Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


HOME SECRETARY Jacqui Smith has claimed more than £116,000 in Commons expenses for a 'second home' while effectively lodging with her sister.

Ms Smith claims the maximum parliamentary second-home allowance, currently a tax-free £24,006 a year, on her £300,000 detached house in her Redditch constituency in the Midlands, where her husband and two young children live.

She is able to do so because she has told the Commons authorities that her 'main home' is a house in London owned solely by her sister, Sara, where she stays on some weekdays.

Ms Smith last night denied she had done anything wrong. Her spokeswoman said: "Jacqui has documentation to prove that everything is completely above board. It has been cleared by the...Commons Fees Office."

She denied that Ms Smith was benefiting by nominating her London address as her "main home" instead of her constituency home.

The spokeswoman said Ms Smith spends "the bulk of the week" at her sister's home in London. Asked how many nights she stayed there, the spokeswoman said: "She tends to go home Thursday evenings and returns on Sunday or Monday." When it was pointed out that this suggested an average of three-and-a-half days a week, the spokeswoman replied: "She doesn't count the number of nights."

Nor would Ms Smith disclose if she paid her sister rent. The Home Secretary "makes a contribution to the household", said the spokeswoman, who refused to provide further details.

The spokeswoman denied Ms Smith was "lodging" with her sister, and said the two "shared the house".

Jacqui Smith is also on the electoral roll in her Redditch constituency, where she and husband Richard own a large detached house in an exclusive residential area.

On her parliamentary website, the Home Secretary emphasises her Midlands roots. Far from stating that her main home is in London, her official biography suggests that her Redditch house is the one she regards as her real home.

It states: "Jacqui grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, before moving to [her constituency] in 1986. She still lives in [ her constituency] with her husband […] and sons [...]."

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Prepared 12 October 2009