The Government has today sought to reassure the public that their controversial plans to help parents identify political animals – the so-called ‘David Laws’ – will not lead to unprovoked attacks on innocent people.
Concerned civil liberties groups are up in arms about the new rules, which they say could lead to mistaken identity mix-ups. Janet Carruthers, a member of Libertas, remembers the time her neighbour, Peter Mindelson was mistaken for a notorious politician. ‘He didn’t look anything like the slimy architect of Labour’s ups and downs, but we still had to endure three days of well-meaning but mistaken campaigners throwing bottles of lit perfume over the hedge into his garden.’
Brian Bellows, 49, of North Gloucestershire, likes the changes however, ‘We work hard to be able to afford to live in this area. The last thing we want is for a Member of Parliament coming round here with their duck moats and their broken promises. I welcome any move that means politicians will be more visible.’
Simon Phelps has seen evidence of the effect of living near an MP at first hand. ‘I knew this young boy in Yeovil, product of a broken home, say no more, used to watch BBC Parliament. Started to flip his main residence between his mum and dad’s. Anyway, he went round his dad’s, asked for money for some football boots, Dad gave him £40; went back to his mum’s, asked for money for some football boots, she gave him £30; he went on eBay, got some boots for £20. He’s sixteen now and living in a penthouse flat overlooking the River Yeo. Bloody politicians fault, innit.’
Despite the concerns, police remain relaxed about the possibility of unprovoked attacks. Chief Constable Paul West of the Association of Chief Police Officers said, ‘We understand that parents might be worried about the prospect of David Laws coming to their neighbourhood, but we see no reason to suspect that this might lead to bloodshed. As far as we are aware, Mr Laws has no history of violence towards other people, although he has been known to trip himself up occasionally.’
The infamously private Mr Laws resigned from Government within weeks of taking office after he was found to have claimed expenses no-one knew he had claimed, to pay rent on a room no-one knew he rented, to a lover no-one knew he loved. He is said to be so secretive, not even he knows where he lives.
ChrisHarrison & Zadok
22nd August 2010