Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence

12.  Written statement by Mr Tom Finchett, 3 November 2003

Betsy Duncan Smith

I am Thomas Edward Harry Finchett and am 35 years old. I hold a BSc (Hons) in Rural Land Management and am a Professional Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

I have 13 years experience of property, estate and business management. I am Estate Manager of the Swanbourne Estate, and have been since 1999. The Old House, Mursley Road forms part of the Swanbourne Estate, and is owned by the Trustees of the Old House Settlement. Betsy Duncan Smith occupies the property with her family.

Since Lord and Lady Cottesloe moved out of the house, the property has undergone improvements and modernisation including the installation of gas central heating and re-wiring. This commenced in the early part of 2001.With overall responsibility for the work, it has been necessary for me to visit the property on a regular basis, and most days when contractors are on site. I have also met Mrs Duncan Smith frequently to discuss other issues relating to her occupation of the property, in my capacity as agent for the owners.

During my visits to the property, I noticed that Mrs Duncan Smith worked in the office in the house on a very regular basis. It seemed to me that when at the property she was in the office most times during "normal" office hours and quite often in the evenings

3 November 2003

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