I've been involved in a relationship with James Lundie since around 2001 - about two years after first moving in with him. Our relationship has been unknown to both family and friends throughout that time.
Whatever social pressures David Laws may have believed himself to be under, this episode does rather mark him out as an idiot. If you truly feel that you need to keep a nine-year relationship “secret from everyone I know for every day of my life”, then you don’t claim public money to pay to your partner. And you don’t stroll through a national expenses scandal bragging about how little you claim compared with your colleagues.
He’s hardly a master criminal – it’s not as if he needed the money – but he has shown the sort of self-serving selective blindness to his own conduct that has undone plenty of other MPs over the last year. Really, a moment’s sensible thought would have told him that the kind of legalistic contortions needed to argue that they weren’t ‘partners’ in the rulebook’s sense just wouldn’t wash.
And he now faces trial by media over the next few days. Thankfully for him and for all of us, the press are more enlightened - or at least more restrained - about sexuality than they were, say, 15 years ago. Most of us will sympathise with his fear of homophobia, even if it was OTT. But nonetheless, he shouldn’t have done it. And it beggars belief that he didn’t, deep down, know that. So if he is forced to step down, I really hope it’s just for the dodgy accounting and not for anyone’s rotten, archaic notion of ‘gay shame’.