Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


Thank you very much for your letter of 24 February responding to mine of 17 February about this complaint in respect of the identification of your residence in London as your main home for the purposes of your claims against the Additional Costs Allowance.

I was most grateful to receive such a full and prompt response. This will be very helpful to me in the resolution of this complaint and I do appreciate it. I appreciate also the need to protect your security. If I decide to prepare a memorandum for the Committee on Standards and Privileges, I will both take close account of that consideration and show you all the factual material I would propose to submit to the Committee in advance so that you can comment on the security aspects of any disclosures in that material. It would then be open to me to redact any references which raise issues and which are not essential for the understanding of the evidence. There is also an additional stage where a Member can ask the Committee not to publish evidence which I have submitted to it.

Turning to your letter, you kindly offered to let me have the days and nights information on the basis of each of the last financial years. It would, indeed, be helpful to have that if you are able to produce it for me. It would also be helpful to have both the number of nights so far this financial year and so far in 2009 as you suggest. Thank you for your help with this.

Since it is widely known that you receive police protection, I would like to ask your permission to approach the Metropolitan Police Service, and, through them, the West Mercia Constabulary to ask for information based on their logs. Again, I do not need information in more detail than you have provided to me and would not wish to put your personal security at risk in any way, but I think it would be helpful for me to have this information. I hope therefore you might agree to me approaching the police to ask if they could provide it to me. I hope also you might agree that I may share with the police the statistical information about the number of nights and days spent in each location which you have given me.

Finally, I set out in my letter of 17 February the provision in Section 3.1.1 of the Green Book describing the scope of the Additional Costs Allowance. In explaining that section, the answer to the frequently asked question "what can I claim?" given in the preamble to Section 3 is as follows:

"Only those additional costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your only or main UK residence, either in London or in the constituency. If you receive the London Supplement you will not be eligible."

Could you let me know whether you considered your claims under the Additional Costs Allowance against the criterion that your claims must only be for those additional costs which enable you to stay overnight in your constituency, given that I take it from your letter that you have owned a home in the area with your husband since before you were elected to the House in 1997?

I would be happy to have a separate response to this final point if it enables you to respond more quickly to the earlier matters raised in this letter. I can then get on, if you agree, with contacting the police service.

Thank you again for your prompt help on this matter.

2 March 2009

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