Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence

7a. Written statement by Mr Paul Baverstock, 15 October 2003

1.  I took up the post of Director, Strategic Communication for the Conservative Party on January 15th 2003.

2.  I accepted the post in a face-to-face meeting with Iain Duncan Smith on Sunday, 15th December 2003 at his flat in Tufton Court, Tufton Street, Westminster.

3.  In my meeting with Mr Duncan Smith on 15th December 2003, I expressed my explicit concerns about the potential demands my accepting the post offered would place on my family. In response, Iain Duncan Smith replied that he was in great sympathy with my concerns, and that the only way to address them was to be rigorous in scheduling time together. He went on to say, however, that "it would be diffiult to achieve". Further, "that my wife has worked for me as my Secretary since I became an MP" and "even that doesn't allow us to spend as much time together as we would like." While I am in no position to confirm the details of Betsy Duncan Smith's employment, not the substance or intensity of that employment, I was left in no doubt of the fact of her employment.

4.  Upon taking my post I can confirm I was a recipient of Vanessa Gearson's e-mail of [xxx][59] in which she expressed her concerns and which I understand has been passed to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

5.  I can also confim that I, along with the other recipients of Vanessa Gearson's e-mail referred to in Point 4 above—received a subsequent e-mail from Ms Gearson in which she explicitly stated that the concerns she raised had been met and satisfactorily resolved. I assumed the matter closed at that time.

6.  I was at no time aware that Ms Gearson was placed under pressure to write her second e-mail of point 5 above, but rather wrote it of her own volition.

7.  When Ms Gearson lost her position as Administrative Head of the Leader's Office, and the loss of status that entailed, Iain Duncan Smith was at pains to be supportive of her both publicly and privately.

15 October 2003

59   Submitted to the Commissioner without a date of the e-mail  Back

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