David Laws apologises for publicising that Liam Byrne letter

One of the most famous letters written by a minister is also one that was intended to be inconsequential: a farewell note from the departing minister of one party to the incoming minister of another. But it contained a joke that hit a sore spot of political contention on the dominant debate of the time. David Laws, incoming Lib Dem minister, therefore decided to make public what outgoing minister Liam Byrne, no stranger to controversy, had written.

David Laws, who previously had a tussle with the National Archives over who the letter belonged to, has now apologies for publicising it.

As the New Statesman reports:

It’s taken more than 13 years but David Laws has finally apologised to Liam Byrne for weaponising that infamous scrawled note jokily saying “I’m afraid there is no money”. The Lib Dem said sorry to his Labour predecessor at an 11 Downing Street bash for surviving Treasury chief secretaries.

UPDATE: Laws went on to explain more about the publicity given to the letter in a podcast interview many years afterwards.

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