I'm a great admirer of David Laws. This makes my opinion subjective. The suspension of him seems unfair. However, I know if it were a Tory or Labour MP then I would be more vociferous in my opinion.
If an MP makes claims illegitimately for expenses it does not just hurt the MP, it hurts the whole parliamentary reputation.
Rather like the legal defence of duress, only threat of death or GBH is a mitigating factor.
Laws broke regulations by leasing from his partner, and concern and desire for his sexuality to remain a secret is simply not a good enough excuse. He did not have to and should not have paid his partner rent.
But, unlike the public perception, this does not make him all bad. He is an extraordinarily strong politician and it is a blow to Lib Dems that he will not be likely to return to the cabinet.
Is the punishment justfied? Well, again, if it were any other party, I would be saying a suspension for 6 days is pitiful for what amounts to fraud.
I will say, though, that other MPs have not been treated in the same way, and such application of parliamentary sanction should be applied to all those who lie, whether under duress or not.
The timing of Laws' inquiry is a well timed squeeze on the Lib Dems, whether intentional or not, and will do their reputation further damage in spite of peers fillibustering yesterday.
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