4. Letter to Mr Iain Duncan Smith
from the Commissioner, 20 October 2003|
Complaint by Michael Crick
Further to my letters of the 13th and
14th October, I am writing to let you have, as promised,
as clear an indication as I can at this stage in my inquiry of
the matters which have been raised with me by Mr Crick as part
of his complaint. I am also enclosing a copy of the material on
which Mr Crick relies in support of his complaint. I discuss below
each of these matters in turn.
As regards the matters which have been raised with
me by Mr Crick, the core of his complaint relates to the continued
employment and payment of your wife from Parliamentary sources
after your election as Leader in September 2001 until 31 December
2002. There are several related strands to this complaint which
it may be helpful if I identify as follows:
1. that during the period in question, Mrs Duncan
Smith was employed under a contract with a job title of Diary
Secretary, but did not obviously perform any duties in this role,
or in any other staffing capacity;
2. that to the extent that she may have undertaken
any tasks, they were minimal in character and such as might have
been expected (for example, in terms of reconciling the domestic
diary with your official commitments) to be undertaken (unpaid)
by the spouse of any other prominent Member;
3. that any work undertaken did not amount to
25 hours a week and so did not justify the salary she was paid;
4. that it appears that at least some of any
work which may have been undertaken (as described in your published
response to Mr Crick's initial allegations) was party political
in nature (related to your position as Leader) and so did not
qualify for payment from your parliamentary allowance.
There is a further strand to Mr Crick's complaint
which relates to Annabelle Eyre (AE) and Christine Watson (CW).
The basis of this is statements in Christine Watson's memorandum
to Vanessa Gearson of 24 October 2002. Its essence is that both
AE and CW were paid for periods out of your Parliamentary allowance
when they should not have been because they were undertaking party
political rather than parliamentary duties. The memorandum also
appears to suggest that there were financial matters relating
to your "Constituency and Members' Allowances and Re-imbursements"
which may not have been in order.
As you know, I did not receive all the material Mr
Crick wished to offer me in support of his complaint on Monday
of last week. However, when I saw him last Thursday afternoon,
I was able to check both the nature of his complaint and whether
I had by then received all the supporting material he wished to
send me. The summary of his complaint which I have set out above
is my own, but I believe it accurately describes the issues he
has raised. As regards documentation, Mr Crick confirmed that
what he had sent me was all that he was able to submit, at the
time we met, in support of his complaint.
I am enclosing with this letter a set of the documentation
in support of his complaint which I have had from Mr Crick. A
list of this is enclosed.
Some of the material I have already sent you with my initial letter
of the 13th October.
As you know, I am currently engaged in interviewing
a number of people whom I have reason to believe may be able to
shed useful light on the allegations against you. As soon as I
have been able to assess what they tell me, I shall be in touch
with you again to put to you any relevant matters.
If in the meantime you wish to comment on any of
the matters Mr Crick has raised, please feel free to do so. You
may, however, prefer to await my further letter.
There is one other matter on which you may think
some preliminary work helpful. At the heart of the complaint is
the allegation that your wife did no or very little work during
the period in question.
You have already denied this and pointed me to others
who would support that denial. You have also given me some examples
of e-mails and other work by your wife. Hard evidence of such
work (in the form of entries in diaries, letters/e-mails written
and received; telephone calls or messages logged) is clearly very
relevant to the matters into which I am inquiring, and any further
evidence of this sort you can give me would be most helpful. I
will pick this up when I write again but it is something to which
you may wish to be giving further attention meanwhile.
As requested, I am copying this letter and enclosures
to Mr Hooper.
20 October 2003
9 Not appended by the Commissioner. Back