  36. @ Billy Bob

    The fact is, he was entitled to claim a lot more money in total than he did, as the inquiry has established.

    He didn’t do what he did in order to receive more money than he was entitled to.

    I repeat: this is being blown up into a huge matter of “principle” frankly because Laws was living with a man, not a woman.

  37. @robert c

    The “fundamental” point here is of honesty.

    Did Laws dishonestly claim these expenses by lying about his residential status. He did.

    Had he any entitlement to what he actually claimed for – No

    Could he have claimed for expenses honestly which would have amounted to more than what he claimed for dishonestly? – Utterly irrelevant!

  38. @Robert c

    Your statement that this fuss was made because he was living with a man is fundamentally insulting and actually the opposite of the truth.

    Had laws been living with a woman – and has chosen to keep this secret to protect someone and then claimed rent I firmly believe that the understanding shown to him would have been considerably less, The “fuss” would have been far greater.

    It is simply preposterous to suggest that Laws is being persecuted in some way for his sexuality here. In fact it is downright insulting.

  39. Robert C

    I beg to differ.

    Laws made a fraudulent claim.

  40. “It is simply preposterous to suggest that Laws is being persecuted in some way for his sexuality here. In fact it is downright insulting.”

    Agreed Iceman. If anyone is doing the persecuting it is Laws to himself.

  41. @Iceman

    That you can say the fact he was entitled to claim for living expenses is irrelevant is a measure of your prejudice in this matter.

    It is entirely relevant and you know it.

  42. @ Mike N

    “Laws made a fraudulent claim.”

    Agreed, but what are you saying was the motivation for that claim, if it didn’t gain him any financial advantage?

    Motivation for any deed is at the heart of this issue.

  43. Robert C

    I sugegst there is a criminal case but I don’t know whether the CPS would bring a case or indeed what verdict a jury would deliver.

    But IMO he should face trial.

  44. 1) Laws stands accused of “fiddling his expenses”, a serious misdeed, especially when it comes to public money;
    2) Fiddling your expenses means falsifying documents with the intention of claiming more money than you are entitled to;
    3) Laws filled out the forms wrongly, but claimed LESS money than he was entitled to for living expenses. Therefore he did not have the intention of claiming more money than he was entitled to.

    The motivation is the key matter of principle.

  45. @ Mike N

    Given the lynch mob mentality that exists in relation to:

    1) MPs;
    2) Ex-Bankers;
    3) Liberal Democrats;
    4) Gay people who have been portrayed as having “illict” love nests.

    The probability that a gay, ex-banker Liberal Democrat MP would get a fair trial is next to zero.

  46. @robert C – I have to agree with Iceman’s statement – “Your statement that this fuss was made because he was living with a man is fundamentally insulting…..”

    I suspected that this what was you were proposing in one of your earlier posts and queried it, but you have now confirmed your thinking. If I were that kind of poster I would be demanding an apology from you for implying I am homophobic.Instead I would just suggest that you think very carefully before assuming people’s views on an issue such as this are based on a prejudiced view of different sexual orientations. I can’t speak for the others, but if you actually knew me you would see how laughably inaccurate your implication is.

    In terms of whether Laws had a fair hearing, I think he got a very good deal compared to many of his former MP colleagues. The investigation was very thorough and exhaustive, and despite enormous pressure from the Tory and Lib Dem hiearchies to go easy on him, he was found guilty of a very serious breach of expenses procedures, for which he himself has admitted and apologised. You are defending a man who has admitted his own guilt.

    He was found to have “….paid his partner up to £370 per month above the market rent, and used expenses to contribute £2,000 to building works at the London property they shared. The report also revealed Mr Laws admitted regularly filing expenses claims just below the £250 threshold which would have meant receipts were required. ” From the BBC.

    Now if Laws really wasn’t doing this for financial gain, he would a) ceased claiming any second home allowance in 2006 when it became illegal to claim for rent for a partners house and b) claimed for the room at the normal market rate, not £370 pcm above it as he was found guilty of doing. (He claimed up to £950 per month to rent a room).

    Your defence of Laws is bogus, is based on Lib Dem/Tory spin and your attempts to label those who don’t agree with you as in some way homophobic is rather offensive.

  47. @robert C – “….2) Fiddling your expenses means falsifying documents with the intention of claiming more money than you are entitled to;
    3) Laws filled out the forms wrongly, but claimed LESS money than he was entitled to for living expenses. Therefore he did not have the intention of claiming more money than he was entitled to.

    Wrong on all counts – see my post above. At the house he lived in, he was not allowed to claim any expenses after 2006. He also claimed well above market rates. He therefore claimed much, much more than he was entitled to and you are completely and utterly wrong.

    What I think you are falling for is the spin that says if he had lived in a different house, owned by himself, or rented from someone who was not his partner, he might have been allowe to legally claim more expenses than he did. You could apply that same rule to pretty much anyone of the other MPs caught up in the expenses scandal, and it’s a silly, legally illiterate defence.

    On the issue of financial gain and privacy, I’m still deeply puzzled as to why Laws didn’t but the house in his own name, and allow his partner to stay there with him, as a tenant. The privacy issue would be exactly the same as it was under the actual arrangements and he would have been able to claim expenses legally.

    The fact that he didn’t do this leads to one blindingly obvious conclusion – namely that Laws defence of ‘no financial gain’ is bogus. He personally might not have gained, but his partner gained enormously at the taxpayers expense. My view of this is that the situation was none too cleverly exploited to channel taxpayers money to his partner, when an equally private arrangement could have been made that enabled legal expenses to be claimed.

    If I defraud the public purse in order to line my wife’s pocket but claim it isn’t so bad as I didn’t make any personal financial gain myself I would expect to be laughed out of court.

  48. I agree with Alec, Iceman etc on the essentials of the Laws case and I’m also amused by some of the feeble attempts, especially from Tory uber-coalitionists, to defend him on the basis that criticisms of him are wrapped up in some sort of homophobia. Tories defending gay rights? They’ll be championing the right to be a member of a Trades Union, next!!

    Leaving aside the expenses controversy, what on earth was all the fuss about Laws anyway? Here we had a fairly obscure and hitherto unimpressive opposition politician suddenly, within days of the coalition being formed, turned into the potential saviour of the nation’s economy. Where on earth was the evidence for these ludicrous claims? A few “I’m more right wing than the Tories” statements? He came across to me as a dreary, managerialist politician, the likes of whom, depressingly, proliferate in all of our mainstream political parties. He’s now been discovered to be a charlatan too.

    What is it with British politics that always seem to laud the mediocre and conformist?

  49. @Crossbat – I must thank Robert C in many ways. Up until today I hadn’t really looked into Law’s offences and I was quite sympathetic to him in many ways, although still believing him to have broken the law and deserving of some punishment. However, Robert’s attacks on this issue made me research the case in more depth and I am now personally satisfied that Laws must have known exactly what he was doing and his defence is completely bogus.

    This is a quote from Laws himself;

    ““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.”

    So in his own mind he is trying to claim that he doesn’t actually have a partner, and that somehow his 8 year long live in relationship with another man doesn’t count as a partnership? These are weasel words.

    He isn’t stupid and I can see no justification whatsoever for his actions – the privacy argument is entirely bogus as I said before – buy/rent a house in his own name and allow his (non) partner to stay there and pay him rent if it was the issue. He deliberately lined his partners pockets with taxpayer cash and the more I look into this the less difference I can see with some of the other MPs expenses frauds.

  50. @ Alec, Robert C

    You’ll note, if you look back, that in my previous comments here I said I thought Laws was just a bit silly. I then read the whole of what had been discovered during the investigation.

    Having initially repaid £40,000, Laws was required to pay back about another £23,000.

    It was found that he did not simply claim what he’d have been entitled to, but in a different way. He claimed as if he were both a tenant & an owner of a house he owned, jointly, with his partner.

    And Robert C, I have actively supported the Lesbian & Gay movement all my life, even when it wasn’t ‘fashionable’ to do so. And, FWIW, I don’t believe people should be outed, if they want to keep quiet about being gay. But, IMO, it is not acceptable for a person who has chosen public life to use being gay as a reason for rule breaking.
    8-)

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