David Laws, the 44-year-old former investment banker installed as Britain’s Treasury secretary not even three weeks ago, is resigning from his post after it was revealed he had taxpayers writing a rent check that went directly to his boyfriend James Lundie .
Some £40,000 (USD$57,900) was claimed by Laws under the “additional costs allowance” rules, which the House of Commons permits officials to use to pay for housing. But not to pay for housing that a loved one or close associate benefits from. The rules state you “must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you, is obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds.” And: “The additional costs allowance must not be used to meet the costs of a mortgage or for leasing accommodation from yourself, a close business associate or any organisation or company in which you – or a partner or family member – have an interest; or a partner or family member.”
So why didn’t Laws immediately know he was doing something wrong? Perhaps (likely?) he did. But in his initial excuse, he claimed he didn’t consider Lundie a “partner” — though they’ve been together since 2001 — because they have separate bank accounts. Hah!
How could all this have been solved? If both their names were on the mortgage. Oh, rich people problems.
Laws, a wealthy fellow, says he’ll pay it back. Read his full statement here.