David Laws

The request was successful.

Dear House of Commons,

I notice the following.

Mr Laws apologised, saying the claims had been part of an effort to conceal his homosexuality rather than make financial gain, and promised to pay back the money.

Can you please tell me how much of his ill gotten gains David Laws has repaid?

Given that the rules are very clear, and that no MP should give the appearance of a personal benefit, let alone an actual benefit from their work as an MP, can you also tell me if David Laws has paid any interest on the money. After all, an interest free loan is a very valuable benefit.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Leaton

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Leaton

Thank you for your request for information dated 12 May 2011, received by us on the same date.

We will endeavour to respond to your request promptly but in any case within 20 working days i.e. on or before 10 June 2011.

If you have any queries about your request, please use the request number quoted at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Wormleighton | IRIS Support Officer
Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service | Department of HR and Change
| House of Commons

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Leaton

Thank you for your request for information.

Mr Laws repaid £56,592 as described in the Standards and Privileges Committee reports at:



The payment was not subject to interest.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the House of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision. Requests for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer, Department of Resources, House of Commons London SW1 OAA or [House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to make.

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely
Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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D. Speers left an annotation ()

No interest paid!......I wonder how this bank makes a profit?

Nick Leaton left an annotation ()

The critical part relates to the code of conduct for MPs.

It's absolutely clear, black and white.

MPs shall not get a personal benefit from there position as an MP. Even the appearance of a personal benefit is verbotten.

Now what is effectively an interest free loan, is a very valuable personal benefit.

D. Speers left an annotation ()

I assume there is no way of challenging this?
Would the Public Administration Select Committee be a way forward?
Or should Professor Sir Ian Kennedy be asked to make a comment....as I believe he now has charge of MPs expenses.

Nick Leaton left an annotation ()

Kennedy won't because it was from a time before he took over.

I suspect then that parliament won't, the reason is that if Laws has to pay interest, lots will. Over half will have quite a lot of money to pay as well.

If you say that they earn interest at the same rate that the DWP (department for work and pensions) assume pensioners earn, then its huge sums.

One possible way is to get a campaign going. FOI requests for each MP, a breakdown of when they received the money they paid back, eg 10,000 pounds on 2006-08-10, and when they paid it back, 2010-06-03. Given that data, you can then work out, with an assumption of interest rates, what they should pay back on top to avoid breaking the code of conduct.

However, you have to assume an interest rate. The question is, which one?

1. DWP rate. After all if that is what the government is telling people they earn, why should MPs be any different?

2. One of the Gilt Rates. Which do you choose? After all, with the finances at they are, it was all borrowed money.

3. The mortgage rate they were paying at the time?

A campaign with lots of people would, I think, be effective.

Nick Leaton left an annotation ()

Members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else