Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence


16.  E-mail to the Commissioner from Ms Belinda McCammon, 18 November 2003

Subject: Re: Complaint against Mr Iain Duncan Smith MP

My apologies for the delay in responding to you.

·  the position you held whilst you were working for Mr Duncan Smith and your duties in that position;

I was a press secretary for the duration of the leadership campaign and then went into the Leaders Office in the same capacity.

·  the dates in question;

From the moment he became Leader (September 13th 2001 from recollection) until end of Jan 2002.

·  what opportunity you had from that position to observe any activity by Mrs Duncan Smith;

I was in the corner office occupied by all the Leaders Office staff and as a result of needing to work with his private secretary (Annabelle Eyre) and his diary secretary (Andrew Whitby-Collins) along with the majority of staff at the time, were in and out of the office that they occupied.

·  whether you observed any such activity, and if so what it was;

On several occasions during the course of my employment I observed Mrs Duncan Smith come into the office. These were when she was required to come into London to attend a function. During these times she took the opportunity to go through the diary with the diary secretary. As there were only three desks (all occupied) in a small office space she would often kneel on the floor to go through any additions or changes with Andrew. I knew, from hearing conversations between Andrew (with Mrs Duncan Smith on the other end) that he would call her to check on whether she was available for certain functions or if any dates clashed with family/school activities. I was not aware that she was working from home on anything than co-ordinating the diary for the benefit of the family and for when Iain Duncan Smith was at home, to ensure it was up to date.

·  whether you were aware of any concerns that might have been held about Mrs Duncan Smith's employment and if so the nature of those concerns, by whom they were held, when they came to your attention and what, if anything, you know was done about them;

I had no concerns because I was not aware that Mrs Duncan Smith was employed as a diary secretary. From my understanding the diary secretary would check with her on a regular basis if Iain Duncan Smith was not contactable or if he needed to keep her informed of the Leaders future plans. I did not think the involvement was anything more than a politician's spouse being kept in the loop. I was only made aware of the concerns when I read them through Sky News on the internet, from New Zealand. The months that I was in the leaders office was a chaotic and disorganised time so I certainly had not reason to think that there were any concerns in this particular area.

·  whether there is any other relevant matter relating to any of the different strands of the complaint against Mr Duncan Smith which I have described that you would wish to bring to my attention.

I have nothing else that I would consider to be relevant.

Please don't hesitate to email or call me for clarification of any of these points.

18 November 2003


 
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