5.45pm I’m hearing rumours from 2 independent people who might be in a position to know, that David Laws is about to resign. He’s going to cite that his position has been compromised by a the story the Daily Telegraph published this morning, he’s deeply sorry and that he is stepping down to avoid further scrutiny of his private life and those that he loves. One rumour claims he may step down altogether – but I’d consider this unlikely in such a relatively young politician.
6.18pm Seems it’s not just me: Tim Montgomerie on twitter: Unconfirmed but I’m hearing Laws will quit this evening. Huhne and Browne being mentioned as possible replacements.
6.20pm And it would seem Dale might have the scoop? I’m told David Laws has just resigned.
6.30pm Well the twittersphere is alive with rumours now – whether any of them are true I’m not sure, this has a distinctly stage managed feel to it – even if he wasn’t intending to, it may now be too late to put this one back in it’s box.
7.00pm Well, still no announcement – there are rumours that it was tendered but not immediately accepted. Doesn’t explain why certain Lib Dems appear to have their staff briefing that he’s already gone. If this debacle demonstrates everything it’s that the government press office needs to be better: and the Lib Dems need to stop leaking like a sieve, we know they can do it.
7.19pm Iain Dale is saying there’s going to be an announcement at the Treasury, but I don’t seem to be alone in saying that I’ve not seen an Op Note yet, several hack chums are equally in the dark.
7.22pm Aha, an op note is circulating, I’ll be amazed if anyone other than those based immediately in Westminster get there in time to cover this though. There’s an announcement expected anytime from 7.45.
7.25pm Not a single main stream media outlet is even trailing this is a possibility beyond this morning’s rehashed and tired opinion pieces.
7.40pm Still nothing, this is either the best twitter rumour ever, or it’s been so quickly sprung the media that no one is yet responding, but even that seems odd: literally no one is covering this apart from twitter and blogs.
7.48pm Sky calls it. David Laws resigns.
7.52pm And I’m hearing that Danny Alexander is going to take over, surely that can’t be true? It must be Huhne surely?
7.55pm Sky call it again, Danny Alexander to replace David Laws, reformers can breathe a sigh of relief.
8.00pm David Cameron issues a statement saying he hopes that ‘in time’ David Laws would serve the government again in cabinet
8.02pm Nick Clegg expected to make a statement to the press shortly. Taking the fore on this one.
8.20pm Nick Clegg actually sounds angry, describing David Laws’ privacy as having been ‘shattered’ – door certainly seems to be open for a return in time.
8.23pm You know, the reason this all seems strange is we’re all used to the sight of shamed Labour MPs clinging onto their positions no matter how heinous or depraved their actions – It seems like the honourable thing to do, it’s not the right thing for the country, which is a shame – it won’t stop this being used as ammunition at every opportunity by those not enamoured with the Coalition.
So David Laws has gone – he was, and always has been, one of my favourite Liberal Democrats, clearly he’s broken the rules to keep his private life, private – and it’s been his downfall. It’s a great shame as he is a superbly bright man, just the sort you need when things need doing, not spinning. I do hope that the press now give him the space to sort out his private life, coming out is a gut-wrenching experience at the best of times, without it being forced on you.