Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


Thank you for your letter dated 14 May 2009 requesting my help with your inquiries into this matter, and I welcome the opportunity to do so. The use and meaning of the term 'Private and Confidential' has been noted, and will be given due respect. I shall attempt to respond to your queries in the order in which you raise them.

I can indeed confirm the presence of Ms Jacqui Smith at the London house [… Road] over both the Christmas and New Year periods, 2008/09. I witnessed a number of family members present at that address for several days during that time, and Ms Jacqui Smith was one of that company.

I was present at my own address, [... Road], from 24-26 December inclusive, and on New Years Eve, 31 December 2008. This house shares a party boundary with Ms Smith's London property... In the course of normal movements I had occasion to have sight of Ms Jacqui Smith at the London house during these periods.

In addition, the presence of Ms Jacqui Smith at [… Road] is normally indicated by the presence of two police protection officers on duty to the front of the property both whilst she is staying there, and when her arrival is imminent. These officers were on duty during the Christmas and New Year periods.

In regard to Ms Smith's presence generally at the same address, you will understand that I do not keep a record of events, dates or days of the week. Bearing in mind the fact that Ms Jacqui Smith MP is a representative of a parliamentary constituency as well as holding a post as a senior cabinet minister, I would understand and expect that she has a need to balance these duties and commitments with some skill.

In this context it is my firm impression that, on balance, Ms Jacqui Smith is present at [… Road] at least 60% of the time. It is more usual that she is there a significant part of the working week, during weekdays/nights, although I have noted occasional periods of extended presence, lasting a full week or even, on occasion, consecutive weeks. There have been several weekends when I have been aware of her presence at the house, although this is less usual. I have no impression that there is any significant change of pattern during periods of parliamentary recess.

In support of these assertions, and because of residing next door, I have noted visually Ms Smith's arrival or departure in an official escorted car, either late at night or early mornings on a regular basis. Additionally, I have observed clearly the presence of her police protection to the front of the house, indicating when she is staying at the same London address, and have had occasional casual sight of her at the property.

As regards the summer of 2008, I can vouch for a regular attendance of police protection to the front of [… Road], indicating Ms Jacqui Smith's presence at the house. Occasionally there would be no indication of Ms Smith's presence at the house for approximately a week; however, my observation and impression supports the view that she was present there more often than not.

In summary, therefore, my own observation and impression would support Ms Jacqui Smith's account, which you indicate in your letter, of her presence at [… Road]; specifically during Christmas 2008, New Year 2008/09, and periods of parliamentary recess, and also generally from week to week.

I hope I have addressed adequately the issues you raise in your letter. If you require further information, I should be happy to help in as much as I am able.

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Prepared 12 October 2009