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Ex-Treasury Minister Laws Said to Return to U.K. Government

David Laws, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker who resigned as a Treasury minister in May 2010 over his expenses, will return to the U.K. government when Prime Minister David Cameron reorganizes his ministerial team after the summer break, a person familiar with the matter said.

Laws, 46, resigned as chief secretary to the Treasury 19 days after the formation of the Conservative-led government when the Daily Telegraph newspaper disclosed he had claimed taxpayer-funded allowances to pay rent to his partner, James Lundie.

Laws, who was the No. 2 to Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as the coalition started its deficit-cutting program, said his motive was to avoid outing himself as gay, rather than to profit. He apologized for his actions. Cameron said in November 2010 he wanted Laws to return to the Cabinet “soon.”

Laws was vice-president and then managing director of investment bank J.P. Morgan & Co. and head of U.S. dollar and U.K. sterling treasuries at Barclays de Zoete Wedd. He left London’s financial district to serve as economic adviser to the Liberal Democrats in 1994.

Cameron is planning to reorganize his ministerial team after his summer break, seeking to get his coalition on track after a series of policy U-turns and months of poor news on the economy. The premier has gone 1 1/2 years without a wholesale reorganization of ministers.


Law’s position within government has not been decided, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the prime minister has yet to appoint his new ministerial team.

Jo Swinson, 32, a Scottish Liberal Democrat who is currently a ministerial aide to Clegg, is also set to be promoted, the person said.

The Liberal Democrats hold five Cabinet positions and 18 other ministerial roles, a fifth of all government positions. While Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg recommends positions, it is ultimately for the premier to decide who serves under him. Cameron’s office declined to comment.

Reshuffles are a piece of political theater in the U.K., with ministers walking up Downing Street to the prime minister’s London residence to be told of promotion or demotion.

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