Some are saying that David Laws has the right to remain in the closet, even if that means he commits fraud by breaking the rule that says that you can’t pay rent to your spouse or partner. If he hadn’t, the argument goes, he would have been “confessing” his relationship, and that’s not something he should have to do.
Well, no. He’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury in an administration that requires all people in both same-sex relationships and mixed-sex relationships to declare if they live with their partners to tax authorities and others. And if you’re living on benefits, it makes such a difference that it’s very likely it would be clear to those around you, even if you could afford (which you couldn’t) to have a spare bedroom/ whole other property to keep up the illusion, as Laws apparently did.In fact, if you’re looking for social housing, there’s no way you would be assigned two bedrooms if you live with your lover. End of.
So until Laws and his defenders say that partnership is something that should be treated no differently to two friends living together, he’s got to take the same medicine that a lesbian living with her partner in Craigmillar does. And honestly? I’ve known people who’ve had death threats from neighbours because of that medicine. Suck it up, Laws.
Undoubtedly, the Telegraph’s motivation for the story was in part homophobic, but Laws is still wrong, and if he didn’t know that, he can get his hands off the public coffers, thanks.