And so he was gone. It was no surprise to tune in to the Andy Marr Show this morning and find out that David Laws had resigned. What is more unusual is some of the reaction to the whole sorry saga.
What was clear yesterday morning was that Young Dave had not voiced any tangible support for his Treasury Secretary. Cameron told that Laws was right to refer himself to the Parliamentary authorities – but even then, only through a spokesman. So it was strange to see today’s Mail On Sunday pushing the view that Cameron had been “fighting to save his star”.
Baloney. His statement was the coded equivalent of telling Laws that the bottle of Scotch and loaded revolver were in the drawing room, there’s a jolly good chap. Clearly this is intended to be a Teflon Government – nothing, but nothing, is going to stick to it.
Elsewhere, tales of conspiracy, and of folks in the darkest of shadows plotting to bring down a minister, are rife. This, too, is baloney: within the Westminster village, Laws’ homosexuality was an open secret, and the Fourth Estate was falling over itself to find a story with which to “out” him. No conspiracy, just rabid competition from those who never have to face an electorate – or justify their moral compass.
And there has even been an attempt to suggest the complicity of Alastair Campbell in the affair, on the basis that he had a framed photo of Laws about his person on Question Time last Thursday. The explanation for that was straightforward – Big Al was expecting Laws to be on the panel, and he’d been mugging up on this, for him, new opponent.
How could he have known of the Maily Telegraph story, given that Young Dave and Corporal Clegg didn’t know until the next day? We’ll hear next that Campbell has a Tardis at his disposal.
No, what happened is that the assembled hackery, mindful of the need to find circulation boosting stories, homed in on a Government figure for once, rather than their more usual diet of Z-list slebs. The Maily Telegraph got there first: if the Murdoch or Rothermere press had beaten them to it, does anyone for a moment think that they would have hesitated before splashing the unfortunate Laws all over the front page?
Back on the Andy Marr Show, Tory veteran Iain Duncan Smith suggested that Laws might yet return to the Government. But do he and his partner want to go through all that again? Yes, it’s not pleasant. But it’s the reality of politics today.
Welcome to the bear pit.