David Laws

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search
David Laws
Brexit badge.png Part of the Powerbase Brexit Portal.

David Laws was a Liberal Democrats MP, minister in the coalition government and is a leading education reformer in the UK.

In May 2017 he joined lobbying firm GK Strategy as a strategic adviser.[1] GK Strategy is one of a number of lobbying firms marketing 'Brexit lobbying' services.

Education reformer

Education Industry badge.png This article is part of the Spinwatch privatisation of Schools Portal project.

David Laws became schools minister in the Department for Education, as well as Cabinet Office minister, in September 2012, working with Michael Gove during a period of large-scale education reform in the UK. Like Gove, Laws is a supporter of the marketisation of schools and did not rule out profit-making in schools in the future. He has described education as one of his real passions.

Connection to Paul Marshall and Ark

Laws has a long-standing connection to Liberal Democrat donor and education reformer, Paul Marshall. Marshall is founder of hedge fund Marshall Wace and lead non-executive director at the Department for Education.

The two men co-edited The Orange Book in 2004, in which he argued that the party should not be embarrassed by its economically liberal traditions, and should look beyond “soggy socialism and corporatism” to focus on curbing both state and private monopolies. They were also both co-editors, with Julian Astle and Alasdair Murray of the follow up to the Orange Book, Britain After Blair.

In June 2015 Laws became Executive Chairman of CentreForum, a think tank with a strong focus on education reform. CentreForum is bankrolled by Marshall who is also its chair of trustees.

In 2015 Laws became an adviser to Ark, an academy chain co-founded by Marshall. He is advising Ark on the development of its global education programme, which includes supporting governments in developing countries to improve their schools. Laws said of his appointment: “It’s an exciting time to be involved in global education reform and I look forward to playing my part in the further development of Ark’s international programmes.”[2]

Marshall also donated £15,000 to Laws' unsuccessful campaign to win his seat in 2015, just months before appointing him as an adviser.

Parliamentary career

Laws was member of Parliament (MP) for Yeovil from 2001 to 2015. He was UK chief secretary to the treasury,[3], minister of state for schools in the Department for Education and minister of state in the Cabinet Office.

He was an architect of the coalition government and was one of the negotiators responsible for hammering out the coalition deal.

Laws lost his seat in the 2015 general election to the Conservative Party's Marcus Fysh by 5,313 votes.[4]

After the 2015 general election, Laws turned down an offer of a peerage from Nick Clegg in the dissolution honours list. Former Lib Dem MPs Vince Cable, Simon Hughes and Danny Alexander are also understood to have turned down the offer.[5]

Outside of parliament

Having left his post as Minister of state for schools and cabinet office minister in May 2015, Mr Laws sought the advice of ACOBA on the following appointments:


Laws was born in 1965 in Surrey. He was educated at St. George’s College, Weybridge before attending Kings College Cambridge where he received a double first in economics.[8]

He was a vice-president of J.P Morgan & Co from 1987 to 1994, and a Managing Director of Barclays de Zoete Wedd from 1992 to 1994.[9]

He was an economic adviser to the Liberal Democrats from 1994 to 1997, and director of policy and research from 1997 to 1999.[10]

He was elected MP for Yeovil in 2001, succeeding Paddy Ashdown. Laws was appointed Lib Dem Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002.[11]

In 2004, Laws co-edited The Orange Book with fellow education reformer Paul Marshall.[12]

On 7 September 2004, Laws hosted a dinner for PR company Edelman at the House of Commons.[13]

Following his re-election in 2005, Laws was promoted to Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. In June 2007 he was appointed Lib Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.[14]

At the General Election in May 2010, David became Chief Secretary to the Treasury as part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government.[15]

On 28 May 2010, the Daily Telegraph revealed that he had been claiming expenses on rent paid to his partner, James Lundie in a possible breach of expenses rules.[16] Laws resigned the following day.[17]

Some Liberal Democrat bloggers suggested that the Telegraph had outed Laws because of its campaign against a proposed increase in Capital Gains Tax.[18]

Former Special Advisers

  • Julian Astle -July 2014. Julian Astle is best known for his work with the Centre Forum think tank, which he ran from 2005-2011. He worked as Paddy Ashdown political advisor in his last two years as party leader and during his time in Bosnia (2002 - 2005) alongside David Cameron's Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn. [19]



External Resources


  1. Laws leaps into lobbying with GK Strategy job PAN, May 2017
  2. David Laws cleared to act as adviser to academy chain Ark, Schools Week, 20 December 2015
  3. Her Majesty’s Government, Number10.gov.uk, accessed 12 May 2010.
  4. BBC News Yeovil, accessed 15 May 2015.
  5. Patrick Wintour Vince Cable among four Lib Dems to turn down Lords offers from Clegg Guardian, 15 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.
  6. David Laws Summary of Business Appointments Applications, Gov.uk, accessed 2 June 2016
  7. David Laws Business appointments ACOBA, Gov.uk, accessed 16 February 2016
  8. Biography, Yeovil Liberal Democrats, 16 May 2010.
  9. The Rt Hon David Laws, MP , Debretts.com, 16 May 2010.
  10. The Rt Hon David Laws, MP , Debretts.com, 16 May 2010.
  11. Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Rt Hon David Laws MP, HM Treasury, 16 May 2010.
  12. George Osborne's Treasury team - the power behind the coalition government, telegraph.co.uk, 13 May 2010.
  13. House of Commons Banqueting Office Function List 1 April 2004 to 30 September 2009 (pdf), accessed 29 May 2010.
  14. Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Rt Hon David Laws MP, HM Treasury, 16 May 2010.
  15. Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Rt Hon David Laws MP, HM Treasury, 16 May 2010.
  16. Holly Watt and Robert Winnett, MPs' Expenses: Treasury chief David Laws, his secret lover and a £40,000 claim, telegraph.co.uk, 28 May 2010.
  17. Treasury Minister David Laws resigns over expenses, BBC News, 29 May 2010.
  18. Sara Bedford, Sexuality, sickening hypocrisy and CGT, Always win when you're singing, 29 May 2010.
  19. Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats 2011: 26-50 The Telegraph, 18.09.2011, accessed 2 October 2014
  20. [Sam Greenhill, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3572258/All-aboard-gravy-train-Whitehall-gold-plated-jobs-City-paid-passengers.html All aboard the gravy train from Whitehall to gold-plated jobs in the City (and here are some of the VERY well-paid passengers), 4 May 2016], Daily Mail Online, accessed 5 May 2016
  21. Rail APPG,www.parliament.uk, accessed 16 November 2015