Less than 24 hours after revelations about his expenses claims first emerged, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, has tendered his resignation to Prime Minister David Cameron.
This morning’s Daily Telegraph broke the story that Laws had been claiming for the rent on a room in his partner’s house. The expenses were said to total £40,000.
As my colleague George Eaton argued this morning, Laws’s position immediately looked untenable, and tonight the senior Liberal Democrat admitted his error, saying he feared if he didn’t go now the affair would become a distraction.
A fellow Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, currently Scottish Secretary in the new coalition government, will take over as Chief Secretary to the Treasury with immediate effect.
In a letter to Cameron, Laws said:
The last 24 hours have been very difficult and distressing for me, and I have been thinking carefully about what action I should take in the interests of the government, my constituents and — most important of all — those whom I love.
I am grateful for the strong support which I have received from my friends, family, and from you, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor. This support has been incredibly important, but nonetheless, I have decided that it is right to tender my resignation as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
I do not see how I can carry out my crucial work on the Budget and spending review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations.