I`m ashamed, says UK Chief Treasury Secretary

David Laws, ex-British Chief Secy to Treasury who quit after barely 18 days in office after an expenses scandal, says he feels a bit ashamed.

Last Updated: Jun 02, 2010, 16:27 PM IST

London: David Laws, former British chief secretary to the treasury who quit after barely 18 days in office after an expenses scandal, has said he feels "a bit ashamed not to have set a better example to people".
Laws is repaying the expenses of 40,000 pounds he claimed for rent to long-term partner and landlord James Lundie.

He had referred himself to the parliamentary standards commissioner after claiming up to 950 pounds a month in expenses for five years to rent rooms in two properties owned by Lundie. Parliamentary rules bar MPs from "leasing accommodation from a partner".

He resigned Saturday.

"I feel a bit ashamed not to have set a better example to people who might have expected a bit more leadership from the top. To have enjoyed the job so much and relished it, and then to lose it, is very difficult," The Sun quoted Laws as saying.

Laws said it was wrong not to reveal his relationship.

He said: "I grew up at a time when homosexuality had only just been legalised and when most people still thought it was wrong or shameful. I decided, therefore, to keep my sexuality secret, and the further time went on the more difficult it seemed to be to tell the truth.

"When the rules changed in 2006 to prevent MPs from renting from partners, I should probably have changed our arrangements.

"I could have done so without any financial cost, but getting a mortgage and buying a house together would have meant revealing our relationship - which I was not prepared to do."

He said he had paid a high price for keeping his relationship secret.

"Losing your privacy, your Cabinet job and your perceived integrity within 48 hours isn`t very easy. But I accept that I should have been more open and should have set a better example as a public figure."

IANS