17. E-mail to the Commissioner from
Ms Belinda McCammon, 22 December 2003 |
Subject: Re: Complaint against Iain Duncan Smith
My comments are in relation to the second paragraph
During my time in the Leaders office I undertook
a number of press duties, including accompanying the Leader to
interviews (ie Breakfast with Frost), a media trip to Portsmouth
and advance recce work for future visits, which involved reporting
to Nick Wood.
I am confused as to why Mr Penning does not consider
this to be press work or thinks that in order to be a press secretary
for the Leader you had to be seated with the other press secretaries
when my role, with whatever job title was to be in the Leaders
Office However it is of no surprise to me, rather a source of
disappointment, that Mr Penning's lack of knowledge of what specifically
my role was in the Leaders office But his comments are indicative
of the state of affairs in the office at the time I can honestly
say that most of us didn't know what our specific roles were during
our time in the Leaders office, such was the chaos after the election.
The small team that occupied the leaders office lacked
management and leadership. As a result there was much discussion
within the team as to what work needed to be completed and who
would be doing it, including conversations with those working
directly on the diary as to what was happening. Consequently conversations
about the diary and the work load did take place, albeit motivated
through frustration and exasperation as to what was happening
in the office and the wider roles we were all to play.
I would have thought that as the salary range that
Mrs Duncan Smith is alleged to have drawn is not a lot less than
the majority of those working at CCO (an average of 20,000 pds)
her work as a paid staff member would have been mentioned or acknowledged
beyond the role of her support as wife of the Leader.
On three occasions the structure of the office was
discussed with me officially. (There were of course other occasions
that informal conversations took place). I can not recall at any
time Mrs Duncan Smith being described as an employee of the Leaders
Office. The first meeting was a group meeting (all campaign staff)
with David Maclean only days before the announcement of the leaders
result. The second was with Stephen O'Brien, the MP assigned to
run the Leaders office until a Chief of Staff was appointed. This
conversation about the office structure and roles did not include
Mrs Duncan Smith's involvement, other than that of general spousal
support to the Leader.
The third occasion was when the Chief of Staff was
appointed. Again no mention of Mrs Duncan Smiths role despite
talking through the entire structure of the office.
I would also mention that during the campaign I fielded
many calls from the media requesting interviews, information and
photo opportunities with both Mrs Duncan Smith and the children.
It was made very clear to me that Mrs Duncan Smith would not be
available for any media opportunities at any time nor would she
be actively involved other than the bare minimum of duties that
the position of the wife of the Leader was obliged to fulfil.
22 December 2003